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Enzymes Health Topic
    Enzymes Health Topic
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    Enzymes Health Topic

    Without enzymes, life as we know it would not exist. Enzymes enable chemical reactions in the body. Every metabolic function of your body, including digesting the food you eat, requires enzymes. Raw foods are the best source of digestive enzymes. Cooking and processing foods destroy their enzyme content.When we eat foods that lack digestive enzymes, we force the body to divert its production of enzymes away from important metabolic enzymes into digestive enzyme production, placing a burden on the pancrease. There are three categories of digestive enzymes: proteolytic enzymes digest protein, lipases digest fat, and amylases digest carbohydrates.

    Note: encourages personal research and a balanced view of health and nutrition topics. The links below provide a broad overview of various research findings and hypothesis on the role of nutrition in health. This information is not intended to promote any particular product. Unless noted, the articles below do not include any scientific references.

    Learn More About Enzymes

    1. Proteolytic Enzymes

      Enzymes are proteins that facilitate chemical reactions in living organisms. All of the minerals and vitamins you eat, and all of the hormones your body produces need enzymes in order to work properly. In fact, enzymes govern every single metabolic function in your body. The vast majority of metabolic enzymes in the body – the enzymes that regulate everything from liver function to the immune system – are proteases, or proteolytic enzymes, which regulate protein function in the body. When we eat foods that are enzyme-dead (cooked or processed), we force the body to divert its production of enzymes away from metabolic proteolytic enzymes, which govern metabolic functions, into digestive proteolytic enzymes designed to break down dead proteins in our diets. Supplemental proteolytic enzymes can help reduce inflammation, speed healing of bruises and other tissue injuries (including fractures), and reduce overall recovery time when compared to athletes taking a placebo. Proteolytic enzymes are the primary tools the body uses to "digest" organic debris in the circulatory and lymph systems.


    2. The Condensed Enzyme Fact Reference

      Raw foods naturally contain enzymes. However, even raw food contains only enough enzymes to digest that particular food, not enough to be stored in the body for later use. The cooking or processing of food destroys all of its enzymes. Since most of the foods we eat are cooked or processed in some way and since the raw foods we do eat contain only enough enzymes to process that particular food, our bodies must produce the majority of the digestive enzymes we require, unless we use supplemental enzymes. We are born with the ability to produce a finite number of enzymes during our lifetime. Unless those enzymes are in the (living) food we just ate, we use much of our enzyme potential making the digestive enzymes necessary to digest our food. This limits our ability to produce metabolic enzymes. Using supplemental enzymes to promote digestion reduces our need to produce digestive enzymes, allowing our body to produce the metabolic enzymes needed. Proteases break down protein, amylase breaks down carbohydrate and starch, and lipase breaks down fat. lactase breaks down lactose (dairy), maltase and sucrase break down food sugars, and cellulase breaks down cellulose. Obese individuals were found to have deficiency in the enzyme lipase, which aids the body in breaking down and storing fats. Research has shown abundant laboratory proof of profoundly disturbed enzyme chemistry in cancer patients. Allergies may be helped if certain enzyme supplements are taken that can act as scavenger enzymes or as protein digestive enzymes. A complete and robust array of enzymes in our bodies is the most important requirement for a strong immune system.


    3. Raw Foods and Enzymes

      Once enzymes are exposed to heat, they are no longer able to provide the function for which they were designed. Cooked food's enzyme content is damaged and thus requires us to make our own enzymes to process the food. Digestion of cooked food demands much more energy than the digestion of raw food. In general, raw food is so much more easily digested. Raw foods are rich in enzymes. The human body makes approximately 22 different digestive enzymes. Eating enzyme-dead foods places a burden on your pancreas. In 1930, research in Switzerland found that after a person eats cooked food, his/her blood responds immediately by increasing the number of white blood cells. This is a well-known phenomena called 'digestive leukocytosis'. Eating raw, unaltered food did not cause a reaction in the blood.

    4. Immuno-Enzymatic Therapy: A Review of the Literature

      All enzymes accelerate reactions, or even permit reactions that otherwise would not happen, while the enzymes themselves end up unchanged. Enzymes therefore are catalysts and can act over and over again doing the same thing. Most enzymes are highly specific. Proteases are specifically directed to proteins, glucosidases attack sugars, lipases attack fats. Each digestive enzyme acts upon one substance at a time. The substance acted on is termed a substrate. Thus an enzyme first encounters a substrate to form an enzyme-substrate conjugation. After reaction, the enzyme is left intact and there is now an altered substrate. The way substrates are digested by enzymes is beautifully simple: some part of a length of protein (or carbhohydrate or fat) fits into a specific site or pocket on the enzyme. Within this comformable pocket is a niche called the active site where the actual reaction or cleavage takes place. This mutual fit between enzyme and substrate is often compared to a key in a lock. We know now that enzymes are flexible and plastic during their functioning, and for an enzyme to function properly, it must be flexible. Thus an enzyme attaches, undergoes flexure thus straining the substrate, and a bond is broken in the substrate. Many enzymes require helper molecules. Such factors can be vitamins, minerals or simple molecules. These co-enzymes must be present to facilitate attachment to the substrate. The pancreas has two major functions: production of insulin (endocrine pancreas) and the production of the digestive enzymes (exocrine pancreas). Pancreatic enzymes are important in cancer therapy. The pancreas and its enzymes are a true component of the immune system. For any enzyme, any substrate can be an inhibitor. While the substrate is attatched to the enzyme, the enzyme is not able to act on other substrates. For this reason, when there is a large ratio of substrate versus enzyme, the enzymatic transformation is limited. The best way to overcome this is to increase the amount of enzymes. A cancer cell secretes a number of substances that reversibly inhibit the proteases of the body, usually glyco-proteins. Pancreatic enzymes must work over time to overcome this inhibition. Usually this is too much of a burden for the pancreas without risking enlargement, inflammation and dysfunction. Vegan diets and certain forms of vegetarianism can alter the metabolism unfavorably, especially with regard to enzyme synthesis. Systemic amylase levels are actually higher in meat eaters than in vegetarians. Low amylase levels can result in poor reactions to enzymatic therapy. A study by researchers in Israel showed that proteolytic enzymes of the serine type (trypsin, chymotrypsin and carboxypeptidase for example) caused human myeloid leukemic cells to undergo differentiation to benign and functionally normal leukocyte cells.


    5. Pancreatic Cancer, Proteolytic Enzyme Therapy and Detoxification

      The Scottish embryologist, John Beard, who worked at the University of Edinburgh at the turn of the century, first proposed in 1906 that pancreatic proteolytic enzymes, in addition to their well-known digestive function, represent the body's main defense against cancer. He further proposed that pancreatic enzymes would most likely be useful as a cancer treatment.

    6. Food Enzymes, the First Line of Defense

      Research by Scottish embryologist named Dr. John Beard is documented in "The Enzyme Treatment of Cancer and Its Scientific Basis" copyrighted in 1911. Research shows that protein digesting enzymes can dissolve the protein coating from around cancer cells, and this enables white blood cells (which are part of the immune system) to destroy the cancer cells. Cancer cells are actually trophoblasts cells that are misbehaving. Trophoblasts cells are basic to the development of every newly conceived baby. But if out of control trophoblast activity begins to occur in later life, then cancer is the result. the pancreas has a limited capability to produce enzymes. The pancreas is almost always overworked trying to produce enough digestive enzymes to digest the cooked food that we eat. Cooked, refined and processed foods have no enzymes.


    7. Evaluation of Pancreatic Proteolytic Enzyme Treatment of Adenocarcinoma of the Pancreas, with Nutrition and Detoxification Support

      A 2-year, unblinded, 1-treatment arm, 10-patient, pilot prospective case study was used to assess survival in patients suffering inoperable stage II-IV pancreatic adenocarcinoma treated with large doses of orally ingested pancreatic enzymes, nutritional supplements, "detoxification" procedures, and an organic diet. This pilot study suggests that an aggressive nutritional therapy with large doses of pancreatic enzymes led to significantly increased survival over what would normally be expected for patients with inoperable pancreatic adenocarcinoma.


    8. Pancreatic Enzyme Extract Improves Survival in Murine Pancreatic Cancer

      The treatment with porcine pancreatic enzyme extracts significantly prolongs the survival of mice with human pancreatic cancer xenografts and slows the tumor growth. The data indicate that the beneficial effect of porcine pancreatic enzyme extracts on survival is primarily related to the nutritional advantage of the treated mice.


    9. Pancreatic Enzymes Block Food Allergy Reactions

      In one study, administration of pancreatic enzymes markedly reduced the severity of food-induced symptoms in ten patients with know food allergies. It is possible that some of the improvement (e.g., the intestinal symptoms) was due to an enhancement of digestive function, rather than to an anti-allergy mechanism.

    10. Spider Veins and Enyzme Therapy

      Vitamins and minerals are really co-enzymes and co-factors. They are things that make enzymes work better; but what if you don't have much of the enzymes to begin with? Then the co-enzymes won't work! Systemic enzymes effect on spider veins was discovered when patients in Europe, where doctors prescribe systemic enzymes, reported the clearing up of spider veins and easing of varicose vein discomfort.


    11. Enzymes and Life Processes (Introduction to Enzymes)

      Metabolism is the process of chemical and physical change which goes on continually in the living organism. Build-up of new tissue, replacement of old tissue, conversion of food to energy, disposal of waste materials, reproduction – all the activities that we characterize as "life." Enzymes and are responsible for bringing about almost all of the chemical reactions in living organisms. Without enzymes, these reactions take place at a rate far too slow for the pace of metabolism.


    12. Digestive Enzymes

      There are three classes of digestive enzymes: proteolytic enzymes needed to digest protein, lipases needed to digest fat, and amylases needed to digest carbohydrates. Digestive enzymes include pancreatic enzymes, plant-derived enzymes, and fungal-derived enzymes. They work optimally at specific temperature and pH.


    13. Effects of pH (Introduction to Enzymes)

      Enzymes are affected by changes in pH. The most favorable pH value – the point where the enzyme is most active – is known as the optimum pH. Extremely high or low pH values generally result in complete loss of activity for most enzymes. pH is also a factor in the stability of enzymes. As with activity, for each enzyme there is also a region of pH optimal stability. Includes chart showing the pH for optimum activity of various enzymes.


    14. The Importance of Digestive Enzymes for Health and Longevity

      Systemic enzyme therapy fights inflammation: fights fibrosisa type of scar tissue formation containing fibrin: helps increase the immune response; maintains a normal blood flow by helping to prevent blood clots and platelet aggregations within blood vessels; and disrupts a virus' outer protein wall and renders it inert by inhibiting replication.

    Tags: enzymes, digestive enzymes, proteolytic enzymes, enzymes and processed foods, enzymes and raw foods, enzymes and pH, enzymes and co-factors, enzymes and pancreas, enzymes and inflammation, enzymes and allergies, enzymes and cancer, enzymes and pancreatic cancer, enzymes and leukemia, enzymes and spider veins, enzymes and varicose veins, enzymes and the immune system.

    Statements on this website have NOT been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and are NOT intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease; research is ongoing. All third-party health topic links provided on this website are for information purposes only. Always consult your doctor or nutritionist about any health or nutrition-related questions you might have.