It has been well established in alternative medical circles as well as conventional medicine that digestive problems are often at the root of various illnesses. One of the digestive problems is an inadequate breakdown of food, due to a lack of appropriate enzymes which act to breakdown the foods for absorption. Enzymes are actually specialized protein molecules, which catalyze chemical reactions in cells in order to facilitate the chemical processes necessary to support life.
There are two basic groups of enzymes. Food (plant) enzymes play the role of enhancing the body’s vitality and also enhances the efficiency of digestion. Pancreatic (animal) enzymes serve the digestive system as well as to promote a healthy and robust immune system.
The human body is capable of producing on its own approximately 22 digestive enzymes. Each is capable of digesting protein, carbohydrates, sugars, and fats. The process of digestion begins in the mouth and continues throughout the digestive system. Throughout the digestion system specific enzymes go to work breaking down specific foods. From the mouth onward throughout the entire digestive system is normal to have varying amounts or degrees of acidity, which acts to control which enzyme is operant in that portion of the system.
Throughout the system in a healthy individual, enzymes and all the nutritional substances from vitamins to amino acids etc. work together in a collaborative manner in order to promote and maintain a healthy body. Since the various nutritional substances synergistically work together, a weakness in one group of substances tends to interfere in the efficiency of other substances throughout the system. For example, most enzymes act together as "co-enzymes", or as "co-factors" with vitamins, minerals and trace minerals to optimize bodily processes. A deficiency in a specific enzyme can cause poor performance by other nutrients, which are dependant on the enzyme.
There are three categories of enzymes: metabolic enzymes, digestive enzymes, and enzymes found raw food. Metabolic enzymes play a key role in running bodily processes. They also repair damage and decay as well as heal tissues. Digestive enzymes serve to assimilate carbohydrates, proteins and fats in the body. Raw food enzymes begin the process of food digestion and aid the body’s digestive enzymes.
There are four categories of plant enzymes, one of which is cellulase. Plant food is a persons’ only source for cellulase, as the body cannot produce it. Cooking food can and often does destroy important plant enzymes. They are quite sensitive to heat and are the first nutrients to be destroyed during cooking. They are also rendered useless or worse yet, destroyed by pasteurizing, canning and microwaving. Raw plant food is an excellent source for plant enzymes and nutritionists and nutritional practitioners generally recommend at least a partial diet of uncooked plant food.
The consequences of eating a diet which is predominantly made up of cooked foods is to create a lack of adequate plant enzymes in the digestive tract, which leads to a number of conditions, one of which is inflammation in its many manifestations. A lack of enzymes can easily lead to certain foods and proteins remaining undigested, and to remain in the bowels in the form of undigested foodstuff. As the undigested food remains in the intestines, it often stays there for lengthy periods of time, all the while decomposing into toxic materials. These toxic substances are absorbed by the blood and sent along to the liver to be detoxified. Often the liver becomes overworked and unable to properly detoxify the entire blood system, which results in toxins roaming freely throughout the body.
Treating enzyme deficiencies:
Testing for food enzyme and nutritional deficiencies typically include the 24 hour urine analysis, as well as a complete medical history and physical examination. Once the level of deficiencies is determined, the physician or practitioner can begin to determine which enzyme group is most needed etc.. Enzymes can be taken orally or by injection. Different groups of enzymes can be combined into a cocktail of enzymes. Adding enzymes in a supplemental form aids the body, which is probably on overload and is unable to produce sufficient quantities of its own enzymes. The enzymes are usually taken between meals in order that they are not used for the purpose of digesting mealtime foods. Enzyme treatment is for the purpose of helping to stabilize the overload of digested materials in the bloodstream as well as in the digestive tract.
The future of enzymes therapy is bright. There are thousands of enzyme therapists practicing in the U.S. and many more around the world. Many naturopaths and chiropractors use enzyme-containing medicines for many innovative functions including: cleaning wounds, allergic reactions, removing blood clots. Diagnosis of certain ailments and diseases such as cancer is being facilitated by the measurement of certain types of enzymes being present.