Most people recognize the importance of vitamins and minerals in their diet, but few realize the role that enzymes play, and how necessary it is that we get enough of them.
Enzymes are actually proteins that are both obtained from food and produced by the body.
It is a certainty that our bodies cannot make use of vitamins, minerals or hormones without enzymes. They are required for every chemical reaction in our bodies.
Much smaller than to be visible through even the most powerful microscope, we cannot exist without them.
The major role of enzymes is to maintain the metabolic process by facilitating chemical reactions in our bodies, so that we produce energy from the foods we eat. In short, enzymes help our metabolism.
There are categories of enzymes, some being specifically to help digest the food we eat, and some to help fight the free radical damage and oxidative stress that result from the consumption of fuel by our cells.
Scientists have identified over twenty-eight hundred different enzymes. There are over three thousand active enzymes at work in our bodies at one time.
The production of one cell, which is comprised of over one hundred thousand different chemicals, requires no less than thirteen hundred enzymes. DNA molecules are able to work with cells because of the presence of enzymes.
Enzymes in Action
The cycle of enzyme absorption and production begins with what we ingest. The nutrients which are required to make metabolic enzymes come from the foods we eat.
Metabolic enzymes are those which are produced by the body, and are used in all stages of digestion to obtain nutrients from our food, as well as protect us from free radical damage and the resulting oxidative stress.
There are problems with obtaining and producing the enzymes we need which eventually lead to conditions that precede chronic diseases.
Age and high stress reduces the ability to manufacture these enzymes. Food enzymes are intact in raw foods, but are lost during freezing, and cooking. They are destroyed by heat, at temperatures above 118Â°F, and some are even destroyed during juicing (this depends somewhat on the type of juicer one uses).
The lesson here is to be aware of how much you are cooking your vegetables in particular, and eat more raw, uncooked fruits and vegetables.
We also produce significantly fewer enzymes as we age, and with a greater portion of food being cooked, the result is that unless we eat only raw foods we are not getting enough enzymes to maintain a healthy digestive system and to remain energized.
Enzymes and Digestion
The importance of proper digestion cannot be stressed enough. Every part of the process works in conjunction, and must be perfectly synchronized with every other digestive function.
When we are deficient of a particular enzyme, vitamin or mineral, the result is an imbalance which leads to disease.
Digestive problems is a sign that you are not rebuilding cells, and is a precursor to an array of health disorders.
The obvious symptoms of poor digestion are belches, excessive gas, heartburn, nausea, diarrhea, constipation, feeling tired after eating or an allergic reaction to a particular food.
The Role of Digestive Plant Enzymes:
Proteases: breaks down protein
Lipases: breaks down fats
Amylase: breaks down carbohydrates/starch
Cellulases: breaks down fiber
Lactases: breaks down milk sugar
Maltases: breaks down malt sugar
Sucrases: breaks down sucrose (refines dugar)
A Nobel Prize nominee in physics, Dr. Peter Rothchile, M.D., states that “Evidence of the effectiveness of enzymes taken orally is beginning to overcome skeptics.
Many of these studies show enzymes when taken orally, demonstrate benefits against circulating immune complexes, rheumatic disorders, and acute immune diseases.”
Enzyme supplements are necessary as we age, and when we eat food that has been cooked, frozen, or processed in any way. Enzymes are even critical for the treatment of obesity.
It is very important however, that enzyme supplementation be with only pharmaceutical grade plant enzymes. These are in a more purified and stable form than many packaged nutritional enzymes which may contain fillers and contaminants, especially lower priced ones.
Many will vary in strength, ingredients and the amount of fillers they contain.
The other crucial category of enzymes that our bodies produce is that of powerful antioxidant enzymes, the three most often studied being Superoxide Dismutase, Catalase, and Glutathione.
Glutathione is used in the treatment of Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and other neurological disorders, which are believed rooted in the inflammation cased by oxidative stress.
These antioxidants are so much more powerful than any direct antioxidant (plant based or supplemental) that we can ingest, because where a direct antioxidant is used up after neutralizing one free radical, for each of the enzyme antioxidants produced by our bodies, they neutralize millions of free radicals every second.
To Your Health!