THE BASICS OF ENZYME NUTRITION
WHAT ARE ENZYMES?
Enzymes are the spark of life, without them life would not exist. Although the action of enzymes, much like electricity, cannot be seen, it is the driving force behind virtually all biochemical processes that occur in the body. There are literally hundreds of thousands of enzymes active in every organ, tissue and fluid and each has its own specific function. Enzymes move our muscles, stimulate our nerves, make our heart beat, keep us breathing and even cause us to think. These complex biochemical substances are also depended upon to convert nutrients in foods into strong, healthy bodies.
HOW DOES THE BODY GET ENZYMES?
Ideally, the body should get enzymes from two sources - those it makes and those it ingests. Every cell in the body makes enzymes, known as metabolic enzymes, to perform all of the complex processes required to sustain life. Digestive enzymes are secreted by cells in the digestive tract and pancreas to breakdown food. Food nutrients must be digested into small enough units to pass through the intestinal wall into the bloodstream for transport to areas in the body in need of nourishment.
The body is provided with enzymes every time food is eaten in its raw, uncooked state. This food contains just the right amount and types of enzymes to help digest itself. Nature put these enzymes in food to aid in the digestive process instead of having the body's enzymes do all of the work. Concentrated plant enzyme supplements are also an important source of enzymes for the body.
IF ENZYMES ARE IN FOOD, WHY SHOULD ENZYME SUPPLEMENTS BE TAKEN?
Only raw or uncooked food contains enzymes. Enzymes are the most heat-sensitive nutrients found in food. Any type of heating whether it be steaming, baking, roasting, broiling, frying, stewing, canning, pasteurizing or even microwaving, destroys the activity of food enzymes in a few short minutes. When food enzymes are missing, the body is forced to produce enough of its own enzymes to replace the digestive activity of the lost food enzymes. This puts unwarranted stress on certain organs and tissues of the body which can have serious consequences.
Each person is born with an enzyme potential much like a bank account. At birth, the enzyme account is opened with a limited number of enzymes the body can produce in a lifetime. The balance in this enzyme account depends on the number of deposits and withdrawals. Deposits are made by supplementing the diet with plant enzymes.
Large withdrawals are made by eating cooked or processed food. When enzyme withdrawals are greater than enzyme deposits, a negative enzyme balance occurs which is the foundation for chronic degenerative disease. Today's typical diet of cooked, canned and convenience foods makes it especially important to take supplemental plant enzymes to ensure that the body maintains a positive enzyme balance.
IF A WELL-BALANCED DIET INCLUDING PLENTY OF RAW FOOD IS EATEN, ARE PLANT ENZYME SUPPLEMENTS NEEDED?
Yes! Raw food provides enough enzymes to digest that particular food only. Any cooked or processed food eaten with this raw food requires supplemental enzymes to help the body digest it. Although a totally raw food diet may appear to be the best solution, it is generally not practical and, in many cases, not medically advisable. Even if a raw food diet were an option, it is doubtful that enough enzymes could be obtained from this food to overcome enzyme deficiencies already developed in the body. Unfortunately, the synthetic fertilizers used on agriculture today forces plants to give up their precious enzymes to the soil in exchange for minerals so even the most wholesome foods may not contain adequate enzymes. Cooking food is not all bad as it has actually increased the range of foods from which man can obtain readily usable nourishment. Given the fact that most people will choose cooked food over raw foods, plant enzyme supplements should be taken to avoid shortchanging the body of its enzyme supply. Plant enzyme supplements allow cooked foods to be digested in much the same way as raw foods.
Although the most constant drain on the body's enzyme supply is digestion, frequent colds or fevers, pregnancy, extreme weather conditions, stress, strenuous exercise, and ingesting caffeinated or alcoholic beverages use up enzymes at a rapid rate. In addition, enzymes are lost daily through sweat, urine, feces and all digestive fluids including salivary and intestinal secretions. To guard against running low on enzymes when they are needed the most, the diet should be supplemented with plant enzymes. Supplemental enzymes are never wasted. If they are not immediately used in digestion, they can be absorbed into the blood and stored in the body's enzyme reserve to offset those factors robbing enzymes from the body's enzyme supply.
IF DIETARY SUPPLEMENTS ARE TAKEN, ARE ENZYME SUPPLEMENTS NEEDED?
Most people are well aware that vitamins and minerals are essential for good health, yet it is not as well-known that they are of no nutritional value without enzymes. Vitamins and minerals team up with enzymes to perform the body's basic functions. If the body is deficient in enzymes, no amount of vitamins or minerals can replace them.
Vitamin and mineral supplements have received considerable publicity because these nutrients are not produced by the body so deficiencies show up quickly. Enzyme deficiencies, on the other hand, are not readily detected because the body draws from its own enzyme supply to make up for the lack of enzymes in the diet. If vitamin and mineral supplements are being taken yet the expected benefits have not been realized, plant enzyme supplements should be added to the diet. Plant enzyme supplements will help the body receive the full nutritional benefit from the food eaten meaning vitamin and mineral supplements may not be needed to maintain the daily requirements.
WHAT HAPPENS IF THE DIET DOES NOT PROVIDE ENOUGH ENZYMES?
Nature intended for food enzymes to help the body's digestive enzymes with the digestive process. When raw food is eaten, chewing releases the enzymes in the food to begin digestion. Food sits in the stomach for 1/2 -1 hour before the body's digestive enzymes are activated. It is during this time that food enzymes do their best work breaking down the complex molecules of protein, carbohydrates, fat and fiber. Food enzymes are temporarily inactivated in the lower stomach but return to work in the intestines to mix with the body's own digestive enzymes to complete the job of digestion. It is important to realize that food enzymes can have up to 75% of the food digested before the body's digestive enzymes are called into action.
When food is deficient in enzymes, the digestive system must work overtime secreting large amounts of enzymes. This results in hypertrophy of organs and glands such as the pancreas, eventually exhausting them. Since the body puts a higher priority on digestion than maintaining health, it will steal enzymes from other parts of the body. For instance, every time cooked or processed food is consumed, the body draws enzymes from the immune system to help finish digestion. Mobilizing the immune system whenever enzyme-deficient food is eaten will eventually weaken it to the point where the body will be unable to defend against disease. Constantly robbing the body's overall enzyme supply also means fewer enzymes will be available to run normal body functions and repair damaged tissues. Taking plant enzyme supplements will help take the stress off not only the digestive organs, but the entire body.
HOW WILL IMPROVING DIGESTION WITH PLANT ENZYMES AFFECT HEALTH?
Noted authorities believe the level of enzyme activity in the body is related to the length and quality of life. As we grow older, research shows that the body's ability to make enzymes decreases and at the same time tendency toward tissue breakdown and chronic conditions of the body increases. Coincidentally, there is also a correlation between low enzyme content in the body tissues and the onset of chronic degenerative disease. History shows man did not suffer from chronic degenerative disease until he began to cook his food. The Eskimo is an example. As long as they continued the ancient custom of eating their food raw or barely cooked they were virtually free of "civilized disease". Once they adopted a modern lifestyle including cooked food, the incidence of arthritis, heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure rose dramatically.
Digesting food is one of the most energy-consuming tasks performed by the human body each day. When foods deficient in enzymes are eaten, the body uses a considerable amount of energy making enzymes for digestion. This explains why we often feel tired after a big meal. Fatigue, diarrhea/constipation, gas, heartburn, headaches, colon problems, hardening of the arteries and high cholesterol levels are just a few of the conditions that have their root in a shortage of enzymes. Taking plant enzymes with each meal will lessen the work of the digestive system so more energy can be used to build and repair vital organs and tissues.
WHY ARE A PDR EXAM AND A URINALYSIS NECESSARY TO DETERMINE WHICH PLANT ENZYME SUPPLEMENTS ARE RIGHT FOR A PATIENT?
Performing a Palpatory Diagnostic Response Exam and a 24-Hour Urinalysis on a patient will indicate how well the body digests and uses food nutrients. Considering the typical diet of cooked and refined foods, the body is in a constant struggle to maintain its chemical balance. When imbalances in body chemistry occur due to digestive inadequacies, the extra-cellular fluids are affected which can be detected by the body's responses to the palpation of specific points primarily in the abdomen. A comparison of what the urine contains with what it should contain will also identify patterns of digestive and dietary deficiencies and excesses which may be causing undesirable symptoms. The results of a urinalysis combined with a careful evaluation of the case history and a PDR exam will clearly indicate the enzyme supplementation is needed to help return the body to its proper balance. After the recommended enzyme supplementation has been taken for a specified period of time, a follow-up PDR exam and urinalysis will be performed to monitor the beneficial changes that have taken place within the body.
WHAT PLANT ENZYME SUPPLEMENTS ARE RECOMMENDED IN THE 21st CENTURY NUTRITION PROGRAM?
Because no two people are alike, the doctor requires a full line of scientifically-balanced enzyme formulations to choose from in meeting the specific needs of each and every patient. The enzymes in the formulations recommended are concentrated from specially cultivated plant sources to maximize their digestive activity for optimal nutritional effectiveness. These enzyme formulations are so potent they are only available from a doctor.
More than 50 years of research and clinical testing went into the creation of these formulations. They are divided into categories as follows:
- MULTIPLE ENZYME FORMULAS are needed by everyone to help digest cooked or processed food. The correct multiple enzyme formula will be matched to the individual's digestive ability based on the results of a PDR exam and urinalysis. As rule of thumb, multiple enzyme formulas should be taken immediately before each meal.
- INDIVIDUAL ENZYME FORMULAS may be recommended to control certain acute or chronic nutritionally-related health conditions and should be taken between meals.
- G.I. TRACT may be recommended if a difficult digestive problem exists and are usually taken after each meal.
- Formulas containing WHOLE FOOD COMPLEXES WITH ENZYMES were formulated to assure digestion and delivery of the vitamins, minerals and other nutrients in a whole food complex. These formulas are recommended to those patients who are digesting their food so poorly that they are not getting an adequate supply of essential food nutrients.
- SPECIFIC CONDITION FORMULAS of enzymes and herbs may be recommended for specific nutritional imbalances and are usually taken after or between meals.
All enzyme formulations come in capsule form which may be swallowed, chewed or sprinkled on food.
HOW DO THE PLANT ENZYMES RECOMMENDED IN THE 21st CENTURY PROGRAM DIFFER FROM OTHER DIGESTIVE ENZYME SUPPLEMENTS?
Although there are other enzyme products available, the plant enzyme formulas recommended offer the most complete digestive activity and, most important of all, are the only type of enzyme supplement that can relieve the body from producing excessive digestive enzymes.
These concentrated plant enzymes help digest-protein, fat, carbohydrates and fiber. Supplements of pepsin, trypsin, bromelain, and papain can digest only protein and pancreatic enzyme supplements can break down only three of the four food components. Also, these plant enzymes are designed to function best at the precise temperature of the body; papain and bromelain, on the other hand, were developed for such industrial uses as tanning leather and tenderizing meat so they work best at temperatures significantly higher than that of the gastrointestinal tract. Furthermore, the recommended plant enzymes function throughout the entire digestive tract, while pepsin and trypsin work only in the lower stomach and pancreatic enzymes work only in the small intestine. In addition, the enzymes used in the recommended formulas are derived from specially cultivated plant sources unlike pepsin, trypsin and pancreatic enzymes which can only be obtained from animal sources. These critical factors - digestion of the four main food components, optimal activity at body temperature activity throughout the entire digestive tract and vegetarian source prove the superiority of these concentrated plant enzymes.
HOW LONG WILL A PATIENT HAVE TO TAKE PLANT ENZYME SUPPLEMENTS?
The length of time it takes to correct imbalances in body chemistry will depend upon how long the imbalances have existed. Most patients begin to notice a positive difference within a relatively short period of time, but healthful balance is only regained when all the corrections have been made. A follow-up PDR exam and urinalysis can pinpoint improvements.
After body chemistry is restored to normal, a multiple plant enzyme supplement should continue to be taken to help maintain sufficient enzyme levels. Remember, illness is a falling away from good health that generally takes place over a long period of time. If one believes having no symptoms is a good indication that one is healthy, think again. Many diseases that show up later in life have their beginnings in early childhood.
SOME PATIENTS ARE ALLERGIC TO MANY FOODS, WILL THESE PATIENTS BE ABLE TO TOLERATE PLANT ENZYME SUPPLEMENTS?
The enzymes in the recommended supplements are extracted from plant sources in a closely controlled environment. Extreme care is taken to remove any associated plant material to greatly reduce the possibility of an allergic reaction to the enzymes. If symptoms common to an allergic reaction are experienced, it doesn't necessarily mean that the body can't tolerate the enzymes. Instead, it may be an indication that a different formula or dosage is required.
When the proper formula is taken, clinical studies have found the use of supplemental plant enzymes often eliminates common food allergies. Most food allergies are related to the body's inability to digest and assimilate a particular food. The undigested food particles circulate in the blood throwing toxins into the body causing allergic reactions. After body chemistry is returned to normal with the recommended enzyme supplementation program, the body may be able to tolerate foods it previously could not.
PLANT ENZYMES AND DIGESTION - TYPES OF PLANT DIGESTIVE ENZYMES
There are four main types of enzymes that break down food:
- PROTEASE breaks down protein
- AMYLASE breaks down carbohydrates
- LIPASE breaks down fats
- CELLULASE breaks down fiber
In addition to a-amylase, three additional amylases are essential to the digestion of carbohydrates:
- LACTASE breaks down lactose (milk sugar)
- SUCRASE (INVERTASE) breaks down sucrose (refined sugar)
- MALTASE breaks down maltose (malt sugar)
THE FIRST STAGE OF DIGESTION begins in the mouth. As food is chewed, if it is raw or uncooked, the naturally associated food enzymes immediately begin the digestion of the food with the help of the amylase enzymes present in the saliva. If the food is cooked or processed, only the enzymes in the saliva are available to begin digestion unless supplemental plant enzymes have been sprinkled on the food.
THE FIRST STAGE OF DIGESTION CONTINUES after food is swallowed. This food passes into the upper or cardiac part of the stomach where it sits for up to one hour waiting for the body to produce enough acidity to activate its enzymes for protein digestion. It is during this time that the salivary amylase, food enzymes and supplemental plant enzymes do their best work digesting protein, carbohydrates, fat and fiber in the food. Studies conducted at the University of Illinois and Northwestern University have shown that as much as 80% of ingested carbohydrates can be digested after the first 45 minutes in the stomach when only salivary amylase is at work. Imagine the amount of digestion that can occur with the addition of food and/or supplemental plant enzymes.
During the SECOND STAGE OF DIGESTION, in response to distention of the stomach wall by the ingested food, the parietal cells of the stomach concentrate enough HCI from the blood to lower the pH of the stomach below 3.0 from a resting pH between 5.0 and 6.0. As the pH of the stomach drops, the predigested food passes from the cardiac portion of the stomach into the lower or pyloric portion of the stomach. Plant enzymes are temporarily inactivated at pH levels in the lower stomach. The chief cells of the stomach secrete the enzyme, Pepsin to digest dietary protein. The HCI activates the pepsin and maintains the pH below 3.0 so the pepsin can continue to work.
The THIRD STAGE OF DIGESTION begins when stomach acids and the composition of the food stimulates the release of bicarbonate, pancreatic enzymes and bile into the small intestine. Partially digested food passes through the pyloric valve into the small intestine. Food and plant enzymes are reactivated in the alkaline pH of the small intestine, and team up with the pancreatic enzymes and bile to finish the digestion of the food. Pancreatic enzymes consist of protease, amylase and lipase enzymes and are only active in the alkaline pH of the small intestine maintained by an adequate supply of bicarbonate. It is in this area of the digestive tract that the majority of food nutrients are absorbed into the blood.
REABSORPTION STAGE OF DIGESTION
Fibrous and undigestible material moves into the colon or bowel for removal of fluids and eventual excretion from the body. If food is not properly digested during the four previous stages, the colon is one of the primary resting places for this incompletely digested food. Since partially digested protein putrifies, partially digested carbohydrates ferment, and partially digested fat turns rancid, it is easy to see that undigested food causes the release of toxic material into the system which can have unhealthy effects on the body.