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Eat Well With Digestive Enzymes

A Feel 21, Inc. Health Report

If you eat a completely wholesome, raw food diet and take a high-quality multivitamin on a daily basis, as well as live in a pristine environment sans pollution, you don't need to read this. If you don't, read on about how enzymes can help you live, well, better.

Multifarious Roles

According to D.A. Lopez, M.D., R.M. Williams, M.D., Ph.D. and M. Miehlke, M.D., in their book, Enzymes: The Fountain of Life, enzymes are necessary as they act a the human body's "labor force to perform every single function required for our daily activities and are required to keep us alive. They are responsible for all of the functions of every organ system in our bodies."

The medical trio also pointed out how enzymes positively affect our immune systems by providing protective functions. Enzymes are also necessary to eat, digest and absorb nutrients and other food factors, but also to receive sensory input, such as hearing, seeing, smelling, tasting, as well as for breathing and facilitating and enabling voluntary and involuntary movement. "Enzymes are required for our blood and coagulation system, cardiovascular functions, kidneys, liver, elimination of toxic products, excretion, reproduction, etc. They are required even to think, dream or for sexual excitement or activity. When enzyme activity stop, life stops and the person or organism dies," they write.

Anthony Cichoke, D.C., author of Enzymes and Enzyme Therapy, noted that researchers have identified in excess of 2,700 different enzymes present in the human body. A main characteristic of enzymes is that they metamorphosize continuously, indeed, "every second of our lives these enzymes are constantly changing and renewing, sometimes at an unbelievable rate," he writes. In fact, he added, "nothing can take place without energy and energy cannot be used or produced without enzymes."

Cells become disorganized without energy, leading to illness and even death, Cichoke points out. Therefore, a healthy network of enzymes is a necessity to sustain homeostasis. "Within the sum total of our bodies, enzymes work constantly like majestic orchestras conducting a splendid symphony in perfect harmony," describe the authors of Enzymes: The Fountain of Life. "This perfect equilibrium keeps us active and preserves our health, performing all functions through a delicate and yet phenomenal system of checks and balances. Enzymes work as tireless, highly skilled workers on a conveyor belt, dismantling, controlling, protecting, destroying, eliminating, reassembling or performing whatever we need in order to exist day and night."

Enzymes and Sources

According to Cichoke in a more recent tome, The Complete Book of Enzyme Therapy, enzymes for dietary supplementation are typically obtained from animal, plant or microbial sources.

Enzymes from animal sources are extracted commonly from bovine and procine sources, notably from the pancreas, liver or stomach. These enzymes include amylases, lipases and proteases. Some of the best known, points out Cichoke, are rennin, chymotrypsin, trypsin, pepsin and pancreatin. Plant enzymes are also used for dietary supplements, notably, enzymes derived from pineapple (bromelain) and papaya (papain). Cichoke points out that pineapple is one of the most enzymatically active fruits, and in addition to pineapple, numerous other fruits such as figs, guava, kiwi, and papaya are known to be high in protease content.

Microbial enzymes are derived form bacteria or fungi and are produced through fermentation. "In recent years," Cichoke explains, "microorganisms have increasingly been used as a source of enzymes for supplements because they are relatively inexpensive and provide an abundant supply. In fact, microbial enzymes now represent about 90 percent of all enzymes produced commercially for any purpose."

Most enzymes available for dietary supplement consumption are geared for digestive assistance and rejuvenation and enhancement of food breakdown and subsequent absorption. Most everyone's digestive system could benefit from supplementational enzymes because of the high content of processed foods taken into the body, which has to deal with many man-made chemicals.

One of the main goals of digestive enzymes is to break food down into smaller particles enabling easier absorption. "The enzyme used most frequently to treat digestive problems include proteases, amylases and lipases," writes Cichoke. Proteases act specifically to break down proteins, lipases concentrate on fats and lipids, and amylases work to break down carbohydrates. Cellulose, a more specific amylase, breaks down cellulose which is the indigestible fiber that occurs naturally in many fruits and vegetables.

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This article is reprinted with permission from Vitamin Retailer magazine and is provided for educational purposes only by your local retailer. No part of this article is intended as medical advice. Always consult your health care provider for any medical problems.

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