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.