Enzymes and Your Health
Have you ever heard someone comment that the chocolate cake they were about to devour would go directly to their hips? Sometimes it seems as though that is the process, especially if one is challenged in maintaining a shapely waistline. In fact, there are complex chemical reactions taking place in your body breaking down the complex nutrients in the food you eat and preparing it for absorption into the blood stream before it is deposited on the hips.
Enzymes are protein based chemical agents that serve to speed up metabolic reactions and activities in all of your cells. Due to their necessary presence for metabolism to take place, they can be synthesized or produced in the cells and put to use on the spot. Of course, in order to manufacture enzymes the cells require the proper raw materials. Amino acids obtained from proteins and trace minerals are linked to form the complex enzyme molecules.
One of the most important function of enzymes in our body is to break down the basic nutrients of carbohydrates, proteins and fats into their smaller components – simple sugars, amino acids and fatty acids/triglycerides. It is these smaller sizes that are used by the cells to manufacture products such as hormones, enzymes and energy.
We produce saliva in the mouth to begin the digestion of carbohydrates in an alkaline environment before sending the bolus of food down the esophagus into the acidic stomach to begin protein digestion. Digestive enzymes are produced in the liver, stomach and pancreas to continue the digestive process in the first part of the small intestine called the duodenum. The pancreas also produces an alkaline pancreatic juice to neutralize the acidic digested food (called chyme) so the enzymes can do their work.
Most foods in their raw, natural state contain enzymes and the necessary minerals to produce enzymes to help digest the food. The fresher and riper the food, the better we can digest it due to the presence of the enzymes. As the food sits around the nutrient content begins to degrade. When we process food before we eat it, either by cooking it or grinding it down into powder as is the case with grains, many of the enzymes can be destroyed or inactivated. Chocolate cake is not found in nature (it does not grow on trees) and the processed ingredients like grain (flour), butter, oils, chocolate powder, etc. lack much of their enzyme content. One could say that there are few nutritional components in the cake to produce sufficient enzymes to digest it. Thus we have to draw on nutrient reserves to digest highly processed foods and deplete our resources rather than building our reserves. If you continually withdraw reserves from your savings account you may find yourself financially bankrupt. In the same way you find yourself nutritionally bankrupt with poor food choices over extended periods.
If your eating habits consist of a high proportion of processed foods, enzyme supplementation may of great benefit to your body to assist in the proper digestion and elimination of the complex ingredients. Be aware that prescription medications and toxic chemicals can effect the structure of enzymes in the body to render them inactive in a process called denaturation. Additionally, if your blood stream and tissues are too acidic the enzyme activity is inhibited and enzymes may be deactivated. As a result, you may lack the concentrations of enzymes your cells need to carry on metabolic processes efficiently. Even if you have great eating habits you may fail to process the nutrients sufficiently to maximize their health benefits. Your cells may function well below optimal levels.
Health impact of poor enzyme activity
The body has to prioritize its resources and in times of crisis there may be a diversion of raw materials and energy to produce digestive enzymes which can disrupt the production of metabolic enzymes. After all, it is the nutrients gained from the digestive process that provide the building materials for the metabolic enzymes. As the blood stream becomes saturated with undigested fats, chemicals and synthetic pollutants, the need to cleanse the blood stream can divert resources, too. Conditions ranging from arthritis, allergies, yeast infections and heart disease have been associated with enzyme deficiency.
Constipation in the large intestine is often the result of a low fiber diet combined with poor enzyme activity. Elimination of solid waste can become difficult leading to a variety of associated conditions such as hemorrhoids.
If you feel fatigued and susceptible to illness with a suppressed immune function a boost to your digestive enzyme resources through supplementation can be of great help. Try adding them to your meals and feel the response to your system over time. If you aim to detoxify your blood stream and cleanse the tissues of built up waste products from a history of poor nutrition and chemical exposure you can ingest enzymes between meals so their activity will target the existing wastes and undigested nutrients.
Give it a month or two for the built up enzyme deficits to be overcome. The body may have a lot of clean up to do before the system is restored to balance.
How many enzymes supplements should you consume?
The label directions for enzyme supplements target the average person. The questionn to ask yourself is how do you feel currently and how deficient are you in enzyme reserves. If you go to fill your car’s gas tank when it is empty you will need to put in more gallons than if the tank was already half full. Start with a modest consumption spread out throughout the day. Notice how your body responds. Increase or decrease the amount based upon your body’s response. Remember to give it time. Know that excess consumption will end up being processed by the liver and eliminated in the urine or stool.
Where do you obtain enzyme supplements?
There are numerous sources for enzyme supplements in stores and over the internet. There are a lot of claims made in the advertising push to earn your business. Make sure you inspect the content of the supplement.
Our family has been using Young Living enzyme supplements for several years. We know the standards they hold their products to. They are one of the only companies to combine essential oils with their enzyme supplements and that makes a huge difference in their effect on the breakdown of food and the ability of the intestinal lining to absorb them.
Young Living produces several comprehensive enzyme supplements infused with the healing power of therapeutic grade essential oils to make them more bioavailable. They are Allerzyme, Detoxzyme, Essentialzyme and Essentialzyme 4.
As discussed, the cells require trace minerals and vitamins to make the metabolic enzymes necessary for proper cell function. A great way to assure you are getting the levels of minerals to maintain great health is to take a mineral supplement. Young Living markets a supplement called Mineral Essence which can be added to juice, soy milk or other liquid and consumed on a daily basis. Two or three droppers full each day should suffice for most. Read more about Mineral Essence here.