Understanding the nature of enzymes often requires an understanding of nature itself. Enzymes are microbial catalysts which “represent the life element”1. Enzymes are the organisms which break all things down in nature also known as oxidation. For example, an apple browning upon being cut is a representation of the enzymes breaking the apple sugars down into energy. Nature however, is never wasteful.
Foods only have what’s necessary
Fruits, vegetables and meats contain just the right amount of enzymes which are necessary to completely break themselves down. There are very few fruits or vegetables contain an “excess” of enzymes from which we can glean additional dietary benefits. Therefore, while we may feel clean and healthy and even lose weight when we eat raw foods, for some of us we STILL need additional enzymes to clean up the blood, aid our organs or break down negative growths. Picture in your mind, for a moment, someone who struggles with excess sugar in the blood. Eating lots of fruits and vegetables would serve this individual immensely; however, this individual will need to “supplement” additional enzymes to clean up the excess sugar. Thankfully, we live in an era when science and nature have found common ground and we are able to reap the benefits of supplemental enzymes.
Supplement as needed
Supplemental enzymes have long been the single greatest resource for health conditions and/or ailments. Humans are the only mammals on the planet who intentionally cook their food prior to consumption. If you eat cooked food, then you need to supplement your enzymes, it is that simple. When food reaches 118 degrees you kill of the enzymes. When eating a balanced meal of raw fruits & vegetables with cooked food the raw fruits and vegetables (in most cases) will break themselves down and a small portion of enzymes will help with the cooked food. Your body will inevitably rely on the pancreases to produce enzymes to finish the job of digestion. The pancreas however, only has a certain number of enzymes to provide and when it runs low you can develop arthritis, diabetes, high cholesterol pancreatitis etc .
Choosing the right enzyme supplement (A word of Caution)
Plant based enzymes are the healthiest and most effective enzyme sources available. If you are searching for an enzyme supplement you should not consider anything less than “plant based.” Plant based enzymes begin digesting food in the upper portion of the stomach just like your fresh fruits and vegetables. These same enzymes will continue to work effectively in the acidic lower stomach and then into your upper and lower intestines. Some companies will use pancreatic enzymes as a less expensive alternative and you should be aware. Pancreatic enzymes come from dead cows and pigs and are most effective in the lower stomach. Would you rather have enzymes from a plant or a less effective alternative from a dead animal?
Everyone needs to supplement their enzymes. Eating healthy is a solid foundation for a healthy lifestyle but even the healthiest of individuals need additional enzymes. Consuming enzymes on a regular basis via a supplement should be a part of your everyday diet. Also, understand the source of your supplement. It should be plant based and have a delivery system of probiotics to ensure their integrity and effectiveness. Healthy choices make healthy individuals.
Resoruces– Howell, E. (1985). Introduction to Enzyme Nutrition. In Enzyme Nutrition: The Food Enzyme Concept (p. 2). Avery Publishing Group.
Contributions by Christopher Ray MH