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You?ve probably heard of enzymes. You may know they aid digestion. But that isn?t all they for your health and vitality. This article will tell you all kinds of helpful facts about the importance of enzymes. For instance, did you know enzymes control almost every function in your body?
- Digestion and absorption of nutrients.
- Production of energy.
- Repair of injuries, wounds, and DNA. This basic mechanism protects us from cancer, and if unhealthy, you may be at increased risk.
- Fighting infection by attacking bad microbes and dissolving their cell walls.
- Regulating your energy production, fat-accumulation and breakdown.
- Stopping the blood flow from an injury, after a paper-cut for example.
- Transmitting signals from our brain to the rest of our body.
- Thought processes and the ability to make logical conclusions.
- Emotions such as love or hatred.
- Having sex.
- Neutralizing poisons or toxic waste.
Enzymes help you keep up?till they let you down. Those enzymes are pretty busy, aren?t they? Pretty important, too. Without enzymes, your body would be like a car without oil?it would stop running. In face, when you have certain symptoms, your body may be telling you it needs an enzyme tune-up?
- Abdominal distention
- Tingly or numb hands or feet
- Irregular heartbeats
What is the real importance of enzymes? Whatever you ingest through your mouth will be digested by enzymes and absorbed into your body. That?s why it?s important to choose high quality foods, as well as minerals and supplements; these beneficial ingredients will be digested, absorbed and utilized by your body. The problem is our digestive systems, and the enzymes that rule them, don?t always work as we wish. As we age, our ability to digest declines significantly by the age of 75. But does it really matter? Yes!
Since our digestive prowess declines as we age, scientists have concluded that the effect known as ?aging? is in fact due to the loss of essential enzymes. The logic behind this is simple: with age we lose the ability to produce enzymes, which leads to an inability to absorb nutrients. Without these nutrients, our bodies can?t properly, produce enough energy, or fight infections and cancer.
The major types of enzymes:
- Metabolic enzymes, which are responsible for energy production, detoxification, etc. They are internal cells. Example: coenzyme Q10.
- Digestive enzymes help in digesting our food. They break down the foods we eat to make it easier for us to absorb and utilize. Without the proper digestive enzymes, you won?t be getting nutrients.
- Food enzymes, which assist our own digestive enzymes in breaking down foods. Because enzymes in foods are very delicate, they can?t tolerate the high temperatures associated with cooking. Therefore, these food enzymes are only found in raw foods.
Digestive enzymes are divided in 3 groups:
- Proteases ? breaks down proteins.
- Lipases -- digests fats.
- Carbohydratases -- digests sugars.
Some facts to digest Here?s how digestive enzymes work:
Step 1: Digestive enzymes start working in your mouth: saliva has an enzyme known as amylase, for sugar digestion. That?s why chewing candy causes a sweet taste in the mouth as it breaks down the sugar. Saliva also contains haptocorrin, a protein that?s necessary for Vitamin B12 absorption.
Step 2: From there, digestion proceeds to the stomach, where there?s the enzyme pepsin for proteins, as well as hydrochloric acid. This has some pivotal roles in digestion: it activates other enzymes, makes essential nutrients like iron and magnesium soluble and therefore available for absorption, and it denatures (breaks down) proteins and kills bad bacteria. Another important agent is called the intrinsic factor, which is responsible for vitamin B12 absorption.
Step 3: Digestion reaches its peak in the small intestine. The pancreas provides the small intestine with an abundance of multiple enzymes, which complete the digestive task.
Step 4: Digestion ends in the large intestine, which serves as a reservoir for feces before they are eliminated. Because digestion and absorption are the only natural ways to get nutrients, we cannot thrive if the system isn?t healthy.
What?s the good news here? I believe that digestive enzymes could be used not only to treat problems of the digestive system, but also diseases that are unrelated to the digestive system, like cancer.
How might enzymes fight cancer?
- They support our immune system, which already fights cancer.
- Enzymes break down the cancer cells? protective coverage, which helps them escape our immune system?s recognition; enzymes make cancer cells vulnerable to an attack by our immune system.
And the bad news? As we age, we lose the ability to produce enough enzymes to benefit us. But it isn?t just our bodies slowing down. One reason we don?t have enough enzymes is our western diet of processed and cooked foods. Another cause of decreased enzymes is pharmaceuticals like Nexium, Prevacid, Omeprasol, Pepcid, and so on, which shut down the natural path of enzyme activation and production.
Can this vicious cycle be broken -- at least partially? Sure. First, you need to be sure you?re getting enough hydrochloric acid in your stomach. Hydrochloric acid starts the main digestive process; without it, there won?t be any enzyme activation. But some people already have high acid secretion. Acid production should be checked before considering supplementation. The same can be applied to the production of digestive enzymes -- it should be checked and replenished if necessary, with prescription medications.
Medication isn?t the only way out People aren?t the only ones with enzymes; food has them too. But as I mentioned, the enzymes in food are very delicate, so the foods containing them should be consumed raw, provided it?s a food that?s safe to eat uncooked.
Foods rich in digestive enzymes:
- Papaya contains the enzyme papain, is known as a fruit filled with digestive enzymes. In South America, it has been used for thousands of years for cooking.
- Pineapple is rich in the natural digestive enzyme bromelain. It?s been used for many years as a meat tenderizer because of its digestive enzymatic properties. Other foods believed to be rich in enzymes:
- Cantaloupe Mango Avocado Bananas
Dr. Kalitenko?s tips on how to boost your digestion with enzymes, naturally
- Stick to raw food if your digestive system is healthy.
- Add enzyme-rich foods to your diet, such as papaya and pineapple.
- Try to avoid drugs that reduce your stomach acids like Nexium, Prevacid, etc. (Of course, if you have to take them, do so. Do not stop taking these drugs unless approved by your doctor.)
- Decrease your calorie intake to an optimal level, to minimize the amount of enzymes needed.