The Season is Coming

The Importance of Enzymes on Thanksgiving

By Dr. Blaine Chambers Ed.D.

Enzymes are small protein molecules secreted by the pancreas that catabolize (break down) or digest foods. Without enzyme action there would be limited or no digestion. A person cannot live without a pancreas very long. Also, enzymes have very specific individual actions. Protease from the pancreas is used to break down and assist in digesting protein. Amylase coming from the saliva and the pancreas is used to break down carbohydrates. Lipase is for fat breakdown. Etc.

Enzymes are also an inherent and important part of all raw produce. Enzymes are found in all living things. If you have ever seen an apple fall from a tree and you saw it on the ground spoiling over a period of time, it was the enzymes inherent in the apple breaking down the fiber and elements to make it look wrinkled at first and then getting mushy and ultimately spoiling and returning to the earth. Those same enzymes in an apple or for that matter any raw produce item will also digest or breakdown the item in the GI tract of the body. The importance of this breakdown by the “built-in” enzymes of produce is seen as we can better assimilate the nutrition from the item in the intestines.

Foods that have been cooked above 120 degrees are enzyme dead. Enzymes are killed with high heat and freezing as well. This does not mean there are no nutrient values in an enzyme dead item but the enzymes to digest that particular food are gone. The pancreas then must be used to digest the foods. So, all cooked, frozen, canned, boxed and packaged foods have no enzymes to digest them and the pancreas must digest those foods.

It is theorized that we “tax” the pancreas way too much with enzyme dead foods in the American diet and this could be the basis behind the increase of pancreatitis and pancreatic cancer in our country. One of the health issues prevalent in America today is indigestion. Including gas, bloatedness, acid indigestion, reflux (GERD), heartburn, etc. Most of these problems could be relieved with more live, raw, whole food in the diet (produce). After going several years with an enzyme dead diet, it could be difficult to reintroduce raw foods once again and this should be done slowly.

Besides raw produce being enzyme active, even raw meat has its own enzymes. We of course, don’t typically eat raw meat to get better flavor but also to protect ourselves from salmonella, e-coli, parasites, etc. So, the pancreas must be used to digest cooked meats.

Where do enzymes come from? All foods are created with just enough enzymes in them to digest that particular food. An apple will digest an apple, a peach will digest a peach, carrots will digest carrots, etc. All items that come from the tree, the vine, the stalk, the bush or from the ground have their own enzymes in them just enough to digest themselves without taxing the pancreas. There are various philosophies that advocate specific percentages of raw foods for proper digestion and physiological functions. There are some people that are 100% raw foodists so they only consume enzyme live food. Many practitioners support at least 50% of the diet daily being raw for the enzyme action in the foods and the types of fiber those raw foods provide.

As you can surmise, fast food is all enzyme-dead. There are enzyme supplements in capsules that provide a variety of enzymes to digest foods when eating cooked, frozen, canned, boxed, or packaged foods. Many people get relief from the indigestion problems they have by using supplemental enzymes in a capsule.

Many athletes seem to perform better with supplemental enzymes in the diet. Lactic acid seems to dissipate faster with enzyme action and therefore more workouts can be completed. It is even theorized that many cancers are fought off with enzymes. Only a few years ago, the human body was known to have 3-4 enzymes secreted and it was not certain what their functions were. Today, science has identified more than 3,000 enzymes in the body and their specific functions for digestion and other purposes.

As more research is completed in the enzyme area, they are found to play an extremely important role in more than just digestion. Until this research is completed, we may never know all of the functions of enzymes in foods, enzymes secreted from the pancreas or supplemental enzymes. Until then, it is highly recommended to get a substantial amount of raw foods in the diet when possible and also use enzymes with meals.

EnzyPerfect is a capsule of broad spectrum plant derived enzymes and minerals that will digest all foods. One capsule taken at the beginning of a meal will digest about one pound of food. If more than one pound of food is consumed, 2 capsules can be taken. This in essence assists to improve all digestive conditions and protects the pancreas from becoming depleted of its metabolic enzymes secretion.