In the science of nutrition, protein, carbohydrates, fats, fibers, vitamins, and minerals are the active ingredients used to maintain health. All that is required for their use is adequate DIGESTION.
Our organs, tissues, and cells are all run by metabolic enzymes. Minerals, vitamins and hormones need enzymes to be present in order to do their work properly. Enzymes are the labor force of the body.
Each of us, as with all living organisms, could be regarded as an orderly, integrated succesion of enzyme reactions.
What are enzymes?
A light bulb can only light up when you put an electric current through it. It is animated by electricity. The current is the life force of the bulb. Without electricity we would have no light, just a light bulb, a physical object without light. So, we can say that the light bulb actually has a dual nature: a physical structure, and a non-physical electrical force that expresses and manifests through the bulb. The same situation exists when trying to describe what an enzyme is within our body structure.
A protein molecule is actually only the carrier of enzyme activity.
A protein molecule is a carrier like the light bulb is the carrier for an electric current.
What do enzymes do in the body?
Enzymes are involved in every process of the body. Life could not exist without them. Enzymes digest all of our food and make it small enough to pass through the minute pores of the intestines into the blood. Enzymes in the blood take prepared, digested food and build it into muscles, nerves, blood and glands. They assist in storing sugar in the liver and muscles, and turn fat into fatty tissue. Enzymes aid in the formation of urea which is to be eliminated as urine and also in the elimination of carbon dioxide in the lungs. There is an enzyme that builds phosphorus into the bone and nerve tissue, and another to help attach iron to red blood cells. Male sperm carries enzymes that dissolve the tiny crevice in the female egg membrane, so it may gain entrance into it. An enzyme called streptokinase is used in medicine to dissolve blood clots. Enzymes in our immunity system attack waste materials and poisons in the blood and tissues. These few examples exemplify the importance of enzymes to our everyday body functions.
The number of enzymes in the body is overwhelming, and yet each one has a specific function. A protein digestive enzyme willl not digest a fat, a fat digestive enzyme will not digest a starch. This is frequently called enzyme specificity.
Enzymes act upon substance and change them into another substance, either chemical, or a type of by-product, but remain unchanged themselves. Any substance that an enzyme acts upon is called a substrate. The substrate is then changed from its original identity by the enzyme to another substance with a different identity.
How do enzymes get their names
We now know that the names of all enzymes end in „-ase,“ and in most cases, the name of the enzyme will also reveal its function; thus, protease is an enzyme that catalyzes (act upon) proteins.
There are 4 categories of food enzymes:
- Lipase – which serves to break down fat.
- Protease (proteolytic enzymes) – works to break down protein.
- Cellulase – assists in breaking down cellulose.
- Amylase – which breaks down starch.
As we become enzyme defficient, the faster we age.
Where do we get our enzymes?
There are three major classes of enzymes: metabolic enzymes (enzymes which work in blood, tissues, and organs), food enzymes from raw food, and digestive enzymes.
Enzymes are involved in every metabolic process. Our immunity system, blood-stream, liver, kidneys, spleen, pancreas, as well as our ability to see, think and breathe depend upon enzymes. The lack of them in any of these areas can prove to be detrimental in degrees of depletion. Realizing that the lack of enzymes can be a predisposing cause of disease substantiates their importance.
The important thing to keep in mind is that all cellular activity is initiated by enzymes. Enzymes break down toxic substances so that the body can eliminate them without damaging eliminative organs.
There are two ways to preserve and replenish our enzyme level: by eating raw food and by taking enzyme supplements.
The difference between live (raw) and dead food is enzymatic activity. If you had two seeds and boiled one, which one would grow when placed in soil? There is no question that the unboiled seed would sprout because it has its enzymes intact. All foods provided by nature have an abundance of enzymes when in their raw state.
One characteristic of enzymes is their inability to whithstand hot temperatures such as those used in cooking. Consequently, the enzymes are completely destroyed in all foods that are canned, pasteurized, baked, roasted, stewed or fried. At 118 degrees F (47.7 C) all enzymes are destroyed. Baking bread kills enzymes. Most butters have no enzymes because they are pasteurized. Canned juices may have vitamins and minerals, but the heating process has killed the enzymes. The roasted breakfast cereals that you feed your children, are devoid of enzymes.
Enzymes are more or less completely destroyed when heated in water in the temperature range between 48 degrees to 65 C. Long heating at 48 degrees C or short heating at 65 C, kills enzymes. Heating at 60 degrees to 80 for half an hour completely kills any enzymes.
Enzymes are always a part of animal and plant life. They are a component of living matter. Animals in the wild consume large amounts of enzymes as a result of their primary raw food diets. This aids in the digestive process, taking the stress off organs such as pancreas, liver, spleen which would otherwise have to produce large amounts of enzymes.
White blood cells have a greater variety of enzymes than does the pancreas.
Enzymes are found in every tissue of the body.
How food enzymes aid digestion
A human being is not maintained by his food intake, but rather, by what is digested.
Enzymes may be divided into two groups: exogenous (found in raw food), and endogenous enzymes (produced within our bodies). The more one gets of the exogenous enzymes, the less will have to be borrowed from other metabolic processes and supplied by the pancreas. The enzymes contained in raw food actually aid in the digestion of that same food when it is chewed.
All known enzymes have been classified into six fundamental groups based on the types of reactions they catalyze. These groups are hydrolases, lysases, oxidoreductases, transferases, isomerases, and ligases.
Hydrolases digest food. Hydrolytic enzyme reactions are ones in which chemical bonds are broken with the addition of water molecule.
Lysases catalyze the decomposition of a molecule into two fragments.
Oxidoreductases are involved with transfer of electrons from one molecule to another. No molecule can be oxidized without the simultaneous reduction of another one.
Transferases catalyze the transfer of a chemical group from one molecule to another.
Isomerases change the arrangement of molecules within a substrate. They convert a molecule into the mirror-image of the orgiginal.
Ligases (synthetases) catalyze the formation of a chemical bond between two molecules that enable energy-rich phosphate compounds to be broken down. An excellent example is the conversion of glucose into energy inside the cells of the body.
Researchers show that cooked food with the fiber broken down passes through the digestive system more slowly than raw foods.
It is important to realize that the enzymes in raw food actually digest 5 to 75 percent of the food itself without the help of the enzymes secreted by the body. This is called energy conservation since the body does not have to supply 100% of the enzymes to digest the food.
Dr. Matveev demonstrated that oxidase and catalase, which are enzymes supplied from carrot juice, were inactivated in the stomach because of the acidity, and then reactivated again in the alkalinity of the small intestines.
Since the enzymes in raw food actually help digest the food they are contained in, and can be absorbed into the blood and used in other metabolic processes, we can assume that taking enzymes or eating a large percentage of raw food, will help take the stress off not only the pancreas, but the entire body.
Enzymes and longevity
It has been shown that young adults have a high value of enzyme reserve in their tissues. In older persons, the potential enzymes tissue reserve is much lower and essentially depleted. When a young person eats cooked food, there is a greater outpouring of enzymes from the organs and body fluids than in adults. This is becaus years of eating a cooked food diet has depleted the adult, whereas the young adult‘s tissue reserve is still at maximum.
A further experiment in relation to saliva and its amylase content was performed at the Michael Reese Hospital in Chicago. In experiments were used young adults from the ages of 21 to 31 and another group ranging from age 69 to 100. It was shown that the younger group had 30 times more amylase in their saliva than the elderly group. This is why younger persons can tolerate a diet of white bread, starches, and predominately cooked food.
During chronic diseases, there is usually a low body reserve on enzymes. In Japanese patients who had tuberculosis, 82% of them had lower enzyme contents than normal individuals. As the disease worsened, the enzymes levels decreased.
It is undisputable fact that during chronic disease we find a lower enzyme content in blood, urine, feces and tissues. In acute diseases, and sometimes at the beginning of chronic diseases, the enzymes content is often found to be high. This shows that the body has a reserve, and the tissues are not yet depleted, consequently, there is larger outpouring of enzymes in the battle against disease. As the disease progresses, the body‘s enzyme content is lowered.
Any time the metabolism is falsely stimulated by coffee, a high protein diet, or other stimulants, the metabolism increases, enzymes are used up, a false energy output is experienced, and the individual feels a sense of well being.
Enzymes offer an important means of calculating the vital energy of an organism.
Enzymes and their relationship to disease
Enzymes are a part of every metabolic process in the body – from the working of our glands to the proper functioning of our immune system. The speed of the metabolism is determined by the activity of enzymes.
It is important to note that enzyme activity is increased as temperatures increase and is present in most acute disease conditions, fevers, and during exercise. In other words, enzymes perform more work during fevers of 40 degrees C than at normal body temperatures.
There is a connection between the strength of our immune system and our enzymes level. The greater the amount of enzymes reserves, the stronger our immune system, the healthier and stronger we will be.
Enzymes are produced by all the tissues and cells of the body. And, in fact, it has been shown that the enzymes found in the white blood cells act very much like the enzymes found in the pancreas, especially the proteolytic enzymes. Dr. Willstarter found it remarkable how closely the enzymes systems of white blood cells and the pancreatic gland agree with one another. Since the same enzymes are found in the white blood cells as are found in the pancreas, and since white blood cells transport these enzymes throughout the body, it seems that the pancreas and other enzymes-secreting glands receive a great portion of theses enzymes via the leukocytes. After eating a cooked food meal, when digestive enzymes desperately needed, the white blood cells count increases, seemingly to aid in the digestive process.
The body must supply a large amount of digestive enzymes that were once present in the food, were destroyed by the heating process. Dr. Koutchakoff, in his book demonstrating the relation of cooking and its effects on our systems, showed that there was an increase in white blood cells after eating a cooked food meal. This increase in leukocytes is needed to transport digestive enzymes to the digestive tract. He also showed that after a raw food meal, there was no substantial increase in leukocytes, showing that the body has to work much harder to produce and transport enzymes for digestion after a cooked food meal. It is important to remember that enzymes in raw food aid in the digestive process and this takes the stress off having to borrow them from the body‘s enzyme reserve, particularly from the white blood cell count (our immune system).
Leukocytosis is the name that medical pathology gives to an excessive augment of white blood corpuscles in the blood. Donders discovered the phenomenon in 1846 and Virchow classified “digestive leukocytosis” as normal since everyone seemed to suffer from it. This was upset by Dr. Paul Koutchakoff, M. D., who showed that the cooking of food was the cause of leukocytosis. Koutchakoff found that he could divide his findings on leukocytosis in four distinct groups according to reaction of the blood:
- Raw food produced no augment in white blood cells of the blood;
- Common cooked food caused leukocytosis;
- Pressure cooked food caused greater leukocytosis than non-pressure cooked food;
- Manufactured foods such as wine, vinegar, white sugar, ham, etc. are the most offensive.
Koutchakoff was no vegetarian yet his findings show that flesh would have to be eaten raw to avoid leukocytosis. But prepared meat (cooked, smoked, salted, etc.) brought on the most violent reaction equivalent to the leukocytosis count manifest in poisoning.
The leukocytes are rich in enzymes and are being transported to the stomach area to aid in the digestive process.
Endocrine system and enzymes
The endocrine system and the nervous system cooperate in regulating the appetite. The glands know when the body has had enough food and will shut off the food craving. Eating mostly raw food takes the stress off the endocrine system. Refined sugar and processed foods disrupt the endocrine balance because of their caloric content. If the glands know the organism has had enough calories, but the nutrients and enzymes that usually accompany food aren’t present because of being over cooked, the glands, not finding these nutrients, overstimulate the digestive organs, demanding more food than is needed to maintain strength and vitality. This results in over secretion of hormones, overeating, obesity, and finally exhaustion of the hormone-producing glands, not to mention the enzyme reserve it depletes trying carry on the increased metabolic activity.
Obesity and the circulatory diseases
In observing enzyme therapy in different countries, it has been found that by administering enzymes during certain diseases positive results have been obtained.
Why is there a deficiency of lipase in fatty tissues and in obese individuals? It is because when food is cooked, the lipase, which aids in fat digestion, and the burning of fat for energy and the storage and distribution of fat, is absent.
If there is an overabundance of cooked calories, they are stored in the body tissue as fat. This fat accumulates in the liver, kidneys, arteries, and capillaries.
A heat-treated, refined food diet causes drastic changes in the size and the appearance of the pituitary gland. This relationship between enzymes and our glands was shown when the surgical removal of the glands in animals led to changes in the enzyme levels of the blood. Enzymes affect hormone-producing glands and hormones influence enzyme levels.
The glandular secretions of the pancreas and pituitary become exhausted from over-stimulation resulting from a cooked food diet. The body becomes sluggish, thyroid function also becomes exhausted, and weight is gained. Raw calories are relatively non-stimulating to glands and stabilize body weight.
Dr. G. E. Burch showed that young over-fed animals develop more fat cells than underfed ones. Infants that over-fed can develop three times as many fat cells as is normal. When a normal person gains weight, he or she may get what is called pleasingly plump, but when a person who has been overfed as an infant and has accumulated much more fat cells and these cells are filled to an excess, obesity results. Both types of people can eat the same amount of food, but the one who has more fat cells and, consequently, more room to store fat, puts on weight much easier.
If one wants to reduce and keep his weight down, eating fewer meals per day will be beneficial. Frequent eating and snacking can decrease the enzyme level of the body and cause weight gain.
It is an important fact to remember that aging corresponds to diminishing enzyme levels.
Fats impair the function of blood cells in the immune system by slowing down their circulation. High levels of fat in the blood also block the action of insulin which aids in the tissue absorption of sugar. This allows to sugar to rise in the blood which can be an attributing factor to diabetes.
In 1926, Dr. William A. Thomas studied Eskimos who lived exclusively on raw meat and found no signs of kidney or vascular (blood vessel) diseases. In the adult Eskimos, aging from forty to sixty, the average blood pressure reading was 129/76. It should be remembered that these are primitive Eskimos. The more civilized Eskimos who settled in the Hudson Bay area, close to trading posts, used cooked food and white flour products. They gave up their primitive diet, and consequently their good health. You can now find arteriosclerosis and elevated blood pressure among these people. The only factor that was found to be different among the primitive and civilizes Eskimos, was their diet.
Raw food diet and pre-digestion
North Western University has shown that supplemental enzymes pass through the stomach uninjured.
If the food is over-cooked and the enzymes destroyed, the only enzymes that get mixed with the food are the ones contained in saliva. Some starch digestion may take place in the stomach from the saliva amylase. The protein is acted upon by the stomach pepsin, but mostly in the lower part of the stomach. In both instances, no help from outside enzymes is being demonstrated. The fat remains practically untouched only to wait until it moves into the small intestine for the pancreatic secretions of lipase. The food remains in the food-enzyme stomach for its allotted time and practically no pre-digestion takes place, except for the starch.
It has been estimated that 80% of diseases are caused by improperly digested foods and their by-products being absorbed into the body.
To purchase organic food and then to waste precious hours in destroying most of the nutrients is poor economy and unsound ecology. Francis Pottenger, M. D., carried out a 10-year experiment using 900 cats which were placed on controlled diets. The cats on raw food produced healthy kittens from generation to generation. Those on cooked food developed our modern ailments: heart, kidney and thyroid disease, pneumonia, paralysis, loss of teeth, difficulty in labor, diminished or perverted sexual interest, diarrhea, irritability. Liver impairment on cooked protein was progressive, the bile in the stool becoming so toxic that even weeds refused to grow in soil fertilized by the cat’s excrement. The first generation of kittens were sick and abnormal; the second generation were often born dead or diseased; by the third generation, the mother was sterile.
Zoologists know that captured animals fed a human diet develop human diseases such as gastritis, duodenitis, colitis, liver diseases, anemia, thyroid diseases, arthritis and circulatory problems.
Body, mind and enzymes
A lack of enzymes, oxygen and sugar supplies to the cells of our body can cause hypoglycemia. Hypoglycemia is a disorder resulting from too low blood sugar, which is the fuel for our cells.
Since hypoglycemia is a malfunction of our fuel supply, every organ is then affected. Here’s how: as the sugar level drops, the metabolism of every organ drops, resulting in fatigue and psychosomatic problems. The brain is nourished exclusively by glucose and oxygen. A drop in one’s blood sugar can cause mental fatigue and depression. The endocrine glands, especially the pituitary, adrenals, thyroid and pancreas, control the sugar level. The pancreas secretes the insulin which causes a decrease in blood sugar. Insulin facilitates the movement of glucose (blood sugar) to leave the blood and enter the cells. Insulin also stimulates liver and muscle cells to convert glucose into glycogen, which is a carbohydrate and the chief storage compound of sugar in the body. The adrenal glands secrete a hormone called epinephrine that when stimulated causes the stored sugar (glycogen) to break down into glucose which then enters the blood to raise the blood sugar. The thyroid gland secrets hormones that control the rate at which the body uses oxygen. All of these glands are controlled by the pituitary gland, which in turn, is controlled by an area of the brain called hypothalamus. The hypothalamus receives information from all the parts of the body via the nervous system. This includes (whether he is hungry or not) a person’s emotional state, body temperature, blood nutrient concentration, among other things.
It has been shown that the pituitary and other organs can enlarge, become exhausted, and then be susceptible to disease when a deficiency of enzymes is present. When there is a lack of blood amylase, blood sugar levels can be higher than normal. With the addition of blood amylase, blood sugar levels have been lowered.
Reports have shown that oral or intravenous injection of amylase causes a lowering of blood sugar levels in diabetics. After administering amylase to a majority of these patients, 50% of the diabetics who were users of insulin could control their blood sugar levels without the use of insulin. Amylase seems to help the storage and utilization of sugar in the blood.
Cooked food, where most of the amylase and other enzymes are destroyed, has a tremendous effect on the blood sugar levels.
The endocrine glands need trace minerals and vitamins to function properly.
These deficiencies cause many problems. The glands of the body are controlled by stimuli from the brain to secrete their hormones. When the blood sugar level drops below normal, the pancreas and adrenal glands are called upon to secrete their hormones. When there is a lack of nutrients in the blood which support the endocrine glands, the hypothalamus stimulate the appetite and causes a craving for food. The more that cooked food is eaten the more there will be hormone stimulation, resulting in overeating.
Finally, the endocrine glands, deficient in their secretions from trying to keep the body metabolism normal, become exhausted.
Enzymes have as much to do with our mental and physical health as any other considered element of nutrition.
Detoxification and enzymes
Two major changes take place in predigested foods:
- The enzyme content sometimes increases 10-fold and
- In the pre-digestion process the food is broken down into simpler components. Proteins are broken down into amino acids, starches into simpler sugars, and fats into fatty acids. This relieves the body of breaking down the more concentrated food elements and it also benefits from the increase in enzymes. This is conserving energy and enzymes for other metabolic functions. In other words, more energy and enzymes can be used in the healing process.
Pepsin is the enzyme that is secreted in the stomach that begins digestion of protein foods. It can only function in an acid digestive juices. When it enters the small intestine, its action is blocked by the neutrality of pancreatic alkaline secretions. At this point, trypsin, a pancreatic enzyme, is secreted in the small intestine which also digests protein. It more or less takes over where pepsin leaves off. So, the body digests protein in the stomach in an acid environment then continues in the small intestine in an alkaline environment.
The starch amylase is not the only enzyme that can function throughout the digestive tract. Plant protease and lipase can function at a 3 to 8.5 pH, so they can actively continue digestion in both the stomach and intestine.
Children and enzymes
Many diseases in their early stages of development have two major causes. The first is the ingestion of enzyme-deficient foods over period of time, coupled with eating foods that lack the vitamins and minerals needed daily. Manufacturing procedures, mineral-depleted soils, and cooked, enzymeless foods create this undernutrition. The second cause is carcinogens, cholesterol, x-rays, drugs, caffeine, and other life-impinging agents.
Complete breast-feeding of infants is of very great importance. Mother’s milk has all the nutrients needed for the growth of the child and a large amount of live enzymes which the baby thrives on. Milk formulas lack enzymes and other artificial formulas can be toxic to the child, causing infections, mucus conditions, fevers, diarrhea, colic and allergies. At the Infant Welfare Centre of Chicago, over a period of years, the health and development of 20,061 infants were closely monitored for the first nine months of the infant’s life. Of these, 48,5% were wholly breastfed, 43% partially breastfed, and 8,5% wholly artificially fed.
The mortality rate among artificially fed infants was fifty-six times greater than among the breast-fed. Four of the 9,749 breast-fed infants died of respiratory infections, compared to eighty-two of the 1,707 artificially-fed infants.
There are two major factors involved when considering children‘s health. The first, of course, is the mother‘s health. Dr. Bieler, M. D., states „that unless the mother is detoxified before conceiving, the baby comes into the world… full of toxins from the mother‘s blood and an intestine full of meconium (black bile). The baby is, in fact, so toxic that even with the best care it usually takes 3 years to eliminate his or her inherited birth poisons“. The second point to be considered here is that once a child has been brought into this world with a weak constitution, and a bloodstream laden with poison, he or she is then expected to exist on a diet of concentrated, enzymeless foods.
If the lack of enzymes can cause disease, then adding enzymes to the diet, either by supplementation or by eating proper food, would help to prevent disease. Adding enzymes to one‘s diet is the smart thing to do when we consider that enzymes are used up daily. Children that maintain high enzyme levels maintain high energy levels.
Anytime the temperature of the body is raised, enzymes are used up – both during healthy exercise as well as during fever. More calories are being burnt during exercise and this natural oxidation process is initiated by enzymes.
Over-feeding a child, especially with cooked, devitalized food, causes the digestive organs to secrete large amounts of enzymes daily, which over a period of time can exhaust the enzyme-producing organs and deplete the immunity of the whole body. This puts a strain on every tissue throughout the body.
The proper thing to do is to feed your child and yourself only when you are hungry.
Consider occasional, short fasts. During fasting the enzymes go to work cleaning up undigested materials in the blood and puryfying the whole body. Then resume a good healthy diet cutting out the junk food and increase the fresh fruit and vegetables.
An athlete‘s main concern should be the type of food he eats in order to maintain a healthy body and to replace the nutrients which are lost during exercise or competition.
When you exercise, most of these substances are used up rapidly by the body and need replacement.
A major concern of an athlete is that his or her system absorb and properly utilize the food ingested. Utilizing is the key word here because the food ingested usually lacks the proper enzymes.
Enzymes are present in the blood, muscles, tissue and organs and are involved in every metabolic function. Nothing can happen without enzymes.
The athlete usually eats mostly cooked food so it is like burning the candle at both ends. Enzymes are being used up rapidly and little is brought in to replenish the supply.
Drug curse or should we say a magic pill
The science of pharmacology depends on finding isolated chemical compounds (the active ingredient). In the science of nutrition, protein, carbohydrates, fats, fibers, vitamins, and minerals are the active ingredients used to maintain health. All that is required for their use is adequate digestion.
Supplement companies spend large amounts of money developing new technologies to move isolated chemical compounds (called food supplements) across the gut wall and into the blood without relying on the process of digestion.
It is a scientific certainty that the part does not have the same chemistry, effectiveness, or reactivity as the whole. Taking one or two chemical entities from a plant and discarding the remainder as having no therapeutic value denies the basic tenets of chemistry.
Any time that you take a chemical out of a food, and concentrate it into a very large dose and feed it to humans, you create deficiencies of the thing that you took out (synergystic elements that are in the food that the body needs to metabolize the active ingredient). When you put this into the body, there must be the other synergistic ingredients it was created within the food in order for the body to be able to utilize it. For example refined sugar use creates deficiencies of vitamin B and potassium, among other things. If these ingredients are not readily available in the body, the body must either tear down its own tissues to provide them, or the nutrient goes right through the body unused. Unfortunately, the body must treat it as a foreign substance and use precious energy to detoxify and otherwise process the excess. If the excess is in sufficient quantity and the body cannot prevent its accumulation, the substance will produce side effects.
The Food and Drug Administration and organized medicine often issues warning about herbs and how dangerous they can be for public consumption. We need some explanation here. Pharmacology is concerned only with the effect of active ingredient. Because these active ingredients are no longer combined with protein, carbohydrates, lipids, synergistic enzymes, and coenzymes in the food etc., they are by definition no longer food and are quite capable of producing side effects so often associated with prescription drug use.
Finding a chemical in a plant and testing a concentrated dose of that chemical, and then declaring that the plant is toxic without evaluating what the other chemical entities present in the plant may do to change, minimize, enhance, or even block altogether the action of the chemical, is not nutritional science.
Author Artūras Bartašius