Enzymes: The weakest Link in Your Digestive System
Thursday, June 3rd 2004
Fresh raw foods contain an abundance of vitamins and minerals. Nature also provides enzymes and other elements in raw foods which help the body best use these nutrients. If these enzymes and elements are destroyed, the body cannot utilize the food optimally and imbalances can occur. These minute, yet vital elements which can also act as catalysts for all body processes are known as enzymes. They are molecules of protein and do specific jobs in the body. Digestive and metabolic enzymes are the driving force behind virtually all biochemical processes in the body. While raw foods are rich in food enzymes, cooked foods have none. Without enzymes, life itself would not exist.
There are several types of food enzymes and each particular enzyme has a specific digestive activity.
Protease: (proteolytic enzymes)breaks down protein
Lipase: breaks down fats or lipids
Cellulase: breaks down cellulose (from fruits and vegetables)
Amylase: breaks down starch and other carbohydrates
Lactase: breaks down lactose in dairy products
Invertase: (sucrase) - breaks down sucrose
There are only two ways we can replenish these essential elements in our diet. We can eat raw food and we can take natural enzyme supplements. It is extremely difficult in today's world to eat enough raw foods to obtain a sufficient supply of enzymes (only the strictest vegetarians come close). Therefore, an enzyme supplement is a good solution.
As we age and our metabolism slows, enzyme activity slows as well. Stress and mental strain can also inhibit the flow of enzymes. Taking an enzyme supplement with food can relieve many of the problems associated with poor digestion.
Are plant-based enzymes different from animal-based enzymes?
Yes. They differ significantly. The plant-based enzymes are more tolerant to differences in pH, so they remain effective during most of the digestive process, not just one small area of the digestive tract. Pancreatin is the main ingredient of animal-based enzymes. It comes from secretions of an animal pancreas. This type of enzyme functions better in the small intestine where the pH or acid/alkaline environment is highly alkaline.
Contains: Alfalfa leaf concentrate, beet root, Siberian Eleuthero root, Gentian root. Plus a concentrated enzyme formula of Protease, Amylase, Lipase, Cellulase, Invertase, Lactase.
These plant enzymes help restore some of the natural enzymes of whole food to the diet.
Reproduced unabridged from the April - June 2004 issue of Health and Herbal News, with the kind permission of Health and Herbs International Ltd.
Footnote from Ideal Health:
The following products are all Plant Based Digestive enzymes:
Acid Soothe Capsules
Digest Gold + Probiotic
MucoStop "To Go"
Related health information can be found here:
Alfamax, a rich source of Vitamins and Minerals
Cat's Claw, ideal for immune defense and digestive disorders
Ensure healthy gut function with probiotic supplementation
The Good Health Diet
Related articles can be found here:
If you need help or advice, you are welcome to email our naturopathic team with your health question.
Disclaimer: The health information presented here has been written for the New Zealand health consumer. It is of a general nature and is only intended to provide a summary of the subjects covered. The information is not intended to be comprehensive or to provide medical advice to you. While all care has been taken to ensure the accuracy of the information, no responsibility or liability is accepted, and no person should act in reliance on any statement contained in the information provided. All health ailments should be treated by a qualified health professional.
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