Living Enzymes: For Great Digestion
Tuesday, April 18th 2006
Good digestion relies on enzymes, natural substances necessary for transforming food into muscle and bone. The digestive process starts with enzymes in our saliva, and once food reaches the pancreas, protease enzymes digest proteins while lipases work on fats.
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
As we age and our metabolism slows, enzyme activity slows as well and the stomach may not secrete as much hydrochloric acid. Stress and mental strain can also inhibit the flow of enzymes.
It is extremely difficult 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.
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: A concentrated enzyme formula of Protease, Amylase, Lipase, Cellulase, Invertase, Lactase plus alfalfa leaf concentrate, beet root, Siberian eleuthero root and Gentian root.
These plant enzymes help restore some of the natural enzymes of whole food to the diet.
Reproduced unabridged from the April - June 2006 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 useful for digestion:
Aloe Vera Capsules
Digestive Enzyme Tablet
DigestAid (HCL with Pepsin)
Related health information can be found here:
Acid and alkaline forming foods
Alfamax, a rich source of Vitamins and Minerals
Ensure healthy gut function with probiotic supplementation
FOS to assist with candida, diarrhoea, constipation or other bowel problems
The Good Health Diet
Water, the elixir of life
Related articles can be found here:
Benefits of Friendly Bacteria
Do You React to Milk & Dairy Products?
Indigestion: Could Be Too Little Stomach Acid
Intestinal Relief From Peppermint Gels
Repair Gastrointestinal Damage With Colostrum
We Are What We Digest
Why Take Primadophilus?
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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