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ENZYMES

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By

Elaine Cutler

     In the seventies I became involved in healing with an emphasis on massage and polarity therapy. I went on to study homeopathy and nutrition with various doctors including Dr. Bernard Jensen at his ranch in Escondido, California. Refusing to believe that my problem and other digestive problems were all inherited, I was determined to find a solution. I studied every book about natural healing available at the time. I tried every vitamin, explored homeopathy, and experimented with diets including fasting. But nothing ever changed my digestive abnormalities. At times I despaired of ever finding the answer I was seeking.

     After years of studying nutrition on my own, I decided to get a degree in chiropractic. My twin brother had gone into conventional medicine, but I was drawn to a more natural approach. Unlike medical school, Chiropractic College offered a good course in diet and nutrition. I enrolled in 1972.

     During my first year there, probably because of the stress of the study, my symptoms worsened. Everything I ate aggravated my digestion and I became severely constipated and bloated. At the chiropractic clinic affiliated with the school, I had X rays, barium studies and various blood tests, and I proceeded to do colonics, fasting, and food rotation. I remember doing a grape fast for almost three months. When I fasted, my symptoms seemed to improve slightly but I would relapse after I began to eat regular foods. 1 tried different chiropractic treatments, homeopathy, and other new diets. Nothing seemed to help.

     After graduating from chiropractic school and practicing for a number of years, I decided to enroll in a three-year post-graduate chiropractic orthopedics-training program. This course changed my life, my health, and my professional practice forever. It was here that I was introduced to enzyme therapy by one of my instructors and the work of Dr. Howard Loomis, a chiropractor and biochemist.

     At my first seminar with Dr. Loomis I took exhaustive notes that I still read over from time to time. He began the seminar by saying, "The most profound thing we do every day is eat. " He went on to explain that the body's ability to maintain homeostasis, crucial for the life of every cell, is based on its ability to digest what it eats. A twenty-four hour urinalysis examines how well the body digests and metabolizes food by looking at what the body discards and keeps. The body strives to resist change and withstand disease by maintaining its internal environment relatively constant. It does this, Loomis said, by keeping the intracellular fluid within certain narrow limits of temperature, volume, pH, and concentrations of various solutes. Laboratory tests can detect deviations from normal homeostasis.

     "By definition," Loomis explained, "if blood chemistries are not normal, homeostasis has already been com- promised and the body is evidencing exhaustion or an inability to adapt to an excessively strong or persistent stimulus. In order to prevent disease, this process must be identified before deviations in blood chemistry are evidenced."

     Loomis told us that studies showed that significant digestion from salivary enzymes alone occur in the stomach before hydrochloric acid and pepsin begin their work. In fact, thirty-five to forty-five percent of starches can be digested before HCl is secreted. The problem is that we do not chew our food long enough to allow this to happen.

     Loomis said, "Since the resting pH of the stomach is between 5.0 and 6.0, many nutritional and physiological tests do not consider predigestion in man to be significant. The enzymes in plants will work in a pH environment of 3.0-9.0 and continue digesting until inactivated in the stomach when the pH reaches 3.0. Therefore plant enzymes play a significant role in predigesting food, offering a solution to many acute and chronic digestive disorders, and a means of delivering food past an incomplete digestive system."

     After his talk, Dr. Loomis performed an abdominal palpatory diagnostic evaluation and a twenty-four hour urinalysis on some of the doctors in the seminar, including me. The next day I helped him to analyze the urine so I could learn the lab work myself, and he helped me evaluate the test and compare it with the abdominal palpation exam. The purpose was to uncover enzyme and nutritional deficiencies and specific food intolerances. We discovered that I was carbohydrate intolerant, a poor assimilator of sugar, and that I was unable to digest foods containing sugars and other carbohydrates including grains and breads. We also saw that I had moderate bowel toxicity that showed I had some fermentation and putrefaction in the bowel and probably constipation. I was hypoadrenal and presented with a slight inflammation of the liver, and I was deficient in calcium, potassium, magnesium, and Vitamin C.

     Dr. Loomis recommended I take an enzyme consisting of disaccharidase, cellulase, maltase, sucrase, and lactase to help me digest sugars and carbohydrates. He also recommended I take an enzyme for calcium, minerals, and Vitamin C and a bowel cleanser to help with the bowel toxicity. Two weeks after beginning the enzymes, the bloating and constipation I had experienced my whole life disappeared and they have never returned. It was miraculous!

     After this total regeneration of my digestive system, I studied enzymes and enzyme therapy extensively with Dr. Loomis and began to utilize his work in my practice. I performed an abdominal palpation on each patient along with a twenty-four hour urinalysis. I then recommended enzymes and created diets for each individual based on their specific food intolerances. These diets can be found in Part VI of this book.

     After careful study, trial, and error, I developed a sugar-intolerant diet for myself. I have found that eighty percent of the people who come to see me are sugar intolerant. Aside from bloating and constipation, sugar intolerance can lead to diabetes, adrenal dysfunction, asthma, attention deficit, depression, fatigue, poor assimilation of foods, obesity or malnutrition, frequent sore throats, ear infections, and colds. Sugar intolerance can be responsible for Crohn's disease, an inability to tolerate lactose (milk sugar) and for celiac disease, an inability to tolerate gluten. Furthermore, it can also be responsible for chronic yeast infections and chronic food and environmental allergies. I suffered from many of these problems myself, and the sugar-intolerant diet I developed has changed my life.. This diet is low in carbohydrates, grains, fruits, and sweet vegetables and high in protein. I recommend this diet for all sugar-intolerant people.

     This regeneration occurred almost thirteen years ago and I continue to be grateful to Dr. Loomis' research and his enzyme formulas. Since I seem to have inherited this sugar intolerance, I will always need supplementation for the predigestion of sugars. Therefore, these enzymes are essential to my health and the health of many of my patients. Indeed, I believe enzymes have saved my life and made me a happier and healthier person. We will hear more and more about enzymes and their miracles in the twenty-first century. This book is only the beginning.

What Are Enzymes?

     Enzymes are complex proteins in the body that cause chemical changes in other substances in order to provide the labor force and energy necessary to keep us alive. They are energy catalysts that are essential to the successful occurrence of over 150,000 biochemical reactions in our bodies, particularly involving food digestion and the delivery of nutrients to the body. Enzymes help convert food into chemical substances that pass into cell membranes to perform all of our everyday life-sustaining functions. By supporting normal function, enzymes keep our immune system strong enough to fight off disease. Enzymes help to nourish and clean the body, making possible the human body's miraculous capacity for self-healing. They also make available the energy needed for a normal body to burn hundreds of grams of carbohydrate and fat every day. Without enzymes, life could not be sustained.

     Enzymes perform so many important functions in the body that they have been called the basis of all metabolic activity. Some of their responsibilities are as follows:

  1. Transform foods into muscles, nerves, bones, and glands.
  2. Help to store excess nutrients in muscles or the liver for future use.
  3. Help to rid carbon dioxide from the lungs.
  4. Metabolize iron for utilization by the blood.
  5. Aid in blood coagulation.
  6. Decompose hydrogen peroxide and liberate healthful oxygen.
  7. Attack toxic substances in the body so they can be eliminated, essential for patients with chronic health problems.
  8. Help convert dietary phosphorus to bone.
  9. Extract minerals from food for use.
  10. Convert protein, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, and nutrients for the body's use.

     In other words, enzymes deliver nutrients, breakdown and carry away toxic waste, digest food, purify the blood, deliver hormones, balance cholesterol and triglyceride levels, feed the brain, build protein into muscle, and feed and fortify the endocrine system. They also contribute to immune system activity. White blood cells are especially enzyme-rich in order to digest foreign invading substances.

     While one of the advantages of enzymes is that they can cause a chemical reaction without being destroyed or changed in the process, the number of enzymes we can produce is limited. Every person is born with an enzyme potential or number of enzymes he or she can produce in a lifetime. This number is determined by the DNA code. In addition, each enzyme can only perform a certain amount of work before it becomes exhausted and must be replaced by another. Along with digesting processed food, enzyme supply can be diminished by caffeinated and alcoholic beverages, colds and fevers, pregnancy, stress, strenuous exercise, injuries, and extreme weather conditions. If we do not eat an enzyme-rich diet, we deplete our enzyme potential without replenishing it. This is why supplementation and a good diet are essential. When all enzyme activity stops, the body stops functioning and the person dies. However, humans have the capacity to store external food enzymes to ensure the body's ability to metabolize the needed nutrients. This explains an abundance of new enzyme health products and the recommendations from experts that people supplement their diet with raw foods and manufactured food enzymes.

     Enzymes save peoples lives by restoring energy and homeostasis, reversing the aging process, turning a dysfunctional digestive system into a healthy one, and strengthening the immune system. In my fifteen years of working with enzyme therapy, I have witnessed enormous success with a variety of illnesses. The most noticeable and immediate change in each case has always been in the energy level. Patients no longer feel that "crash" after meals, especially after lunch, the most common time.

     Enzymes also have been utilized by many industries in various products and processes including laundry detergents, skin care, meat tenderizers, agricultural processes, and waste conversion.

What is the Function of Enzymes?

     When I began the study of enzymes many years ago, I encountered the phrase "acid-base balance. " I did not really understand it until I met Dr. Howard Loomis and learned about the urinalysis and its nutritional evaluation. One of the first evaluations done on urine is the pH level, the degree of a solution's acidity or alkalinity. An alkaline pH is 7.0 or above; an acid pH is below 6.5. To maintain homeostasis, the blood has to have a neutral pH of 7.5. The body keeps it from becoming too alkaline or too acid by buffering it with hydrogen or bicarbonate ions. In doing this, it can rob the digestive system of substances necessary to digest foods or perform other tasks efficiently.

     For example, alkaline urine indicates that the blood does not have adequate quantities of hydrogen and chlorine to aid digestion in the stomach in the form of hydrochloric acid. This condition is called hypochlorhydria, or HCl deficiency, and is characterized by difficulty digesting protein and severe bloating immediately after eating. The opposite is true when the urine is acid: the blood is not capable of supplying enough bicarbonate ions to the pancreatic secretion for proper digestion of starches and fats.

     Asthmatics usually have chronically acid urine that leads to flatulence and bloating two hours after a meal. A twenty-four-hour urinalysis determines how the body compensates to maintain homeostasis. The pH is calculated over the twenty-four hour period because if urine is checked over the course of a day, the pH varies with waking and after meals. The twenty-four hour catch indicates the overall pH for an entire day and gives more accurate information on the compensations the body is presenting. This incredible tool provides information on tendencies toward certain illnesses and imbalances including respiratory problems, diabetes, anxiety, chronic bowel problems, and poor thyroid and adrenal function.

     Stanley, a professional pilot, came to see me a few years ago suffering from chronic fatigue and chronic allergies that greatly affected his performance. He loved to fly but was afraid he would fail the physical and lose his job. I did a thorough evaluation and prescribed an enzyme for digestion and carbohydrate absorption. Within two weeks he had so much energy that his coworkers were amazed.

He passed his physical easily. In fact, his physician said his health was better than it had ever been. By predigesting foods, enzymes save the body's energy to perform other metabolic functions effectively.

     The pH is one aspect of the useful information the urinalysis provides. The urine pH also reflects a person's diet and basic dietary imbalances. For example, an alkaline pH is usually representative of a vegetarian who eats mostly vegetables and fruits and is perhaps deficient in grains, meats, eggs, and proteins. Alkaline urine can also represent more serious problems including insomnia and anxiety. On the other hand, acid urine usually reflects an excess of protein in the diet and possibly a deficiency of vegetables and fruit. Acid urine causes sluggishness and lethargy. Respiratory acidosis, emphysema, and asthma produce persistently acid urine by interfering with respiration and causing an accumulation of carbon dioxide in the body (pH below 6.0). Carbon dioxide becomes carbonic acid and the excess acid causes a loss of hydrogen in the urine. The body holds bicarbonate to buffer the acidity, and the loss of hydrogen limits HCl production for proper digestion. If it is possible to discover this aspect of the nutritional makeup early on, a person can be given enzymes that prevent late-onset asthma and other chronic respiratory problems. We treat people both to prevent and to heal existing respiratory problems.

     The best way to handle patients with respiratory spasms is to alkalinize them with enzymes. Over the years, we have seen many asthmatics and patients with chronic coughs helped with the use of enzymes that change the pH of the urine. Enzymes soothe an asthmatic's respiratory problems, help with insomnia, increase energy, and create long-lasting excellent digestion.

     Bob, age fifty-three, came to see me recently for chronic insomnia. He had been on medication for over nine years. Because of the severe side effects of the medication, he went to see an Asian physician and herbalist in New Mexico who helped him to get off drugs and detoxify his body. Unfortunately, his insomnia slowly re- turned, and with one to two hours of sleep a night, he became weaker and more depressed each day. Palpation showed poor protein and fat utilization and digestion as well as low levels of calcium. A urinalysis revealed a pH of 8.1, metabolic alkalinity, indicating a nervous individual, with possible insomnia. We put him on enzyme supplements to lower his pH, raise his calcium, and help digest protein and fats. Within two to three weeks he began to sleep five to six hours a night. Today he sleeps six to seven hours without interruption and is able to function with clarity and peace of mind.

Why Do We Need Enzymes?

     Enzymes enable our bodies to digest the food we eat. They break down the various foods we consume - proteins, fats, carbohydrates, and vitamins - into smaller compounds that the body can absorb. They are absolutely essential in maintaining optimal health.

     Enzymes are present naturally in raw foods but are destroyed in the cooking process. It is important to eat as much raw food as possible, to subject food to as little heating as possible, and to chew food well because enzyme production begins in the mouth. Because we often fail to follow these guidelines, we do not receive all the enzymes we need to do the job of digestion. Enzyme supplements provide the missing pieces.

     Maintaining the body's enzyme levels is critical today when so much of the food in a typical American diet is processed or cooked, as much as eighty-five percent ac- cording to recent studies. Enzymes are only found naturally in raw foods such as vegetables and fruits that contain the very enzymes needed to digest them. Food enzymes are extremely heat sensitive, especially at or above temperatures of 118 degrees Fahrenheit. When raw foods are processed or heated in any way (steamed, baked, boiled, stewed, fried, microwaved, and canned), they may lose one hundred percent of their enzyme activity and up to eighty-five percent of their vitamin and mineral content. Even the raw food we eat could be enzyme deficient if it was grown in nutrient-lacking soil. In addition, enzyme deterioration begins the moment the food is picked or killed. For all these reasons, supplementing with enzymes is crucial to achieve a more efficient digestive process and better utilization of our food's nutrients.

     When digestion is not properly completed, partially digested proteins putrefy, partially digested carbohydrates ferment, and partially digested fats turn rancid. These toxins remain in the body, harming the system. Fermented toxins in the digestive tract can be absorbed into the blood and deposited as waste in the joints and other soft-tissue areas.

     The results of enzyme deficiency include digestive disturbance, fatigue, headaches, constipation, gas, heartburn, bloating, colon problems, excess 'body fat, and problems as serious as cardiovascular or heart disease. Enzyme deficiencies have been linked to premature aging and degenerative diseases as well. Research has also shown that white blood cells are increased to compensate for an enzyme-deficient diet. Making use of the immune system to aid in digestion whenever enzymes are lacking compromises the body's ability to defend itself from disease.

     Digestion has first priority on the limited number of internal enzymes available; metabolic enzymes must be satisfied with whatever is left. When food enzymes are introduced from outside the body, the body does not need to manufacture as many digestive enzymes, allocating more of the enzyme potential toward the production of the metabolic enzymes needed for growth, maintenance, and repair. Studies have shown that diets deficient in enzymes cause a thirty percent reduction in animal life span and low enzyme levels are associated with old age and chronic diseases. Cancer research has discovered that certain enzymes are completely lacking in the blood and urine of cancer patients.

     When we eat food that is devoid of enzymes, the body must draw on its own internal supply of enzymes, both metabolic and digestive. Eventually we deplete our limited reserves, forcing the immune system to aid in digestion instead of rebuilding the body and fighting illness. The pancreas, salivary glands, stomach, and intestines all might contribute the enzymes needed for digestion, robbing the body of metabolic enzymes needed for muscles, nerves, blood, and other glands.

     Enzyme supplements help create more energy, pro- mote faster and easier digestion, and encourage superior nutrient absorption. It is the responsibility of our digestive system to release the nutrients that are trapped in our food by breaking the food down. But our digestive system works best when enzyme supplements assist in setting the nutrients free for the body to absorb and use. Receiving all the nutrients in the food we eat is critical, because these nutrients are needed to build and repair the body's tissue, produce energy, and maintain a strong immune system.

     In my practice I see many patients with chronic food intolerances. For example, people can inherit or develop intolerances to proteins, sugars, fibers, complex carbohydrates, or fats. These patients lack the enzymes they need to break down the food that causes them trouble. Through palpation examination and testing (described at the end of this chapter), I am able to ascertain which food a person cannot tolerate and which enzymes they should take as supplements to restore homeostasis. With the proper enzyme supplements, these patients regain the ability to digest their food properly and thoroughly. Human saliva contains the necessary factors needed to activate plant enzymes in the food we eat but because we fail to chew foods well, we are unable to digest foods. We need to chew each mouthful at least seventy times for complete predigestion!

Protein Intolerance

     People who do not digest proteins crave sugars. They tend to experience anxiety, osteoporosis, edema, eye or ear inflammation, endometriosis, or bone spurs. Many of these patients also have an allergy to calcium that further promotes Osteoporosis. When one is allergic to particular minerals or vitamins, he or she is usually low in those same minerals or vitamins.

     Carla, age fifty, came to see me with a family history of osteoporosis and arthritis. Two years ago she was screened for osteoporosis and the results suggested she might have already developed the disease. She was advised to eat dairy products and take 1,500 mg. of calcium daily. After two years she was tested again and the results were even worse. She also complained of bloating and indigestion. Worried, upset, and afraid, she came to me for a nutritional consultation. An abdominal diagnostic enzyme exam, twenty-four hour urinalysis, and complete allergy test were performed. The results showed that she was deficient in calcium and allergic to calcium and the dairy products she had been eating. After putting her on an enzyme for the digestion of sugars that would help ease the dairy allergy, I treated her with NAET for calcium and dairy and prescribed calcium supplements with her enzymes. In one year her test results were significantly better. I often wonder how many of the millions of women taking calcium supplements to prevent osteoporosis and arthritis are allergic to it.

Sugar Intolerance

     People who are sugar intolerant tend to crave protein an suffer from depression, malabsorption, bloating, acute food allergies, hyperactivity, Crohn's disease, asthma chronic ear infections; and constipation. They usually are very allergic to B vitamins as well.

Starch, Fiber, or Fat Intolerance

     People who are starch and fiber intolerant tend to crave fat and suffer from spastic colons, high blood fats, obesity, irritable bowel, ulcerative colitis, and occasionally constipation. People who are fat intolerant tend to crave sugar and suffer from eczema, liver and gallbladder disease, and toxicity. 

Types of Enzymes

There are three main categories of enzymes: metabolic, digestive, and food.

Metabolic Enzymes

     Metabolic enzymes are produced internally and are responsible for running the body at the level of the blood, tissues, and organs. They are required for the growth o new cells and the repair and maintenance of all the body's organs and tissues. Metabolic enzymes take protein, fat, and carbohydrates and transform them into the proper balance of working cells and tissues. Metabolic enzymes also remove worn-out material from the cell and keep them clean and healthy.

Digestive Enzymes

     Digestive enzymes also are produced internally and deal with the digestion of food and the absorption and delivery of nutrients throughout the body. The most commonly known digestive enzymes are secreted from the pancreas into the stomach and small intestine. Each enzyme is specific to a particular compound, which it can break down, or synthesize. The three most important enzymes for digestion are protease, amylase, and lipase. They digest protein, carbohydrate, and fat, respectively.

Food Enzymes

     Food enzymes, the only ones produced externally, are derived solely from raw fruits, raw vegetables, and supplements. They help the digestive enzymes break down food. Food enzymes must also have the presence of vitamins and minerals, called coenzymes, for proper functioning. Unlike raw enzymes, coenzymes are not completely destroyed by cooking. Because raw food enzymes be-come useless after heat processing, coenzymes in our diet are not utilized to their full potential.

     Enzymes perform best at a certain pH. For example, animal enzymes perform best at a pH of 6.5-9.0. On the other hand, plant enzymes have a broader pH range of 3.0-9.0. I prefer to use plant enzymes because they can survive transport through the acid pH of the stomach (pH 2.0) and can be used in the pancreas and small intestine to further digestion.

     Some of the reported benefits of consuming food enzymes are the elimination of:

     Some people have claimed that supplemental enzymes cannot survive the strong acids in the stomach. However, manufacturers reply that these enzymes might disintegrate when mixed with acid in a laboratory test tube but not in a living human body. The stomach normally allows salivary, food, and supplementary enzymes to digest food for up to an hour after eating. When they have finished their job of performing predigestion, food and supplementary enzymes that function at a low pH continue digestion of protein, carbohydrate, and fat for a longer time than salivary or pancreatic enzymes. As the stomach acid level increases, the acid enzyme pepsin continues the digestion of protein where the others left off. This information has been elicited after the stomach and upper intestinal contents have been pumped out and examined at various intervals following meals.

     Some of the products on the market have a natural enteric coating to protect the enzymes from stomach acids thereby allowing them to pass through the stomach into the small intestines for assimilation. Taking enzymes on an empty stomach minimizes the presence of damaging stomach acids. The following list contains the names of the main digestive enzymes that are used therapeutically to help restore the body's homeostasis and strengthen the immune system, along with a brief description of each enzyme's function:

Protease breaks down protein into amino acids; acts on pathogens such as bacteria, viruses, and cancer cells; works best in the high acidity of the stomach; also found in pancreatic and intestinal juices.

Amylase breaks down carbohydrates (starches) into simpler sugars such as dextrin and maltose; found in our saliva, pancreas, and intestines; secreted by the salivary glands and the pancreas.

Lipase along with bile from the gallbladder, breaks down fats into glycerol and fatty acids and the oil-soluble Vitamins A, D, E, and F; helpful in losing weight and for cardiovascular conditions.

Cellulase breaks down fiber and cellulose found in fruits, vegetables, grains, seeds, and plant material; increases the nutritional value of fruits and vegetables; foods high in cellulose must be chewed well to allow cellulase to do its work to prevent putrefaction, bloating, and gas.

Pectinase breaks down pectin-rich foods such as citrus fruits, apples, carrots, potatoes, beets, and tomatoes.

Lactase breaks down lactose, the complex sugar in milk products; ideal for lactose-intolerant individuals; production usually decreases with age; NAET treatment for lactose combined with lactase enzyme effectively takes care of lactose intolerance.

Cathepsin breaks down meat from animals

Antioxidant enzyme protects us from the negative effects of free radicals, highly reactive compounds that can damage almost any cell in the body.

Bromelain breaks down food protein into smaller peptones by hydrolysis; helps the body to fight cancer, improves circulation, and treats inflammation; after a musculoskeletal injury it can reduce inflammation as well as, or even better than, any anti-inflammatory drug; said to improve the effect of some antibiotics; assists in the absorption of nutrients from foods and supplements; reduces swelling after dental surgery and helps in dysmenorrhea; increases tissue permeability; prevents the narrowing of arteries that contributes to heart attacks.

Papain breaks down food protein into smaller peptones by hydrolysis; aids the body in digestion.

Glucoamylase breaks down maltose (the sugar in all grains that may cause cravings for breads and carbohydrates) into two glucose molecules, allowing greater absorption of this energy-giving sugar.

Invertase helps to assimilate and utilize sucrose, a sugar that contributes to digestive stress if not properly digested.

     Some herbs also aid digestion. Aloe vera provides relief from peptic ulcers and helps with constipation, and slippery elm is good for hiatal hernias and acid reflux. Both are common symptoms in asthmatics.

Therapeutic Use

     One of the most common complaints I hear from my patients is "I don't have enough energy." Before I discovered enzymes, I had no response. Now I know they can change the situation immediately. For the most part, low energy occurs because people are not digesting their food properly and they cannot benefit from the energy that food provides. Instead of deriving the needed enzymes directly from the food itself, the body has to borrow enzymes from metabolism. Energy is required to accomplish this. In fact, digesting food without an adequate amount of enzymes actually uses more energy than the food provides. Reversing this situation can free up the body's energy for other tasks because the stealing of enzymes from other parts of the body causes certain metabolic dysfunctions as the enzymes are distributed among other organs and tissues. Chronic degenerative diseases, as well as energy depletion, can be the result of metabolic dysfunction.

     The regular consumption of enzyme supplements brings numerous positive benefits in terms of ongoing general health, including:

The prevention of toxic waste buildup in the intestines

More efficient assimilation of fats and proteins in the body

More comfortable and efficient absorption of nutrients

More comfortable digestion of large amounts of carbohydrates

Accelerated digestive process because of catalyzation from enzymes

     According to Dr. Edward Howell who researched the effect of enzymes for more than fifty years, it is very likely that every degenerative disease could have its origin in a raw food enzyme deficiency. In response to this research, enzyme advocate William E. Frazier, M.H.P, N .C. remarked, "Not to realize that most, if not all, degenerative diseases are traceable to a common denominator, and that common denominator being the food that we eat for nourishment, is an insult to human intelligence." In my fifteen years of practice with enzyme therapy, I have seen many different illnesses helped by the addition of enzymes.

Digestive Aids

     After a large meal, one might notice a sudden feeling of sluggishness and energy loss. The body is faced with an overload of calories and nutrients to break down and deliver to the bloodstream. If the food eaten was cooked, there are no enzymes included to assist in the energy-consuming task of digestion. If an enzyme supplement is taken at the beginning of a meal, the body is armed and prepared to handle the new food entering the digestive system. Without this additional supply of enzymes, it can take the body up to sixty minutes to gather the needed enzymes, sometimes borrowing them from other metabolic processes. When supplemental food enzymes are used, time and energy is conserved, allowing for more complete absorption of nutrients from the food consumed. When enzymes are taken between meals, they are absorbed into the bloodstream and distributed throughout the body instead of being used for digestion.

Enzymes and the Immune System

Enzymes play a vital role in building and strengthening a healthy immune system, one of my major goals when working with patients. A strong immune system enables a body to be less vulnerable to viruses, bacteria, parasites, and other toxic invaders. It also helps the body stay healthy during times of stress or when a complete and balanced diet is not followed.

Circulating Immune Complexes (CICs)

     According to the theories of Dr. Anthony Cichoke, a well-known enzyme therapist, when digestion is poor and substantial amounts of food remain undigested, these undigested food residues seep into the bloodstream. There they are viewed as antigens and quickly become attached to tiny antibodies and form antigen-antibody complexes known as circulating immune complexes (CICs). These tiny immune complexes float freely in the blood or the lymph until they are eaten by the large macrophages, the "Pac Men" of the body. If these CICs are overlooked by the macrophages, or if chemotherapeutic drugs, steroids, or excessive antibiotics suppress the macrophages, the CICs grow in size and latch themselves onto body tissue. Then the backup immune defense sys- tem, T and B cells produced by the bone marrow, start destroying their own tissue cells in an attempt to destroy the CICs. Unfortunately, the body's noble effort backfires and an autoimmune response occurs, creating inflammation, redness, and swelling. Glomerulonephritis, colitis, arthritis, fibromyalgia, migraines, and asthma are examples of autoimmune activity at work. Certain enzymes, especially protease, can break up the CICs. When I put an asthmatic on protease, the immune system is enhanced and there is an immediate decrease in chronic bacterial and viral infections as well as chronic mucus.

Inflammation

     Characterized by heat, redness, swelling, and pain, inflammation has a variety of possible causes from a minor cut or sunburn to a major infection such as appendicitis. All inflammatory conditions respond well to enzyme therapy. Inflammation is a sign that many bodily processes are occurring in sequence. The first is the body's fight against the infection, the second is the reparation of the destructive tissue, and the third phase of the inflammation process is the clearing and cleaning up of debris and dead tissue.

     Whenever there is an injury, there is an invasion of white blood cells to repair and clean up the area. These white blood cells circulate in the blood and lymph all the time. During the dynamic process of inflammation and repair, blood flows to the area, causes blood clots, and obstructs blood flow that, in turn, causes swelling and oozing. A barrier of fibrin is formed to encircle the area of inflammation.

     Supplemental enzymes such as proteolytic enzymes and amylase can help bring more oxygen to the area and reduce swelling by breaking up the fibrous tissue and eating up the dead and infected tissue. This speeds healing and reduces pain. Enzymes remove foreign bodies such as bacteria, viruses, and other microorganisms and help to clean up the area so new nerve tissue and new cells can be formed.

     Both acute and chronic inflammation is helped with the use of enzymes. Taking high amounts of amylase with bromelain reduces inflammation. Many acute inflammatory processes such as colitis can become chronic when there are repeated cycles of damage and repair. Enzymes, by restoring digestion, cleansing the area, and preventing the formation of circulating immune complexes and autoaggressive reactions, can be beneficial to sufferers of colitis, Crohn's disease, and irritable bowel syndrome. In conventional medicine, cortisone therapy is often used to treat chronic inflammatory problems such as Crohn's. Cortisone helps stop inflammation but in the long run, makes the situation worse because it blocks the body's natural immune function. Bacteria, parasites, fungi, or other pathogens cause irritation and continue to destroy and invade the body, but the immune system is paralyzed by the cortisone and unable to fight. Even though the inflammation is curtailed, the pathogenic process still prevails and can worsen, causing more irritation and other autoimmune problems. Unlike cortisone, enzymes do not inhibit the immune system. Instead, they promote the healing process by attacking the pathogens and ultimately reducing swelling and inflammation. Enzyme preparations can be used to treat a wide variety of chronic inflammatory conditions including candidiasis, bronchitis, asthma, bacterial infections, kidney infections, ear infections, sinusitis, herpes zoster, and herpes simplex 1 and 2.

Asthma  

     Antioxidant supplements and enzyme therapy have been used to strengthen the immune system of asthmatics. Dr. Howard Loomis and I have both observed that asthmatic children are sugar intolerant, not surprising given that the annual sugar consumption in the United States is now 150 pounds per capita. In fact, recent studies indicate that eighty percent of the population is sugar intolerant. Sugar intolerance involves all sugars including sugars found in fruits, vegetables, and grains and artificial sugars such as sorbitol, Equal™, NutraSweet™, and mannitol. Asthma is frequently characterized by a B vitamin deficiency, caused by an overabundance of sugar and an allergy to B vitamins.

     Linda and Neil, eight-year-old twins with asthma, came to see me a few years ago. A thorough enzyme evaluation indicated they were sugar intolerant. I took them off all refined sugar, limited their intake of grains and fruits, and prescribed large amounts of amylase and protease. Their asthma almost disappeared entirely, and their wheezing and coughing stopped completely.

     Overconsumption and underdigestion of protein adds to the excess acidity caused by respiratory distress in asthmatics. Hypothyroid, hypoadrenal, and chronic intestinal toxemia also contributes to asthma. Most asthmatics benefit from an enzyme that contains the four food enzymes plus three disaccharidases - sucrase, lactase, and maltase - and a respiratory formula containing enzymes and herbs that nourish the lungs, help expectorate mucus, and relieve coughing and wheezing.

Arthritis

     Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint disease characterized by pain, heat, and swelling. Rheumatoid arthritis is a systemic disease of unknown origin with similar symptoms.

     Rheumatoid arthritis is thought to be related to the invasion of the joints by circulating immune complexes and the autoimmune reactions that occur as a result. By interrupting the immune complexes and causing their elimination from the body, enzymes-particularly protease, bromelain, and lipase-can be extremely beneficial in reducing symptoms and restoring a balanced life.

     Enzyme therapy, in conjunction with NAET treatments for allergies, can also benefit those with osteoarthritis. In particular, I focus on allergies to foods that have an acid by-product such as meats, nightshade family vegetables, certain fruits, and sugars. I also treat bacteria as an allergy in working with arthritis and other joint problems. Enzymes that digest proteins and sugars can also be helpful, as can lipase (for fats) and protease. Lipase also helps soothe the inflammation.

     Jan, a woman in her fifties, came to see me with chronic severe hip pain and stiffness. She had tried everything from anti-inflammatory drugs to homeopathy and acupuncture with no relief. Reluctant to depend on drugs, she decided to see me for nutritional and enzyme evaluation. My examination revealed that she was sugar intolerant, hypothyroid, deficient in the essential minerals potassium, phosphorus, calcium, and magnesium, deficient in Vitamin C, and very acidic (low pH). I immediately gave her a sugar-digesting enzyme and created a diet low in sugar and acid forming foods. I treated her with NAET for calcium, Vitamin C, and acid from the acid-producing foods. Within days of rigorously adhering to the diet and taking the enzymes, she was free of stiffness and pain and looked ten years younger. Needless to say, she was elated.

     After one year, she is doing quite well. Because her hip joint had already degenerated, she might have to have it replaced. But in the meantime, she can continue to work and enjoy participating in her children's activities without distraction.

Hypoglycemia

     Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) has a number of causes and eating protein is not always the answer. In fact, the most common cause of hypoglycemia is a problem with protein consumption. Fifty percent of the protein we consume is converted to sugars in the body to provide nourishment and energy. When intolerant of or allergic to protein, the body cannot utilize the amino acids needed to make sugar, and we become hypoglycemic. We must digest and tolerate protein in order to make use of the amino acids. Although elimination of the allergy or intolerance to protein is crucial, enzymes, particularly protease, can also be helpful.

     Sugar intolerance or allergy is also important in understanding hypoglycemia. If one cannot digest and absorb the sugars, then hyperglycemia (high blood sugar) and hypoglycemia can develop. When blood sugar levels are too high as a result of overconsumption and poor digestion of sugar, the pancreas secretes too much insulin that brings blood sugar levels crashing. Ultimately, this can exhaust the pancreas and cause diabetes.

   Cathy, a twenty-six-year-old aerobics instructor, came to see me for severe hypoglycemia. She had moments of low energy during the day that created difficulties conducting her classes. She turned out to be both protein intolerant and protein deficient. I put her on an enzyme high in protease and treated her for her allergies to sugar and amino acids. Her hypoglycemia disappeared, her day-to-day energy level was restored, and those dark circles under her eyes vanished.

Environmental Toxins

     Toxins in our environment, chemotherapy treatment, radiation, and unhealthy lifestyles contribute to the break- down of the immune system. Enzymes interrupt the damage and inflammation to the immune system that go along with these stresses.

Prevention Of Aging

     By observing my patients, I have come to believe that enzymes help retard the aging process by breaking up the circulating immune complexes and restoring energy and vitality. People feel more vibrant and have more clarity after working with enzymes. I can see changes almost immediately when my patients begin enzyme therapy. A healthy diet not properly assimilated cannot benefit the body and keep it vital.

Woman’s Health

     Enzymes playa role in many health issues affecting women such as PMS, unpleasant symptoms of menopause, vaginal infections, fibrocystic breasts, endometriosis, menstrual irregularities, and infertility.

The Endocrine System

     Enzymes play an important role in maintaining normal, healthy adrenal and thyroid glands by reducing autoimmune reactions and conserving the metabolic enzymes needed for glandular function.

Other Systems

     Enzymes help maintain a proper electrolyte balance by regulating the retention of water. Enzymes are excellent for reducing swollen lymph nodes and the fatigue related to lymphatic congestion. Enzymes also prevent the formation of kidney and gallstones by breaking up the oxalic acid that is the most common cause. In this case, NAET can be used as a complimentary therapy to help desensitize a person to oxalic acid and calcium. When a person is allergic to these nutrients, their absorption ability is reduced and there is a crystallization of calcium and oxalates and a formation of stones.

Intestinal Toxemia

     Intestinal toxemia causes many symptoms; among which are fatigue, allergies, asthma, arthritis, nervousness, gastrointestinal conditions, impaired nutrition, skin disturbances, low back pain, sciatica, and many more. By restoring proper digestion, enzymes prevent intestinal toxemia and help restore normal intestinal flora.

     A diet high in protein causes a predominance of proteolytic putrefactive bacteria in the intestine that produce toxic compounds, some of which are absorbed. If these compounds are incompletely detoxified by the liver, they enter the systemic circulation and cause or aggravate many diseases. The products of the putrefactive flora include indole and skatole from tryptophan, phenol from tyrosine, and hydrogen sulfide from the products of protein breakdown. A widely used measure of intestinal putrefaction is the amount of indican (a form of indole) in the urine. Skatole formed from bacterial action on tryptophan causes bad breath.

     Histamine, another toxic decomposition by-product of tryptophan, causes headaches, head congestion, nervous depression, and nausea. Tyramine, a toxin decomposed from tyrosine, can cause high blood pressure.

     When I was a young student of nutrition, I studied with Dr. Bernard Jensen. His lectures always included a discussion of intestinal toxemia (bowel toxicity), which he believed was the cause of many chronic health problems. Because the intestines were the hub of the body, he taught, a toxic colon could leak toxins into the bloodstream and cause anything from arthritis to early aging and cancer.

     A seventy-year-old friend of mine named John came to see me about five years ago with frequent urination, pain, and burning associated with urination. A complete twenty-four hour urinalysis and abdominal diagnostic exam revealed that his pH was 4.5 and his indican level was 14, the highest I had ever seen. The indican measure usually represents a value that has been there for many years. His bowel toxicity had been poisoning his system for a long time and I suspected he had bladder cancer. Because he had other serious problems beyond my level of expertise, I referred him to another practitioner. He died a year later of bladder cancer. I always wonder had we done the test earlier and corrected his condition with enzymes, would things have turned out differently? Bowel toxicity is usually an inherited condition but it can certainly be' reversed with enzymes and dietary changes.

     A twenty-four hour urine test is a useful nutritional assessment of chronic enzyme deficiencies and digestive intolerances. It is effective in evaluating intestinal toxemia and excess protein, sugar, or fat in the urine that reflects poor digestion. It analyzes assimilation, calcium and vitamin deficiencies, as well as kidney, adrenal, and thyroid activity. With all these clues to a person's nutritional makeup, we can detect a predisposition to diabetes, heart disease, and osteoporosis. The supplementation of enzymes to a proper level can help prevent these chronic problems in the future.

Parasites

     Enzymes help the body rid itself of parasites. With the addition of magnesium and other herbs, parasites can be eliminated as well as prevented.

Herpes and Other Viruses

     I have used protease in treating children's illnesses such as runny nose, sore throat, and flu-like symptoms. Early detection and treatment with enzymes eliminates troublesome viruses, including herpes, and prevents recurrence. Because enzymes prevent infections, my family and I take protease every day.

     Whenever a child or an adult asthmatic reports any symptoms of infection, I immediately give them high doses of protease every half hour until their symptoms subside. I also recommend NAET treatment with their saliva every two to five hours (refer to the Self-Treatment section of Chapter 5). This usually eliminates the symptoms and prevents further complications or the progression of the infection.

Skin and Joint Problems

     Enzyme therapy controls and treats psoriasis, eczema, joint swelling and back problems. As a chiropractor, I have seen how enzyme therapy  (protease, bromelain, lipase speeds up recovery when used to treat sprains, strains, misalignments, swelling, and inflammation.

     Margo, a woman in her twenties, came to see me for severe psoriasis, a condition she had been plagued with her whole life. After a thorough enzyme evaluation, I found that her pH was very acid (indicating an inability to digest fats and oils), chronic Candida, and another fungus. I recommended an enzyme for digesting fats (high lipase), a liver enzyme, and an acidophilus enzyme with cellulase for Candida, fungi, and intestinal toxemia. After eight months her psoriasis had almost completely disappeared. She has been on enzymes for years now and her condition is hardly noticeable. She would never be without her enzymes. They changed her life.

Chronic Diseases

     Autoimmune diseases such as Crohn's disease, colitis, lung disorders, and systemic Candida infections all react to enzyme therapy. Enzymes restore digestion and free up a compromised immune system. Then those living defender cells can do their job fighting organisms and maintaining a clean inner environment, one that is not involved with diseases such as heart disease, malignancies, skin problems, low and high blood sugar, stomach and colon pains, eye trouble, and headaches. Enzymes destroy toxins and free radicals and antigens in the liver and bloodstream.

     Research has found that the impaired ability of an enzyme to protect against free radicals may lead to damage to motor neurons in the brain and spinal cord. This research sheds some light on nervous systems disorders such as Parkinson's disease and ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease). Researchers now report early promise in treating a devastating childhood immune deficiency disease with injections of a manufactured form of the missing enzyme that causes the disease. In addition, recent research in Germany has found that MS can be held in check and in some cases improved through the use of enzyme therapy. Children previously treated unsuccessfully for acute lymphoblastic leukemia have achieved complete or partial remission with a newly developed enzyme: one hundred percent of the young patients responded favorably to treatment.

Allergies

     Many allergies today are actually related to a lack of certain enzymes needed to digest the substance that causes the allergic reaction. Joint pain and gout often result from undigested proteins, fats, and minerals that form uric crystals that get caught in the joints. Yeast and fungal growth starts with undigested foods in the bloodstream and can be compounded by the white flour and sugar we eat. Extreme fatigue might be a consequence of an inability to digest proteins and fats that cause poor circulation. When blood cells clump together, they cannot carry as much oxygen, which leads to slow and muddled thinking. It is also more difficult for white blood cells to travel where they are needed.

     Proteolytic and lipolytic enzymes found in some supplements help break down unwanted toxins and irritants partially responsible for allergies and inflammation. The enzymes break the toxic substances into smaller, more manageable components that are then eliminated from the body.

Higher Energy

     About half of the body's energy is spent digesting food. Studies find a definite correlation between the amount of enzymes a person has and their energy level. For example, athletes who take enzyme supplements have been able to work out more often with greater intensity and require less recovery time.

Obesity

     There is a connection between eating a diet full of cooked, enzyme-deficient food and problems with excessive weight. Raw foods rich in enzymes aid the body in reaching and maintaining its normal weight and firmness. I have had wonderful results with enzyme therapy. Correcting digestive intolerances with enzymes and adjusting the diet based on the specific food intolerances help with either weight reduction or weight gain, whichever is desired.

     Doctors throughout the United States have been researching the effects of plant enzymes on various clinical conditions including poor digestion, malabsorption, pancreatic insufficiency, celiac disease, lactose intolerance, arterial obstruction, and thrombotic disease. Results have shown that enzymes are effective for treating a wide range of conditions.

The Value Of Enzymes And Antioxidants

     According to Hippocrates, "Man is not nourished by what he swallows, but by what he digests and uses. " With the increasing pollution and depletion of healthy soil, the foods we eat today have only a fraction of the nutrition our ancestors consumed in centuries past. At the same time, we now have an advanced technology that allows us to replenish the nutrients we lose through food processing by producing enzyme supplements to be taken with every meal. Once known only to alternative health professionals, enzyme therapy has achieved such amazing results (measured by patient evaluations as well as by microscopic blood analysis) that the treatment has recently excited even the medical mainstream.

Superoxide Dismutase (SOD)

     Superoxide dismutase (SOD), a copper/zinc-containing enzyme found in all body cells, is a primary defender against free radicals. SOD eliminates destructive superoxide molecules, a common free radical produced in the body, and soaks up free radical oxygen molecules in the bloodstream. Reactive oxygen molecules, or oxygen radicals' can destroy healthy tissue. Normally, the body makes enough SOD to hold oxygen radicals in check. But when the immune system destroys bacteria or other infectants and invaders, the surge in the number of white blood cells or antibodies triggers a rapid proliferation of oxygen radicals. In many autoimmune diseases, the white blood cells or immune reactors identify certain tissues as foreign and attack them. SOD scavenges the free radicals and interrupts the progress of this autoimmune reaction.

     SOD also inhibits fats in the cells from becoming rancid which helps prevent premature aging. It also helps wounds to heal and alleviates symptoms related to radiation sickness. People deficient in this enzyme should use a supplement. The food sources of SOD are green vegetables, yeast, sprouted seeds, and grains.

Coenzyme Q10

     Coenzyme Q1O is important for the production of energy by all cells in the body because they help activate enzymes. For example, copper, iron, and other minerals and vitamins, including the B complex, are coenzymes. We need to absorb those important vitamins from our foods so that our enzymes and coenzymes can function optimally. Coenzyme Q1O, which occurs naturally in the body, has been found useful for heart problems, high blood pressure, diabetes, cancer, obesity, tumors, and Candida. Athletes take CoQ1O for increased endurance.

     Streptokinase is an enzyme that, according to recent research, helps establish blood flow to the heart. Administered as an injectant into the patient’s coronary artery, this enzyme acts to dissolve clots and has contributed to an encouraging survival rate among heart attack victims.

     Enzymes help the body to build new muscle tissue, nerve cells, skin, and glandular tissue. For example, one enzyme assists in converting dietary phosphorous into bone. Other enzymes aid in digestion, regulate respiration, facilitate better elimination, and stimulate the immune system. There is another enzyme used for burn patients that helps reduce scarring and blood loss. The enzyme acts on dead tissue to expose tissue better able to accept skin grafts.

Abdominal Palpation and Twenty-Four Hour Urinalysis

     The abdominal palpation examination that I learned from Dr. Howard Loomis is based on the recognition of superficial pain or tenderness found in the muscular abdominal wall. When palpated or stretched, these muscles elicit a reflex contraction in the body. This contraction is measured through applied kinesiology or postural deviation, indicated in pelvic leg measurement and leg length discrepancy. These are all reflexes used by chiropractors and health practitioners in many fields to determine and correct areas of imbalance.

     Each area of the abdomen, when stretched or palpated, relates to a specific organ or tissue function by means of sensory nerve affiliation. When the palpated area elicits a reflex, a possible inflammation, deficiency, or imbalance is evident. These areas and a brief description of symptoms are discussed below:

Abdominal Palpation Reference Chart

Positive Reflex in:                                                                   Problem:

Epigastrium                                                                             Excess acidity or alkaline deficiency

Upper Right Quadrant                                                             Fat Intolerant

                        Upper Left Quadrant                                                               Sugar Intolerant

                        Lower Right Quadrant                                                            Protein Intolerant

                        Lower Left Quadrant                                                               Fiber Intolerant

    I use this palpation examination with patients to help me decide on the appropriate enzyme to aid them in the digestion of their food. As discussed earlier in this chapter, good digestion is the key to health. If digestion is poor, undigested food residues are deposited in the blood and lymph, creating an immune reaction that leads to the creation of CICs. These immune complexes inhibit the immune system from working adequately and they inhabit tissue and organs of the body that cause autoimmune reactions including inflammation, swelling, pain, and increased activity of pathogenic organisms in the body. Health declines, the liver overworks, and stress is internal as well as external.

     Every one of our patients is put on a digestive enzyme formula to predigest food. I determine the appropriate formula by using the abdominal diagnostic enzyme evaluation. For example, many asthmatics elicit a reflex related to the upper left and lower left quadrants meaning they are unable to digest sugars and fibers. The improper digestion of sugars and starches causes much of the mucus created in an asthmatic. Probably the asthmatic's diet, like the diets of most people, is made up largely of sugars including dairy products (lactose), fruit (fructose), pasta (maltose), breads, crackers, rice (rice sugar), and other grains. With this information, I put the asthmatic on an enzyme that helps digest and utilize sugars and starches and that includes cellulase, sucrase, lactase, disaccharidase, amylase, protease, and lipase. I also put the person on a diet low in sugars and starches since he or she is intolerant to these foods (refer to Part VI for specific diets).

     In combination with the abdominal palpation examination, I employ a twenty-four hour urinalysis laboratory exam developed by Dr. Howard Loomis to evaluate inherent food intolerances and dietary excesses, bowel toxicity, and other critical areas such as kidney function and vitamin deficiencies. The kidneys help the body maintain blood homeostasis by filtering the blood and discarding excess waste in the urine. Careful monitoring of the urine reveals what the body is holding and throwing away in its efforts to maintain homeostasis.

     For example, the body regulates the pH of the blood by discarding excess acid and base. The inability to do this adequately is revealed in the urine, which reflects the many stresses and strains the body experiences. Analysis of the urine can point out sick individuals whose bodies are struggling to cope better than can an analysis of the blood because the body maintains the homeostasis of the blood at all costs. The urine reveals dietary excess in the form of precipitated fat, carbohydrate, and protein that indicates poor digestion of, and/or overreaction to, these foods. The urine shows mineral deficiencies, anxiety, respiratory stress, sugar problems, pre-diabetic tendencies, gallbladder problems, bowel toxicity, and sluggish or over-worked kidneys. With this evaluation and the abdominal palpation, we are able to recommend the appropriate diet and digestive enzymes to better serve an individual's homeostasis and to reinforce or maintain a healthy immune system.