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In my life, I have met three people who have cured themselves from cancer by eating everything raw. One of them had been given only six months to live, but thirty years later he was still around and had not been sick again since changing his food habits. At the time I met those people, I did not know that much about food, but now I know that their cure is largely related to the presence of enzymes in raw food. It is the lack of enzymes in processed and cooked foods that burdens our bodies and causes a variety of health problems. This article is an introduction to this very important health issue.
Enzymes are the key to life. No enzymes, no life. We destroy all the digestive enzymes in our food by cooking and baking, and thus the body has to draw the necessary enzymes to digest this dead food from the body organs which in turn become unbalanced. All processed foods are also void of enzymes. Research has shown that this might be a cause of a lot of degenerative diseases. Fortunately eating raw food and/or taking enzyme supplements can help to restore our health.
Human salivary amylase
image from the Research Collaboratory for Structural Bioinformatics (RCSB)
Living cells and tissues require basic nutrients and essential substances to divide, grow and perform their normal activities. Most of these substances are synthesized from components of ingested food, water, and other nutritional supplements, or from breakdown products of tissues. The biochemical reactions to synthesize the basic elements required by living cells depend on a steady supply of energy from these sources. Ordinarily, this energy is supplied by a step-by-step oxidation of food components. In addition, the biochemical reactions themselves sometimes release energy. During times of stress or disease, there is am increased demand for the nutrients and essential supplies required by cells. Without very special helpers and at normal body temperature, it would be impossible for the cells and tissues to perform all the essential biochemical reactions required fast enough to meet the basic needs of the body. Fortunately, very specific and remarkable helpers initiate, accelerate and terminate these biochemical reactions. The helpers are highly specific organic substances which have evolved in living organisms and developed the capacity of performing these accelerated tasks to perfection via remarkable and specific catalytic actions. These remarkable substances are called enzymes.
Enzymes are catalysts. They make things work faster. For example, the chemistry of the body is all about utilizing one substance to produce another. Let us call it turning chemical A into chemical B. The biochemical reaction to do this may require energy or release energy, depending on whether molecules A or B contain their own energy.
Regardless of whether energy is required or released, the reaction time is shortened by its specific enzyme, without the enzyme being used up. The reaction is accelerated through the use of enzymes. This acceleration without consumption is the nature of a catalyst. For practical purposes, most biochemical reactions require enzymes since the reaction A to B might take hundreds of years without them.
It seems that enzymes are the fountain of life. Enzymes serve as the labor force to perform every single function required for our daily activities and are required to keep us alive. Digestive enzymes are only a part of the total amount of enzymes in the body. There are about 3000 known enzymes. They are responsible for all the functions of every organ system in our bodies. At the same time they are most important in supporting our body defenses and immune system to protect us from harmful forces and specific dangers to our health. The immune system depends heavily on enzymes to conduct its protective function. In addition we require enzymes not only to eat, digest and absorb our nutrients, but also to see, hear, smell, taste, breathe and move. Enzymes are required for our blood and coagulation system, cardiovascular functions, kidneys, liver, elimination of toxic products, excretion, reproduction, etc. They are required even to think, dream or for sexual excitement. When enzyme activity stops, life stops and the person or organism dies!
There are two major enzyme systems in the human body. One is digestive and the other is metabolic. The digestive enzymes help break down all of the food that we eat so that it can be absorbed by the body. The metabolic enzymes help to run all of the systems of the body from respiratory system to the nervous system.
The seven categories of food (digestive) enzymes and their activities are:
Enzymes are extremely important to our health. When enzymes are short in supply, or become inactive, the body will suffer. As the body is built from the food we eat, paying attention to what we eat is one of the most important things we can do. Unfortunately we do not eat what our instinct and common sense tells us to do. We do not eat the right quantities of the right foods at the right times and in the proper manner. The results can include digestive disturbances, deposition of fat, and becoming overweight. These findings can be associated with further health problems including disorders of the circulation which lead to more severe cardiovascular disease and disorders of the heart. The reducing diets often recommend generally provide only temporary weight loss and many of them may be even more detrimental to health in the long run.
We should all eat properly and follow a balanced diet containing a substantial amount of fresh foods in each meal. We should also avoid highly processed foods and high levels of preservatives, additives or chemicals. We can also take natural digestive enzymes in order to support the digestion of processed or cooked foods. Every food that has been cooked, boiled, heated, grilled, baked has lost its enzymes and is a burden to our organs which have to supply the digestive enzymes. As almost nobody in our modern age is willing to eat everything raw, you can take digestive enzymes with your cooked, etc., food. (An informative site about raw food is Living and Raw Foods) It is also good to stay away from processed foods as they often contain enzyme inhibitors (to prolong shelf life), chemicals, and sugar (white sugar is destructive to our bodies, and contributes big time to obesity).
The European scientific community has generated great excitement in the field of enzymes, which can be used preventively to prevent illness and give us a longer, healthier life. However in the United States the average person does not know much about enzymes and their importance. Read a well written book that focuses on the therapeutic oral enzymes, but also has a wealth of information about what enzymes are and how they keep us healthy: Enzymes, The Fountain of Life, written by D.A. Lopez, M.D.; R.M. Willians, M.D. and Pg.D., and K. Miehlke, M.D.; published by The Neville Press, Inc.; isbn 1-884303-00-5 . At present I have a copy of Enzymes, The Fountain of Life for sale, look at the end of this article.
After you have read all about enzymes and why they are so important to our health, the next question is "what can I do about it? We will focus here only on digestive enzymes. Ideally you should eat everything raw. As raw food contains all the necessary enzymes to digest the food, our body does not have to deplete its organs of their necessary enzymes. And thus our body stays healthy. But in this modern age, who can eat everything raw? Make sure you eat enough raw food, but for the rest, supply your cooked or baked food with enzyme supplements.
There are several enzyme supplements on the market, but one of the best supplements is Dr. Howell's N-Zymes, the enzyme supplement we ourselves are using. Dr Edward Howell was an enzyme pioneer who questioned the use of cooked, processed food for human consumption. He found that heating food to 118°F (47.78°C) for more than 15 minutes destroyed all the enzymes. Obviously then, heating foods at higher temperatures for shorter periods also destroys enzymes. Dr Howell wrote two books reporting his life's work: Food Enzymes for Health and Longevity and Enzyme Nutrition.
N-Zymes is made by the National Enzyme Company, and distributed by Enzymes Inc, Parkville, Missouri. The digestive enzyme supplement we are using is called "Genuine N-zymes, Dr. Howell's Original Formula". The capsules contain the enzymes protease, amylase, lipase and cellulase). N-Zymes is available through health food stores. For their other enzymes products, visit Genuine N-Zymes.
When taking enzyme supplements, remember to
There are four major types of proteolytic enzymes: trypsin, chymotrypsin, papain, and bromelain.
Chymotrypsin is a proteolytic enzyme crystallized from an extract of the pancreas gland of the ox.
Trypsin is a proteolytic enzyme also crystallized from an extract of the pancreas gland of the ox.
Papain is derived from the green papaya fruit.
Bromelain is extracted from the pineapple. Because of the relative value of the fruit, the difficulty of processing the juice, and the improvements of methods to extract bromelain from pineapple stems, the source of most bromelain is the stems.
Proteolytic enzymes are enzymes that help you digest the proteins in food. Although your body produces these enzymes in the pancreas, certain foods also contain proteolytic enzymes. Papaya (the unripe fruit) and pineapple are two of the richest plant sources. Papain and bromelain are the respective names for the proteolytic enzymes found in these fruits.
The primary use of proteolytic enzymes is as a digestive aid for people who have trouble digesting proteins. However, proteolytic enzymes also appear to reduce pain and inflammation, which has made them popular in Europe as a treatment for sports injuries and as an aid in recovery from surgery. Supplemental proteolytic (protein-digesting) enzymes also enhance immune function, helping to destroy pathogens; and proteolytic enzymes seems to be good for people with pancreas problems. Digestive enzymes are classified as a food by the FDA., but if you want to take proteolytic enzymes you should discuss this with your doctor.
Another source of enzymes is brewer's yeast which stimulates enzyme activity in the intestines. There are also enzyme preparations available from the pharmacy for digestive disorders. Fermented foods are full of enzymes, like yogurt, sauerkraut, soy sauce and kefir. Check out our kefir page, as kefir is very easy to make and makes you very healthy.
The material in this site is provided for educational and informational purposes only, and is not intended to be a substitute for consultation by a healthcare provider. Please consult your own physician or appropriate healthcare provider about the applicability of any opinions or recommendations with respect to your own symptoms or medical conditions.