What are enzymes?

Enzymes are the driving force behind all the processes of life. They perform all the biochemical reactions in your body. There are many different kinds of enzymes depending on which part of the body they are located and each enzyme’s specific function.

Enzymes fall into one of 3 categories:

  • Food Enzymes – found in all raw foods
  • Digestive Enzymes – made by the body for the purpose of digesting food
  • Metabolic Enzymes – required for all biochemical reactions in the body

 

How do enzymes work?

As enzymes are highly specific entities, they require specific conditions to perform their jobs. All enzymes require cofactors to do their work. These cofactors are vitamins, minerals, and proteins. In addition they need an optimal work environment which includes the correct temperature, pH, water, and substance to digest (could be itself).

Plant enzymes contain the exact combination and ratio of enzymes needed to digest the plant. Enzymes in raw foods are used to ripen and digest the food. The enzymes are activated by cutting or chewing the plant. Raw foods inherently come with enzymes so your body doesn’t have to do so much work making the enzymes it needs to digest the food.

There are 4 main types of food enzymes
Protease breaks down proteins (meat, eggs, fish, cheese, etc)
Lipase breaks down fats (avocados, olives, nuts, and seeds)
Amylase breaks down starchy foods (grains, fruits, potatoes, winter squash, pasta, bread, etc)
Cellulase breaks down fiber (grains, some fruits, vegetables) (cellulase is not found in humans and has to be obtained from food)

I eat a healthy diet, do I still need enzymes?

All enzymes need the correct temperature to work in. Cooking food destroys heat sensitive nutrients including enzymes. Any cooking process can damage food enzymes including roasting, frying, stewing, boiling, steaming, etc. Canned and processed foods are completely devoid of enzymes to prolong shelf life. When food enzymes are not present, your body must produce the enzymes it needs to digest those foods, taking away resources that could be put to use producing enzymes to support other parts of your body such as your immune system.

Unless you eat a mostly raw, plant-based diet, you could benefit from supplemental digestive enzymes. Unlike enzymes from animal sources, plant-based enzymes do not supplant your body’s ability to make enzymes. Supplemental plant-based enzymes reduce the workload and stress on your digestive system.

How do I know if I need enzymes?

If you experience heartburn, bloating, gas, constipation, diarrhea, headaches or other symptoms of indigestion, these are your signs of need for support. Each year billions of dollars are spent on prescription and over-the-counter medications to counteract these symptoms which could be alleviated with the correct enzymes. Left untreated, poor digestion can lead to many chronic degenerative diseases including conditions like diabetes, heart disease, and some cancers.

How do I know which enzymes I need to take?

The process of finding the correct balance of enzymes is very simple. Part one is a detailed questionnaire which can be confirmed with part two, a 24-hour urinalysis. These two diagnostic tools will dictate the correct combination of enzymes needed.

How long will I have to take enzyme supplements?

Since every person is different, the time it takes to resolve an enzyme imbalance depends on the person as well. Some enzymes are taken for short periods of time, others can be taken much longer to support the natural body process of digestion.

In addition, diet modifications may need to be made and closely following those recommendations will also affect the time needed to correct an imbalance.

Not all enzymes are created equal.

Some enzymes are animal-based, some are plant-based; the functions performed by various food enzymes; and the quality of the supplement all need to be considered when making a decision about which product to take.

Plant-based food enzymes support the body’s natural process of making enzymes without supplanting the body’s ability to make its own enzymes. Animal enzymes are much stronger, alleviating the body of its need to make enzymes.

Food enzymes with the pHBS (pH balancing system) symbol allow the enzymes to work within a pH range that is able to deliver nutrients to your body whether or not you can digest them, making nutrients more bioavailable.