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Health Recommendations:

Enzymes are protein catalysts necessary for the metabolic function of the body. Without enzymes there is no life.1 Enzymes represent the "life force" which is biologically recognized and can be measured in terms of enzyme activity.

If you photograph foods with Kirlian photography, living foods have large energy fields, while processed foods have little or none.2 Enzymes are to our body what spark plugs are to the engine of a car.

There are three major classifications of enzymes:

Food enzymes are found in raw, unadulterated foods. Proteases, such as bromelain and papain, are enzymes that digest proteins, while amylase digests starch and lipase digests fats. Nature provides them to aid in the digestive process so the body's own enzymes are not overworked. This may lead to a serious enzyme deficiency, as we become older.

Digestive enzymes are those secreted in the pancreas, stomach and small intestine to digest food. if there are an inadequate amount of these enzymes, or if the enzyme producing organs become overworked, our foods putrefy and/or ferment in the intestinal tract. This results in gas, bloating, allergies, digestive upset, fatigue, and nutrient deficiencies.

Metabolic enzymes are found in the blood, tissues and organs and are involved in every process in the body. Enzymes in the blood and lymphatic system are utilized by the white blood cells to attack and break down waste products and other poisons and turn them into by-products that the body can easily eliminate. These enzymes take nutrients and build them into muscles, bones, hair and nails.

The Systematic Destruction of Food Enzymes

Today, as a result of food cooking and processing (enzymes are destroyed when cooked or processed above 120 degrees F.), preservatives, additives, microwave ovens, genetically altered foods, and irradiation-, most of the foods we consume are enzyme deficient - which is to say, dead!

Unfortunately for the American consumer, enzymes are the enemy of agribusiness: Enzymes are what make food spoil during shipment and on supermarket shelves before it can be sold. Therefore, genetically altered fruits and vegetables containing fewer enzymes enjoy a longer shelf life; a great advancement for agribusiness! Currently, genetically altered foods are controlled by two giant agribusiness firms.

Food irradiation - a clever way to use nuclear waste - is also being employed to keep food fresh, although it is being touted primarily as a preventative against food poisoning. Irradiated foods are devoid of enzyme activity.

Worse, irradiated foods have molecules that are found no where in nature! The FDA dubs them "radiolytic by-products" and separates them into two categories: "known radiolytic products", such as formaldehyde and benzene - both carcinogens, and "unique radiolytic products", which haven't yet been characterized. No one in government or industry knows what long-term effects these molecules may have on health.3

In short, Americans are being subjected to a massive experiment done at our risk! Specifically, what happens when people are fed highly processed foods, lacking in nutrients, fiber and enzymes and loaded with chemicals, over three generations?

Enzymes and Digestive Diseases

There is currently an epidemic of digestive illness in America affecting one-third to one-half of all adults at a cost of $41 billion per year.4 There is also a growing consensus of agreement among health professionals that the depletion of enzymes in our food supply is responsible.

If the body is healthy and working properly, and receiving nutritious foods, it should produce all of the necessary enzymes in sufficient quantities to ensure proper digestion. Most individuals are enzyme deficient. As a result, they often get the common symptoms of indigestion, such as gas, bloating, heartburn, and bowel irritation (for more information on digestion see (Chew on This).

Most people take antacids because TV ads have convinced them they have too much stomach acid when, ironically, the reverse is true in many cases.5 Indigestion is not caused by a Rolaids deficiency!

Antacids, while providing temporary relief, actually slow down or stop the digestive process that virtually guarantees toxic build-up in the colon. The resulting toxins are then absorbed from the colon into the bloodstream, and carried back into every part of the body in a self-poisoning process known as "auto-intoxication".6

Enzymes and Longevity

A clinical experiment was conducted on two groups of people showing the relationship between enzymes and the aging process. The first group ranged in age from 21 to 31 years, while the second group was aged 69 to 100. The younger group was found to have 30 times more amylase (starch enzyme) in their saliva than the elderly group. This is why younger people can tolerate a diet of white bread, pastries, fried foods, and candy (not recommended) while a similar diet causes rapid aging and chronic diseases in older groups.7

Enzymes and Athletics

Enzymes are the missing link in sports nutrition. A double blind study of karate fighters was conducted using enzymes as a precaution before fighting. At the end of the testing period the enzyme group recovered from injuries in 7 days while the placebo group recovered in 16 days.8

References:

  1. Lipski, E, Digestive Wellness, Keats Pub., New Canaan, CT, 1996
  2. Ibid
  3. Ibid
  4. "Digestive Diseases in the United States", U.S. Health and Human Services, Public Health Services, Pub. 94-1447, p. 19, May 1994
  5. Martin, GJ, et al., Am. Journal of Pharmacy, pp. 194-7, 1957
  6. Husebye, E, et al., Gut, pp. 1331-7, Oct 1992
  7. Wilson, PD, Gerontologia, vol 19, pp. 72-125, 1973
  8. Rathgeber, WF, South African Med Journal, vol 45, pp. 181-3, 1971