It’s been said “you are what you eat,” but the truth is, “you are what you digest.”
Right now, there are thousands of enzymes at work in your body. They run everything from digestion to your metabolism, and they are necessary for ALL of your body’s processes and functions. A deficiency of even one of these enzymes can mean the difference between health and disease for your body.
Enzymes are absolutely essential to your health and life. More than 75,000 enzymes have been identified in the human body, and they are hard at work:
- producing energy
- absorbing oxygen
- reducing inflammation
- dissolving blood clots
- breaking down fats and cholesterol in your blood
- fighting infections
- healing wounds
- delivering nutrients to your cells
- balancing your hormones
- getting rid of toxins
- regulating your metabolism
- and even slowing the aging process
Enzymes are the catalysts in many of the essential biochemical reactions in our bodies, and they don’t work alone. Cofactors like magnesium and coenzyme Q10 work together with enzymes to speed up these reactions, sometimes as fast as several millions reactions per second!
The 3 Types of Enzymes You Need to Know About
The 3 basic categories of enzymes are digestive, metabolic, and food-based. Digestive enzymes are extracellular, meaning they are found outside of your cells. Metabolic enzymes are intracellular, which means they are inside your cells. Both of these types of enzymes are made primarily by your pancreas. Food-based enzymes come from the foods you eat, and once your digestive enzymes break the food down, these enzymes are free to help you digest your food into nutrients your body can absorb.
Each enzyme works best in its ideal environment, and as we age and are exposed to more toxins, the environment inside our bodies changes, depleting our enzymes. When enzymes run even a little bit low, symptoms appear and diseases aren’t far behind. It’s important to know what these enzymes do in our bodies, and how to supplement when symptoms appear.
These enzymes are necessary to break down proteins, carbohydrates, and fats into energy. All digestive enzymes come from the pancreas, and the small intestine is where 90 percent of digestion and absorption actually takes place. A pancreas that is functioning normally will secrete about 8 cups of pancreatic juices into the small intestine daily. This fluid is rich with digestive enzymes and bicarbonate, which neutralizes the strong stomach acid as it is released into the small intestine.
Lipase works with bile from the liver and gallbladder to break down fats. When you don’t have enough lipase, you may suffer with gas, bloating, diarrhea, fatty stools, lack of essential fats, and fat-soluble vitamin deficiencies. When your liver is overloaded with toxins, it can cause the bile to become thick, sludgy, and congested, and not flow as freely as your digestion needs it to. This can cause a feedback that causes you to make less lipase. It’s important for everything from fat digestion to healthy thyroid function to keep bile flowing freely, and that’s why we’ve created Bile Builder. This supplement is a must-have for proper fat digestion, especially if your gallbladder has been removed.
There are a number of enzymes that are needed to break down carbohydrates (aka “carbs”). They are everywhere from your saliva to your small intestine. Amylase, cellulase, maltase, lactase, sucrase, and phytase break down everything from simple carbohydrates like fruit sugars to dairy sugars, fiber, and other complex starches and sugars. Diets too heavy in carbs and sugary foods can cause constipation, bloating, cramping, gas, bloating, heartburn, and acid reflux when the enzymes can’t keep up with the demand. This is why reducing processed sugars in your diet is so important.
Proteases are the enzymes that digest proteins, and are arguably the most important for overall health. Proteolytic enzymes (proteases) have gained quite a reputation in the natural healing community, because they not only break down proteins into amino acids (e.g. trypsin and chymotrypsin), but also digest biofilms and the bacteria, yeast, protozoa and parasites that live there (e.g. lumbrokinase, serrapeptase, nattokinase). They also break down inflammatory proteins that are found in abundance in arthritis, cancers, and many other health conditions. When you are deficient in proteolytic enzymes, protein digestion is incomplete, which means allergies develop, toxins can form, and you are at an increased risk for intestinal infections.
Your circulatory, respiratory, cardiac, neurologic, endocrine, lymphatic, and reproductive systems all rely on these intracellular enzymes for critical functions. These enzymes also maintain your liver, kidneys, skin, bone, muscles, and other tissues and organs. Every single one of your cells depends on these enzymes for energy and life.
Proteolytic enzymes are not only important digestive enzymes, but are also important metabolic enzymes. The proteases found in your blood break down foreign proteins that cause inflammation and infection and cleanse the blood, as well as breaking down clots and reducing the swelling in inflamed tissues. Since inflammation plays a role in practically every disease we face today, boosting your levels of proteolytic enzymes may be essential to a healthy body, especially as we age.
How to Increase Your Enzymes Naturally
Dr. Nicholas Gonzalez found enzymes to be indispensable in the treatment of his cancer patients. What is known of his formulas and protocols has been made available publicly since his death, and we can see that enzymes were a key ingredient in every single one of his tremendously successful cancer protocols.
You don’t have to be facing something as serious as cancer to benefit from increasing your enzymes. If you suffer from fatigue, arthritis, sore muscles, digestive issues, hormone imbalance, or any form of inflammation, insufficient enzymes may be a root cause. And there are several ways to increase them naturally:
- Chew your food thoroughly. Your digestive system is actually a cascade of chemical reactions that starts with chewing. When you chew your food thoroughly, you produce an optimal amount of saliva, which then signals your stomach how much acid to produce, which then signals the right amount of bile and pancreatic enzymes to be released. Avoid drinking anything within 30 minutes of meal (this includes no drinks during the meal), because it dilutes your gastric juices and sends the signal to secrete fewer enzymes, which we don’t want. Don’t chew gum, because this confuses your digestive signals and by itself can create digestive symptoms.
- Eat raw foods. The most powerful, enzyme-rich foods available are sprouts, and you can grow them inexpensively at home. Broccoli sprouts and sunflower sprouts are among some of the strongest disease-fighters, and are easy to grow at home. Juicing your vegetables also releases a lot of enzymes. It’s important to consume fresh juice that hasn’t been heated at all. Pasteurized juices or juice added to hot soups or other foods will destroy the enzymes and make them unusable. Raw cheeses and other dairy products contain the enzymes you need to break down the lactose and proteins in the milk. Raw honey, bee pollen, extra virgin olive oil, and coconut oil are other enzyme-rich foods.
- Supplement with digestive and proteolytic enzymes. Nutricology’s pancreatic enzymes are the best on the market. Made from a porcine glandular, this complete formula can be used 2 ways for entirely different health effects. If digestive issues are your main concern, these enzymes can be taken right before a meal to help you fully digest it. Over time, it will signal your body to increase its own production of digestive enzymes, so less may be needed the longer you take them. The other way to take them is on an empty stomach, away from meals, to support your metabolic proteolytic enzyme production. This allows them to be absorbed through your gut and into your bloodstream, where they can be used systemically. This method is especially useful if you are dealing with arthritis or other inflammatory diseases.