Whether breaking down foods or healing from injury, nearly every process the human body performs involves chemical reactions. Enzymes are proteins that act as the catalysts for these chemical reactions. Every cell in the body uses enzymes for building, maintenance, and repair.
The human body produces many enzymes on its own, however natural production of enzymes begins to decline as early as age 25. Joint pain, circulatory problems, slower healing, and an increase in the incidence of disease are all too common with people who are enzyme deficient and suffering the effects of aging.
Types of Enzymes
Enzymes fall into three main categories: food enzymes, digestive enzymes, and systemic enzymes.
Food enzymes are found naturally in raw food. They help with joint health, arterial health, and the immune system. You can increase your intake of these enzymes by eating a healthy organic diet, rich in fruits and vegetables, and avoiding processed foods. You can also take it one step further by opting for an entirely raw diet.
Digestive enzymes, true to their name, aid in the digestive process. They help the body break down fiber (cellulase), protein (protease), carbohydrates (amylase), and fats (lipase). They do all their work in the gastrointestinal tract and can help combat common issues such as indigestion, bloating, abdominal discomfort, and gas. Many people find that they require fewer medications and antacids when their digestive enzymes are in check.
Support and Prevention
Systemic enzymes help to build and maintain overall health. They may be taken to address specific issues, but just as often are used to promote prevention and provide general body support. Supported processes include the breakdown of excess mucus, fibrin, many toxins, allergens, and clotting factors.
Many people use systemic enzymes instead of NSAIDS, or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, since they also can be helpful in the temporary reduction of swelling. Unlike NSAIDS, systemic enzymes are able to pinpoint only the harmful circulating immune complexes (CICs) without suppressing the CICs that are beneficial.
Systemic enzymes have also been found helpful for:
- Fibrosis conditions caused by the hard, sticky protein called fibrin.
- Reduction of scar tissue, also made up of fibrin.
- Cleaning the blood of cellular waste and toxins, also supporting normal liver function.
- Promoting immune system response by helping white blood cell efficiency.
- Managing the overgrowth of yeast, putting less stress on your liver.
Taken in combination with a healthy diet, supplements of digestive and systemic enzymes can help your body fight the effects of aging and improve your overall health.
A problem need not be present to experience the benefits of enzymes. Since they can help us absorb more vital nutrients from the foods we need, they can help a healthy body perform even better.
What’s the Best Enzyme Supplement?
I personally use and recommend VeganZyme®. It is the most advanced full-spectrum systemic and digestive enzyme formula in the world and is free from fillers and toxic compounds.
Benefits of Digestive Enzymes
- Easier breakdown of food for better absorption.
- Healthier relief in pancreatic insufficiency (PI).
- Better promotion of diet tolerance for vegetarians or vegans.
- Alleviates certain digestive intolerances.
- Supports a healthy balance in the body’s microbiome.
A problem need not be present to experience the benefits of enzymes. Since they help us absorb vital nutrients from the foods we need, they help a healthy body perform even better.
What Are the Best Natural Sources of Enzymes?
While the human body creates digestive and systemic enzymes like trypsin and chymotrypsin, other enzymes are best obtained through food or supplementation. Two enzymes – papain and bromelain – occur naturally in papaya and pineapple and are two well-known digestive aids. Raw foods (organic, uncooked) naturally provide digestive and systemic enzymes which activate in the acidic environment of the stomach, while cooked foods tend to lose much of these healthy enzymes.
What Are the Symptoms of Low Enzyme Levels?
Inadequate digestive enzyme levels lead to food rotting in the intestines. This can create bloating, indigestion, gas, and abdominal discomfort. A lack of systemic enzymes also allows waste to build up throughout the bloodstream and lymph system, stressing the immune system’s ability to keep up. Some other symptoms of poor enzyme levels can include heartburn, lethargy, and food in your stool that hasn’t been properly digested.
Digestive and Systemic Enzymes Side Effects
Very few side effects have been reported regarding enzyme supplements. Some people, however, have experienced an upset stomach or a change in stool. These effects are usually related to high potency digestive enzyme intake. If a change in your daily functions occurs, discontinue use of these supplements and consult with your healthcare provider for more information about your individual dietary needs.
Should I Take an Enzyme Supplement?
The pancreas naturally creates some enzymes; however, when dealing with increased toxin loads and processed foods, the body can easily get overwhelmed. While natural, raw foods supply enzymes, processed, refined, and over-cooked foods don’t. Simply put, the modern diet does not provide enough enzymes to fully support digestion and the other vital functions that enzymes help with.
The simplest approach for many common dietary conditions is to supplement with a systemic and digestive enzyme blend. This will encourage digestion and promote cardiovascular, immune, and metabolic health. I use and recommend VeganZyme®. It is the most advanced full-spectrum systemic and digestive enzyme formula available and it’s free of fillers and toxic additives.
Do you take an enzyme supplement? Do you actively try to get a healthy amount of enzymes in your diet? What’s driving your awareness? Leave a comment below and share your insight with us.
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- Leipner J, et al. “Therapy with proteolytic enzymes in rheumatic disorders.” BioDrugs. 2001;15(12), 779-89. Accessed Apr. 13 2018.
- Gianluca Ianiro,et al. “Digestive Enzyme Supplementation in Gastrointestinal Diseases.” Curr Drug Metab. 2016; 17(2), 187–193. Accessed Apr. 13 2018.