(Health Secrets) Some say you are what you eat. The truth is you are what you digest. Without good digestion, all the high quality nutrient rich foods cannot help you. What is it that defines good digestion? To a large degree it is your ability to produce the digestive enzymes needed to break down food, beginning with the enzymes in saliva and ending with those produced for use in the small intestine. But there’s more to enzymes than digestion.
Digestive enzymes are vital to our health and longevity, according to naturopath Dr. Ken O’Neal. During a recent health seminar, Dr. O’Neal explained that until the advent of modern farming and food preparation most people got ample digestive enzymes from the plants they picked and ate, consuming a great deal of them more or less ripe from the vine.
A ripe fruit or vegetable freshly picked contains the most digestive enzymes it will ever have. Only a couple of hours off the vine results in significant enzyme deterioration. Pick a fruit or vegetable that is less than ripe and ship it via cold storage to your local grocers, and it may have less than 10% of the enzymes of a fresh picked ripe fruit or vegetable.
There are at least 45 essential nutrients that the body needs to carry out normal daily functions – and likely more when you include all the vital trace minerals. Essential means that the body cannot manufacture them and they must come from outside sources.
Proper metabolic function requires at least 13 kinds of vitamins and 20 kinds of minerals, in addition to fats, carbohydrates and water. All of these nutrients depend on enzymes to ensure their release when food is broken down to its basic component parts, their transport by the blood stream throughout the body, and their absorption for use.
Our enzymes slowly fade away
Over the years, the body slowly but surely loses its ability to produce enzymes, and major drops occur roughly every ten years. At first, such drops may not be that apparent, but as time goes by we ultimately begin to discover that we cannot tolerate or enjoy certain foods like we once did. We may also notice a reduction in stamina, and most likely that means we are running low on enzymes.
In one of his reports on anti-aging , noted alternative health voice Jon Barron quotes a leading authority on nutritional enzymes about the important role digestive enzymes play in anti-aging:
“A person’s life span is directly related to the exhaustion of their enzyme potential. And the use of food enzymes decreases that rate of exhaustion, and thus results in a longer, healthier, and more vital life.
“Enzymes are proteins that facilitate chemical reactions in living organisms. In fact, they are required for every single chemical action that takes place in your body. All of your cells, organs, bones, muscles, and tissues are run by enzymes.
“Your digestive system, immune system, blood stream, liver, kidneys, spleen, and pancreas, as well as your ability to see, think, feel, and breathe, all depend on enzymes. All of the minerals and vitamins you eat and all of the hormones your body produces need enzymes in order to work properly. In fact, every single metabolic function in your body is governed by enzymes. Your stamina, your energy level, your ability to utilize vitamins and minerals, your immune system — all are governed by enzymes.
“As it happens, they are produced both internally (most notably in the pancreas and the other endocrine glands) and are present in raw foods that we eat. At birth we are endowed with a certain potential for manufacturing enzymes in our bodies, an enzyme “reserve,” if you will. Nature intended that we continually replenish that reserve through proper nutrition and eating habits. Unfortunately, that just doesn’t happen. Let’s take a look at why.
“Most people believe that when you eat a meal it drops into a pool of stomach acid, where it’s broken down, then goes into the small intestine to have nutrients taken out, and then into the colon to be passed out of the body — if you’re lucky. Not quite.
“What nature intended is that you eat enzyme rich foods and chew your food properly. If you did that, the food would enter the stomach laced with digestive enzymes. These enzymes would then “pre-digest” your food for about an hour — actually breaking down as much as 75% of your meal.
“After this period of “pre-digestion,” hydrochloric acid is introduced. The acid inactivates all of the enzymes, but begins its own function of breaking down what is left of the meal.
“Eventually, this nutrient rich food concentrate moves on into the small intestine. Once food enters the small intestine, the pancreas reintroduces digestive enzymes to the process. As digestion is completed, nutrients are passed through the intestinal wall and into the blood stream.
“That’s what nature intended. Unfortunately, most of us don’t live our lives as nature intended!”
Major Functions of Systemic Enzyme Therapy
Inflammation is the cause of pain associated with many different conditions such as sports injuries, muscle sprains, sciatica, chronic back pain and even arthritis and fibromyalgia. Systemic digestive enzymes can be a healthy alternative to nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as acetaminophen, ibuprofen and aspirin.
Digestive enzymes help reduce C-reactive protein, a marker for inflammation. In addition, digestive enzymes may lower inflammation by removing toxins and debris in the circulatory system and may reduce the inflammation associated with Sjogren`s syndrome.
Fibrosis is a type of scar tissue formation which contains fibrin (a type of protein), and it can form masses or web-like formations throughout the body’s tissues, muscles, and organs. Excess fibrous tissue is marked by the body as foreign proteins. When there is a build-up of excess fibrin, systemic enzymes can help reduce these so-called proteins. Removing the buildup of fibrin via digestive enzymes may help fight the aging process and may reduce fibromyalgia symptoms, endometriosis, uterine fibroid tumors, pulmonary fibrosis and chronic fatigue syndrome.
Digestive enzymes may also reduce thickening of the blood from fibrin deposits, and unclog the micro-circulation system, thus increasing circulation, reducing spider veins and wrinkles, increasing penile functionality, and increasing healing capabilities by reducing post-operative scar tissue.
Immune System Modulation:
When the immune system is run down or impaired, digestive enzymes can help increase immune response by aiding the production of more Natural Killer cells and improving the efficiency of white blood cells, all of which can lead to improved immunity. These enzymes can also speed healing, increase the body`s defense mechanism by modulating the immune system, prevent the rejection of transplanted organs and tissues, modulate the cell-signaling pathway that triggers immune activation and balance the entire body synergy.
Fighting Blood Contamination:
Blood often becomes contaminated with toxins when the liver is over burdened and its capacity to cleanse the blood is diminished. Blood can also become contaminated when excess fibrin builds up and causes blood to become too thick. The result of such contamination and thickening may end up being a perfect environment for blood clots to form. When systemic enzymes are taken, their presence in the blood can help aid normal liver function by helping to clear excess fibrin and reduce the stickiness of blood cells. This can in turn help minimize one of the leading causes of stroke, heart attack, and blood clots.
Systemic digestive enzymes in the blood can break down material into small enough sizes that it can immediately pass into the bowel, helping to maintain a normal blood flow for prevention of blood clots and platelet aggregations within the blood vessels.
Viruses have an exterior protein coating that is used to bond the viruses to the DNA in our cells so they can replicate, often resulting in harm to us. Systemic enzymes can disrupt this outer protein wall and render viruses inert by inhibiting replication. In addition, digestive enzymes can help improve the ability of anti-virals to kill viruses, serve as internal filters to clean the circulatory system, and lower viral loading.
Dr. O`Neal explained one reason that digestive enzymes are effective as a tool in fighting many cancers, such as pancreatic cancer, is by helping to break down the protective coating in which cancer cells encapsulate themselves.
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