Are you having dyspepsia (indigestion) including heartburn, flatulence, belching, the appearance of undigested food in your stool, bloating, bowel disorders, abdominal cramping, or food allergies? These symptoms could be caused by the improper digestion of food, which could occur from a deficiency of digestive enzymes. Did you know that without enzymes, we cannot survive?
Naturopathic Doctor, Mana Morstein, says that “Gastrointestinal problems are a huge source of regular misery for millions of patients–for example, more than 60 million Americans experience heartburn once a month, and 15 million have daily problems with it. More than 1 million people in the US suffer from inflammatory bowel disease. While the digestive system is a miraculous set of organs which enable us to digest and absorb food it can become unhealthy in many different ways.”
An enzyme is usually a protein molecule that is a biological catalyst. First, enzymes create a safe and favorable environment for the substrate (the reactant that is being used) thus, allowing the breaking down of the substrate to occur with lower energy input. Secondly, enzymes work with one and only one substrate. This makes it substrate-specific. Think of it as an assembly line; one person on an assembly line building cars may put the breaks on the car while another person may install the steering wheel. Though both work on a car, they perform different tasks that are in no way interchangeable. Without these enzymes working, our bodies would be in terrible disarray!
According to Dr. Edward Howell, we are given a limited supply of enzymes at birth. It is our job to give our body as many live enzymes as possible, in order to replenish our body’s enzyme supply. When we are born, most of us are like a brand-new car battery… fully charged and ready to go. The automobile has an alternator that puts energy back into the battery to extend the life of the battery. Enzymes are the human body’s alternator.
Unfortunately, cooking foods at virtually all standard cooking temperatures denatures enzymes, destroying their functionality. An enzyme is simply a biological catalyst; it speeds up the rates of reaction for a specific chemical reaction in a cell. It does this by attaching a substrate (molecule it acts upon) into its highly specific active site. In this active site, certain environmental factors such as high temperature will significantly lower activation energy of the reaction, this will therefore speed up the reaction. All enzymes are deactivated at a wet-heat temperature 118 degrees Fahrenheit and a dry-heat temperature of about 150- degrees.
The worst offenders of all, whether heated or not, are processed foods which have been refined (such as white flour and white rice), or pasteurized (a process in which milk is flash-heated to high temperatures to kill bacteria), or homogenized (also seen in milk where the fat in milk is subjected to artificial suspension), or preserved (chemicals are added to food to delay spoilage or to enhance texture or taste).
So nutritional experts encourage people to consume at least 50% of your food uncooked. A good vegetable juicing program will easily put you over that volume. If you do cook your food, the best way to cook food is to lightly steam. Also fermentation, soaking, and sprouting are great way to obtain enzymes. The Eskimo diet, for example is comprised of a large portion of raw fish that has been allowed to ‘autolate” or “predigest, “ that is, become putrefied or semi rancid; to this predigested food they ascribe their stamina. Ethnic groups that consume large amounts of cooked meat usually include fermented vegetables or condiments, such as sauerkraut and pickled carrots, cucumbers, beets and kimchi with their meals. Cultured soybean products such as natto, miso and tempe, are other good source sof food enzymes if these foods are eaten unheated.
Other examples are:
Essene bread (a sprouted grain bread baked at a low temperature)
Naturally fermented salsa
Raw bean and seed sprouts, added to salads or eaten as a snack
Sprouted flour crackers (dried, not baked)
Sprouted seeds, nuts and beans added to a salad
A high dietary intake of enzymes may play a role in the prevention and/or treatment of the following health conditions:
- Maldigestion and malabsorption
- Pancreatic insufficiency
- Steatorrhea (diarrhea due to fat malabsorption)
- Celiac disease
- Lactose intolerance
- Thrombotic disease
- Acute sinusitis
- Post-operative recovery
- Sports injuries
- Adverse food reactions
Please give your body live food enzymes or live digestive enzymes to help conserve and replenish your body’s enzyme supply.