What are enzymes?

Enzymes are protein molecules which carry a vital energy factor needed for every chemical action and reaction that occurs in our body. There are several thousand different enzymes found in the human body. These enzymes can combine with co-enzymes to form nearly 100,000 various chemicals that enable us to see, hear, feel, move, digest food and think. Every organ, every tissue, and all the 100 trillion cells in our body depend upon the reaction of enzymes and their energy factor. Nutrition cannot be explained without describing the part that enzymes play.


Simply stated nutrition is: the body’s ability to consume the 45 known nutrients in their proper amounts; digest these nutrients; absorb these nutrients; carry these nutrients into the cells; metabolize these nutrients; and eliminate the waste. To accomplish all of these functions is a tough job. The following is a list of the 45 known nutrients: Carbohydrate 9-Amino Acids Water Lipids (fats) 13-Vitamin Proteins 1 9-Minerals Eating foods containing these elements (along with their enzymes) in their proper amounts will normally ensure good nutrition. Enzymes are responsible for digestion, absorption, transporting, metabolizing, and eliminating the waste of these nutrients. Again, every organ, every tissue, and all the 100 trillion cells in our body depends upon the reaction of enzymes and their energy factor.

The Energy Factor

The energy factor is the energy that triggers or starts the chemical reactions between enzymes. This energy factor is separate and distinct from the chemical make-up of the enzymes itself. A good example of this energy factor can be seen by placing a raw bean into a pot of boiling water. The cooked bean will fail to sprout. It’s life force (energy factor) has been taken away from it. Science tells us that only living organisms can make enzymes possessing this energy factor. Chemicals that serve as catalysts work by chemical action only, while enzymes function by troth biological and chemical action. Catalysts do not contain the “energy factor” which is measured as a kind of radiant energy which enzymes emit. The energy factor of enzymes has never been synthesized. Simply stated the energy factor is the “electricity” that makes the light bulb (the enzyme) work.

How Can I Be Treated?

The key point is that your doctor first has to be able to recognize that vague, stubborn health problems may be hormone related. Your hormone system (called the endocrine system) is intricately involved with the immune and nervous system, and any imbalances affect you at every level of your being. No hormone in the body works in isolation — they all work in harmonic interdependence with the rest of the body. One of the keys to well being is keeping your hormones in balance.

To evaluate you for hormonal imbalances, in addition to taking a detailed history and making a thorough physical exam, we may test your blood, saliva or urine. Most of us are familiar with blood tests as a way of obtaining information about one’s particular health status, but saliva sampling can provide very useful information, especially for female hormones. Research has clearly established that salivary hormone levels correlate well with blood levels of hormones such as estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, DHEA and cortisol. Salivary hormone levels measure the amount of free hormone in the blood — that is, the part that is biologically active. This gives us an idea of how much hormone your tissues are truly being exposed to. This is difficult to tell from blood tests because so much of the hormone is bound to protein in the blood. Salivary testing is also desirable since it can be done in the convenience of the patients home, is less expensive than blood tests, and multiple samples can be easily taken over a period of time to really see what is happening at the hormonal level.

Fight Diseases

There is a connection between the strength of our immune system and our enzyme level. The more enzymes we have, the stronger our immune system will be and the healthier and stronger we will be. For example, leukocytes (white blood cells) have eight (8) different amylase enzymes which assists the white blood cell to engulf foreign substances and reduce them to a form that the body can eliminate. Research has shown that leukocytes increase after one has eaten a cooked meal. This indicates a definite compensatory measure on the part of the body to transport more enzymes to the digestive tract for digestion. There is no increase in leukocytes after one has consumed a raw food meal. Research has shown that enzymes are related to all diseases via the immune system, whether the disease is acute or chronic. If the pancreatic output of enzymes is hindered, the whole body is affected. Therefore, we must eat raw foods or take supplemental enzymes to enable our body’s immune system to fight against infections.

Can Enzymes Control Obesity

Very definitely. Obese individuals have been found to have a deficiency in the enzyme lipase. Lipase is found in abundance in raw foods. Cooking destroys lipase in raw foods. Lipase is the enzyme that aids the body in the breaking down of fats. Without lipase, our fat stagnates and accumulates in our arteries which could lead to heart disease. Lipase also helps us to burn fat for energy. Cooked foods which have no enzymes will put weight on more abundantly than raw foods. For example, pig farmers will not feed their pigs raw potatoes because the pigs stay lean.

There is some evidence that obese individuals do have a shortage of lipase. Researchers at Tufts University School of Medicine conducted some tests on the abdominal fat of 11 extra heavy individuals (average of 340 pounds) and found a lipase enzyme deficiency in their fat cells. This could be explained by the fact that obesity and abnormal cholesterol deposits both have their beginnings in our failure to permit fat predigestion of cooked or processed foods in the upper stomach due to the fact that the natural lipase content of fatty foods has been destroyed by cooking .

Specific Help With Diseases

Research has substantiated that consumed animal fats tend to cause cholesterol to settle in the arteries and cause atherosclerosis. However, it has also been found that the crystal clear “purified” vegetable oils (not heated) do not raise the blood cholesterol level. One answer for this might lie with the fact that lipase is found in these unheated vegetable oils. One researcher found that the [at tissue in obese humans has less lipase than the fat tissues in a slender person which means that supplemental lipase may be needed. Three British researchers tested the enzymes in individuals with atherosclerosis to find the relationship between cholesterol and clogged arteries. They found that all enzymes studied became progressively weaker in the arteries as persons became older and also as the hardening became more severe. These researchers believe that a shortage of enzymes is part of a mechanism which allows cholesterol deposits to accumulate in the inner part of the arterial walls (intima). Another researcher found a progressive decline in lipase in the blood of atherosclerotic patients with advancing middle and old age. Yet another researcher found that not only was lipase low in older persons, but that older atherosclerotic persons had slow fat absorption from the intestine. He also found that some absorbed fat was in the unhydrolyzed state. When he fed lipase extracted from animal pancreas to the older and younger persons he found a definite improvement in fat utilization. Think of the advantage of taking the plant enzyme lipase at the beginning of the meal to help in the predigestion of food.

How might supplemental plant enzymes help in the fight against cancer? There are two theories that researchers postulate as the possible answers. First, researchers can trace the beginning of cancer to the cell’s DNA. Cancer cells begin with an alteration of normal DNA in the cell. Promoters, such as stress, saturated fat, obesity, ultra violet rays from the sun and others cause the four nucleotides (adenine, guanine, cytosine and thymine) that make up DNA to change their normal chemistry which causes the cell to make the wrong protein. Once the wrong protein is made, the cell will continue to make the wrong protein forever. These cells spread (metastasize) and destroy other cells. Probably at any given time your body has approximately 100 to maybe 10,000 of these cells trying to make the wrong protein. But nature has provided repair enzymes to travel up and down the DNA structures and correct the errant proteins. If you take supplemental digestive enzymes the body’s metabolic enzymes can be freed from the work of digestion to make and use more of these repair enzymes to help prevent cancer cells from beginning. The second theory proclaims that cancer cells are covered with a protein covering that protects them from attacking white blood cells. The reason why the white cells won’t attack the cancer cell is because the white cell cannot recognize the cancer cells as dangerous to the body. It is believed by many researchers that the protein covering disguises the cancer cell as friendly to the body’s white blood cells. Taking an enzyme supplement (especially protease, which digest or breaks down proteins) may break down the outer protein covering of the cancer cell so that the white blood cell may recognize it as unfriendly and destroy it.

Children usually eat the same enzyme deficient foods as their parents. It should be pointed out the importance of breast feeding in comparison to bottle feeding and acquiring enzymes. Children that are breast-fed acquire dozens of enzymes from their mother’s milk. Bottle-fed babies receive pasteurized milk that has been heated, which destroys the milk enzymes. This causes the baby’s own enzyme factory to begin using its enzyme potential from day one. Research indicates that this could be harmful for the child. Their study involved 20,061 babies that were divided into three groups (breast-fed, partially breast-fed, and bottle-fed). They studied the morbidity (sickness) rate for the first nine months of the infant’s life. They found that 37.4% of the breast-fed babies had sickness in comparison to 53.8% of the partially breast-fed and 63.6% of the bottle-fed. It is obvious that babies who were entirely breast-fed had far less sickness than babies who were only partially breast-fed or who were bottle-fed. They also identified the mortality rates of these different groups which are presented as follows: No. of Infants Total Deaths % of deaths Breast-fed 9,749 15 0.15 Partially 8,605 59 .7 Bottle-fed 1,707 144 8.4 The mortality rate among the bottle-fed infants was 56 times greater than among the breast-fed. In the United States one deformed child is born every 5 minutes. This adds up to 250,000 deformed babies yearly. Dr. AndersHakannson at Lund University in Sweden discovered that when he added mother’s milk to cultured cancer cells that were alive prior to the addition of the milk, he soon found them to be dead. Further tests indicated that only tumor cells were killed by the milk, while normal adult cells were left intact. Research is trying to tell us that we, which includes pregnant women and children, must eat raw foods that contain enzymes and/or take supplemental enzymes.

Please understand that plant enzymes are not “magic pills”. Rather, they supplement the work of your body’s organs and glands to completely digest the food you eat. Some people will notice a dramatic improvement in their energy levels and feeling of vitality. Others might notice significant improvement in the functioning of their digestive tract and relief of long term chronic conditions. Some people’s recognition of improvement will be more subtle and gradual. It all depends on the underlying condition of deficiency and how quickly the imbalance can be corrected.

When you and your pharmacist evaluate your nutritional condition, ask what you should look for in terms of improvement. In some cases it will be the absence of indigestion. For others it might be weight loss, more energy, more restful sleep, better regularity or other improvements. In addition, on your follow-up visits to your pharmacist, you will be able to visually see through the microscope improvements in your nutritional condition.

Natural Women, Natural Menopause, Marcus Laux, ND and Christine Conrad (New York: Harper Collins, 1997)
Screaming to Be Heard, Elizabeth Lee Vliet, MD (New York: M. Evans and Co., 1995)
Dr. Susan Love’s Hormone Book, Susan Love, MD and Karen Lindsey (New York: Random House, 1997)
The Super Hormone Promise, William Regelson, MD and Carol Colman (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1996)
Susan Weed
Christiane Northrup, MD
John Lee, MD

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