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Enzymes – the Key to Health

Published September 13th, 2009 in Inflammatory Illnesses

Enzymes – the Key to Health

By Tammera J. Karr, MSHN, CNC, CNW, CNH  2009©

Part II

No matter what you eat, grilled T-bone steak and Idaho potatoes, cake with whipped cream or fresh green vegetables like radishes, we consume nothing more and nothing less than proteins, carbohydrates and fat’s.

In order to convert these three basic food materials into biochemical substances we can use, we require three groups of enzymes, protein-decomposing (protease), fat-decomposing (lipase), and carbohydrate-decomposing (amylase) enzymes.

Enzymatic transformation starts as soon as we take the first bite, even when it is being chewed the food is being injected and mixed with amylase in the saliva, to begin the breakdown of carbohydrates into sugars. (Poor amylase production leads to dental health.) Our bodies have a certain preference for carbohydrates, the digestive system acts on them first, then on proteins and finally on fat’s.

The better your food has been chewed, broken down and mixed with saliva, the better for the stomach. Slow down, chew well, enjoy…  First your stomach, excepts the consignment of food from the esophagus and then sends signals by means of hormones to the gall bladder and the pancreas, requesting enzymes be made available to continue the digestive process in the intestinal tract.

It is vital the digestive tract be kept healthy with fiber, nutrients, supplemental enzymes and water, in order for you to maintain health.

In your stomach, digestion continues, this is where proteins are introduced to hydrochloric acid. Your stomach makes between one and two liters of gastric juices each day containing primarily hydrochloric acid and several protein-degrading enzymes: pepsin and cathepsin.  Babies also produce the enzyme rennin, which is of special importance for the utilization of milk protein.

Cathepsin is naturally present in all animal and human tissues. Our own internal cathepsins are important in the breakdown of damaged tissues, after injuries, and possibly in the breakdown of early cancer cells.

Food Processing

People believe that the stomach is the main site of food processing, though very important, it is simply not true.  The most thorough activities are performed in the duodenum (first part of the small intestine).  For this reason, it is important that the stomach sends signals to the hormone system that work can be expected, ensuring that the intestines receive enough secretions from the pancreas.  Aside from such hormones as insulin and glucagon, the pancreas also provides about 1 ½ liters in digestive juices for the duodenum each day.  These digestive juices contained the three enzymes for digestion: proteases, lipase and amylase.

When food substances have been altered by the enzymes in the duodenum they now consist of minute fragments which can readily be used by the body, they are transported to the next two sections of the small intestine, the jejunum and ileum.  This is the area of the small intestine that is critical for nutrient uptake, not only for feeding your body, but your brain as well. The ileum is the area most affected by gluten, and waxing agents commonly found in commercial supplements’, leading to poor nutrient absorption, leaky gut and the inability to manufacture adequate vitamin D.

Taking Back Control

Every day Americans are robbing Peter to pay Paul when it comes to enzymes. Over time we no longer have enough enzymes available to us to digest foods, repair tissues, transport vitamins and minerals, build hormones, support the immune system and balance brain chemistry. As each generation consumes more and more “plastic food” our collective health spirals downward. Our children are now facing illnesses, just two generations ago thought to be illnesses of the elderly. Type 2 diabetes and arterial scleroses is in epidemic proportions in the youth of America. It’s time to invest in our health with high quality enzymes, so that all those supplements’ we are taking, and organic foods, can truly benefit our health and reduce the time and money spent waiting at the doctor’s office for the antibiotic, vaccine or pain medication of the day.