The “health community” is a very funny and contradicting place. Most people would invest in buying a 200$ whey protein from the purest cattle on the planet but fail to realize that without adequate enzymes, most of it goes down the toilet as it is undigested.
This is only one of the many reasons they are truly the most effective and yet neglected supplement for your health goals.
Table of Contents
What are enzymes?
The term enzymes is used to identify protein molecules that can be found in all animal and plant cells (over 2500 different ones). They are important catalysts required for proper function of the organism as their job is to make chemical reactions go faster (such as breaking down foods in digestion) without them being altered in the process.
According to recent discoveries, enzymes are responsible for both our energy levels and our well-being since low enzyme content in one’s body can make people sick (or susceptible to disease).
As mentioned earlier, enzymes are very important and necessary as they are responsible for putting together or destroying ,carrying and delivering chemical ingredients in our body. This happens throughout every single function in our bodies from breathing to drinking, eating, digesting food and absorbing nutrients, detoxifying organs, purifying blood, moving muscles, producing and regulating hormones and keeping us alive.
When we are younger we have what seems to be an unlimited supply of energy. This is partly attributed to the high amounts of enzymes that people have at that age. Unfortunately, our enzyme levels decline with age and over time, we lose this very important ability to extract high levels of energy from our foods.
This in turn, means that you feel more tired, you can’t recover as fast as you used to, and you can’t perform at your best for the same amount of time. Even food consumption changes since the food we eat these days has low nutritional value and less enzymes (because of pollution and other environmental factors).
Fatigue, getting sick often and low energy levels are signs of a body with a low enzyme content and this enzyme potential needs to be re-installed in your body. After a specific age we reach the point of no return and that is when we are left powerless and weak, exposed to all external enemies of our body.
Sources of enzyme depletion
The most common reason that enzyme depletion happens (other than age), is often our lifestyle and diet. We are slaves to eating bad quality foods, most of which is likely to contain white sugars or trans fat which in turn leads to inflammation, disease and of course depletion of enzymes.
Another source of enzyme depletion is of course stress in our daily lives. Stress has the ability to destroy cells at a similar rate as hydrochloric acid on soft tissue.
Add to this an over-reliance on technology and easy solutions, exposure to environmental and digital pollution (WiFi, cell phones etc) and we are literally defenseless against the rapid consumption and elimination of our enzyme supplies.
Also, we must realize that even foods found in nature have been exposed to the same dangers. Their enzyme levels and their enzyme production have been severely hindered and compromised. This means that food no longer contains the high levels of enzymes it once did so we would need more food to get the same enzyme portion we once did. But eating more does not solve the problem, in fact, it adds to it as you will end up with having to digest more food with less enzymes!
Higher Enzyme levels in 3 moves
So having high level of enzymes in your body is necessary for sustaining life and vitality. But how can we achieve this?
Fix your nutrition
The first step would be to improve our dietary habits and focus on our lifestyle changes.
I have spoken numerous times about the importance of a balanced nutrition in previous articles (such as this one or this one) and I will be adding more articles about this in the nutrition section of this website.
Address your Stress levels
The second step is to concentrate on limiting stress as its effects are numerous and equally harmful as I explained in another article (click on the link to read).
And last but not least, supplementation with the proper enzymes at the right time and in the right dose. You will find some of my recommendations at the end of this article but first you need to understand the different types of enzymes in order to find what is best for your specific case.
Let’s take a look at the different types of enzymes:
- Metabolic Enzymes
- Systemic Enzymes
- Digestive Enzymes
- Food enzymes
Metabolic enzymes are the ones responsible for the creation and maintenance of new cells in our body’s tissue. There are different enzyme groups in each organ in our body and each one has specific functions. When their numbers are adequate and when they are healthy, they can fully support organ function and therefore help our body thrive.
Systemic enzymes are the ones responsible for strengthening the immune health, by supporting circulation and removing inflammation from tissues everywhere in the body. This is a whole subject on its own which we will cover in another article.
Digestive enzymes are made by organs that take part in the digestive process. These are the salivary glands, stomach, pancreas, and the small intestine. Their role is to break down our food so that it can be absorbed through the walls of our small intestine and into the bloodstream where they will be directed as necessary.
The first 3 groups of enzymes are considered internal.
Food enzymes are the ones already found in the food that we consume. These enzymes are external.
Their numbers are high in raw food and tend to decrease at high temperatures (over 100-115 degrees) in the cooking process. They have the same role as the digestive ones, so they break down food in order to transfer nutrients wherever required in the body.
Unfortunately, while we can consume some foods raw (veggies and fruit), we cannot do the same with other types of food. This applies especially to those coming from animal sources (meats) or some plant sources such as rice and grains as they can be impossible to chew or hard on our digestive tract.
One could argue that if we base our food selection on veggies and fruits and only have a small amount of meat (e.g. steak) and grains or tubers (e.g. potato), we can do just fine as the enzymes in the fruit and veggies should be enough to digest all 4 types of foods.
However in this example, the food enzymes in the fruit and veggies will not be adequate to break down the protein in the steak, the carbs in the potato and the fat from the steak. Both the protein and the potato have limited supplies of food enzymes as they get destroyed during the cooking process which means that it is left to our body’s digestive enzymes to breakdown all of the above nutrients.
This in turn will put more stress on our organs’ ability to produce the higher amount of digestive enzymes they need and therefore our overall health will take a hit sooner or later. That is because our body will be focused at using bigger amounts of energy to create digestive enzymes to breakdown and digest foods instead of focusing on keeping enough nutrients (enzymes) to run its systems.
So as you can see it is absolutely necessary to have enough enzymes in our system to not only breakdown the foods we eat in order to get enough energy to rebuild and thrive but also to sustain proper organ function and health in our bodies!
This is part 1 of my 3 part series on enzymes. In the next article I will share with you the complete list of different digestive enzymes and how to properly take them to fix your digestion, optimize your nutrition and extract more energy from your food sources.
Have you taken any enzymes? If yes, what did you take and what was your experience with them? Let me know in the comments below and I will get back to you as soon as possible.
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by Nick Sigma
CWC, EH, E-YRT200