Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Necessity of Enzymes

So anyone who knows me well knows my passion in holistic health along with building a strong nutritional base with real, whole foods is gut health. I will attempt to not drag out this post. I've been known to be quite long winded when it comes to talking about our digestive system. It is so important that is remain healthy in order for our immune system to be up to par.

Today's Topic: Enzymes

You might remember this word from high school or college, but not be all too familiar with what they are, do, or how they work. So simply put enzymes are little proteins in themselves that are catalysts for different systems in the body to work properly. Each system the body has its own limited store of enzymes in order to function.

The digestive system is the only system that does not have its own enzymes. There is a wonderful reason for this arrangement. We were designed by the living holy God, Yeshua, to get our enzymes from living foods. Enzymes from food are a crucial part of digestion. Our food cannot be broken down and digested properly without them.

Again we can only receive enzymes from raw, living foods. Enzymes die at 118-120 degrees F. That means most of America is eating enzymatically dead and deficient food. That is a huge problem in our culture because we are walking round with improperly digested food, which causes tremendous distress in our bodies.

Lack of enzymes causes stomach upset, malabsorption of nutrients, constipation, sugar cravings or addictions, and a range of other symptoms. Continuing to eat foods without enzymes breaks down our immune system and causes it to be ineffective in resisting disease. Other systems then become faulty like the nervous and endocrine systems.

What happens when we continue in this pattern is our bodies are so smart. They recognize the need for enzymes. When we eat enzymatically dead food a light bulb goes off in the body. So the body says to itself, "Mmmmmmm, time to eat.......but wait! Where are the enzymes? I can't digest my food properly? I know, I know, I will borrow enzymes from my body's own bank of enzymes."

Remember the body does have limited, key word being "limited" stores, of its own enzymes. When our bodies borrow from their bank of enzymes, something happens, it's not rocket science, there then becomes a depletion. So it's just like when you borrow $50 here and $75 there from your savings account. After a while your account becomes lower and lower. What happens if you write a check and you don't have enough in the bank? You go into the red or negative, right. The same concept happens in our bodies with enzymes.

We simply need enzymes to live. So we get them two ways, From either raw food that has NOT been cooked as well as digestive enzyme capsules.Taking digestive enzymes capsules right before you eat any cooked food can make a world of difference. Different types of foods require different types of enzyme strains. Each digestive enzyme has a different function in when it breaks down that particular food.

You can purchase specific enzymes or products to help break down one particular type of food. I think it is far more beneficial to purchase a supplement with high potency and lots of different enzyme strains. This is especially true at a restaurant. You never know kitchen practices or what is used. Those of us with specific eating intolerances or even allergies really need to use enzymes before eating food not prepared in your kitchen. 

Knowingly of course, if you have an allergy or auto immune disorder do not think taking specific enzymes beforehand gives you a license to be careless. Always avoid those foods. However, accidents or cross contamination does occur. Taking enzymes prior helps the body adjust and know what do.

In general without getting too specific the enzymes and their jobs are as follows:

Protease breaks down protein.

Lipase breaks down fat.

Cellulase breaks down cellulose/fiber.

Amylase breaks down carbohydrates.

Lactase breaks down dairy.

Raw foods were created for us to be consumed in tact so that we could absorb as much nutrition as possible. Making raw foods a regular part of your regimen is crucial, whether it be salad, grabbing a piece of fruit, unroasted nuts and seeds, cut up veggies, fermented veggies, or unpasteurized and unhomogenized milk. Yes, I said raw milk! That may surprise some of you newbies to this realm or there may be some of you with your own cow or goat in your back yard. It's become a hot topic so I just want to touch on this one subject to open eyes. I kind of went there in my post about ghee. I already promised this would not be a three page post on gut health.

So dairy is not the devil. Oh I am so gonna get it, I hear it now, its okay. There is NO such thing as lactose intolerance. Gasp! Lactose is the sugar/carbohydrate in milk. Breast milk has more lactose than any other animal milk. Babies are intended to consume breast milk. That of course is in a perfect world. This is not a post on breast feeding, nor is it about moms who can't produce. I love all you mommas out there breastfeeding or not. I've helped clients make homemade formula. I'm just speaking typically.

In order to digest dairy properly, guess....guess what you need, c'mon.....enzymes! Raw milk naturally has lactase, the enzyme needed to break down the lactose so we can digest it. When we consume processed nasty puss, that's my term of endearment for store bought milk, our bodies do not know what to do with it. They get confused. It's not food anymore because those high temperatures didn't just kill the enzymes it altered the chemical structure of the milk. The heat also killed the healthy bacteria. I will not talk about probiotics even though I really, really, really want to right now! I'm not even going to talk about casein, the protein in dairy, and the differences there. Really, check out my post on ghee to learn more about cows, milk, and the differences for nutrition.

So my whole point is there are a lot misunderstood healthy foods out there. We are simply not being given accurate information because that might actually keep us healthy. Oh that is another soapbox.

The Big Picture

All of our bodies and practices are different. The older you become, the less enzymes you have so its really important to replace those enzymes. You can even take enzymes specifically for immune function, but we will get into that another day. You cannot ever get too many either. So don't let that concern you. What you need to know now is enzymes are important. We simply do NOT contain unlimited stores. We need to consume raw foods (anything uncooked or heated under 118 degrees F for enzymes to be alive). If we eat cooked food, the only way for it to break down properly is with enzymes. Taking a high quality, potent, multi-strain enzyme capsule before each cooked meal/snack will decrease stress on the body, preserve enzyme capacity so the enzymes put there can do what they are supposed to do in that particular system, and keep the digestive system functioning at optimum level.

Hope this post sheds some light on what enzymes are and why they are so important! Be blessed, be healthy, and be a good steward!

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