Growing up, I learned about vitamins and minerals, but I never remember learning about enzymes. In fact, it wasn’t until I extended my professional education at naturopathic school that I began hearing the word “enzymes” flow freely from the tongue of every professor. Shortly after graduation, I began studying Enzyme Nutrition at the Loomis Institute now known as “Food Enzyme Institute.”
What is Enzyme Nutrition?
Enzyme nutrition is the art and science of using food to maintain homeostasis “balance” in the body. Using whole foods that contain protein, carbohydrates and fats along with vitamins, minerals, and enzymes the body can sustain optimal health.
What are Enzymes?
Simply put, Enzymes are the spark of life. Without them, life would not exist. They are responsible for every biochemical reaction that occurs in the human body. There are thousands of enzymes in the body that activate our muscles, stimulate our nerves, make our hearts work and keep us breathing.
What types of Enzymes exist?
There are three major types of enzymes:
• Metabolic Enzymes (Enzymes that work in the blood, organs, and tissues)
• Digestive enzymes (secreted within the body to digest food)
• Raw Food Enzymes (contained in all raw food)
What is the function of Enzymes?
Enzymes are proteins – they make things happen. When secreted in the digestive tract, they help break down carbohydrates, fats, and dietary proteins and detoxify alcohol.
All of the nutrients necessary to sustain life reside in the food we eat. The breakdown of food is an essential part of the conversion of food into energy. Undigested food is unable to pass on the energy stored within it. Our digestive systems are designed to change foods for absorption of those nutrients through the gastrointestinal tract into the bloodstream and to the organs that depend on those nutrients for life and health. The body that is starved of enzymes year after year will rob other enzymes from enzyme-rich organs like the heart or pancreas, which can lead to degenerative disease
What are the different types of Enzymes?
There are four main types of food enzymes:
• Proteases break down proteins like meat and beans
• Amylases break down carbohydrates (potatoes, pasta, bread, cookies, etc.)
• Lipases break down fats (olives, avocados, etc.)
• Cellulases break down fiber (lettuce, celery carrots, etc.)
Do I need Enzymes in my diet?
If you are like most Americans and eat a “SAD DIET” (Standard American Diet) that is processed, pasteurized, canned, microwaved, or fried, you need food enzymes. Enzymes are the most heat sensitive nutrients found in food. When food enzymes are missing, the body is forced to produce all the enzymes necessary for digestion. This puts added stress on the organs of digestion to supply the enzymes needed to activate the digestion process.
How can I avoid Enzyme deficiency?
Digesting food is one of the most energy time-consuming tasks performed by the human body on a regular basis. When foods are deficient in enzymes, the body must use its energy to make enzymes digest food – why we are often tired after we eat. To avoid enzyme deficiency, eat as many raw fruits and vegetables as possible and supplement with a food based digestive enzyme
What are the signs of Enzyme deficiency?
Most commonly, Enzyme deficiency is seen in those who suffer from indigestion, gas, bloating, fatigue, bowel irregularity, and headaches. Consumers spend 80 billion dollars each year to reduce those symptoms which are all related to enzyme deficiency. If you have any of those signs, it is possible you are enzyme deficient.
What should you do if you have signs of Enzyme deficiency?
Because no two people are the same, there are different enzyme formulations for different people. It is best to consult with an Enzyme Specialist trained in finding the source of stress within the body and recommending the correct enzyme and diet modification to bring the body back into balance.
Yours in Good Health,
Brenda Baker, ND, CNHP, LDHS