- In 1930, there were only 80 known enzymes. By 1993, more than 2,700 enzymes had been identified!
- Enzymes are catalysts for more than 5,000 different chemical reactions in the human body.
- Each body cell has more than 100,000 enzyme particles necessary for metabolic processes.
- The body needs a constant enzyme supply: Enzymes are destroyed once they have completed their specific tasks.
- Enzymes are found in all living cells, including raw, plant-based foods as well as cooked foods to a temperature of lower than 107 degrees Fahrenheit.
Once the specific metabolic task is complete, the enzyme is depleted, meaning the human body requires a continual replacement of enzymes for its vitality.Enzymes are among the most important nutrients because they start or accelerate processes in the body that are necessary for optimal health -- and sustaining life itself! Enzymes are highly specialized in their individual functions and the conditions required to complete the appointed tasks. They also need the presence of other substances known as cofactors (minerals, vitamins and other proteins) to function properly. In fact, the three-dimensional structure of an enzyme must fit perfectly with its cofactor in order to work. Examples of enzymes and their functions:
- Cellulase: converts cellulose into beta-glucose to provide stable fuel for the body, maintaining blood sugar; sustains healthy cholesterol levels; reinforces cell membranes to protect from toxins and damage
- Protease, lipase, amylase: hydrolase enzymes that trigger the breakdown of proteins into amino acids (protease) as well as fats (lipase) and carbohydrates (amylase) from foods in your diet
- DNA ligase: facilitates the joining of DNA strands together by catalyzing the formation of a phosphodiester bond
- Tyrosinase: catalyzes one of the steps by which hair and eye color pigments are formed
- Lactase: catalyzes the hydrolysis of lactose into glucose and galactose (a lack of lactase is known as lactose intolerance)
- Ribosomes: links amino acids together in the order specified by messenger RNA molecules
“At the simple thought of eating or the smell of food, the salivary glands begin to secrete saliva into the mouth. The principle enzyme found in saliva is a carbohydrate-digesting enzyme that immediately mixes with the food as it is masticated thoroughly in the mouth, where the process of digestion begins, and continues throughout the stomach and small intestine.”The digestive tract’s pH range greatly varies from very acidic in the stomach to more alkaline in the small intestine. Most of the supplements derived from animal sources lack stability in the acidity of the gastric region. The good news is that plant and microbial enzymes sources are stable throughout a much broader range and are ideally suited for survival throughout the gastrointestinal tract.
Enzyme Potential Exhaustion and The Natural SolutionDuring the mid-1900s, Dr. Edward Howell, author of Enzyme Nutrition, theorized that the body contains a bank account of enzyme potential. Because all body functions, including digestion, require enzymes, he believed that chronic diseases (and eventually death) will become inevitable as the enzyme potential nears exhaustion. Dr. Howell discovered that eating raw foods conserved the body’s enzyme potential as the food enzymes helped break down nutrients, requiring the body to produce fewer digestive enzymes. On the other hand, cooking (and overcooking) foods can kill the enzymes, which will begin to die at a temperature of 107 degrees while all enzymatic life is destroyed at temperatures of 122 degrees or higher. Since most vitamins are water-soluble and plant enzymes serve the body as phytochemical nutrients, heating foods will reduce or eliminate these nutrients from your diet. Chemicals can also “denature” enzymes, destroying their ability to allow the body to use nutrients. In order for the “food giants,” as Olin refers to major food-producing companies, “to produce ‘foods’ with a long shelf life, they must destroy the life force, the enzymes, within the raw foods with heat, which also depletes many of the nutrients and takes a toll on the health and well-being of the consumer.” Packaged food goes through heavy processing and pasteurization, lacking active enzymes. Without plant enzymes, the body is required to work harder to produce all the digestive enzymes necessary for completing digestion. Furthermore, when your body is deficient in certain enzymes, it must borrow them from another system in your body, which is most often the digestive system. This is because it's important to consider enzyme deficiencies as possible precursors of bodily imbalances and diseases. Enzyme deficiencies can lead to:
- Cardiovascular disease (glycogen-branching enzyme deficiency)
- Some cancers
- Digestive issues such as gas, bloating, acid reflux, abdominal pain, etc.
- Joint pain
- Skin acne, rashes and eczema
- Headaches, mood swings, brain fogs