For more information
about all of our digestive enzymes,
Digestive Enzymes & Nutrition
role do enzymes play in nutrition?
Once consumed, the food containing these nutrients must be digested, meaning they must be broken apart and reduced to a state that the nutrients can be absorbed into and transported by the blood stream to all parts of the body.
body's cells are programmed to direct each nutrient to combine and interact
with other nutrients and chemicals to create still other chemicals and
compounds which, in turn, are used to build and repair the body's cells,
bones, tissue, and organs. The process is called metabolism.
Without enzymes, no metabolic activity will occur. A body that does not consistently and efficiently metabolize the essential food nutrients necessary cannot maintain optimum health.
are the types of enzymes?
Metabolic enzymes run the body. They exist throughout the body in the organs, the bones, the blood, and inside the cells themselves. These enzymes are instrumental in the growth of new cells and the maintenance of all tissue. Every organ and tissue has its own group of specialized enzymes. They are trained to run and maintain their host. When these enzymes are healthy, robust, and present in adequate numbers, they do an excellent job carrying out their mission.
The two kinds of enzymes we are concentrating on here are DIGESTIVE ENZYMES and FOOD ENZYMES. These two are active only within our digestive system. These enzymes have one main job — to digest our food.
ENZYMES are made by our body's organs. Digestive enzymes are
secreted by the salivary glands, stomach, pancreas, and the small intestine.
[Technically, digestive enzymes are also considered to be metabolic enzymes
whose metabolic role is to digest food. We are specifically distinguishing
these particular enzymes here, because they deal with digestion and they
can be supplemented from an outside source.]
Digestive enzymes and food enzymes basically serve the same function, which is to digest our food so it can be absorbed through the walls of the small intestine into the blood stream. From this viewpoint the only real difference between food enzymes and digestive enzymes is whether they come from inside our body or from the food we eat.
are digestive enzymes so important for digestion?
Here's where the problem occurs. Cooked food contains no enzymes because they have been destroyed. If you eat a meal consisting of a salad, a steak and a baked potato, there are likely enough food enzymes contained in the salad to digest it (break it down so your body can use its nutrients). But, there are no extra enzymes available to help digest the steak or the baked potato. Because the steak and potato are cooked, there are no FOOD ENZYMES available to digest them, so our body must take over and internally create the needed amount of DIGESTIVE ENZYMES to handle the digestive task.
The more we depend on our internally generated DIGESTIVE ENZYMES, the more stress we put on our body's systems and organs and the less time these systems and organs have for rebuilding and replacing worn out and damaged cells and tissue and keeping our immune system strong. Your body’s top priority is making sure it has enough nutrients to run its systems. This means digesting food and converting it into nutrients. There is no activity more important to the body than this. This takes a lot of energy and enzymes, particularly if the body must make most or all of these enzymes. Remember that no food can be digested without digestive enzymes.
Dr. DicQie Fuller, in her book The Healing Power of Enzymes, emphasizes the importance of enzymes for digestion:
"Eighty percent of our body's energy is expended by the digestive process. If you are run down, under stress, living in a very hot or very cold climate, pregnant, or are a frequent air traveler, then enormous quantities of extra enzymes are required by your body. Because our entire system functions through enzymatic action, we must supplement our enzymes. Aging deprives us of our ability to produce necessary enzymes. The medical profession tells us that all disease is due to a lack or imbalance of enzymes. Our very lives are dependent upon them!"
digestive enzymes digest food?
There are numerous categories of digestive enzymes, but for the purpose of this discussion, we will cover the three primary classes of digestive enzymes that digest our food. [NOTE: generally speaking, enzymes end with the suffix "ase."]