FOCUS ON HEALTHY FUNCTION - BODY SYSTEMS, METABOLIC PRIORITY SEQUENCE, AND MACRONUTRIENTS
Dr. Harvey is a certified Enzyme Practitioner offering Loomis Enzymes® through Stable Wellness. If you don't yet know why you want to talk to her about getting yourself and your animals on enzymes, read on! These premium quality enzymes help with a myriad of issues and have proven especially beneficial to our clients' horses who deal with gastric issues.
ENZYMES: ESSENTIAL NUTRIENTS
Food is fuel for living. It contains essential nutrients such as carbohydrates, fats, protein, vitamins, and minerals to keep our bodies healthy and strong. However, some nutrients in raw food have not yet been widely recognized as essential to health and wellness: enzymes.
Countries in Europe and Asia, for example, are far ahead of the United States in recognizing the value of adding enzymes to not only daily dietary intake but also injury and surgery recovery regimens.1 In the United States, nutritional references recommend eating at least five to six servings of fresh fruits and vegetables each day to maintain health. What do fresh fruits and vegetables contain that canned or processed fruits and vegetables do not? Enzymes.2
Enzymes are very large and complex protein molecules. They are very specific to what they will break down or digest. Besides moisture, they require three things to become active: the proper temperature, the proper pH (acid or alkaline), and the right substrate (or material) to break down. For example, protease—the enzyme that breaks down protein—will only work on protein, not carbohydrate.
Enzymes run the biochemical reactions in living things including humans, animals, and plants. This means that enzymes do the "work" in the body whereas vitamins and minerals, also known as coenzymes, are only building blocks. What isn't commonly understood is how important enzymes are to digestion and to the concept of staying healthy.
Enzymes are a natural part of vegetables, fruits, grains, and other raw food. Enzymes ripen then slowly "digest" raw food. For those of us who cannot live on a farm or close to an agricultural center, our food is generally purchased at grocery stores or supermarkets where food needs to stay fresh and look appealing. Moreover, our present-day society requires food to have extended shelf life as food is shipped from country to country, coast to coast. Food enzymes may be important, but they pose a very difficult problem for the food industry. Whether food is canned, pasteurized, genetically engineered, cooked, or packaged, enzymes must be systematically removed from our food supply for economic and practical reasons. Have you ever wondered how scientists are able to genetically engineer tomatoes to stay fresher longer? The enzyme content of the tomato is reduced or slowed so it does not digest itself as quickly. We are taught that a tomato rots; in reality, it is being digested or broken down by its own enzymes.
While it is regrettable that our food supply must be so radically altered, it is clearly necessary. But, if we fortify our foods with lost nutrients like vitamins and minerals, why not replace the enzymes? No other nutritional supplement can be substituted. Supplemental enzymes are not destroyed in the stomach, as many skeptics, who do not fully understand the digestive process, claim.3
1. Numerous references exist. Please refer to the clinical studies references.
2. "Complete Guide to Home Canning", Agriculture Information Bulletin No. 539, USDA, Reviewed 1994.
3. Orally administered enzymes are fast becoming part of medical protocols. Refer to the clinical studies references for more information.
Digestion is largely taken for granted by just about everybody. You may assume that what you put into your mouth is going to be digested. But, digestion doesn't just happen: it is a complicated process that is extremely important and should not be overlooked as a root cause for many health problems. When digestion does not occur the way it should, symptoms such as gas, bloating, and pain may result.
Digestion, or hydrolysis, is the process of breaking up food "into simpler chemical compounds by means of hydrolyzing enzymes or chemical action…."4 In other words, digestion breaks up food into small units so the body can use the nutrients for energy or growth and repair. More to the point, hydrochloric acid does not digest food; enzymes do.5 If hydrochloric acid cannot be adequately produced, as may be the case with older adults, 6 enzymes do not activate.
The normal digestive process begins in the mouth. While you chew food, your salivary glands secrete digestive enzymes that begin to work immediately. You can demonstrate this enzyme action for yourself by thoroughly chewing a piece of bread. After a short time, the bread will begin to taste sweet as the sugar-digesting enzymes in the saliva liberate the sugar in the bread. If raw food is eaten, the naturally occurring enzymes in that food will also participate. If the food enzymes have been denatured or destroyed through a food processing method, only the enzymes in the saliva are available to begin digestion. Even after being chewed, some food pieces are still too large to pass through the wall of the stomach and intestines. They must be broken down into much smaller pieces.
Contrary to the popular conception of a bubbling cauldron of acid, your stomach is nearly empty when you first begin to eat. When you swallow food, the stomach begins to produce the acid and enzymes needed for digestion. This window of time, while the body gathers hydrochloric acid in the stomach, can last for up to one hour. In the meantime, the salivary enzymes and food enzymes are continuing to work at breaking down the ingested food.
As hydrochloric acid gathers in the stomach, it becomes an acidic environment. This acidity is ideal for the activation of the protein-digesting enzyme, pepsinogen, which upon activation becomes pepsin. These protein-digesting enzymes begin working while the food and salivary enzymes are deactivated, since this environment is not optimal for certain enzymes to work. Moreover, these enzymes—supplemental and naturally occurring—are not destroyed.7 Based on the amount and type of food you have eaten, the body produces the exact amount of enzymes needed to continue digesting the food.8
After the food leaves the stomach, it enters the upper part of the small intestine, called the duodenum. It is here that the liver (and gallbladder, if you still have yours) adds bile to the mix, making the intestinal environment alkaline. Bile does not contain enzymes and does no digestive work. However, it is responsible for degreasing food. In other words, bile acts as a detergent and breaks down any fats or oils that are coating the food. This step is necessary so that the enzymes from the pancreas can reach the food and finish digestion.
The enzymes that work in an alkaline environment are activated, such as supplemental pancreatic enzymes (derived from animals). The body has done most of the work by this time; therefore, supplemental pancreatic enzymes do not necessarily help with digestion before this point. The digested food particles now pass through the intestinal wall to be assimilated by the body. The indigestible portions of the food, such as insoluble fiber, are pushed into the colon for elimination. When one step of the process does not happen, the subsequent digestive actions are affected. For instance, if you take antacids, you are reducing your body's ability to produce hydrochloric acid and, therefore, your ability to digest protein, which now has no way of being thoroughly broken down. Protein digestion must begin in the acidic environment of the stomach.
4. Stedman's Medical Dictionary.
5. Guyton, pp. 833-844.
6. Sharp and Fister; Sandstrom and Abrahamsson; and Krasinski, Russell, and Samloff. See the clinical studies references.
7. Ambrus, Lassman, and DeMarchi; Rothman, Liebow, and Isenman. See the clinical studies references.
8. Boivin et al. See the clinical studies references.
Enzymes are measured by the amount of work they do. This is referred to as an enzyme's activity. The United States Pharmacopoeia (USP) outlines the standard units to measure the activity for most enzymes in the Food Chemical Codex (FCC). However, there are enzymes which are not defined in this publication: Proteolytic enzymes measured in DPP-IV units and proprietary enzymes are just two examples.
There is a vast amount of information available advising that an enzyme product should be labeled with these units and you should purchase the one that has the most activity. Many companies market their products in this manner, which is exactly how vitamin and mineral supplements are marketed. Unlike vitamin and mineral supplements, there is no recommended daily allowance for enzymes, nor is there a complete reference for maximum daily intake of each enzyme. Enzymes can have a profound impact on your body's chemistry and taking mega-doses of an enzyme is rarely a good choice.
Loomis Enzymes® does not market products in this fashion. While Loomis agrees with very little the competitors espouse, they do agree that enzymes should be purchased by their activity and the activity should be measured as prescribed by the FCC (if listed). Loomis products are backed by significant clinical work, perfecting the activity level of each enzyme used. Loomis believes the information and research accumulated in this time is proprietary and protects it by listing enzymes in a "Proprietary Blend" with a cumulative weight. This method of labeling products is authorized by the FDA in CFR 21 101.36, Nutrition labeling of dietary supplements.
Loomis Enzymes® sources, formulates, tests, and manufactures enzymes by activity. If an enzyme is listed in the FCC, Loomis requires the activity to be measured in the unit it prescribes. Several Loomis products are the strongest available, while formulas with botanicals may only use enough enzymes to assimilate those botanicals. Many Loomis products have been on the market for over 20 years and have an unblemished safety record. Loomis stands behind all their products with a 100% satisfaction guarantee.
WHY USE HERBS AND WHOLE FOOD COMPLEXES WITH ENZYMES?
The herbs are analyzed for protein, carbohydrates, fats, and fiber, and appropriate enzymes are added to the encapsulation to ensure proper assimilation. Nutrients are then delivered, past an incompetent digestive system, and the body is nourished. This is the original concept on which Dr. Loomis founded Enzyme Formulations®, Inc.
Whole herbs and even certain foods were used long ago for their healing properties, before active ingredients were thought to be the answer to "what ails you." High-potency herbal supplements, extracts, and vitamins and minerals are really concentrated chemical compounds, needing to be detoxified by the body just like any drug. When your diet is lacking in raw foods and fresh fruits and vegetables, take enzymes to supplement your nutritional needs and assist in digesting your diet. Above all else, however, exercise and a good diet consisting of fresh fruits, vegetables, and protein are important to leading a healthy lifestyle.
In developing a product line using herbs, we must blend theory not only with physiology and biochemistry but also with common sense. Theoretically, the fresh plant, straight from the garden or field, would seem to have the most effective and pure applicability to human health. Such a plant would be unspoiled by any processing and intact in its contents.
Many medicinal plants are best in the fresh state, especially the culinary herbs. The aromatic oils and oleoresins are actively present, and any water-soluble vitamin loss is minimized. But, the use of drying renders some plants, which would otherwise be far too active to use at all, tame and safe. It is a basic principle of botany that the drying of plants reduces alkaloid activity, reducing this content further the longer the drying proceeds.
Any assumption about the action of a plant that relies solely on the basis of the action of a constituent should be resisted. It should always be recalled that the action of the whole plant is more than the action of its parts. We look at constituents for the following reasons:
to provide possible explanations for the already perceived action of the whole plant;
to point to possible actions, beneficial or harmful, that might have been missed because of the context of traditional use (cardiac benefits and certain long-term toxic effects, for example, may both have escaped notice in the past);
to find any evidence for the particular therapeutic approach traditionally applied to the use of herbal remedies–particularly for the claim that they provoke recuperative responses;
to illustrate the full diversity of plant pharmacology.
"High in calcium," "low in sodium," "potassium-rich," "lacking copper balance": the elements are named in their free state, not in their actual combinations with each other. It is necessary to learn a little basic physiology to appreciate this method of categorizing plant contents. All the chemistry of foods, fluids, etc. ingested daily goes through a rearrangement in various parts of the digestive apparatus and with associated organs like the liver and pancreas. What goes in as a food or plant rich in certain compounds will emerge for distribution through the blood after a game of chemical musical chairs.
Therefore, when an herb is labeled "rich in calcium," there will be a predominance of calcium compounds available for breakdown by the liver, for example, into other calcium compounds. During this activity, the free ions of calcium cross the floor to dance with another chemical partner. The whole process introduces a calcium-rich environment as this changeover is taking place. Any calcium compounds needed by the body will be eagerly combined.
So an herb rich in calcium will be expected to provide nutrients for bones, teeth, nails, hair, and nerve fibers if the digestive tract can assimilate them out of the food. When you read of a plant which improves the health and function of bones, teeth, nails, and so on, you would expect to find it rich in calcium, the mineral most needed for these body parts to function well.
As you now know, enzymes play a very important role in overall wellness. Message or call Dr. Harvey to determine which of Loomis's formulas should be in your first order!