PLANT ENZYME THERAPY
Enzymes are a class of proteins with the property to split chemical bonds. The enzymes behave like molecular cleavers acting on these molecules by splitting the bonds which hold them together. There are many different classes of enzymes and they are widely used to break down organic material in your septic tank for example, or in helping with the process of cleaning up oil spills, in various types of industry, and even for some forms of advanced medical treatment.
The entire animal and plant kingdoms, essentially all living organisms, manufacture their own classes of enzymes to set off chemical reactions for a number of functional activities. The moment you put something starchy in your mouth, saliva glands secrete and the enzyme ptyalin (an amylase) begins to break apart the starches into simpler sugar forms. That’s just the very beginning of the digestive cascade, and as the food bolus proceeds through the gastro-intestinal tract, other types of digestive enzymes are secreted to continue and complete the digestive action on the foodstuff. So just imagine now if you are a habitual gum chewer, constantly stimulating enzyme release from the salivary glands. Do you think they may become overworked and start having deficits? I think you get the picture.
Without enzyme activity there would be no digestion or assimilation. This is in specific regard to fundamental gastro-intestinal activity, as enzymes are at work in virtually all processes of the body. Plants generate similar enzymes for their needs; to grow, for photosynthesis, produce offspring (flowering and seeding), and even decay. Lysosomes (residing within the living cell) are tiny intracellular bodies often referred to as the ‘stomach’ of a cell. Lysosomes release specific enzymes to ‘digest’ unwanted elements, they also weaken and digest the cell walls of cellular ingested material, such as bacteria. You can think of enzymes as the mobilizers behind the metabolic actions of an organism from ripening to decomposition and decay.
Digestive enzymes have been studied extensively by doctors Price and Pottenger with dramatic results in cat and aboriginal groups, wherein their progeny were fed a diet devoid of enzymes. The studies showed how successive generations became less and less healthy and simply incapable of thriving. How does one neutralize the enzymes inherent within our foods? Expose it to heat, process it, microwave it, can or just cook it in any manner, and all naturally occuring enzymes are quickly destroyed. Since we cook and process most of our foods, systematically they are enzyme poor. Lacking in the pre-digestive attributes, deficits in digesting ability begins to accumulate. So unless you eat a lot of raw matter or consistently juice and quickly consume the rendered juice, somewhere in the system you are short changing your own enzymatic capabilities.
Supplements from animal sources have been designed to support deficits in the production of stomach acids, pepsin, pancreatic lipase, bile (to name a few animal based enzymes), in an effort to lend assistance to individuals with poor enzyme activity. There are even combinations of these to cover all the bases, much like a multi-vitamin complex. Unfortunately this can become a problem when combos or even a singular enzyme type, are taken regularly over time and their value and need isn’t re-evaluated frequently for it’s ongoing need.
Plant enzymes conversely, behave a bit differently in our bodies. They are still potent, but the harshness seems to be softened. And yet, plant enzymes are equally powerful catalysts. In fact cellulase which is vital to ‘-lyze’ fiber, doesn’t even exist in the animal model. Think a moment what may happen if you have low enzyme activity and you eat a bunch of cooked fiber or swallow ‘processed’ fiber products? We use these products to bulk up our fecal material. But without the ability to break them down, you are soon likely to experience blockage, bloat and steady or intermittent gastro-intestinal distress. It can be a tightrope walk to find the balance point.
Another advantage to using plant enzymes over animal enzymes is the absence of fear from microbial and chemical carry over of animal sourcing. Since so many of these plant enzymes are useful in aiding the processes of digestion for humans, why would you risk animal sourcing if it isn’t essential? As well, plant enzymes can be formulated to address a wide range of issues that go beyond the digestive tract including assistance to respiration, lymphatics, the urinary system and the nervous system, to name a few. As an example, just think what bromelain (an enzyme from pineapple) and papain (from papaya) can do for inflammation! Further, lacing plant enzymes with tiny amounts of various nutrients can make all the difference in the nutrients’ ability to be absorbed and utilized. Without the required enzyme activity, you are essentially flushing the nutrients down the toilet. If you’ve learned to scrutinize ingredient listings, then perhaps you have noticed the inclusion of enzymes to the listings of some brands of multi-vitamins. Manufacturers do this in an effort to help ensure the usefulness of the vitamins and minerals supplied, since our actual ability to use them is greatly dependent on the health status of our digestive tracts.
Suffice it to say, that above and beyond digestive insufficiency, I have found plant enzyme therapy, when properly administered and regulated, to be the missing key to success for numerous conditions. Addressing enzymatic deficit can catapult the effectiveness of every other modality of healing.