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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What are enzymes?
Enzymes are protein molecules which carry a vital energy factor needed for every chemical action and reaction that occurs in our body. There are several thousand different enzymes found in the human body. These enzymes can combine with co-enzymes to form nearly 100,000 various chemicals that enable us to see, hear, feel, move, digest food and think. Every organ, every tissue, and all the 100 trillion cells in our body depend upon the reaction of enzymes and their energy factor. Nutrition cannot be explained without describing the part that enzymes play.

Can enzymes help fight disease?
Yes. There is a connection between the strength of our immune system and our enzyme level. The more enzymes we have, the stronger our immune system will be and the healthier and stronger we will be. For example, leukocytes (white blood cells) have eight (8) different amylase enzymes which assists the white blood cell to engulf foreign substances and reduce them to a form that the body can eliminate. Research has shown that leukocytes increase after one has eaten a cooked meal. This indicates a definite compensatory measure on the part of the body to transport more enzymes to the digestive tract for digestion. There is no increase in leukocytes after one has consumed a raw food meal. Research has shown that enzymes are related to all diseases via the immune system, whether the disease is acute or chronic. If the pancreatic output of enzymes is hindered, the whole body is affected. Therefore, we must eat raw foods or take supplemental enzymes to enable our body's immune system to fight against infections.

Is there a difference between raw and cooked calories?
Research supports that there is a difference. Normal non-diabetic and diabetic subjects were fed raw starch and then had their blood tested for sugar. It is well documented that eating cooked starch causes the blood sugar of diabetics to increase significantly. The diabetics who participated in this research found that their sugar level rose only 6 milligrams the first half hour. Then it decreased 9 milligrams after 1 hour, and 14 milligrams 2 hours after ingestion of the raw starch. In the non-diabetic persons there was a slight increase followed by a slight decrease in blood sugar in 1 hour. This research indicates that there is a difference between raw and cooked calories.

I've heard that some foods contain enzyme inhibitors. Is this true?
Yes. Tree nuts, seeds, beans, and grains contain enzyme inhibitors, along with a very active number of enzymes. But because enzymes are very active entities, nature had to put a rein on them and make them dormant until such a time as the seed could fall to the ground and be adequately covered with soil. This slowing down by nature could be called enzyme inhibition.

However, nature will inactivate these enzymes inhibitors when moisture is absorbed by the seed that is covered with soil. This is the time the seed begins germinating (sprouting) to form a seedling. Eating too many nuts and seeds, which has an abundance of enzyme inhibitors, could cause Gl- tract problems. So, you have only two options open to you: you can wait until the seed or nut begins germination, or you can take enzyme supplements with them to neutralize their enzyme inhibitors

I regularly take vitamins. Isn't that enough?
No, not if your body cannot utilize the vitamins and minerals that are taken. Vitamins and minerals are really co-enzymes themselves. As such they require that other enzymes act on them in order to release their beneficial powers. If the body is unable to supply those necessary enzymes in the proper quantities at the proper time, the vitamins and minerals simply become inert materials and pass unused through your body.

I'm taking prescribed medication. Should I continue while I take plant enzymes?
Yes, continue taking all medicine prescribed by your doctor and follow all of his instructions. Plant enzymes, since they are completely from natural organic products and are classified as food by the FDA, will not adversely effect your medication program.

What is meant by nutrition?
Simply stated nutrition is: the body's ability to consume the 45 known nutrients in their proper amounts; digest these nutrients; absorb these nutrients; carry these nutrients into the cells; metabolize these nutrients; and eliminate the waste. To accomplish all of these functions is a tough job. The following is a list of the 45 known nutrients: Carbohydrate 9-Amino Acids Water Lipids (fats) 13-Vitamin Proteins 1 9-Minerals Eating foods containing these elements (along with their enzymes) in their proper amounts will normally ensure good nutrition. Enzymes are responsible for digestion, absorption, transporting, metabolizing, and eliminating the waste of these nutrients. Again, every organ, every tissue, and all the 100 trillion cells in our body depends upon the reaction of enzymes and their energy factor.

What is "energy factor"?
The energy factor is the energy that triggers or starts the chemical reactions between enzymes. This energy factor is separate and distinct from the chemical make-up of the enzymes itself. A good example of this energy factor can be seen by placing a raw bean into a pot of boiling water. The cooked bean will fail to sprout. It's life force (energy factor) has been taken away from it. Science tells us that only living organisms can make enzymes possessing this energy factor. Chemicals that serve as catalysts work by chemical action only, while enzymes function by troth biological and chemical action. Catalysts do not contain the "energy factor" which is measured as a kind of radiant energy which enzymes emit. The energy factor of enzymes has never been synthesized. Simply stated the energy factor is the "electricity" that makes the light bulb (the enzyme) work.

How long do I need to take enzymes?
Most everyone has an enzyme deficiency to one degree or another. To quote Dr. Dick Couey, Professor of Physiology and Nutrition at Baylor University, "I will never eat another meal without taking a plant enzyme supplement. My body doesn't deserve that treatment." As long as we eat enzyme deficient food' which is simply defined as any food that has been processed or cooked, our bodies need an enzyme supplement to aid digestion, deliver the nutrients and eliminate the waste. The logical conclusion is that we will need some supplementation for as long as we live and breathe.

Can enzymes control obesity?
Very definitely. Obese individuals have been found to have a deficiency in the enzyme lipase. Lipase is found in abundance in raw foods. Cooking destroys lipase in raw foods. Lipase is the enzyme that aids the body in the breaking down of fats. Without lipase, our fat stagnates and accumulates in our arteries which could lead to heart disease. Lipase also helps us to burn fat for energy. Cooked foods which have no enzymes will put weight on more abundantly than raw foods. For example, pig farmers will not feed their pigs raw potatoes because the pigs stay lean.

However, when the farmers feed the pigs boiled potatoes the pigs become fat. Another reason why enzymes reduce obesity is because cooked foods cause drastic changes in the size and appearance of the pituitary gland. Research has found that enzymes affect our hormone producing glands and hormones influence our enzyme levels. Cooked foods causes our pancreas, thyroid, and pituitary glands to exhaust their enzymes to digest our foods. This causes our body to become sluggish and weight is gained. Raw food calories are relatively non-stimulating to glands and stabilize body weight more so than cooked food calories.

I like a meal of meat, potatoes, bread and salad. Is that bad?
It could be made better if your salad contains a lot of raw foods. However, your garden salad of raw vegetables does not contain enough enzymes, although every little bit helps, to digest the meat, potatoes, and bread. The cooked meat, potatoes, and bread do give you an abundance of minerals and vitamins, but not enough enzymes. Try to adapt to a diet which contains approximately 75% raw calories and 25% cooked calories. Eat as many fruits, vegetables, legumes, and grains foods in their raw state as possible. If you cannot make yourself eat these raw foods then you must take an enzyme supplement if you desire a long and healthy life.

I have severe allergies. Can enzyme therapy help me?
Many researcher theorize that being allergic to a raw food may be nature's way of telling us that the food's enzymes are incompatible with some unhealthy bodily condition, and the body's immune system is trying to destroy it. This confrontation between food enzyme and disease could result in the classic symptoms of itching, nasal discharges, and rashes. Scavenger enzymes are believed to patrol the blood and dissolve the waste that accumulates from the millions of metabolic reactions that takes place each second within each cell of the body. In fact, some of our scavenger enzymes are present in white blood cells. The main function of these enzymes include the attempt to prevent the arteries from clogging up and the joints from being crammed with arthritic deposits. If the scavenger enzymes find the right substrate they latch on and reduce it to a form which the blood can eliminate. If these scavenger enzymes cannot handle the waste, nature causes some of the wastes to be thrown out through the skin, or membranes of the nose and throat, which produces the familiar symptoms that we call allergies. Other researchers believe that some allergies are caused by incompletely digested protein molecules. Allergies may be helped if certain enzymes are taken that can act as scavenger enzymes or as protein digestive enzymes.

Since enzymes themselves are proteinaceous compounds, an allergic reaction is possible. Some individuals, particularly those sensitive to molds and penicillin, may experience nausea or gastric upset. If gastrointestinal sensitivity occurs, the use of enzyme products should be discontinued.

Can enzyme therapy lower cholesterol?
Yes, in most individuals. Remember, cholesterol is a form of fat. Research has substantiated that consumed animal fats tend to cause cholesterol to settle in the arteries and cause atherosclerosis. However, it has also been found that the crystal clear "purified" vegetable oils (not heated) do not raise the blood cholesterol level. One answer for this might lie with the fact that lipase is found in these unheated vegetable oils. One researcher found that the [at tissue in obese humans has less lipase than the fat tissues in a slender person which means that supplemental lipase may be needed. Three British researchers tested the enzymes in individuals with atherosclerosis to find the relationship between cholesterol and clogged arteries. They found that all enzymes studied became progressively weaker in the arteries as persons became older and also as the hardening became more severe. These researchers believe that a shortage of enzymes is part of a mechanism which allows cholesterol deposits to accumulate in the inner part of the arterial walls (intima). Another researcher found a progressive decline in lipase in the blood of atherosclerotic patients with advancing middle and old age. Yet another researcher found that not only was lipase low in older persons, but that older atherosclerotic persons had slow fat absorption from the intestine. He also found that some absorbed fat was in the unhydrolyzed state. When he fed lipase extracted from animal pancreas to the older and younger persons he found a definite improvement in fat utilization. Think of the advantage of taking the plant enzyme lipase at the beginning of the meal to help in the predigestion of food.

Should children use enzyme therapy?
Yes. Children usually eat the same enzyme deficient foods as their parents. It should be pointed out the importance of breast feeding in comparison to bottle feeding and acquiring enzymes. Children that are breast-fed acquire dozens of enzymes from their mother's milk. Bottle-fed babies receive pasteurized milk that has been heated, which destroys the milk enzymes. This causes the baby's own enzyme factory to begin using its enzyme potential from day one. Research indicates that this could be harmful for the child. Their study involved 20,061 babies that were divided into three groups (breast-fed, partially breast-fed, and bottle-fed). They studied the morbidity (sickness) rate for the first nine months of the infant's life. They found that 37.4% of the breast-fed babies had sickness in comparison to 53.8% of the partially breast-fed and 63.6% of the bottle-fed. It is obvious that babies who were entirely breast-fed had far less sickness than babies who were only partially breast-fed or who were bottle-fed. They also identified the mortality rates of these different groups which are presented as follows: No. of Infants Total Deaths % of deaths Breast-fed 9,749 15 0.15 Partially 8,605 59 .7 Bottle-fed 1,707 144 8.4 The mortality rate among the bottle-fed infants was 56 times greater than among the breast-fed. In the United States one deformed child is born every 5 minutes. This adds up to 250,000 deformed babies yearly. Dr. AndersHakannson at Lund University in Sweden discovered that when he added mother's milk to cultured cancer cells that were alive prior to the addition of the milk, he soon found them to be dead. Further tests indicated that only tumor cells were killed by the milk, while normal adult cells were left intact. Research is trying to tell us that we, which includes pregnant women and children, must eat raw foods that contain enzymes and/or take supplemental enzymes.

Does a raw food diet or juicing ensure enough enzymes in our system?
Raw food provides only enough enzymes to digest that particular food. There are no extra enzymes in raw food to digest cooked or processed food. Due to the risk of bacterial contamination many foods should not be eaten raw, including meats, poultry, eggs and beans. Also, the fiber content normally found in raw food is very difficult to digest due to the body's inability to produce cellulase.

Do enzymes help with insomnia?
Sometimes. There are many causes of insomnia. The causes that are associated with hormonal imbalances in the endocrine system have been shown to respond favorably to enzyme therapy. The lack of metabolic enzymes will definitely affect the secretions of the pituitary gland, which could lead to insomnia. Eat raw foods or taking special plant enzyme supplements will enhance your endocrine system.

How about enzymes and psoriasis?
Many dermatologists have reported favorable results with enzyme therapy. In the early 1930s researchers found that they could treat psoriasis by having their patients eat large quantities of raw butter. Raw butter contains large amounts of lipase. Recent research has found that massive doses of lipase will help cure it. However, when large amounts of concentrated enzymes are used, it is essential that the patient be observed by a doctor with experience along these lines.

Can you overdose on enzymes?
Research is uncertain. However, data from over sixty years revealed that there has not been one report of side effects from enzyme consumption. More long term studies may be needed. Plant enzymes are food.

I gained weight when using enzymes. Why?
Enzymes break down food. The same amount of food is now being broken down and the nutrients delivered or transported to the cells. This is all good. However, if the calories remain the same and the need of the body for fuel is now lessened because the nutritional value has been satisfied. the individual may temporarily gain weight. This usually balances itself out in about 21 days.

Can enzyme therapy help in my fight against cancer?
There are two theories that researchers postulate as the possible answers. First, researchers can trace the beginning of cancer to the cell's DNA. Cancer cells begin with an alteration of normal DNA in the cell. Promoters, such as stress, saturated fat, obesity, ultra violet rays from the sun and others cause the four nucleotides (adenine, guanine, cytosine and thymine) that make up DNA to change their normal chemistry which causes the cell to make the wrong protein. Once the wrong protein is made, the cell will continue to make the wrong protein forever. These cells spread (metastasize) and destroy other cells. Probably at any given time your body has approximately 100 to maybe 10,000 of these cells trying to make the wrong protein. But nature has provided repair enzymes to travel up and down the DNA structures and correct the errant proteins. If you take supplemental digestive enzymes the body's metabolic enzymes can be freed from the work of digestion to make and use more of these repair enzymes to help prevent cancer cells from beginning. The second theory proclaims that cancer cells are covered with a protein covering that protects them from attacking white blood cells. The reason why the white cells won't attack the cancer cell is because the white cell cannot recognize the cancer cells as dangerous to the body. It is believed by many researchers that the protein covering disguises the cancer cell as friendly to the body's white blood cells. Taking an enzyme supplement (especially protease, which digest or breaks down proteins) may break down the outer protein covering of the cancer cell so that the white blood cell may recognize it as unfriendly and destroy it.

Can enzyme therapy work on diabetes?
It depends on the type of your diabetes. Type II (adult onset) normally responds better to enzyme therapy than Type I juvenile). Research has shown that when there is a lack of blood amylase, blood sugar levels can be higher than normal. When the enzyme amylase is administered, blood sugar levels drop significantly. One researcher showed that 86% of the diabetics that he examined had a deficiency of amylase in their intestinal secretions. He administered amylase to a majority of these patients, and found that 50% of the diabetics who were users of insulin could control their blood sugar levels without the use of insulin. Amylase may help with storage and utilization of sugar in the blood. Another researcher found that cooked starch foods, where amylase and other enzymes are destroyed, caused the blood sugar levels to rise significantly one-half hour after ingestion. After two hours the cooked food starch eaters' blood sugar level fell quickly and significantly. This resulted in fatigue, anxiety, and sluggishness. In comparison, the raw starch eaters' brood sugar levels only experienced a slight rise and drop. These patients experienced a much more steady metabolic rate and emotional stability. Many diabetics could lower their insulin requirements if they would eat raw foods and take plant enzyme supplements. Enzymes will not cure diabetes, but they will help!

Just what are supplemental enzymes?
Supplemental enzymes are enzymes that have been extracted in some manner, from either plants or animals, and are given in addition to a normal diet. Pepsin (an enzyme that digest proteins) was the first enzyme used by doctors to help with protein digestion. Pepsin was extracted from the stomach of pigs and requires a very low pH to be used by the body It is best used in skin products for exfoliation of the skin and for meat tenderizers. Another enzyme supplement was made from the pancreas of slaughterhouse animals, which could not only digest proteins, but carbohydrate and fats as well. However, the pancreatic enzymes work best in an alkaline medium, which is present in the duodenum. Pancreatic enzymes will not work in the acidic stomach and cannot perform predigestion. There is little need to take these supplemental enzymes for digestion purposes. In order for supplemental enzymes to work they must be able to help with predigestion in the upper stomach (fundus). The Japanese have developed a method for extracting protease, amylase, cellulose and lipase enzymes from fungi which work throughout the entire digestive system. Although there are hundreds of varieties of aspergilli, the strains (Aspergillus oryzae and Aspergillus Niger) used in the fermentation of plant enzymes have been tested to be free of mycotoxins. Extracts of these enzymes are dried into powders and put into capsules.

These enzymes should be taken with a meal if predigestion is to be most effective. The reason for this is if you wait until finishing the meal, you delay the action of the enzymes on the food.

How do enzymes work in the stomach?
Food entering the stomach is called a bolus. The stomach has two distinct divisions--Fundus (upper part) and Pylorus (lower part). The bolus remains in the upper part for approximately one hour. This is where predigestion takes place. The fundus is where digestive food enzymes begin to break down the food into carbohydrates, fats and protein. Raw foods supply their own digestive enzymes, thus saving the stomach from supplying all the enzymes. Cooked foods, which has no enzymes, must wait in the fundus until the stomach supplies the enzymes. Predigestion by food enzymes occurs in every creature on earth. The only exception is the human being on an enzyme-free diet. The upper section has no peristalsis (movement of food), acid, or pepsin and therefore, if enzymes are not provided in the diet, only minimal digestion can occur.

The lower stomach (pylorus) performs the second step in digestion, but of protein only. In the lower part of the stomach, pepsin (a powerful digestive enzyme) and hydrochloric acid continue the digestive process. The predigested food now enters the small intestine and is called chyme. Here, the pancreas and small intestine cells secrete their enzymes to further break down the chyme into glucose (carbohydrates), fatty acids (fats) and amino acids (proteins) for absorption into the villi (absorption cells in the small intestine). The human stomach is really two stomachs with separate functions. Our stomachs have been provided with the means of permitting outside enzymes to help with the burdens of digesting food. Thus, we don't have to make all of our own digestive enzymes to digest our food. This will allow us to make more metabolic enzymes as needed and make us more healthy.

How do enzymes work in the body?
When we eat raw foods the enzymes in the food are activated by heat and moisture in the mouth. Once active, these enzymes digest a significant portion of our food and make it small enough to pass through the villi (small projections found in the small intestines) and into the blood. Metabolic enzymes found in the blood then take the digested 45 known nutrients and build them into muscles, nerves, bones, blood, lungs, and various glands. Every cell in the body depends on certain enzymes. Each enzyme has a specific function in the body which is referred to as enzyme specificity. A protein digestive enzyme will not digest a fat and a fat enzyme will not digest starch. Enzymes act upon chemicals and change them into another chemical, but remain unchanged themselves. Simply stated our chemicals are changed from their original identity by the enzyme to another chemical with a different identity. Without enzymes nothing in our body would work.

I've heard that we lose our ability to creat enzymes as we age. Why?
Bartos and Groh enlisted 10 young and 10 old men and used a drug to stimulate the pancreatic juice flow. The juice was then pumped out and tested. It was found that considerably less of the enzyme amylase was present in the pancreatic juices of older men. It was determined that the enzyme deficiency of the older group was due to exhaustion of the cells of the pancreas. Other research indicates that not only are there fewer enzymes in the pancreas but also in the trillion cells in our body as we age. One explanation for this might be that our pancreas, which weighs only three (3) ounces, cannot begin to supply the vast amount of enzyme activity required for the pancreatic secretion, not to mention the tremendous need for protein to equip the enzyme complex. The pancreas must borrow these entities stored in the cells to make the enzyme complex. This could be a definition of "old age" because old age and debilitated metabolic enzyme activity are synonymous. If we postpone the debilitation of metabolic enzyme activity, then we might delay the aging process and possibly increase the life span to its genetic potential.

What effects will I notice if I start taking enzymes?
It depends. Please understand that plant enzymes are not "magic pills". Rather, they supplement the work of your body's organs and glands to completely digest the food you eat. Some people will notice a dramatic improvement in their energy levels and feeling of vitality. Others might notice significant improvement in the functioning of their digestive tract and relief of long term chronic conditions. Some people's recognition of improvement will be more subtle and gradual. It all depends on the underlying condition of deficiency and how quickly the imbalance can be corrected.

How will I know if taking enzymes is actually helping me?
When you and your pharmacist evaluate your nutritional condition, ask what you should look for in terms of improvement. In some cases it will be the absence of indigestion. For others it might be weight loss, more energy, more restful sleep, better regularity or other improvements. In addition, on your follow-up visits to your pharmacist, you will be able to visually see through the microscope improvements in your nutritional condition.

I thought my body created all the enzymes I need?
Not really. Because we eat so much cooked, processed and refined food, we must supplement our bodys' natural production of enzymes required for digestion. If we do not then the food we eat will not be completely digested and the by- products of incompletely digested food will be deposited in areas of our body where it can create toxicity, lead to declining health, contribute to the development of chronic conditions and impair immune system functioning.

How will taking enzymes improve my health?
The following are ways in which enzymes may help improve health:
Purifies our blood. It is a known fact that fungal forms, parasites and bacteria are made up of protein. Viruses also have a protein coating as a shell that protect them. The enzyme protease breaks down proteins, and since the invaders of our blood system are protein, it makes sense that ingesting protease could break down the protein invaders.

Strengthens our immune system. Enzymes have been found to deliver nutrients to our cells, carry away toxic debris, digest our food, purify our blood, deliver hormones by feeding and fortifying our endocrine system and balance our cholesterol and triglycerides levels while doing no harm to our body

Breaks down fats. Research has shown that the enzyme lipase breaks down and digests fat. This takes stress off our gallbladder, liver and pancreas. This will enhance weight loss.

Enzymes lower our cholesterol and triglycerides levels. Cholesterol and triglycerides are fats that circulate in our blood stream. The enzyme lipase will control the release of these fats which could protect us from certain forms of heart disease, like atherosclerosis.

Enzymes enhance our mental capacity. Our body usesglucose called from the liver to feed and fortify the hypothalamus. Glucose is made from the protein stored in our liver. Most all plant foods contain protein enzymes. Our red blood cells carry oxygen to the brain and along with glucose to feed the brain cells. When there is a dysfunction with this mechanism we become fatigued and are unable to think clearly. The hypothalamus directs our endocrine system and is responsible for our water balance, body temperature, appetite and emotions.

Enzymes cleanse our colon. Foods that are not digested properly are stored in our colon and digestive problems can begin. Some researchers estimate that nearly 70% of all illness starts in our colon. Undigested protein putrefies, carbohydrates ferment, and fats turn rancid in our colon. Enzymes will break down our foods properly and keep our colon free of these toxins. In fact, it is recommended by many researchers that it is healthy to have at least two bowel movements per day.

Enzymes help us sleep. Enzymes enhance our endocrine glands. The under nourished endocrine system may create a malfunction in our hormonal system which can upset our nervous system and sleep patterns. When we are unable to digest our food or deliver the nutrients to keep our endocrine and nervous system in balance, we cannot rebuild our lifestyle or energy level.

Enzymes help us shed excess weight and fat. Many overweight people have a metabolic imbalance or will soon create one.

Remember, our endocrine system regulates our metabolism. Once we are able to fortify the endocrine system, have our bowels working regularly and can digest our food rather than turning it into fat, we have a successful combination. Enzymes, especially lipase, will break down our fats properly, which will help us bum fat, thus promoting weight loss.

Improves aging skin. An adequate supply of enzymes are absolutely essential for keeping the skin young-looking and healthy. Enzymes fight the aging process by increasing blood supply to the skin, bringing with it life-giving nutrients and carrying away waste products that can make your skin look dull and wrinkled. Our circulation slows down as we get older. To counteract this we need to consume more enzymes.

Maintains proper pH balance our Gl-tract. Friendly flora such as L. Acidophilus and bifidobacerium are important to the intestinal tract for maintaining proper pH and also for controlling the population of potential pathogenic organisms like clostridium and Candida. Plant flora enzymes have now been proven to be very effective in the pathogen control role of beneficial bacteria. Another role of beneficial bacteria is the actual synthesis of highly favorable natural chemicals in the colon through the fermentation process. These fermentive products include such molecular species as natural antibiotics and very importantly, digestive enzymes. These enzymes can play an extremely important role in the digestion of otherwise incompletely digested food substances, especially proteins.

Enzymes maintain proper pH balance in the urine. Research has shown that a balance of the plant enzymes (lipase, protease, and amylase) eaten by individuals produce a proper urine pH of 6.3 to 6.6 in 24 hour urinalysis.

Disclaimer: The entire contents of this website are based upon the opinions of the author(s). Individual articles are based upon the opinions of the respective author. The information on this website is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and is not intended as medical advice. It is intended as a sharing of knowledge and information from the research and experience of the authors. You are encouraged to make your own health care decisions based upon your research and in partnership with a qualified health care professional.