Vol V, No.3,

Enzymes – Digestive and Proteolytic

By Frank Jordan

Read an important Health Treatment Notice about personal health issues.

What are Enzymes?

Enzymes are proteins produced in every cell in your body, but primarily in the pancreas and other endocrine glands  shown in Figure 1.  Enzymes are essential and the fuel for every chemical action in your tissues, muscles, bones, organs and cells including digestion!  Your energy levels, immune response capabilities, inflammation status and ability to utilize nutrients through proper digestion are all governed by enzymes.  Add heart, circulatory and joint health plus cancer cell detection and elimination as additional enzyme activities and influences.  All raw foods contain enzymes designed by nature to replenish our enzyme reserve needed for good health, but how many raw foods do you eat?  Natural enzyme production also declines with age. You today are almost certainly deficient in enzymes!

The digestive system transforms food into energy for delivery where needed in the body by breaking down complex proteins, fats, and carbohydrates including sugars into smaller, simpler, and more usable forms. Without this process of converting foods eaten into simple and usable forms, digestion with assimilation and absorption of nutrients throughout the body becomes difficult to impossible. Our health is overtaxed by poor lifestyle choices and diet abuse headlined by an excess of processed foods with thousands of nutrient-void additives, plus white flour, dairy, caffeine, soft drinks, sugar, alcohol and gluttony at meals.

Digestive Enzyme Forms

Digestive enzymes are responsible for digestion of nutrients as well as their absorption, transportation, metabolization and elimination.  Digestive enzymes include three classes: proteolytic or protease needed to digest and break down protein into amino acids; lipases needed to digest fat; and amylases needed to digest carbohydrates including sugar.  The enzyme Bromelain helps in protein digestion while Papain is particularly helpful in breaking down meat fibers; with both often included in formulas for relieving indigestion.  Digestive enzymes should be taken immediately before to prevent excess acid involvement or secondarily after a meal. Food is now most often processed, pasteurized, microwaved and cooked at high temperatures, which strips natural enzymes so that we no longer ingest the needed amounts for good health – not even close!  Enzymes are indeed an endangered species that must be supplemented for presence in adequate numbers, proper location and quality for good health!

Digestion actually begins with the sight and smell of food that stimulates the secretion of enzymes in the mouth!  Tasting and chewing allows saturation of the salivary enzyme, amylase, which breaks down starches including sugar to glucose. The pH drops to an acid range as low as four or five. The upper portion of the stomach called the fundus continues to use amylase and other enzymes for pre-digestion.

Because we do not get adequate enzymes and most do not chew food properly to almost a liquid state prior to swallowing, our food is not even close to 75% broken down by digestive enzymes as it should be when arriving in the stomach, where hydrochloric acid designed to break down only the remaining 25% is confronted with 85% average undigested food in modern diets!  Then the digestive issue of our times – how to compensate for the lack of needed enzymes in the initial digestive phase?

Due to a lack of natural enzymes, acid attempts to perform almost the entire digestive process, but fails miserably while manifesting the excess acid as acid reflux suffered by millions.  Because of a lack of enzymes, food lumps in the stomach and stays for an hour or more largely undigested even after introduction of acid.  Ever felt like you had a giant lump of clay in your stomach after eating too much?  In essence, you did with accompanying bloating and gas!  In fact, we often lack sufficient acid, meaning taking the popular antacid products could make the digestive problems associated with stomach acid even worse instead of better!  As a note, Betaine hydrochloride (Hcl) is a source of hydrochloric acid, which occurs naturally in the stomach often taken as a supplement to aid in breaking down fats and proteins.

After exiting the stomach, the largely undigested contents are then passed through the pyloric valve into the small intestine where it is mixed with pancreatic juices. These pancreatic juices continue to digest and prepare food for absorption and assimilation, but are lacking in volume for proper digestion. Where does the body go to obtain the enzyme volume needed for proper digestion?

To correct the digestive enzyme deficiency, at this point the Endocrine glands throughout the body drain enzyme reserves, creating a tremendous strain on the pancreas – a major cause of the diabetes epidemic plus adrenal fatigue and defective pituitary glands. To help compensate for the lack of natural enzymes, immune cells needed elsewhere to protect the body are called on to provide enzymes for digestion that are supposed to be used to kill pathogens.  To correct the enzyme deficiencies, blended quality supplements are needed to normalize the digestive process and relieve the endocrine gland stress throughout the body and the inappropriate use of immune cells in digestion.

Benefits of Digestive Enzymes include nutritionally aiding in:

Indigestion and Heartburn reduction

Gas and Bloating relief

Food Allergies aid

Energy increase

Hiatal Hernia Relief

Ulcer Relief

Pancreatic insufficiency reduction

But you need still more enzymes – Oral Systemic Proteolytic Enzymes to be specific!  Oral Proteolytic enzymes when delivered and absorbed into the bloodstream can act systemically in a process designated as resorption.

Oral Systemic Proteolytic Enzymes

While needed in digestion to break down protein,  Proteolytic enzymes are also essential in the blood stream, tissues, organs and throughout the body and are provided as Oral Systemic Proteolytic Enzymes.  Oral Systemic Proteolytic Enzymes are best taken an hour before or after a meal to avoid being used for digestion.  Oral Systemic Proteolytic Enzyme supplements must be enteric coated to delay and prevent breakdown during the digestive process prior to entering the bloodstream for delivery where needed in the body.  Everything from the immune response to inflammation control to liver and circulation functions are influenced by Oral Systemic Proteolytic Enzymes.

As stated, because Proteolytic enzymes are processed or cooked away in today’s food and decline naturally as we age, quality supplementation is required. Primary nutritional benefits of Oral Systemic Proteolytic Enzymes are their contribution in the body to:

  • Break down long-chain proteins into short-chain for proper usage and removal (otherwise they lodge in tissues and muscles to cause pain)
  • Reduce inflammation including in heart health issues and spinal challenges
  • Promote joint health through inflammation reduction
  • Provide mobility and range of motion enhancement
  • Reduce pain conditions including sports injuries
  • Cleanse the blood of debris including blood clots
  • Aid in detoxification by excess protein breakdown
  • Expose (not release) cancer cells to enhance visibility to white immune cells by breaking down the thick fibrin protein coating on cancer cells
  • Enhance TNF alpha – tumor killing factor and interferon
  • Enhance immune cells to kill bacteria, viruses, molds and fungi as protein/amino acid based pathogens
  • Enhance immune cells in digestive enzyme activities
  • Break down undigested protein immune cell clusters (CIC’s) for autoimmune aid and better cancer cell detection
  • Dissolve scar tissue made of protein
  • Contribute to healthy aging by providing enzymes that naturally decline in volume of production with age

Major Proteolytic enzymes include pancreatin containing amylase, lipase and trypsin; trypsin (separate from pancreatin) and chymotrypsin produced in the body. Proteolytic enzymes Bromelain comes from the stems of pineapples while Papain is derived from unripe papayas, nattokinase from Nato cheese and Serapeptase from the silk worm.

To be optimally effective, a Proteolytic enzyme supplement must have the needed enzymes in a proper blend in an orally ingestible and stable form.  A preferred combination by the author includes Pancreatin, Papain, Bromelain, trypsin, chymotrypsin and Rutin (not a proteolytic enzyme) and has been extensively researched and found nutritionally effective for all the benefits enumerated, with New Zealand the preferred source for Pancreatin and chymotrypsin from outside the body.  Also determine the best buffered blend to avoid minor upsets.

The oral systemic Proteolytic enzyme supplements must maintain stability during the digestive process, while preserving an activity level sufficient to remain effective while in the blood stream and until arriving at a needed destination in the body.

Proteolytic Enzymes and Inflammation

Proteolytic enzymes calm the inflammatory response whether caused by cardiovascular-heart-circulatory issues, aging joints deteriorating with arthritis, repetitive stress injuries or fibromyalgia muscle aches and pains and spinal challenges.

Inflammation is often measured in the body by a test for C-reactive protein (CRP), with high levels associated with unacceptable inflammation.  Low grade inflammation is now also indicated as a more destructive condition for health than previously recognized, while being overlooked in most testing for health issue causes. This informative blood test unfortunately is not covered by health insurance in most instances and overlooked by primary care physicians.  If you suffer from pain and suspected inflammation, request a C-reactive protein test from your physician.

The calming or pacifying effect of Proteolytic enzymes on the inflammatory response is accomplished by up-regulating an anti-inflammatory group of proteins and peptides called cytokines, while at the same time calming the production of the cytokines that promote inflammation. Cytokines are signaling compounds allowing cells to communicate with each other.  Serrapeptase is an effective enzyme for pain relief by its ability to block amines that induce pain in the tissues, plus additionally countering fluid retention in the body while reducing sputum and mucous in the lungs to aid in chronic airway diseases including asthma and sinusitis.

By calming the inflammation in the body, the levels of pain are likewise significantly reduced for many and especially those associated with health issues such as fibromyalgia and arthritis.

Proteolytic Enzymes and the Immune Response

Enzymes have a major role and impact on the body’s immune function. Most do not realize the white immune cells contain digestive enzymes such as alkaline phosphatase, lipase, protease, amylase and peptidase, which are part of the pancreatic juices known as pancreatin.

Pancreatin’s different enzymes assist in the breakdown of starches, fats, and proteins. These white immune cell enzymes primary function is to act as a killing mechanism of pathogens including the breaking down of fungal, bacterial and viral proteins which cause disease, with subsequent removal from the body through the lymphatic system.

Unfortunately, the body today due to modern diets diverts white immune cells from their function of fighting pathogens seeking to damage our health to use of their enzymes to aid in breaking down improperly digested food because natural digestive enzymes are absent or deficient. This diversion to use in digestion increases the white immune cell concentration in the stomach and the intestines. A diet rich in raw food enzymes pre-digest food in the mouth and stomach, which frees the body’s white immune cells to be used to fight and kill health invaders instead of breaking down food by emitting enzymes needed to fight our body wars.

Why do you have a decreased appetite and/or nausea when you are sick?  Digesting cooked or processed foods requires energy at the same time the white immune cells are needed elsewhere to fight the disease when you are sick.  If there is a lack of both natural enzymes and white immune cells to break down ingested food, your brain chemistry turns off the hunger center in the brain.  A lack of nutrient assimilation results, with loss of energy, weakness and nausea with vomiting to remove undigested food from the body as unwanted side effects.

Proteolytic enzymes not only increase white immune cells ability to kill bacteria and viruses, but also pathogenic cells including cancer cells. The Proteolytic enzymes enhance the immune response by promoting formation of Tumor Necrosis Factor (TNF-alpha), interleukin I-b and interleukin 6 needed by the body. Effectiveness is dose dependent meaning the number of tablets taken at different times daily.

Macrophage activity was increased up to 700 percent in less than fifteen minutes in a German in-vitro study with a combination of enzymes pancreatin, papain, bromelain, trypsin and chymotrypsin.  Natural Killer (NK) Cells in this same study increased 1,500 percent in the same time frame.  Proteolytic enzymes have no negative effects on healthy cells in stark contrast to drugs, radiation and chemotherapy.

The Proteolytic enzymes, when needed, also modulate the immune response to shut down after killing pathogens; inhibiting inflammation from continuing after the fire is out and potentially quelling a dangerous autoimmune response such as rheumatoid arthritis before occurrence.

Too frequently, undigested food in protein form leaks through the gut wall that must then be broken down by systemic enzymes. Antibodies produced by the B-Cells in the immune response can also act inappropriately by forming circulating immune complexes (CICs).  The adverse effects of undigested food in protein clumps or antibody groups in the form of CICs in the blood stream include sluggish blood flow, inadequate oxygen delivery and undelivered nutrients in required amounts needed by the organs and tissues.

CICs, or circulating immune complexes, are often related to health issues including rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, scleroderma and multiple sclerosis. Other areas of CIC presence in high levels are ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. CIC’s also hide cancer cells from white immune cells in the blood stream. The immune cells would otherwise better recognize and phagocytize or ingest and kill the cancer cells.

The combination of MG beta glucan with Proteolytic enzymes nutritionally promotes nutritional enhancement for traditional cancer therapies. The entire immune cascade including macrophages, Dendritic cells, T cells and B Cells with antibodies is triggered by these special, potent and essential enzymes.

Proteolytic Enzymes and Cardiovascular / Circulation Benefits

The Proteolytic enzymes bind to and degrade the cellular debris in the blood stream, creating clear and optimum blood flow to regain proper nutrient and oxygen delivery with resulting increased energy, improved circulation and immune enhancement.

Since blood clots are also in the blood stream and made of fibrin protein that has bound and bunched together, proteolytic enzymes are nutritionally beneficial in resolving such blockages and other dead or necrotic matter that accumulates in the blood vessels. (do not take if on prescription blood thinners or clot reduction medicines). Nattokinase is particularly potent in naturally dissolving the fibrin protein composition of blood clots without serious side effects associated with prescription drugs for the same purpose.

As a side note, a combination of Proteolytic enzymes with rutin, a potent bioflavonoid, has proven beneficial for vessel wall permeability for better circulation and vascular health. The suggested blend of Proteolytic enzymes, without unwanted side effects of aspirin, significantly reduces inflammation in most instances, believed to be a major factor in cardiovascular related health issues.

Harvard researchers in the Physicians’ Health Study examined levels of C-reactive protein in 1,090 men to evaluate inflammation, comparing some 545 who suffered a heart attack with the same number who had no attack. The doctors found that elevated levels of inflammation throughout the body placed men at a 300% greater risk for heart disease and a 200% increased risk for stroke. The study unexpectedly found dangerous levels of C-reactive protein in the high-normal range, meaning acceptable levels should be revised downward to more accurately alert for health risk.

In a major study in the Ukraine, nine coated Proteolytic enzyme tablets resulted in a significant drop in total and LDL (bad) cholesterol to lower both lipid and C-reactive protein levels after a heart attack.

Systemic Oral Proteolytic Enzymes and Cancer

Cancer and most diseased cells and pathogens are neutralized or killed by the white immune cells when recognized in the human body, if the immune cells are at good condition and in adequate numbers.

If the immune response is suppressed or damaged by aging, poor lifestyle choices including diet, drugs, toxins, smoking, genetics or radiation and chemo; cancer cells begin to invade cell walls to attempt to overwhelm and take over healthy cell functions and then to multiply rapidly, metastasize and attack other parts of the body.

To avoid recognition by white immune cells such as macrophages and neutrophils, cancer cells hide under a fibrin protein shield up to 15 times thicker than the fibrin protein over normal cells.  Because Proteolytic enzymes break down such proteins, the thick fibrin protein (same as in blood clots) that protectively surrounds cancer cells is stripped away, making the cancer cells visible to searching immune cells. The growth and multiplication of the cancer cells continues if there is an absence or lack of Proteolytic enzymes for stripping the fibrin protein shell away from the cancer cells so the immune cells in proper numbers can both recognize and attack the cancer.  Note the oral proteolytic enzymes only help expose the cancer cells, but do not release them into the blood stream.  Visualize when you remove clothing for a physician’s examination, you are not activating the body to run to another room; only exposing the skin and area of concern for an enhanced visual examination by the doctor.

A combination of MG Glucan (not a product), systemic oral Proteolytic enzymes (both promote TNF-alpha production to combat inflammation) and CoEnzyme Q10 nutritionally promotes enhanced effectiveness of the standards of care for cancer involving radiation, chemotherapy and/or surgery.

Cancer creates a body war between your immune response and tumor cells. The strength of the immune response and ability to recognize, attack and kill cancer cells rapidly and effectively determines the outcome of the conflict. Systemic oral Proteolytic enzymes increase the recognizability of tumor cells (immunogenicity) in addition to enhancing the immune response and are even more effective in combination with nutritional biological defense modifiers such as MG Glucan and Vitamin C.

Proteolytic Enzymes and Arthritis/Joint Issues

Arthritis destroys our mobility, particularly as we age, and literally means “fire in the joints” with inflammation, pain, stiffness and swelling.  Arthritis is suffered by millions in more than a hundred forms, with the most prevalent being Osteo and Rheumatoid (Refer to the Immunition Report  III-3 on Arthritis). Almost all forms of Arthritis involve joint degeneration and local inflammation. The ability of Proteolytic systemic oral enzymes to help nutritionally reduce inflammation is a major factor in the relief from swelling, pain and immobility that often result from various arthritis forms.

Rheumatoid arthritis is an auto-immune disorder involving an inappropriate immune response attacking the joints. An antibody is a protein molecule that normally attacks with intent to kill “non-self” pathogens that attempt to harm our health. If not properly shut down after attacking a pathogen, unneeded antibodies produced by white immune B-cells then form circulating immune protein complexes (CICs). If not dissolved in the blood stream, these antibodies in large CICs can settle in the joints causing chronic inflammation and joint destruction.

The joints then swell with extreme inflammation of the synovium or thin membrane surrounding the joints.  After repeated attacks, the joint tissues and bone without intervention of drugs or natural supplements are eventually destroyed, including the cartilage which provides the joints’ cushioning effect. This debilitating arthritis damage often spreads to other parts of the body; producing more pain, swelling, fatigue and weakness.

Systemic oral Proteolytic enzymes nutritionally contribute to inflammation reduction and nutritionally help break up the CIC protein complexes as a probable cause of at minimum Rheumatoid arthritis; all without unwanted side effects.  Glucosamine, chondroitin sulfate, MSM sulfur, vitamin C and colostrum with transfer factor can also be nutritionally beneficial for many.

All stages and types of arthritis for patients of any age and gender benefit nutritionally from systemic oral enzymes, including in the  joints, hips, knees, fingers and spine.  Proteolytic enzymes taken orally in a formulation designed for systemic delivery aid nutritionally by slowing development, lessening pain, reducing inflammation and improving quality of life.

Enzyme Importance

Eat a diet with raw foods whenever possible, after checking for processing with chemicals and pesticides to assure enzymes have not been compromised.  Avoid excess sugar and white refined products that stress the endocrine organs needed to provide enzymes when lacking naturally and to promote immune cell health.  Supplement regularly with quality Digestive and Oral Systemic Proteolytic Enzymes to minimize stress on the endocrine system, optimize immune response, reduce inflammation and pain while normalizing digestion – all essential to good health while aging naturally.

About the Author 

Frank M. Jordan is an author and nationally recognized health expert who received a degree in graduate and post-graduate studies from The University of Texas at Austin. Jordan is CEO of Carmel Research.

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This IMMUNITION REPORTS website (www.immunitionreports.com) is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information with regard to the subject matter covered; however, this website is not intended to be a substitute for a professional consultation with a physician or a qualified health care provider or to offer medical or related professional advice. Frank Jordan is a health professional but is not a licensed physician or medical doctor. Frank Jordan, contributing authors or employees or independent contractors, specifically disclaim any liability, loss or risk, personal or otherwise, that is or may be incurred as a consequence, directly or indirectly, of the use and application of any information contained on this website nor are they to be held responsible for any errors or omissions in this website.

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