One of the most common health problems in North
America today is poor digestion. There are several reasons for
poor digestion, but the two biggest reasons are the inability of
your body to produce enough enzymes, and the lack of digestive
enzymes in the food that you eat.
What are digestive enzymes? They are organic
protein molecules that break down food particles such as
proteins, carbohydrates, and fats; and convert them into smaller
absorbable nutrients that your body can use to build cells,
tissues, and organs.
What do they do? Digestive enzymes are
responsible for breaking down the food that you eat so that your
food can be more easily absorbed and digested by your small
It works something like this. You put some
food into your mouth and by chewing it you break this food up
into smaller segments and mix it with saliva. The enzymes in
your saliva start the pre-digestive process in your mouth, and
this continues while your food is on its way to your stomach.
In the stomach your food is mixed with
hydrochloric acid that helps to digest starches. More enzymes
are added at this point which helps to break down your food even
further and turn it into a paste-like substance called chyme.
After several hours this chyme moves from the
stomach to your small intestine where pancreatic enzymes are
added to help with further digestion. The more enzymes you have
available, the better your digestion will be. Any food that you
are not able to digest will be passed along to your large
intestine where it will await elimination from your body.
Where do digestive enzymes come from? You
obtain most of your digestive enzymes from the food that you
eat, and your body also produces enzymes of its own.
Unfortunately, because of soil depletion, herbicide sprays,
etc., we do not obtain anywhere near the number of enzymes that
Another major problem is that modern
processing and preserving techniques, such as boiling and
pasteurization, destroy most of the enzymes that ever were in
your food. Enzymes are also destroyed by exposure to air,
exposure to light, alcohol consumption, temperatures over 118
degrees, caffeine, cigarette smoke, and prescription drugs.
Parasites, pesticides, pollutants, ultra-violet radiation, and
fluoridated water also destroy enzymes.
Enzymes are either obtained from plants, or
they are manufactured by the pancreas. Pancreatic enzymes are
animal based and only function in your small intestine. If
pancreatic enzymes are taken with food they will be destroyed by
the acids in your stomach, and therefore, they are not nearly as
effective as plant enzymes.
Plant enzymes are much more effective because
they begin pre-digestion in your mouth, they are not destroyed
by the acids in your stomach, and they function in both an acid
and in an alkaline environment.
As we age, our body loses its ability to
produce its own enzymes, and so we have to include them in our
diet. There are only two ways to accomplish this. One method is
by eating raw organic food, and the other method is by taking
Some good food sources for enzymes are
alfalfa, barley grass, chlorella, spirulina, kelp, peppermint,
and sea vegetables. Most fruits, especially bananas, are also a
You should make very sure that you get enough
enzymes, because a lack of digestive enzymes will cause a number
of things to occur in your body, and here are some of the more
common. You may develop abdominal bloating, abdominal cramps,
constipation, crohn's disease, colitis, diarrhea, eczema,
heartburn, indigestion, IBD, psoriasis, skin rashes, and many
other conditions that can cause you a lot of problems.
Low levels of enzymes can lead to a toxic
colon because undigested food in your intestines can ferment and
turn toxic. The toxic byproducts that accumulate in your
intestines will be absorbed through your intestine wall and will
end up in your blood stream, and when these toxins enter your
blood stream they will come into contact with all the cells
throughout your entire body. When this occurs, all kinds of
nasty things, like cancer for example, can and do develop.
Up to this point we have only discussed
digestive enzymes, but there is another type of enzyme we should
briefly discuss and that is metabolic enzymes.
Metabolic enzymes are protein-like substances
that act as a catalyst in all metabolic actions within your
body. In other words, metabolic enzymes are the workers within
your body that allow the minerals, vitamins, and proteins to do
their job. Metabolic enzymes are your body's labor force, and
they are responsible for all the anabolic or catabolic activity
in your body.
If you eat cooked food, fast food, or
processed food, your body needs all the help it can get. There
are virtually no enzymes in these kinds of foods, and without
enzymes, you will not be able to digest any of the nutrients
that may be present.
If your diet consists of these foods I would
strongly suggest changing your diet to raw vegetables and fresh
fruits so that you can maximize your enzyme intake. Above that,
I also strongly recommend taking enzyme supplements as part of
your daily diet. This will ensure that you are getting all the
enzymes that you need for your good health.
Enzymes are very selective in that each
enzyme can only do one specific job. One enzyme cannot do
another enzymes job, so a shortage or absence of just one enzyme
can have a very serious impact on your health.
As you can see, enzymes are an extremely
important part of your diet. How important are they? Enzymes are
the first of the "workers" in your body. They are the catalyst
that allows the minerals and vitamins in your body to do their
job. They are responsible for all metabolic functions. They are
responsible for life itself.
This article written by Ron Harder,
Nutritional Health Consultant, Iridologist, and Author of "How
to DEFEAT CANCER NATURALLY without Chemo, Radiation, or