Just about every important process performed by the body involves a chemical reaction whether that means breaking down your foods or recovering from injuries and illness.
Enzymes are vitally important to these chemical processes. These proteins act as catalysts for those important chemical reactions and every cell in our body relies on enzymes for maintenance, recovery and repair.
While the human body is capable of producing its own enzymes, the number produced begins to fall during your mid to late 20s. That is the reason why people suffer more health complaints as they age-joint pain gets worse, circulation is not as efficient and it takes longer to heal from injury.
It therefore goes without saying that getting sufficient enzymes into your system will do your health the world of good.
The Main Types of Enzymes
Food enzymes can be acquired from raw food products and support the body’s immune system, joint and arterial health. A diet rich in organic fruit and veg can significantly increase your body’s supply of enzymes.
Other than food enzymes, there are two other main types of enzyme; digestive enzymes and systemic enzymes.
Digestive enzymes are typically taken with every meal and designed to work together with the body’s naturally occurring enzymes which are mostly produced in the pancreas. When your body’s natural enzymes are not doing the trick, then supplementary digestive enzymes may be necessary.
Digestive Enzyme Benefits
As the name implies, digestive enzymes are designed to improve the digestive process by helping your body to break down proteins, carbohydrates, fats and fibers. They go to work together with your body’s own enzymes and can help alleviate a variety of digestive complaints including the following:
- Stomach cramping and pain
The main types of digestive enzymes are proteases which help digest proteins, lipases which are for fat digestion and amylases which help to digest carbohydrates. All of these digestive enzymes are included in pancreatic enzyme products also known as PEPs.
People with pancreatic diseases like cystic fibrosis, pancreatic cancer and chronic pancreatitis benefit from taking PEPs. Others that are treated with digestive enzymes are people with certain gastrointestinal conditions like Crohn’s disease and celiac disease.
Side Effects of Digestive Enzymes
Side effects are rare but some people may suffer an allergic reaction which can cause very serious symptoms including the following:
- Shortness of breath and a difficulty breathing
- Chest tightness
- Swelling of the face, lips and mouth
- Blistered skin
If you suffer any of the above effects, you should see the doctor as soon as possible as these reactions although rare are potentially fatal.
Other possible side effects are headaches, stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, constipation, diarrhea and sore throat.
Systemic enzymes on the other hand are designed to improve overall health. Unlike digestive enzymes, toy should take them between meals on a totally empty stomach. They are used to treat a number of specific health conditions that we will look at in more detail below.
Systemic Enzyme Benefits
1) For Inflammation
Chronic inflammation is a serious health issue which is now believed to be at the root of many major diseases. While acute inflammation enables us to recover from injury and fight infections, chronic inflammation is destructive and occurs because the body cannot shut down the initial inflammatory process.
Chronic inflammation is now believed to be a better indicator of coronary disease than cholesterol levels and the more we learn about it the more it is linked to many other serious conditions including cancer, Alzheimer’s and diabetes.
Numerous studies show time and again that systemic enzymes can help alleviate inflammation with many of these studies finding that systemic enzymes are more effective than commonly prescribed anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs).
Studies show that systematic enzymes are considerably safer than prescription anti-inflammatories having far fewer side effects. NSAIDs like ibuprofen and aspirin work by suppressing chemicals called prostaglandins.
While some of these chemicals cause inflammation others play an important role in organ protection. Systemic enzymes on the other hand enhance the body’s own mechanisms to control inflammation and pain.
One type of systemic enzyme that has proven especially effective as an anti-inflammatory is bromelain which is derived from pineapples.
2) For Scar Tissue and Fibrins
Systemic enzymes can effectively reverse or manage the build-up of fibrin in the tissues which happens as we age and produce fewer of the enzymes that can control fibrin deposits. Fibrins choke the supply of nutrients and blood to the tissues rendering the organs and tisues hard and dry.
Some conditions like fibromyalgia are especially severe and while NSAIDs are ineffective, the condition responds very well to large doses of systemic enzymes which work by breaking down and dissolving fibrin deposits.
Many other conditions are associated with the same fibrin deposit process including uterine fibroids, arterial plaque and endometriosis all of which can be treated with systemic enzymes.
Systemic enzymes are also effective in dealing with post-surgical scarring. They help to speed up the recovery process and reduce swelling and scar formation. In the long term, systemic enzymes can even help to break down any preexisting scars tissue.
3) For Acne
Many people who have used systemic enzymes say that it helps to clear away acne scars and pockmarks by the same process referred to above.
4) For the Immune System
Systemic enzymes have an adaptogenic effect which means they help to normalize the immune system. They can help to boost the immune system in people with deficient immune systems while helping to calm down overactive immune systems like those present in people suffering from rheumatism and lupus.
5) To Fight Viruses
Numerous studies have demonstrated that systemic enzymes had antiviral properties with some showing that they were just as effective as prescription medications when it came to treating certain viruses such as shingles and herpes. Systemic enzymes can also inhibit viral replication in cases of hepatitis C and HIV
The precise mechanism by which they work to fight viruses is uncertain but it is likely down to their ability to normalize the immune system.
6) For Blood Cleansing
While blood is responsible for distributing nutrients to the tissues, it also collects harmful toxins along the way. This puts a huge strain in the body and the liver in particular can get overwhelmed by toxins especially in the modern toxic environment.
The build-up of proteins like fibrin cause additional problems causing a thickening of the blood that can lead to an increased risk of coronary or stroke.
Systemic enzymes can break down this toxic metabolic waste and help the body to eliminate it more effectively. In addition they help thin the blood and break down those proteins which can result in clot formation and serious illnesses.
Because of their ability to thin the blood, people who are already taking some type of blood thinning medication should only start taking systemic enzymes when under their doctor’s supervision.
7) For Weight Loss
There is no evidence that systemic enzymes contribute towards weight loss beyond their ability to improve overall health which may give you the energy you need to exercise more.
Systemic Enzyme Dosing and Side Effects
You should follow the dosing recommendations supplied but a general guide is that 2 to 4 capsules a day are sufficient for chronic inflammation while 6 capsules 3 times a day are necessary to treat injuries and chronic joint pain like arthritis.
Systemic enzymes have been well researched and studies show that they are typically very well-tolerated with few if any adverse side effects. No deaths have ever been reported from their use. Some minor side effects like nausea, diarrhea and headaches have been reported.
People on blood thinning medication should only take systemic enzymes under proper medical supervision.