Without enzymes, plants, humans and animals wouldn’t exist. They are necessary for most cellular functions and biological processes, including optimal digestion and nutrient absorption.
Enzymes are proteins that are composed of amino acids. They are secreted by the body to catalyze functions that wouldn’t normally be possible at body temperature. In fact, a professor of biochemistry and biophysics and chemistry stated that one biological reaction essential to life would take 2.3 billion years without the enzyme that catalyzes it in milliseconds!
We have identified over 3,000 different enzymes, but some believe there might actually be as many as 70,000 within our bodies. There is still much to discover. Each organ has its own set of enzymes, each with its own unique function.
Enzymes have been used since the ancient Sumerians and Egyptians discovered fermentation and began brewing and producing cheese. Gene technology and modern science has now made it possible for us to synthesize and capture enzymes in such a way that we can use them to benefit our health and they are gentle on the natural environment.
MassEnzymes have also recently begun creating enzyme products that have a range of benefits and create some very interesting knock-on effects, like reducing recovery time after a workout. More on that later.
THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF ENZYMES
Enzymes fall into three main categories:
- Food enzymes
- Digestive enzymes
- Systemic enzymes
Food enzymes are found naturally in raw food, and help with joint health, arterial health and immune system function. Eat more fruits and vegetables, and you’ll receive more food enzymes automatically.
Digestive enzymes aid in the digestive process. There are eight primary digestive enzymes that help break down different food groups:
- Protease, for digesting protein
- Lipase, for digesting fat
- Amylase, for digesting carbs
- Cellulase, for breaking down fiber
- Maltase, for converting complex sugars into glucose
- Lactase, for digesting the lactose sugar in dairy products
- Sucrase, for digesting a range of sugars
- Phytase, for boosting overall digestion and producing B vitamins
We need all of these enzymes to break down the food we ingest. In fact, without them, our health would suffer greatly due to malnutrition. Digestive enzymes also help combat indigestion, bloating, abdominal discomfort, gas and other problems. When these problems occur, you may be prescribed medications and antacids, when the source of the problem may actually lie in enzyme insufficiency.
Systemic enzymes, or systemic proteolytic enzymes, help build and maintain overall health. They can help break down excess mucus, fibrin (scar tissue), toxins, allergens and clotting factors, and some people use them as alternatives to NSAIDS, or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, thanks to their anti-inflammatory effects.
Proteolytic systemic enzymes digest protein, and include the pancreatic proteases chymotrypsin and trypsin, bromelain (found in pineapple), papain, fungal proteases and Serratia peptidase (the silk worm enzyme). They have been shown to be useful in healing autoimmune conditions, where they are thought to help the body break down immune complexes formed between antibodies produced by the immune system and the compounds they bind to (antigens).
Seaprose-S, or protease-s, is one proteolytic enzyme that has been shown to have powerful positive health benefits such as lowering inflammation and dissolving mucus. It is designed to be consumed between meals, when it can best work on your entire bodily system.
Nattokinase is another proteolytic enzyme that is extracted and purified from a traditional Japanese food named natto. Natto is made from boiled or steamed soybeans that are fermented with beneficial bacteria, but nattokinase contains no soy. It has been shown to have a positive effect on blood pressure.
WHAT ENZYMES CAN HELP WITH
Enzymes have also been found to help with:
- Lactose intolerance, celiac disease and other gastrointestinal conditions
- Cardiovascular diseases, like hypertension, stroke and heart attacks
- Inflammatory venous disease
- Surgical wounds, post-partum
- Any illness that stems from a weakened immune system
They play a key role in fighting infections and healing general wounds, hormone regulation, slowing the aging process, dissolving blood clots, and reducing inflammation.
Enzymes may also possibly:
- Help eliminate plaque from teeth
- Reduce the risk of and response to food and pollen allergies
- Aid in cleansing and detoxification
- Improve body alkalinity
- Reduce the risk of osteoporosis, Alzheimer’s, fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome.
BENEFITS OF ENZYMES FOR PEOPLE WHO WORKOUT
The benefits of enzymes for people who are involved in fitness and weight loss programs, bodybuilding and weightlifting and other sports and activities have been recently discovered.
MassZymes, for example, have produced a product that can help with:
- Muscle growth
- Faster recovery after exercise
- Improved gastrointestinal wellness, including reduced bloating, gas and constipation
- Better absorption of the protein you’re already consuming
- Pre-workout energy levels
- Immune enhancement
- Increased mental clarity and focus
In fact, the benefits of taking enzymes are so many, you might have started to wonder why you’re not taking them!
6 FACTS YOU DIDN’T KNOW ABOUT ENZYMES
- Enzymes are used in the fabric industry to produce stone-washed jeans and other effects, are added to clothes detergents and bread to make it last longer, rise before baking and go crispy in the oven.
- Humans used to get a lot more enzymes from their diet. Thanks to processing, shipping, refrigeration and cooking, we often don’t receive enough enzymes to re-supply the digestive tract effectively.
- Cancer cells are protected by proteins, which can be broken down by enzymes
- Enzymes can kill all types of invaders, from bacteria and viruses, to molds and fungi, without touching delicate blood proteins.
- The foods that contain the most enzymes are pineapple, papaya, avocados, bee pollen, milk kefir and yogurt and fermented vegetables (such as kimchi)
- Enzymes can be lost through our sweat, body waste and decline during the natural ageing process.