Human existence is a marvel- so complex, yet so efficient, orderly, and dynamic. Driving all of it is a collection of proteins collectively known as enzymes. In fact, many of these reactions would never take place without enzymes as catalysts. Enzymes are essential to life.
Researchers have identified more than 3,000 types of enzymes in the human body, with each one performing a unique function. Literally millions of enzymes help to renew, sustain, and protect us, and they themselves renew and change at an incredible rate.
The reactions that are driven by enzyme transform one set of molecules into another, using up or releasing energy in the process, which is necessary for the construction of new substances. The original molecules are known as substrates and the new molecules as products. The products are vital to functions such as tissue repair and disease defenses, along with general body maintenance.
For enzymes to do their jobs, they depend on smaller molecules, such as vitamins and minerals. These so-called cofactors enable or enhance the chemical reactions in which enzymes take part. Life is a profound and vast complex of thousands of these self-regulated chemical reactions occurring constantly. Every single living cell has a vast number of reactions going on all the time.
Enzymes are essential to every bodily function, including breathing, circulation, digestion, and immune response. On a larger scale, they slow the aging process and support wellness and homeostasis (the body’s ability to achieve balance among its many functions). As we get older, the quality and effectiveness of enzymes diminish; or bodies do not produce as many, and those that remain lose their spark. This leaves us vulnerable to illness. But aging is not the only factor that depletes our enzyme levels and function. Poor diet, digestive stress, metabolic imbalance, illness, trauma, medications and cancer treatment also have a negative impact.
There are three main categories of enzymes: systemic, or metabolic; digestive; and food. Our bodies produce systemic and digestive enzymes, while food enzymes -as their name implies-come from what we eat. Systemic enzymes are active in every cell in your body. They not only support cellular growth and repair, but they also transform carbohydrates, proteins, and fats into cellular fuel. They even do some housecleaning, removing worn-out material so that the cells stay clean and healthy. In the best of circumstances, your body can make all the systemic enzymes it needs. But if it uses up its reserves (usually in the manufacture of digestive enzymes, it can no longer heal or rebuild itself effectively). This is when supplementation with proper systemic enzymes can make a big difference. Otherwise chronic illness-the result of insufficient tissue healing and repair -may set in.
Digestive enzymes assist with the digestion of food, the absorption of nutrients, and the delivery of those nutrients throughout the body. When food contain enough enzymes, digestion begins with your very first bit. Chewing and mixing with saliva activates some enzymes so they can do their job. Unfortunately, cooking destroys most of them. With foods depleted of their enzyme supplies your body must manufacture its own to support the digestive process. This is an expensive proposition, as enzyme production consumes a lot of energy, among other invaluable resources. The incomplete digestion of food can set the stage for multitude of symptoms and conditions. One reason is that the body is not getting nutrients in a form that it can use. Even though one may be well fed, they can suffer from poor nutrition. What’s more, undigested food can trigger an immune reaction, as the body’s natural defenses attempt to seek out and destroy the foreign food particles.
Everyone can benefit from digestive enzyme supplements, even if they have no apparent digestive problems or eat raw foods to preserve the enzyme content. The supplements never go to waste; whatever enzymes the body cannot use, it breaks down into their component proteins and co-factors. Our bodies depend on proper digestion for adequate nutrition. Sadly, poor digestion-and consequently poor absorption-has reached epidemic proportions throughout the world. Even though we seem to be eating more than ever, our bodies are starving because they are not getting the nutrients they need. Enzymes are the solution.