Enzymes are basically the catalysts to thousands of various functions within our body, from blinking your eyes to thinking a thought involves enzymes. One specific function of enzymes is to break down our food. Different food types require different enzymes to do the work. Some people may have more of a certain type of enzyme and less of another which is why some people can handle more carbs than others or some people can handle lactose (more on this later) while it leaves others bloated and crampy.
Our food is supposed to contain all the enzymes we need to digest it, but unfortunately due to poor soil, pesticides and other influences we just don’t get what nature intended in our foods anymore. Cooking food also downgrades some of the enzyme activity so by the time the food is on your plate the enzyme mass of the meal might not be as effective as it should be. The really cool thing about our amazing body is that it can make enzymes on demand and does this as soon as we start chewing our food…to be more accurate we actually start this process when we first smell our food. Basically, your brain recognizes the food type in your mouth (or nose) and sends signals to your liver or pancreas or wherever to manufacture the appropriate enzyme for the food about to hit your stomach. Problems happen when we don’t take our time chewing and basically just swallow the food and give the stomach no pre-warning about the food that is about to arrive. I remember when my gran would visit us when I was about 9 or 10 years old, she’d insist that I chew my food 40 times before I could swallow it. I think 40 was maybe a bit over-kill but she was definitely on to something…maybe she was just trying to get me to shut up?
A patient of mine repeated something to me she heard on a food documentary the other day which was, “If your grandparents don’t recognize it as food, then don’t eat it”. The problem with food these days is that we’re no longer buying food, we’re buying “food-like” products and I don’t know about you, but my gut wasn’t designed to deal with man-made artificial nutrient-like molecules. I was out for dinner at a friend the other evening and when he handed me the “butter” that I almost ate, I read the words “butter-like spread” on the container which prompted me to read further to find out that basically that butter-like spread was canola oil! Do you have any idea how inflammatory canola oil is? Canola oil is high in Omega 9 oils (highly inflammatory) which when in levels greater than Omega 3 we get heart disease and other really bad stuff. Don’t eat vegetable oil, it’s poison, just say NO. I’ll get into the Canola/Rapeseed thing in my next blog.
Back to the Enzymes…. If you take a close look at a Japanese person’s pancreas, you’ll notice that its larger than a Westerner’s pancreas because it needs to handle larger amounts of rice on a regular basis and as a result has grown larger over many years. Our genetics dictate what foods will best suit our individual biology, some people even believe our blood type has a role to play too (I’m not sure I agree with the whole blood type diet but maybe I just need to be enlightened), but what if we could facilitate our genetic predisposition to certain foods for better absorption and assimilation? What if even despite our genetics telling us we shouldn’t eat a certain food (that maybe we just really enjoy), we could hack into that system and support our body so that we could enjoy that steak or that cheese or enjoy that ice cream without all the downsides? Well, you can. They’re called Digestive Enzymes and they’re available everywhere. Turns out that for the longest time what was thought to be food allergies or intolerances were just a lack of specific enzymes to deal with specific proteins found in foods. Don’t get me wrong, there are those who definitely have legit food allergies, but there is a larger population out there that think they can’t eat certain foods when in fact they can if they just take the specific digestive enzymes.
Looking at the lactose intolerance thing, the real problem is that you’re probably having difficulty with digesting the A1 or A2 protein found in milk and once you address that issue the lactose intolerance goes away or is at least dampened to the point where you are no longer symptomatic.
Proteas, the enzyme that digests protein is especially important because un-digested protein ferments into Ammonia which has to be dealt with in the kidneys creating toxicity and all sorts of other problems like inflammation, brain fog, joint pain, allergies and accelerated aging due to mitochondrial decline.
Amylase, the enzyme that digests carbohydrates can be hugely beneficial for both Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetics to help them better deal with the carbohydrates in their diet (although significantly reducing their carbs should be the first step).
Lipase, the enzyme responsible for digesting fat is especially important for me. I eat a Keto-based diet that is high in fat (70-75% of my daily calories come from fat) so I need to make sure the fats are getting properly handled.
Once you’re able to break down, digest and properly extract the nutrients from the food you’re eating, you’ll be amazed at how much better you could be functioning and how much medication you don’t need. Rather use food as medicine, it just makes more sense.
Vegetarians and Vegans can often suffer with not getting enough cellulase to digest all the raw veggies they eat which results in excessive gas production. If your body isn’t producing enough or if the load of veggies you feed your body is excessive to the amount of enzyme you can produce, then you’ll end up with a problem.
If you’re struggling with a food sensitivity or if you can’t shed that extra weight, feel lethargic or suffer from brain fog then maybe it’s time to try a good Digestive Enzyme with your meals. At the moment I’m using Amipro’s Digestive Enzyme and so far, I’m loving how I feel. When this bottle is done, I’m going to give the Metagenics SpectraZyme a try and see how that feels. If you want to talk about digestive enzymes or any other health or performance related questions, give me a shout or send me an email and I’ll be happy to help you out. 021 785 4855 or firstname.lastname@example.org