by Char Leberer, ND, CN, CMT
A new focus in the world of nutrition and health is on enzymes. In the news we often hear about the use of enzymes in the treatment of disease. What are these remarkable workhorses that make life itself possible?
Although our understanding of these protein molecules is incomplete, we do know that enzymes are responsible for every biochemical change that takes place within your body. This is a big job when you consider that you are com-posed of over 100 trillion cells. Within each cell there are over 100.000 bio-chemical changes that take place just to keep you alive and producing energy.
Enzymes are required to:
- Keep your heart beating and blood circulating
- Move your muscles
- Activate your nerves
- Keep you breathing
- Digest your food.
Enzymes convert your food to molecules that nourish your cells:
- Protease digests protein
- Lipase digests fat.
- Amylase digests carbohydrates
When you do not have enough enzymes to digest your food, two things happen:
- You do not get the nutrients delivered to the tissues that create energy for your body.
- The food goes through your digestive tract undigested and becomes toxic.
What causes you to become low in enzymes? There are a limited number of enzymes that your body can produce in a lifetime. This is determined by your genetic make-up. Digestion, stress, exercise, illness, caffeine and alcohol are a few of the factors that deplete enzymes. As you continually draw from your enzyme bank over the years, you may begin to experience illness in the form of ulcers, constipation, fatigue, arthritis, headaches, PMS, heartburn, gas, and many other symptoms.
So how do we get enough enzymes to keep our vitality as high as our children’s? Eat raw foods that contain enzymes and take enzyme supplements.
Are enzyme supplements the same as vitamins and minerals? Vitamins and minerals are co-enzymes. They are required for enzymes to do their jobs, but remember, it is the enzyme that breaks down the nutrients in order for your body to produce the necessary energy and health to keep you going!
Taking enzyme supplements can help you end a multitude of symptoms including heartburn, gas, bloating, and constipation. It can also be responsible for helping you sleep more soundly; reduce stress on your body; lose weight; increase energy and improve chronic health conditions.
In an age where taking supplements is the order of the day, enzymes could easily be placed at the top of the list as being the most beneficial for your overall health. Next time you are shopping for your vitamin C or antioxidants, consider the powerful beneficial effects that enzymes could have on your health.
Dr Leberer is Director of the Nutrition Therapy Institute of Colorado (NTIC) and owner of Nutrition for Life. A Certified Nutritionist since 1994, she has maintained a highly successful nutrition practice specializing in enzyme therapy, body typing and dietary counseling. Her practice as a Naturopath provides a clinical model for students at NTIC, as she demonstrates the use of state-of-the-art assessment tools and protocols. Contact her at InstituteofNutrition.com or (303)377-3974.