Here is a quick quiz, lets see who gets the answer first.
- I am abundant inside your body, with about 2700 different types of me.
- I am a factor in just about everything that goes on in your body including reproduction, taste, smell, memory, digestion, moods and exercise.
- Cooking can destroy me and some medications work by destroying me.
- I am considered more important than vitamins as you would die without me.
Think about it for a second…… I am –
Enzymes! Enzymes are one of the most important things in our bodies as we really could not function without them. If I could list all the things that they do, which is in excess of 100,000 functions, it would be a very long and boring article. I’m sure most experts couldn’t even tell you 10% of the functions they are involved in, the list is so long, so here is a very brief rundown on them.
Our bodies have an abundance of enzymes up until the ripe old age of 27, where genetics tell us we are no longer of use to society. We are now old enough to have passed our genes on to the next generation, so we can now just curl up and die! After this age, our enzyme levels drop dramatically. By the way, I’m nearly 40, so I may as well start digging my own grave!
Don’t worry, it’s not that bad, but the fact that our enzymes deplete much more rapidly as we age is true. Have you ever wondered why older people tend to have poorer digestion, slower recovery from exercise, poorer endurance, lower immune systems compared to the young ones the good side of 27? Enzyme levels are the reason here.
There are three different groups of enzymes that we need to know of.
The first group is Digestive enzymes which basically help break down all the carbs, fats and proteins in the body for digestion. When we chew food, the salivary enzymes start work immediately on the food while other enzymes take over in the intestines to break the food down further.
The second is Systematic enzymes. Basically at the most basic level of energy production, they are responsible for cell production and energy, organ health, muscle recovery, bone and connective tissue health, hormones, immune system and even brain function etc.
The third are Food enzymes. Or enzymes that are not produced in our bodies, they must be sourced from outside. This is a good reason for not cooking all your foods as they are destroyed by heat with cellulase being one of the more common ones. Cellulase is needed to digest fibrous fruits and vegetables and is most common in foods that are ripened on the tree/vine and eaten within a couple of days of picking. After 2-3 days, the cellulase levels drop dramatically. Most foods today are picked unripe and ripened just before sale. These foods contain very little if any cellulase.
Enzymes can be used in many different ways. In Germany, trauma patients in hospital are given enzymes to treat the inflammation and swelling of the brain. Some enzymes have been used to treat arthritis or multiple sclerosis as they can target the antibodies associated with the conditions without affecting the immune system. There are some really powerful features of enzyme therapy, they just haven’t been taken up by the Western medics yet. But seeing that they are unable to patent a natural product like these, I can’t see it happening any time in the near future.
You can supplement with enzymes if you are an old codger, like me and no longer under 27, but the types you would need depend greatly on the issues you are experiencing. Finding a good health care practitioner who knows you and your history with a good understanding of enzymes is a great place to start.
Next week I will give you some ideas of how you can overcome some of those annoying injuries that have been lingering for ages…