These enzymes are specialized protein molecules facilitating most of the body's metabolic processes - such as, supplying energy, digesting foods, purifying your blood, ridding the body of waste products etc. They are divided into two main groups - that being metabolic enzymes and digestive enzymes, as well enzymes from raw food.
Enzymes are VITAL to our health and change the rate at which chemical reactions happen, but without any external energy source added or by being changed themselves. These very important ingredients to our health, is reaction specific, and will only act on certain substances - referred to as substrates.
These reactions could be for the substrate to bond to the enzyme, or different substrates bonding together, or for the substrate to be broken up into different products.
Without enzymes in your body, you could have the best nutritional plan around, and supplement your diet with a host of vitamin supplements, but without these humble workers we call enzymes, the vitamins will not be absorbed into your system.
Although enzymes are found in small quantities, they are extremely powerful - 30 grams of pure crystalline pepsin would digest nearly 2 metric tons of egg white in a matter of hours.
They assist in fighting aging, weight loss, lowering cholesterol, cleaning the colon, breaking down fats, strengthening the immune system, improves mental capacity, detoxifying the body, building muscles from protein, eliminating carbon dioxide from the lungs etc.
It is interesting to note that people have reported the disappearing of allergy symptoms after taking amylase.
They are classified into several categories, where hydrolytic enzymes break down substances into simpler compounds, oxidizing enzymes (or oxidases) assists with oxidizing reactions and reducing enzymes, which speeds up reduction where oxygen is removed.
Food enzymes are divided into seven categories, them being: lipase (breaking down fat), protease (breaking down proteins), cellulase (breaking down fiber), amylase (breaking down starch), lactase (breaking down dairy), sucrase (breaking down sugars) and maltase (breaking down grain).
Individual enzymes are compiled by adding the term "ase" to the substrate to which it reacts with - lipase for lipids (fats). There are however enzymes like trypsin and pepsin which "ase" is not added to, since they were named before this standardized.
When we cook food at high temperatures, we kill the enzymes contained in the food, and this will lead to undigested, or poorly digested food in the digestive tract. This in term will lead to putrefying food in your system, which may cause a most of health problems.
When we ingest diet-sourced enzymes, they start to pre-digest food, which means that less internally produced enzymes are required to digest the food properly.
Most cell respiratory processes require enzymes - such as glycolysis, Krebs cycle etc.
A shortage of enzymes in the body will influence the health of the entire body, and symptoms may include stomach gas, indigestion, bloating, heartburn and flatulence.
Depending on the type of dietary supplement, which you decide to buy, it is best to take them at meal times.
When selecting a supplement ensure that they at contain: protease, amylase, lipase, sucrase, maltase, as well as bromelain.
Toxicity and symptoms of high intake
People starting an intake of these compounds in supplement form has reported in some cases an increase of gas, bloating, acne, slight dull headache etc - the symptoms are however temporary and is the body's way of healing itself. More water must be taken when taking it in supplement form, to assist with the cleansing of the body.
The benefits are felt and seen quickly, but maximum effects are only achieved after taking a supplement for some time, and the best results are reported after taking it for at least 12 weeks.
When more may be required
When recovering from an illness, or suffer from a chronic disease you could benefit from ingesting dietary enzymes. People suffering from hypoglycemia, endocrine gland deficiency, obesity, anorexia nervosa as well as stress related problems have reported benefits from a supplement.
It is also said to assist with acne, psoriasis, chronic inflammation, high blood pressure, diabetes, fatigue, Epstein-Barr Syndrome (also called glandular fever) allergies, arthritis, fevers, infections, depression, anxiety etc.
Although they do sound like a cure-all, it really is not the case - they are simply required in so many body functions, that an increase of enzymes to the optimum level, would in most cases impact positively on a host of health problems.
People eating mostly cooked food, athletes, body builders, and all people involved in feeling more energetic and healthy could benefit from these often-neglected nutritional compounds.
They are sensitive to heat as well as the surrounding pH. For this reason, food cooked at high heat. Food processing also kills of these entities.
The presence of heavy metals, such as mercury, dehydration as well as ultra-violet radiation impair their functions.
Other interesting points
Enzymes do not attach living cells, but will digest the proteins in dead cells. The reason for this is the fact that enzymes cannot pass through the cell membrane of a living cell, but when the cell dies, the membrane loses this ability and the enzyme can act upon it.
People taking dietary enzyme supplements should expect more bowel movements.
The best source of enzymes from your diet comes from raw food, eaten in its original state with no processing.