Enzyme Nutrition Therapy

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In the News:
May 2007 - Ocean Drive - Matt Cooper - This Chiropractor's Theory Is Easy to Digest

Click here to watch Dr. Matthew Cooper discuss enzyme nutrition and enzyme therapy on FOX News

Enzyme Nutrition Therapy

With our revolutionary enzyme/nutrition program we are able to help people with chemical problems that cause chronic stomach conditions such as heartburn , acid reflux , irritable bowel , constipation , diarrhea, and weight problems. It also helps symptoms from arthritis , improper digestion , osteoporosis , fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, high cholesterol, blood sugar imbalances, skin conditions (acne, boils, eczema, psoriasis), and sleep problems.

Along with vitamins and minerals, enzymes are found in food in its natural state. All raw food contains the proper types and proportion of enzymes necessary to digest itself. This occurs in our stomach when the food is eaten or in nature as the food ripens. The type (protein, sugar, starch, fat) and amount (caloric value) of the major components present in the food determine the type and amount of the various enzymes found in the food. For example, olives and avocados are higher in fat and lipase, while potatoes are higher in carbohydrate and amylase.

Protein, carbohydrates, fat, and fiber are building blocks but they do not possess the energy (capacity to do work) necessary for biochemical reactions. Only enzymes can furnish this energy. When raw food is eaten, chewing ruptures the cell membrane and releases the indigenous food enzymes.

Four plant enzyme groups exist:

1. Proteases - break long protein chains into smaller amino acid chains and eventually into single amino acids
2. Amylases - reduce polysaccharides to disaccharides (sugars and some carbohydrates): lactose, maltose, and sucrose
3. Lipases - break triglycerides (fat) into individual fatty acids and glycerol
4. Cellulases - digest specific carbohydrate bonds found in fiber

Besides needing a substrate to "work" on, enzymes require heat, proper pH and moisture in order to activate.

Heat: All enzymes work within limited temperature ranges. The optimal temperature range for most plant enzymes is 92°F to 104°F, which means that these enzymes work best at body temperature. However, enzymes cannot tolerate the high temperatures used in cooking, baking, microwaving, canning, and pasteurizing. These methods all produce heat of 118°F or higher which destroys the enzymes.

Proper pH: Plant enzymes work in a very broad pH range, 3.0 to 9.0, which coincides very nicely with the human gastrointestinal tract. This is an important factor to remember when comparing plant enzymes with the body's own digestive enzymes or with supplemental animal enzymes, such as pancreatin. Plant enzymes work in both the stomach and intestines. Pancreatic enzymes, whether produced by the body or provided as a dietary supplement, only work in the small intestine.

Moisture: Plant enzymes must have moisture in order to perform their digestive function. Quite simply, digestion is the process of breaking molecules apart with the addition of water hydrolysis. The body satisfies this need with saliva.

Why Enzymes

Everyone agrees that proper nutrition is crucial to the maintenance of a healthy body. However, most healthcare practitioners overlook the true cause of many nutritional disorders. It is assumed, quite mistakenly, that digestion occurs automatically and the correction of a nutritional disorder simply requires matching the right nutritional supplement to the condition. For example, vitamin C for colds, vitamin A for viruses and herbal laxatives for constipation. While this treatment may relieve patient symptoms, the relief is only temporary because the underlying problem of faulty digestion is ignored. Healthcare practitioners who want to effectively manage health problems that are related to nutritional imbalances must consider each person’s ability to digest food. Unfortunately, most clinicians give little or no thought to the role of enzymes in digestion, despite overwhelming evidence of their importance.

Enzymes are present in all living animal and plant cells. They are the primary motivators of all natural biochemical processes. Life cannot exist without enzymes because they are essential components of every chemical reaction in the body. For example, they are the only substance that can digest food and make it small enough to pass through the gastrointestinal mucosa into the bloodstream. Three very broad classifications of enzymes are:

1. Food enzymes - occur in raw food and, when present in the diet, begin the process of digestion
2. Digestive enzymes - produced by the body to break food into particles small enough to be carried across the gut wall
3. Metabolic enzymes - produced by the body to perform various complex biochemical reactions

In the 1930s, Edward Howell, MD, the food enzyme pioneer, found food enzymes begin digesting food in the stomach and will work for at least one hour before the body’s digestive system begins to work! For this reason, enzymes should be considered essential nutrients. Unfortunately, this is not the case, and food manufacturers are removing them from food to increase shelf-life.

Dr. Howell was particularly impressed by the way the ingestion of raw food slowed the progress of chronic degenerative diseases and spent his professional life postulating and then validating his theories. If you suffer from any inflammatory disorder, it is likely that your immune problems are associated with autointoxication and inadequate digestion. It is becoming increasingly apparent that chronic degenerative diseases (chronic inflammatory states) are evidence of food enzyme deficiency. The 1988 Surgeon General’s Report on Health and Nutrition stated unequivocally that chronic degenerative diseases are dietary related.

The body uses enzymes as its main line of defense against any bacterial, viral, chemical irritant, or inflammation from a mechanical source. People with symptoms of fever, redness, swelling, pain, or soreness demonstrate signs of food enzyme deficiency. This deficiency may not be the cause of the disease process, but a deficiency is certainly present.

The inability to adequately digest food, either because of enzyme deficiency or overloading the digestive system with excessive amounts of food, challenges the body. Food particles not digested well enough to be absorbed across the gut wall pass down the alimentary canal where they putrefy, forming chemicals that irritate the mucosal lining of the G.I. tract. Inflammation of the mucous membranes increases permeability of the gut wall to larger molecules. This allows partially digested food particles to enter the blood, where they cannot be utilized by the body as food, but must be attacked as a foreign invader.

Dietary modification and inclusion of food enzyme supplements to enhance digestion and assimilation must be considered as part of any program to restore normal function and relieve symptoms of chronic inflammatory disorders. This has been extremely helpful for me and my patients when treating chronic and acute aches and pains, from arthritis, herniated discs, stenosis, and sciatica.

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