Maybe you have heard about enzymes and know how helpful they can be in the digestive process. Digestive enzymes help your body break down carbohydrates, proteins, and fats so that your body can use the valuable nutrients contained in these foods. When you can efficiently breakdown and assimilate nutrients, your body has more energy and life force.
After the age of 27 - 28, the body declines in its ability to produce its own enzymes.
When a diet consists of overcooked and processed food that is heavy with sugar and depleted of any mineral value, the body begins to suffer from a serious lack of fresh, viable enzymes. In response to age and poor diet, chronic degenerative disease develops. Cancer and autoimmune conditions can have a relationship to enzyme deficiency and enzyme imbalance. This has much to do with diet.
Many people believe the stomach is the main site of digestion and where food processing takes place in the body. In reality, most of the digestive action happens in the duodenum, the earliest portion of the small intestine. The stomach signals the pancreas to secrete its digestive juices, consisting of essentially three groups of enzymes.
- Proteolytic Enzymes: Including trypsin and chymotrypsin - these degrade protein.
- Lipolytic Enzymes: Break down fat with the help of bile from the gallbladder.
- Amylolytic Enzymes: Degrade carbohydrates.
Ideally, the pancreas secretes about a liter and a half of pancreatic enzymes into the duodenum every day. Once food is broken down into easily usable fragments, it moves through the rest of the small intestine. Pancreatic insufficiency can lead to slow transit time and poorly absorbed food. Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO) can develop if the pancreas lacks sufficient enzymes for digestion. This manifests often as bloating, gas, fatigue, and constipation. It has also been linked to Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).
If your diet is not filled with plenty of raw, organic vegetables, or if your body is not producing an adequate amount of digestive enzymes, it is a good idea to support your body and supplement the amount of enzymes available for use. High temperature changes the protein structure and functionality of an enzyme. This is one of the benefits of eating raw foods, especially when the food has been cultured, because the beneficial bacteria have done a good deal of the digestive work for you. So, you get the enzymatic value (along with all the co-enzymes, vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients) of raw food without having to break down all of the macronutrients yourself.
When you take a premium pancreatic enzyme like Assist SI, not only will you digest better to receive more vital nutrients from each meal, but the enzymes will work to systematically protect your body by boosting your immune system long after you finish eating.
Taking a high quality pancreatic enzyme supplement, like Body Ecology’s Assist SI, with your meal ensures proper digestion. When you take pancreatic enzymes between meals, the focus is no longer on digestion, and the enzymes begin to work systemically - through the blood, which feeds every organ in the entire body.
Did you know that systemic enzymes have been used therapeutically to treat cancer for over one hundred years?
Well, technically, it has been longer. When empirical medicine was still everyone’s go-to, enzyme-rich poultices made of papaya - an excellent source of the proteolytic enzyme papain - were used to treat malignant ulcers. Evidence of this has been found among the Mayans. Similar treatments using botanical poultices and herbal therapy occurred across the globe, including the Incans, Aztecs, and in Europe.
About one hundred years ago, an embryologist named John Beard made an important step towards the therapeutic use of enzymes. He minced the pancreas of newborn lambs, piglets, and calves and extracted the pancreatic fluid for his terminal cancer patients. He injected the concentrated solution of living pancreatic enzymes into the muscle tissue and veins of his patients and even into the actual tumor if it could be reached. Because the extraction method was crude, some patients suffered from shock. However, others with cancers that were considered incurable found that the cancer either went into remission or completely disappeared.
Fifty years later, Dr. Max Wolf used a laboratory to closely examine and document the process of enzyme preparations degrading cancer cells, leaving healthy cells unaffected. Today, especially in Europe and Japan, enzyme therapy is an integral part of cancer treatment and recovery.
So what do enzymes have to do with cancer?
As it turns out, a healthy balance of enzymes in the body means that a cancer cell has little chance at finding a place to nest and multiply. Cancer cells are simply cells that have a different structure and are not controlled by the rest of the body. In any one moment, a person normally has 100 to 10,000 of these egoistic cells floating around in their body. Problems arise when there are too many individual cancer cells for the immune system to manage due to emotional stress, environmental pollution, poor eating habits, radiation, or other carcinogenic factors. At that point, a cancer cell can adhere to the cell walls in the body and multiply, unnoticed by the immune system. To further protect itself from an over-worked immune system, a cancer cell will coat itself with a thick layer of fibrin (the stuff involved in blood clotting - a strong fibrous protein). This fibrin layer is 15 times thicker than that of normal cells.
However, there is still more clean-up to do. You see, once the immune system destroys a cancer cell, the cancer cell can leave behind an antigen. Our antibodies will attack an antigen whether or not it sits upon a cancer cell. Therefore the immune system ends up attacking an antigen that does not lead to a cancer cell. This creates a growing number of antigen-antibody immune complexes, which are usually kept in check by the macrophages of the immune system. Undegraded immune complexes can deposit themselves into tissue, which weakens the immune system. Circulating immune complexes (CIC) and tissue bound immune complexes (TBIC) have been found in patients with autoimmune conditions, inflammatory disorders, and in patients with cancer.
It has been documented that orally administered enzyme mixtures cause these CIC levels to drop due to the effect of enzymes on TBIC and the surrounding fibrin layer at the cancer site.
Tumor necrosis factor, or TNF, is a factor produced by macrophages. It directly attacks cancer cells and those cells that have been infected by viruses. At the University of Vienna, Dr. Lucia Desser has a particular interest in oncologic and anti-inflammatory enzyme mixtures.
It is now known that certain enzymes prompt macrophages to release TNF.
Cancer has reached epidemic proportions. When we look closely at this disease, we see that the immune system plays a big role in its genesis. By using pancreatic enzymes both therapeutically and for digestive support, we can assist in optimal immune function. Whether it is bacterial overgrowth in the small intestine due to pancreatic insufficiency or a serious, life-threatening condition such as cancer, pancreatic enzymes share a significant partnership with immune health.
Make sure you are receiving enough enzymes from your food. Taking a pancreatic enzyme supplement with meals helps your digestive system do its job. Taking a pancreatic supplement between meals allows the enzymes to act systemically in your body, cleaning out cellular debris and waste, such tissue bound immune complexes (TBIC). Cancer is just one manifestation of poor diet, environmental toxins, and excessive consumption of processed goods and convenience items, all of which take a toll on the immune health. By choosing to support your digestive health, you are choosing to support a strong and healthy immune system!
WHAT TO REMEMBER MOST ABOUT THIS ARTICLE:
- Pancreatic enzymes are necessary for a timely transit of food through the gastrointestinal tract and to support a healthy immune system.
- Eat plenty of raw, organic foods because they are abundant in living enzymes. Culture your veggies for extra immune and digestive support!
- Taking a high quality pancreatic enzyme supplement between meals helps the body manage the many environmental toxins, pollutants, and stressors that most of us encounter every day.
- Lopez, D.A., R.M. Williams, and K. Miehlke. Enzymes: The Fountain of Life. Salem, MA: The Neville Press, 1994.
- Sankey, Mikio. Support the Mountain: Nutrition for Expanded Consciousness. Inglewood, CA: Mountain Castle Press, 2008.
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