Jon Barron on Proteolytic Enzymes

“What do proteolytic enzymes do in the body? Benefits include:

  • Reducing inflammation – Inflammation is a natural response of the body to injury, but excessive inflammation retards the healing process. Proteolytic enzymes reduce inflammation by neutralizing the biochemicals of inflammation (bradykinins and pro-inflammatory eicosanoids) to levels where the synthesis, repair, and regeneration of injured tissues can take place. Reducing inflammation can have an immediate impact on heart health, cancer prevention and recovery, and Alzheimer’s prevention. It also helps speed up recovery from sprains, strains, fractures, bruises, contusions, surgery, and arthritis.

    Osteoarthritis (OA) may also be reduced through oral enzyme therapy, as demonstrated in one study that compared it to the nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug diclofenac in patients with OA of the hip. This study showed no real difference between enzyme therapy and diclofenac, implying an equal benefit relation between the substances. The researchers concluded that enzyme therapy may well be recommended for treating OA patients with signs of inflammation as indicated by a high pain level.

  • Cleansing the blood of debris – Proteolytic enzymes are the primary tools the body uses to “digest” organic debris in the circulatory and lymph systems. Supplementing improves the effectiveness of the process.
  • Dissolving fibrin (a protein involved in clotting) in the blood, thereby reducing the risk of dangerous clots – Certain specialized proteases such as nattokinase and endonase help improve the “quality” of blood cells, optimize the ability of blood to flow through the circulatory system, and reduce the risk of clots. In effect, they help regulate the blood clotting cascade, normalizing the function of this vital defense mechanism. They work not so much as a blood thinner but as a corrector of blood chemistry and function. They are safe and non-toxic, which is more than what can be said for medical options such as warfarin. This is extremely important in reducing the risk of stroke. Consider using proteolytic enzymes just before and after long plane flights to minimize the potential of blood clots in the legs. How big is the problem? One study estimated that one million cases of deep venous thrombosis related to air travel occur in the U.S. alone every year and that 100,000 of these cases resulted in death. And that was before the recent boom in air travel.
  • Maximizing immune system function – the primary vehicle the immune system uses for destroying invaders is enzymes. Macrophages, for example, literally digest invaders with proteolytic enzymes. Supplementation significantly improves the ability of your immune system to do its job.
  • Improving breathing – Some proteolytic enzymes help clear away mucus buildup in the lungs.
  • Killing of bacteria, viruses, molds, and fungi – Proteolytic enzymes taken between meals literally go into the bloodstream and digest these invaders. One of the tricks of an invading organism is to wrap itself in a large protein shell that the body would view as being “normal.” Large amounts of protease can help to remove this protein shell and allow the body’s defense mechanisms to take action. With the protective barrier down, your immune system can step in and destroy the invading organism.
  • Optimizing oxygen uptake and improving recovery time for athletes. In a recent study, researchers from the Department of Health and Human Performance at Elon University evaluated the capacity of protease to relieve soft-tissue injury resulting from intense exercise. The enzyme group demonstrated superior recovery of muscle function and diminished muscle soreness after downhill running when compared with those taking a placebo.
  • Dissolving of scar tissue – Scar tissue is made of protein. Proteolytic enzymes can effectively “digest” scar tissue, particularly in the circulatory system.
  • Reducing symptoms of multiple sclerosis (MS).
  • Removing circulating immune complexes (CICs), leading to reduced allergies, elimination of many autoimmune disorders, sinusitis, and asthma. Many large protein molecules that are only partially digested in the small intestine are nevertheless absorbed into the bloodstream. Wheat, dairy, and corn proteins are particular culprits. Once in the bloodstream, the immune system treats these oversized proteins as invaders, provoking an immune response. Antibodies couple with these foreign protein invaders to form CICs. In a healthy person, these CICs may be neutralized in the lymphatic system, but if the immune system is compromised or if the level of CICs is just too high, they will accumulate in the blood, where they initiate an “allergic” reaction. The kidneys can no longer excrete all of them, so the body begins storing them in soft tissue, causing inflammation and triggering an autoimmune disorder. Supplemental proteolytic enzymes taken between meals aid in the elimination of CICs.”


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Explanation for Why We Are Deficient in Enzymes

“Most people believe that when you eat a meal, it drops into a pool of stomach acid where it’s broken down, then it goes into the small intestine to have nutrients taken out, and then into the colon to be passed out of the body. In fact, the truth is a bit more complex. What nature intended is that you eat enzyme-rich foods and chew your food properly. If you did that, the food would enter the stomach laced with digestive enzymes. No stomach acid would be present. Your meal would then be churned around by the action of the stomach, and the enzymes that were present would “pre-digest” your food for about an hour–actually breaking down as much as 75 percent of your meal.

Only after this period of “pre-digestion” is hydrochloric acid, produced by the parietal cells in the stomach wall, introduced. The acid inactivates all of the food-based enzymes, but begins its own function of breaking down what is left of the meal. The digestive enzyme pepsin is also introduced by the stomach at this point. Unlike food-based enzymes, pepsin thrives in the high-acid environment produced by stomach acid. Eventually, the nutrient rich food concentrate that results from the action of enzymes and stomach acid moves into the small intestine. In the small intestine, the acid is neutralized in the duodenum and the pancreas reintroduces digestive enzymes to the process. As digestion is completed, nutrients are passed through the intestinal wall and into the bloodstream. That’s what nature intended, but unfortunately most of us don’t live our lives as nature intended.

Processing and cooking destroy enzymes in food. Man is the only animal that cooks his food. In fact, any sustained heat of approximately 118°F to 129°F (48°C to 54°C) destroys virtually all enzymes. This means that, for most of us, the food entering our stomachs is severely enzyme deficient. Actually, there are some enzymes added from our saliva, but the amount is minuscule because we chew our food only about 25 percent as much as is required. The result is that most of our meals enter our stomachs woefully devoid of enzymes.

The food then sits in the stomach for an hour, like a heavy lump, with very little pre-digestion taking place. That makes it impossible for the normal amount of stomach acid to completely break down the meal, which means that what’s left of it enters the small intestine largely undigested. At this point, the pancreas and the other organs of the endocrine system are put under tremendous stress since they have to draw reserves from the entire body in order to produce massive amounts of the proper enzymes. The less digestion that takes place before food reaches the small intestine, the greater the stress placed on the endocrine glands. Recent studies have shown that virtually all Americans have an enlarged pancreas by the time they are forty. And the ever increasing intake of refined carbohydrates is also a major contributing factor. Is it any wonder that the incidence of diabetes is exploding in the developed world?”

GI tract“Regular supplementation with digestive enzymes takes stress off the pancreas (and the entire body) by providing the enzymes required for digestion. In other words, digestive enzyme supplements may be one of the best insurance policies you can give your body so you can enjoy a long and healthy life. You will also experience a number of short-term benefits from taking digestive enzymes:

  • A significant reduction in indigestion and heartburn problems resulting from too much acid in the stomach. If there are insufficient enzymes in your food, your body tries to break down your meal through overproduction of stomach acid. Using digestive enzymes drops acid production back to normal levels.
  • Since complex carbohydrates are now being substantially digested before they enter the intestinal tract, you should experience relief from gas and bloating. (Note: Some people may actually notice an increase in activity for several days as their digestive systems come alive.)
  • Look for improved digestion of dairy products.
  • Diminished food allergies due to more complete protein digestion.
  • Since the digestion of enzyme-deficient food is an extremely energy-consuming task, within a few days of enzyme supplementation you should notice an increase in energy levels.
  • Relief from many of the symptoms of hiatal hernia.
  • Relief from acid reflux.
  • Relief from ulcers. Digestive enzymes help digest so much of your meal during the 40–60 minutes of pre-digestion that your body requires less acid in the actual digestion phase. This means that taking digestive enzymes will help lower the levels of acid in your stomach. (Those who suffer from chronic low levels of acid need not worry. Digestive enzyme supplements help here, too, by breaking down so much food in the predigestion phase that less acid is actually required. And over time, decreased demand results in increased reserve capability.) Second, protease will begin breaking down the protective coating of the H. pylori bacteria responsible for so many ulcers. In other words, it will actually begin to digest it. However, for those with a severe existing ulcer, the protease may begin to digest damaged stomach lining tissue because its protective coating is missing. This can cause noticeable discomfort for several days. To avoid this, start with very small amounts of the supplement with your meals and build up slowly.”

Milk Drinkers Face More Fractures by Beth Levine

“For decades, the dairy industry has been ubiquitous with its reminders to drink your milk. From “milk, it does a body good” to tons of public figures asking if you’ve “got milk,” the importance of milk has been not so subtly touted. And while they are clearly trying to promote a product, it’s not so bad because at least milk is healthy, right? We are taught at a young age to drink our milk since it will help our bones grow big and strong. But now, new research is suggesting that what Jon Barron has been saying about milk for years is true and that certain long-held beliefs about the benefits of milk may be way off base.

The study, which took place at Uppsala University in Sweden, found that a higher intake of milk was associated with an increased risk of bone fractures in addition to death at a younger age. The subjects were 61,433 women and 45,339 men who answered surveys about their typical eating habits. Some of the questions they were asked focused on their consumption of specific foods, including milk, yogurt, and cheese. The scientists conducted follow-ups with the women for an average of 20 years and with the men for an average of 11 years. During this time period, the participants’ medical information was analyzed, and the researchers kept track of any bone fractures they experienced as well as occurrences of mortality.

The female volunteers were determined to reap no benefits whatsoever from drinking milk. In fact, those who consumed three or more glasses of milk daily actually had a substantially higher risk of bone fractures. And both the men and women who drank greater quantities of milk regularly were found to have an elevated risk of premature death.

Interestingly, the other dairy foods that were also spotlighted in this experiment did not seem to have the same effects. Cheese and yogurt–both of which are made from milk but differ due to the presence of bacterial cultures–actually appear to provide some benefits. The subjects who consumed a lot of these foods had a decreased chance of bone fractures occurring and a lower risk of death. It is not clear exactly why milk would have such harmful consequences when its close relatives may offer some protection, but the scientists theorize that it may be related to milk producing inflammation in the body that is not brought on by other dairy items. To obtain evidence of this, they looked at biomarkers of oxidative stress and found that these were consistently higher in people who were bigger milk drinkers.

The problem may be caused by D-galactose, a sugar in milk but not in either cheese or yogurt, that affects the body at a cellular level producing inflammation and damage. A 1999 study at the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences in Beijing on injections of low doses of D-galactose in mice demonstrated an accelerated aging effect in the animals, including an inhibited immune response. And,while the current study was not designed to prove cause and effect, it certainly did establish a firm link between heavy milk consumption and early mortality. Plus, the size of the population sample and length of the study period lend the results further weight.

These findings should come as no surprise to Jon Barron’s long-time readers. There have been many times over the years that he has warned of the health hazards that are associated with milk, such as an increase in diabetes and contributing to the rise in obesity rates. And before you start worrying that dairy products are essential because your bones need the calcium it provides, you might want to check out Jon Barron’s newsletter, Dangers of Calcium Supplements, which closely examines the calcium myth and how your body really needs far less than most experts believe.

In the end, it likely would do you no harm to give up all foods that come from cow’s milk. However, if you are a die-hard fan of dairy, at least try to limit your milk consumption and stick with small quantities of cheese and yogurt instead. And when you drink milk, stick with raw if possible, but at the very least, organic, antibiotic- and growth hormone-free varieties.”

Jon Barron: What are Enzymes?

“Enzymes are proteins that speed up (catalyze) chemical reactions in living organisms. They are required for every single chemical action that takes place in your body. All of your tissues, muscles, bones, organs, and cells are run by enzymes. Your digestive system, immune system, bloodstream, liver, kidneys, spleen, and pancreas, as well as your ability to see, think, feel, and breathe all depend on enzymes. All of the minerals and vitamins you eat and all of the hormones your body produces need enzymes in order to work properly.

Enzymes allow many chemical reactions to occur within the constraints (temperature, oxygen levels, acid/alkaline balance, etc.) of a living system. As organic catalysts, they are involved in, but not changed by, chemical reactions, and they do not alter the equilibrium of those reactions. Like all catalysts, enzymes work by providing an alternative pathway of lower activation energy for a reaction. By bringing the reactants closer together, enzymes can help make chemical bonds weaker, thus helping reactions proceed faster than without the catalyst (many millions of times faster). This is important since these ‘reactions’ govern every function in your body, not to mention the destruction of viruses, bacteria, and cancerous cells.

Without enzymes, metabolism would progress through the same steps, but would go too slowly to serve the needs of the cell. In addition, enzymes often work together in a specific order, creating pathways. After each enzyme reaction, the product of that reaction is passed on and used as the raw material (substrate) for another enzyme to work on. And then another and another, thus creating what is called a “metabolic pathway.” Metabolic pathways control cell metabolism, the process (or really the sum of many individual processes) by which living cells take in nutrients, eliminate waste, and maintain life.”

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7) Resists Diet Induced Drop in Metabolism

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