Your Santa Fe Connection for Healthy Living
Our November 1989 Newsletter
How are your enzymes today? Enzymes break down fat, carbohydrate, and protein into their basic building blocks so that the body can digest and use them. Without enzymes, even the most balanced natural foods diet would be worthless - because the food cannot be digested and used by the body.
Raw foods contain varying quantities of the following four basic types of plant enzymes: protease for protein digestion, amylase for carbohydrate digestion, lipase for fat digestion, and cellulose for fiber digestion. Every raw food contains exactly the right quantities and types of enzymes necessary to digest that particular food. For example, fruits high in carbohydrates - such as apples - contain high amounts of amylase. Fruits high in fat - such as avocadoes - contain high amounts of lipase.
Although enzymes are present in all raw foods, they become devitalized in cooked or highly processed foods. Temperatures greater than 118° F. kill enzymes. Even steaming vegetables kills enzymes, as does irradiating or microwaving them. Freezing, however, does not affect enzymes. If we ate a diet consisting of 75 percent raw foods, supplemental enzymes would not be required.
When the body receives foods deficient in enzymes, it increases its number of white blood cells as a defense mechanism. Enzymes are then released from hese cells as well as from the lymphatic tissue and spleen, where they also are stored into the blood to digest toxins resulting from eating processed foods.
When white blood cells are continually elevated due to a diet high in processed food, the immune system is weakened. This is because enzymes, normally held in reserve to help fight infection, are instead pulled out of storage from white blood cells and other storage sites to digest the processed food.
Conditions that can relate to enzyme deficiency are immune system disorders and chronic degenerative diseases such as arthritis, hardening of the arteries, high cholesterol, diabetes, high blood pressure, etc. Older people are generally more deficient in enzymes than younger people because the enzyme stores are gradually used up over time. When people eat enzyme-deficient diets, the pancreas must make up the difference by producing digestive enzymes.
Pound for pound, animals who eat raw food diets have a smaller pancreas than those who eat cooked food diets. Man has a proportionately large pancreas because the pancreas has increased in size to make enough enzymes to digest cooked food. One solution to the problem of pancreatic enlargement is to provide plant enzymes so that the pancreas doesn't have to work so hard.
To prevent enzyme depletion, many naturopathic physicians recommend a plant enzyme supplement derived from the aspergillus plant be taken before meals. The enzymes extracted from this plant can be taken even by people with food allergies. Many cases of food allergies are helped by plant enzymes because allergic reactions will not occur when food is fully digested.
A key to maintaining optimal health is to eat fruit, vegetables, nuts, and seeds in the raw unprocessed state whenever possible. Since it is difficult in our society to eat a lot of raw foods, it may help to supplement with an enzyme formula from the aspergillus plant. Enzyme supplementation helps assure proper assimilation of nutritional supplements (vitamins and minerals) as well as foods.
NEW YORK (AP) You probably thought your relationship with enzymes had ended several years ago when they were confused with phosphates causing consumers to be wary of them. If so, you are still confused.
The mix-up is understandable though, because enzymes, while perhaps the hardest workers dram for dram in the entire universe, are invisible except in their effect. And this effect is almost incalculable.
Yes, they have returned as ingredients in detergents. And they help make your bear, your cheese, and your corn sweeteners. Your medicines too. Soon they may help turn organic matter into fuel for your car.
Indeed, it is no exaggeration to say the possibilities appear endless. They might, some knowledgeable commentators say, help turn around the U.S. imbalance of payments.
In effect, they are tiny protein molecules that have a catalytic effect on chemical reactions. They make things happen.
In effect, they are tiny protein molecules that have a catalytic effect on chemical reactions. They make things happen.They turn things into other things quietly, efficiently, uncomplaining.
That improvement in the U.S. foreign payments, for example, is conceivable because of this country's unmatched ability to produce huge corn crops, which enzymes help turn into sugar-like sweeteners.
"We could become the world's greatest producer of natural sweeteners," says Professor E. Kendall Pye, biochemist at the University of Pennsylvania and authority on uses of enzymes.
The U.S. enzyme-aided sweetener industry is growing swiftly. Roger Philips, head of Novo Laboratories, estimates 3 billion pounds of high fructose corn syrup is now produced each year.
The fact that it costs considerably less to make the syrup than to produce sugar explains in part why the high fructose industry seems headed toward sales of $1 billion a year.
Novo Labs, whose Danish parent, Novo Industri, is the world's largest producer of commercial enzymes, estimates enzyme sales worldwide will total $170 million this year.
One of the relatively new applications is in treating milk so it can be assimilated by people of non-European origin, many of whom cannot otherwise tolerate the cow's product in their adult years.
In Europe, where they have an excess milk supply, the good work of enzymes might make possible a large export business to the African continent, benefiting both Europeans and Africans, says Pye.
In sheer potential, however, nothing approaches the mind-boggling possibilities of enzymes in making fuel.
Ethanol, an alcohol that in combination with gasoline adds up to gasohol, comes to you courtesy of enzyme fermentation. Ethanol already is used in a small way in this country, and in a big way in Brazil.
The product it is claimed upgrades gasoline's performance in automobiles while reducing pollutants. It might cost more, but prices might be reduced sharply if the industry reaches its full potential.
Gabe Mirkin, M.D.
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