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SPARKS OF LIFE
The late Dr. Edward Howell, a physician and pioneer in enzyme research, called enzymes the "sparks of life." These energized protein molecules play a necessary role in virtually all of the biochemical activities that go on in the body. They are essential for digesting food, for stimulating the brain, for providing cellular energy, and for repairing all tissues, organs, and cells. Life as we know it could not exist without the action of enzymes, even in the presence of sufficient amounts of vitamins, minerals, water, and other nutrients.
In their primary role, enzymes are catalysts, the substances that accelerate and precipitate the hundreds of thousands of biochemical reactions in the body that control life's processes. If it were not for the catalytic action of enzymes, most of these reactions would take place far too slowly to sustain life. Enzymes are not consumed in the reactions they facilitate.
Each enzyme has a specific function in the body that no other enzyme can fulfill. The chemical shape of each enzyme is specialized so that it can initiate a reaction only in a certain substance, or in a group of closely related chemical substances, and not in others. The substance on which an enzyme acts is called the substrate. Because there must be a different enzyme for every substrate, the body must produce a great number of different enzymes.
THE FUNCTIONS OF ENZYMES
DIGESTIVE & METABOLIC ENZYMES
Enzymes assist in practically all bodily functions. Digestive enzymes break down food particles for energy and for storage in the liver or muscles. This breakdown chemical reaction is called Hydrolysis, and it involves using water to break the chemical bonds to turn food into energy. This stored energy is later converted by other enzymes for use by the body when necessary and as required by the body. Iron is concentrated in the blood by the action of enzymes; other enzymes in the blood help the blood to coagulate in order to stop bleeding. Uricolytic enzymes catalyze the conversion of uric acid into urea. Respiratory enzymes facilitate the elimination of carbon dioxide from the lungs. Enzymes assist the kidneys, liver, colon, and skin in removing wastes and toxins from the body. Enzymes also utilize the nutrients ingested by the body to construct new muscle tissue, nerve cells, bone, skin, and glandular tissue. One enzyme can take dietary phosphorus and convert it into bone. Enzymes prompt the oxidation of glucose, which creates energy for the cells. Enzymes also protect the blood from dangerous waste materials by converting these substances to forms that are easily eliminated by the body. Indeed, the functions of enzymes are so many and so diverse that is would be impossible to name them all.
Enzymes are often divided into two groups: Digestive Enzymes & Metabolic Enzymes.
DIGESTIVE ENZYMES are secreted along the gastrointestinal tract and break down foods, enabling the nutrients to be absorbed into the blood stream for use in various bodily functions. There are three main categories of digestive enzymes: Amylase, Protease, and Lipase.
AMYLASE ENZYMES: Amylase is found in saliva and in the pancreatic and intestinal juices and it breaks down carbohydrates. It begins to act as soon as you start chewing (this is why it is important to chew your food well). Different types of Amylase break down specific types of sugars. For example, Lactase breaks down lactose (milk sugar), maltase breaks down maltose (malt sugar), and sucrase breaks down sucrose (cane and beet sugar).
PROTEASE ENZYMES: Protease is found in the stomach juices and also in the pancreatic and intestinal juices and it helps digest proteins.
LIPASE ENZYMES: Lipase is found in the stomach and pancreatic juices, and also present in fats in foods, and aids in fat digestion.
Another component of the digestive process is hydrochloric acid. While not technically an enzyme itself, it interacts with digestive enzymes as they perform their functions.
METABOLIC ENZYMES are those enzymes that catalyze the various chemical reactions within the cells, such as energy production and detoxification. All of the body's organs, tissues, and cells are governed and activities run by the metabolic enzymes. They are the workers that build the body from proteins, carbohydrates and fats. Metabolic enzymes are found in the blood, organs, and tissues doing their specific work. Each body tissue has its own specific set of metabolic enzymes.
Two particularly important metabolic enzymes are Superoxide Dismutase (SOD) and its partner, Catalase. SOD is an antioxidant that protects the cells by attacking a common free radical, superoxide.
Catalase breaks down hydrogen peroxide, a metabolic waste product, and liberates oxygen for the body to use.
The body uses most of its enzyme-producing potential to produce about 2 dozen enzymes. These control the breakdown and utilization of proteins, fats, and carbohydrates to create the hundreds of metabolic enzymes necessary to maintain the rest of the tissues and organs in their functions.
Enzymes can be found naturally in many different foods, both from plant and animal sources. Avocados, papaya, pineapples, bananas, and mangoes are all high in enzymes. Sprouts are the richest source. Unripe papaya and pineapple are excellent sources of enzymes. The enzymes extracted from papaya and pineapple are Papain and Bromelain, respectively, and are Proteolytic Enzymes, which break down proteins.
Many fat-containing foods also supply Lipase, which breaks down fats. In fact, fat in food exposed only to Pancreatic Lipase (the Lipase produced by the body) in the intestines is not as well digested as fat that is first worked on by the stomach by Food Lipase. Pancreatic Lipase digests fat in a highly alkaline environment (the intestines), whereas Lipase found in food fats works in a more acidic environment (the stomach). The optimal extraction of nutrients from fats depends on the work of different fat-digesting enzymes in successive stages.
Hydrochloric Acid (HCl) comes in several different forms, including Lysine HCl and Betaine HCl. Betaine HCl is derived from sugar beets. When new, HCl capsules and tablets are almost white in color, but sometimes they can turn a deep purple when they age. Supplemental HCl is not sold in powder or liquid form because contact with the teeth can damage tooth enamel. HCl has a sulfur-like odor. Betaine HCl is often combined with Pepsin to aid in stomach function.
Superoxide Dismutase occurs naturally in a variety of food sources, including barley grass, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, wheatgrass, and most green plants.
As powerful as they are, enzymes cannot act alone. They require adequate amounts of other substances, known as coenzymes, to be fully active. Among the most important coenzymes are the B-Complex Vitamins, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, and Zinc.
While the body manufactures a supply of enzymes, it can also obtain enzymes from food. In fact, the body's ability to manufacture enzymes is being seriously taxed by our diet of processed and highly cooked food. Unfortunately, enzymes are extremely sensitive to heat. Even low to moderate heat (118°F or above) destroys most enzymes in food. To obtain enzymes from the diet, one must eat raw foods. Eating raw foods or, alternatively, taking enzyme supplements, helps prevent the depletion of the body's own enzymes and thus reduce the stress on the body.
Anyone who has a malabsorption problem, a yeast infection (candidiasis), or is over age 60 and whose digestive process seems to be stalling out, resulting in unpleasant symptoms should take enzyme supplements. Ingredients should include Pancreatin, Lipase, Amylase, and Protease. This combination ensures digestion and absorption of amino acids, fat-soluble nutrients, and carbohydrates. Bromelain, derived from pineapple stems, along with Papain, derived from the papaya fruit, also are welcome. Specific problems can be addressed by the addition of specific enzymes. For instance, people who have trouble with dairy sugars should consider Lactase; people who cannot digest legumes might try Legumase. Hydrochloric Acid supplements also might be necessary in the form of Betaine Hydrochloride taken as capsules at the start of each meal.
The majority of commercially available enzymes are digestive enzymes extracted from various sources. Enzymes are not manufactured synthetically. Most commercial enzyme products are made from animal enzymes, such as pancreatin and pepsin, which help in the digestion of food once it has reached the lower stomach and the intestinal tract. Some companies make their supplements from enzymes extracted from aspergillus, a type of fungus.
These enzymes begin their pre-digestive work in the upper stomach. All of these products are used primarily to aid the digestion of foods and absorption of nutrients especially protein. If proteins are not completely digested, undigested protein particles may make their way into the bloodstream through the intestinal wall with other nutrients. This phenomenon is known as leaky gut syndrome, and it can result in allergic reactions that may be more or less severe, depending upon the strength of the immune system. This is one reason why the proper digestion of proteins is so important.
Any enzyme that acts on protein and prepares it for absorption is called a proteolytic enzyme. Proteolytic enzymes available in supplement form include pepsin, trypsin, rennin, pancreatin, chymotrypsin, bromelain, and papain. In addition to aiding digestion, proteolytic enzymes have been shown to be beneficial as anti-inflammatory agents. Pancreatin, derived from secretions of animal pancreas, is a focus of cancer research, because people with cancer are often deficient in this enzyme. Pancreatin is used in the treatment of digestive problems, viral infections, and sports injuries, as well as pancreatic insufficiency, food allergies, cystic fibrosis, autoimmune disorders, and other chronic illnesses.
Also available in supplement form are the antioxidant enzymes superoxide dismutase (SOD) and catalase.The following table lists some common enzymes and their substrates (the substance acted upon).
Proteins, Adhesions, Fibrin
Lactose (Milk, Sugar)
Proteins, Fats, Carbohydrates
Proteins, Fats, Carbohydrates
Enzyme supplements may not be for everyone. During pregnancy, it is a rule to be careful with supplements in general. Nursing mothers also should be careful about supplements, to avoid affecting their milk. If you are pregnant or nursing, contact your midwife or health care provider before taking any supplement, formula, or medication of any kind.
People who have hemophilia or who take anticoagulants (blood thinners) should consult with their health care providers before taking large amounts of enzymes. Anyone contemplating surgery where there is high risk of bleeding should as his or her physician for advice before taking any supplement.
AMYLASE ENZYME DESCRIPTION
A DIGESTIVE ENZYME
Amylase is a digestive enzyme found in pancreatic juice and saliva, and is what the body needs to break down sugars and starches. It also clings to carbohydrates and eventually converts them to monosaccharides such as glucose. Carbohydrates can be stored in the body as glycogen, the polymeric form of glucose, for future use; however, if carbohydrates are eaten in excessive amounts, the body changes them into fats and stores them in that form. Amylase is also found during the ripening process of fruit plants where it synthesizes and gives the fruit a sweeter taste.
AMYLASE ENZYME USES & SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE
AMYLASE DIAGNOSTIC TESTS
Amylase tests can help diagnose many diseases where Amylase levels are elevated, and Amylase tests are done on both blood and urine when there is sudden abdominal pain. Pancreatitis is the main reason Amylase levels increase, but mumps infections can cause a rise as well. Other culprits could be ulcers, gall bladder disease, tumors of the lung or ovaries, alcohol poisoning, ruptured aortic aneurysm, and intestinal strangulation or perforations. People who cannot digest fats often eat sugar and carbohydrates to make up for the lack of fat in their diet, but doing so can often lead to an Amylase deficiency.
AMYLASE ENZYME DOSAGE INFORMATION
Amylase is an ingredient in many products. For best results, it is best to consult with your health care provider before using Amylase for the treatment of your condition. Be sure to read and follow product information.
Enzymes are available over the counter in tablet, capsule, powder, and liquid forms. They may be sold in combination with each other or as separate items. Some enzyme products also contain Garlic to help digestion. For maximum benefit, any digestive enzyme supplement you choose should contain all of the major enzyme groups - amylase, protease, and lipase. Digestive enzymes should be taken after meals, unless you are eating processed and/or cooked foods, in which case it is best to take them during the meal. You can make your own digestive enzymes by drying papaya seeds, placing them in a pepper grinder, and sprinkling them on your foods. These have a peppery taste.
If you take supplemental Superoxide Dismutase (SOD), make sure to choose a product that is enteric coated - that is, coated with a protective substance that allows the SOD to pass intact through the stomach acid to be absorbed in the small intestine. Do not crush or chew these pills.
All forms of enzymes should be kept in a reasonably cool place to insure potency. Tablets and liquids can be stored in the refrigerator. However, powder and capsule forms should not be refrigerated because they are susceptible to moisture; they should be stored in a cool, dry place.
Research has shown that as we grow older, the body's ability to produce enzymes decreases. At the same time, malabsorption of nutrients, tissue breakdown, and chronic health conditions increase. Taking supplemental enzymes can help to ensure that you continue to get the full nutritional value from your foods. It is commonly believed that enzyme supplementation is vital for elderly persons.
AMYLASE ENZYME SAFETY, CAUTIONS & INTERACTION
Amylase deficiency can be a result of many conditions, so it is important to speak with your health care provider before using this enzyme supplementation. Safety in young children, pregnant or nursing women, or those with severe liver or kidney disease is not known.
AMYLASE ENZYME SUPPLEMENTS & RELATED PRODUCTS
QUALITY PRODUCTS & SUPPLEMENTS
AMYLASE ENZYME SUPPLEMENT PRODUCTS
To aid digestion. Most elderly people lack sufficient digestive enzymes. Caution: If you have a history of ulcers, do not use a formula containing HCl.
Amazon: Amylase Enzyme Supplement Products
Amazon: Multi-Enzyme Supplement Products
Amazon: Amylase #3, Ness Enzymes, 90 Caps
Amazon: Amylase Formula, R-Garden Inc, 180 Caps
Amazon: Amylase Enzyme, L.D. Carlson Company, 1 oz.
Amylase Enzyme is a food-grade bacterial alpha-amylase enzyme produced by fermentation of a non-GMO strain of bacillus. In the brewing process it is used for liquefaction of grain mashes and malt extracts for increased fermentability. 1/2 teaspoon per 5 Gallons, increases fermentation.
Amazon: Amylase Enzyme, Midwest Homebrewing & Winemaking Supplies, 1.5 oz.
Amazon: Amylase Enzyme, Midwest Homebrewing & Winemaking Supplies, 1 lb.
Nutrition Basics: Amylase Enzyme Supplement Information Nutrition Basics: Multi-Enzymes Supplement Informtion
AROMATHERAPY: ESSENTIAL OILS DESCRIPTIONS & USES
Allspice Leaf Oil Angelica Oil Anise Oil Baobab Oil Basil Oil Bay Laurel Oil Bay Oil Benzoin Oil Bergamot Oil Black Pepper Oil Chamomile (German) Oil Cajuput Oil Calamus Oil Camphor (White) Oil Caraway Oil Cardamom Oil Carrot Seed Oil Catnip Oil Cedarwood Oil Chamomile Oil Cinnamon Oil Citronella Oil Clary-Sage Oil Clove Oil Coriander Oil Cypress Oil Dill Oil Eucalyptus Oil Fennel Oil Fir Needle Oil Frankincense Oil Geranium Oil German Chamomile Oil Ginger Oil Grapefruit Oil Helichrysum Oil Hyssop Oil Iris-Root Oil Jasmine Oil Juniper Oil Labdanum Oil Lavender Oil Lemon-Balm Oil Lemongrass Oil Lemon Oil Lime Oil Longleaf-Pine Oil Mandarin Oil Marjoram Oil Mimosa Oil Myrrh Oil Myrtle Oil Neroli Oil Niaouli Oil Nutmeg Oil Orange Oil Oregano Oil Palmarosa Oil Patchouli Oil Peppermint Oil Peru-Balsam Oil Petitgrain Oil Pine-Long Leaf Oil Pine-Needle Oil Pine-Swiss Oil Rosemary Oil Rose Oil Rosewood Oil Sage Oil Sandalwood Oil Savory Oil Spearmint Oil Spikenard Oil Swiss-Pine Oil Tangerine Oil Tea-Tree Oil Thyme Oil Vanilla Oil Verbena Oil Vetiver Oil Violet Oil White-Camphor Oil Yarrow Oil Ylang-Ylang Oil Aromatherapy
Healing Baths For Colds
Using Essential Oils
AROMATHERAPY: HERBAL & CARRIER OILS DESCRIPTIONS & USES
Almond, Sweet Oil Apricot Kernel Oil Argan Oil Arnica Oil Avocado Oil Baobab Oil Black Cumin Oil Black Currant Oil Black Seed Oil Borage Seed Oil Calendula Oil Camelina Oil Castor Oil Coconut Oil Comfrey Oil Evening Primrose Oil Flaxseed Oil Grapeseed Oil Hazelnut Oil Hemp Seed Oil Jojoba Oil Kukui Nut Oil Macadamia Nut Oil Meadowfoam Seed Oil Mullein Oil Neem Oil Olive Oil Palm Oil Plantain Oil Plum Kernel Oil Poke Root Oil Pomegranate Seed Oil Pumpkin Seed Oil Rosehip Seed Oil Safflower Oil Sea Buckthorn Oil Sesame Seed Oil Shea Nut Oil Soybean Oil St. Johns Wort Oil Sunflower Oil Tamanu Oil Vitamin E Oil Wheat Germ Oil
HELPFUL RELATED MOONDRAGON NUTRITION BASICS LINKS
MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics Index MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Amino Acids Index MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Antioxidants Index MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Enzymes Information MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Herbs Index MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Homeopathics Index MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Hydrosols Index MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Minerals Index MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Mineral Introduction MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Dietary & Cosmetic Supplements Index MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Dietary Supplements Introduction MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Specialty Supplements MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Vitamins Index MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Vitamins Introduction
NUTRITION BASICS ARTICLES
MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: 4 Basic Nutrients MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Avoid Foods That Contain Additives & Artificial Ingredients MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Is Aspartame A Safe Sugar Substitute? MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Guidelines For Selecting & Preparing Foods MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Foods That Destroy MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Foods That Heal MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: The Micronutrients: Vitamins & Minerals MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Avoid Overcooking Your Foods MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Phytochemicals MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Increase Your Consumption of Raw Produce MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Limit Your Use of Salt MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Use Proper Cooking Utensils MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Choosing The Best Water & Types of Water
RELATED MOONDRAGON HEALTH LINKS & INFORMATION
MoonDragon's Nutrition Information Index MoonDragon's Nutritional Therapy Index MoonDragon's Nutritional Analysis Index MoonDragon's Nutritional Diet Index MoonDragon's Nutritional Recipe Index MoonDragon's Nutrition Therapy: Preparing Produce for Juicing MoonDragon's Nutrition Information: Food Additives Index MoonDragon's Nutrition Information: Food Safety Links MoonDragon's Aromatherapy Index MoonDragon's Aromatherapy Articles MoonDragon's Aromatherapy For Back Pain MoonDragon's Aromatherapy For Labor & Birth MoonDragon's Aromatherapy Blending Chart MoonDragon's Aromatherapy Essential Oil Details MoonDragon's Aromatherapy Links MoonDragon's Aromatherapy For Miscarriage MoonDragon's Aromatherapy For Post Partum MoonDragon's Aromatherapy For Childbearing MoonDragon's Aromatherapy For Problems in Pregnancy & Birthing MoonDragon's Aromatherapy Chart of Essential Oils #1 MoonDragon's Aromatherapy Chart of Essential Oils #2 MoonDragon's Aromatherapy Tips MoonDragon's Aromatherapy Uses MoonDragon's Alternative Health Index MoonDragon's Alternative Health Information Overview MoonDragon's Alternative Health Therapy Index MoonDragon's Alternative Health: Touch & Movement Therapies Index MoonDragon's Alternative Health Therapy: Touch & Movement: Aromatherapy MoonDragon's Alternative Therapy: Touch & Movement - Massage Therapy MoonDragon's Alternative Health: Therapeutic Massage MoonDragon's Holistic Health Links Page 1 MoonDragon's Holistic Health Links Page 2 MoonDragon's Health & Wellness: Nutrition Basics Index MoonDragon's Health & Wellness: Therapy Index MoonDragon's Health & Wellness: Massage Therapy MoonDragon's Health & Wellness: Hydrotherapy MoonDragon's Health & Wellness: Pain Control Therapy MoonDragon's Health & Wellness: Relaxation Therapy MoonDragon's Health & Wellness: Steam Inhalation Therapy MoonDragon's Health & Wellness: Therapy - Herbal Oils Index
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