(NaturalNews) During a recent natural health seminar in Utopia, Texas Naturopathic Doctor Ken O`Neal gave a presentation on digestive enzymes and the vital role they play in our health and longevity. As Dr. O`Neal explained, until the advent of modern farming and food preparation most people got ample digestive enzymes from the plants they picked and ate - consuming a great deal of them more or less ripe from the vine.
A ripe fruit or vegetable freshly picked contains the most digestive enzymes it will ever have. Only a couple of hours off the vine will result in significant deterioration. Pick a fruit or vegetable that is less than ripe and then ship it via cold storage to your local grocers and it may have less than 10% of the enzymes of a fresh picked ripe fruit or vegetable. Add to that our over-farmed and mineral-depleted soils to the lack of time between crop plantings and lack of sufficient micro-organisms, which convert available minerals to bioavailable forms the plants can utilize, and the end result is crops that have far less available nutrients and enzymes than those decades ago.
Digestive enzymes play key roles in our health by enabling our bodies to digest and utilize all the nutrients we ingest to the greatest extent possible. Moreover, these enzymes also play a key role in the elimination of toxins and the digestion and removal of scar tissue that builds up inside all of us as we age.
When it comes to our bodies, there are at least 45 essential nutrients that the body needs to carry out normal bodily functions - and likely more when you include all the vital trace minerals. "Essential" means that the body cannot manufacture them and they must come from outside sources.
Proper metabolic function requires at least 13 kinds of vitamins and 20 kinds of minerals, in addition to fats, carbohydrates and water. All of these items combine to ensure that when food is consumed it gets broken down to its basic component parts for absorption and then is transported by the blood stream throughout the body.
Nutrients, including enzymes, work together with each other and act as catalysts to promote absorption and assimilation. Without digestive enzymes, the body cannot absorb nutrients in food which are not properly broken down.
Over the years, the body slowly but surely loses its ability to produce enzymes and major drops occur roughly every ten years. At first, such drops may not be that apparent, but as time goes by we ultimately begin to discover that we cannot tolerate or enjoy certain foods like we once did. We may also notice a reduction in stamina, and most likely what that means is that we are running low on enzymes.
In one of his reports on anti-aging, noted alternative health voice Jon Barron noted the important role digestive enzymes play in anti-aging in his report on digestive enzymes:
"Dr. Howell, in his book on enzyme nutrition, puts it quite clearly when he says that a person's life span is directly related to the exhaustion of their enzyme potential. And the use of food enzymes decreases that rate of exhaustion, and thus, results in a longer, healthier, and more vital life.
"Enzymes are proteins that facilitate chemical reactions in living organisms. In fact, they are required for every single chemical action that takes place in your body. All of your cells, organs, bones, muscles, and tissues are run by enzymes.
"Your digestive system, immune system, blood stream, 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. In fact, every single metabolic function in your body is governed by enzymes. Your stamina, your energy level, your ability to utilize vitamins and minerals, your immune system -- all governed by enzymes.
"As it happens, they are produced both internally (most notably in the pancreas and the other endocrine glands) and are present in raw foods that we eat. At birth we are endowed with a certain potential for manufacturing enzymes in our bodies, an enzyme "reserve," if you will. Nature intended that we continually replenish that reserve through proper nutrition and eating habits. Unfortunately, that just doesn`t happen. Let`s take a look at why.
"Most people believe that when you eat a meal it drops into a pool of stomach acid, where it`s broken down, then goes into the small intestine to have nutrients taken out, and then into the colon to be passed out of the body -- if you`re lucky. Not quite.
"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. These enzymes would then "predigest" your food for about an hour -- actually breaking down as much as 75% of your meal.
"After this period of "pre digestion," hydrochloric acid is introduced. The acid inactivates all of the enzymes, but begins its own function of breaking down what is left of the meal.
"Eventually, this nutrient rich food concentrate moves on into the small intestine. Once food enters the small intestine, the pancreas reintroduces digestive enzymes to the process. As digestion is completed, nutrients are passed through the intestinal wall and into the blood stream.
"That`s what nature intended. Unfortunately, most of us don`t live our lives as nature intended!"
At the aforementioned seminar, Dr. O`Neal provided further information via his lecture and handouts about the many benefits that a good regimen of systemic enzyme therapy from diets and supplementation could provide. Here is the major topics he reported:
Major Functions of Systemic Enzyme Therapy
Inflammation is the cause of pain associated with many different conditions such as sports injuries, muscle sprains, sciatica, chronic back pain and even arthritis and fibromyalgia. Systemic digestive enzymes can be a healthy alternative to nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as acetominiphen, ibuprofen and aspirin.
Digestive enzymes help reduce joint and muscle inflammation, act as a natural pain reliever, and help reduce C-Reactive proteins, a marker for inflammation. In addition, digestive enzymes may lower inflammation by removing toxins and debris in the circulatory system and may reduce the inflammation associated with Sjogren`s syndrome
Fibrosis is a type of scar tissue formation which contains fibrin (which is a type of protein) and it can form masses or web-like formations throughout the body's tissues, muscles, and organs. Excess fibrous tissue is marked by the body as "foreign proteins". When there is a build up of excess fibrin, systemic enzymes can help reduce these so called "foreign" proteins. Removing the buildup of fibrin via digestive enzymes may may help fight the aging process and may reduce fibromyalgia symptoms, endometriosis, uterine fibroid tumors, pulmonary fibrosis and chronic fatigue syndrome.
Digestive enzymes may also reduce thickening of the blood from fibrin deposits and unclog the microcirrculation system, thus increasing circulation, reduce spider veins and wrinkles, increase penile functionality and increase healing capabilities by reducing post-operative scar tissue.
Immune System Modulation:
When the immune system is run down and/or impaired, digestive enzymes can help increase immune response, producing more Natural Killer cells and improving the efficiency of white blood cells, all of which can lead to improved immunity. These enzymes can also speed healing, increase the body`s defense mechanism by modulating our immune system, prevent the rejection of transplanted and health-restoring organs and tissues, modulate the cell-signaling pathway that triggers immune activation and balance the entire body synergy.
Fights Blood Contamination:
Blood often becomes contaminated with toxins when the liver is over burdened and its capacity to cleanse the blood is diminished. Blood can also become contaminated when excess fibrin builds up and causes the blood to become too thick. The result of such contamination and thickening may end up being a perfect environment for blood clots to form. When systemic enzymes are taken, their presence in the blood can help aid the normal liver functions by helping to clear excess fibrin and reduce the stickiness of blood cells, which can in turn help minimize one of the leading causes of stroke, heart attack, and blood clots.
Systemic digestive enzymes in the blood can also break down dead material to small enough sizes that it can immediately pass into the bowel and can help maintain a normal blood flow prevention of blood clots and platelet aggregations within the blood vessels.
Other digestive enzyme benefits for the blood include assisting in the liver`s detoxification process to help maintain cleaner blood, improving the functionality of white blood cell receptors and their ability to fight off infection, and improving homeostasis
Viruses have an exterior protein coating that is used to bond the viruses to the DNA in our cells so they can replicate, which often results in harm. Systemic enzymes can disrupt this outer protein wall and render viruses inert by inhibiting replication. In addition, digestive enzymes which include Serrapeptase content can help improve anti-virals abilities to kill viruses, can serve as internal filters to clean the circulatory system, and can lower viral loading
Dr. O`Neal also explained one reason that digestive enzymes, particularly pancreatic enzymes which contain chymotrypsin, are so effective as a tool in fighting many cancers, such as pancreatic cancer: they help break down the protective coating cancer cells encapsulate themselves in.
Note: Doctor Ken O`Neal, or Dr. Ken as he is most often known as, became an MD almost 40 years ago, but became increasingly disillusioned by mainstream drugs and treatments that appeared to be mostly treating symptoms and managing illness instead of curing it. So he began to study and turn to nature more and more as time went by. Fourteen years ago Dr. O`Neal earned his degree as a Naturopathic Doctor and has been using his scientific knowledge of the human body combined with the healing powers of nature ever since.
Dr. Ken O`Neal and his handouts from the Utopia Texas Health Seminar "Anti-Aging and Digestive Health Through Enzymes" by Jon Barron "Digestive Enzymes: The Key to Good Health and Longevity" by Rita Elkins, 1998, Woodland Publishing
About the author
Tony Isaacs, is a natural health author, advocate and researcher who hosts The Best Years in Life website for those who wish to avoid prescription drugs and mainstream managed illness and live longer, healthier and happier lives naturally. Mr. Isaacs is the author of books and articles about natural health, longevity and beating cancer including "Cancer's Natural Enemy" and is working on a major book project due to be published later this year. He is also a contributing author for the worldwide advocacy group "S.A N.E.Vax. Inc" which endeavors to uncover the truth about HPV vaccine dangers. Mr. Isaacs is currently residing in scenic East Texas and frequently commutes to the even more scenic Texas hill country near Austin and San Antonio to give lectures and health seminars. He also hosts the CureZone "Ask Tony Isaacs - featuring Luella May" forum as well as the Yahoo Health Group "Oleander Soup" and he serves as a consultant to the "Utopia Silver Supplement Company".