Enzymes, protein biocatalysts generated by cells of humans, plants, or bacteria are key to igniting all biochemical processes. Without enzymes, all biochemical reactions would occur too slowly, if at all, to sustain life.
There are metabolic, digestive, and plant enzymes, all of which are critical for the body to use in all bodily processes. Metabolic enzymes are energized protein molecules the body assembles that are needed for food digestion, brain stimulation, cellular energy and repair, and assist in eliminating cellular waste products.
The human body assembles, disassembles and reassembles vast numbers of vital-to-life metabolic enzymes, and only does so to the extent of the completeness of nutrients and dietary enzymes a person eats.
Dietary enzymes are obtained through enzyme-active, fresh foods and may be contained in some nutritional supplement formulations. Dietary enzymes along with metabolic enzyme actions during digestion release essential nutrients from the food that are needed to sustain life, and provide the precursors for the body’s capacity to produce other metabolic enzymes that keep you alive and thriving.
Dietary enzymes that are active in fresh foods and preserved in supplements provide the enzymes that aid in breaking down and digesting food down to its most basic components: vitamins, minerals, amino acids from protein foods, fatty acids from fats, and glucose (blood sugar) units of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen from carbohydrates.
From these basic food components, with the aid of enzymes, the body is able to build renewed body proteins, sugars and lipids that make up the entire body’s fluids, tissues and structures.
Active dietary enzymes are the proteins needed for forming metabolic enzymes necessary for activating and perpetuating all biological processes. A shortage of dietary enzymes could mean a chronic deficiency in the precursors needed to manufacture metabolic enzymes.
Therefore, the body’s manufacture of metabolic enzymes is dependent on dietary enzymes and augmenting nutrients, and their shortage can result in the halting of any important cellular or biochemical process, and lead to any number of degenerative health conditions or systems malfunctioning.
Through an abundance of dietary enzymes, the body can preserve its ability to generate more metabolic enzymes, including important digestive enzymes amylase, lipase, protease, and lactase, needed to digest various proteins, fats and carbohydrate foods.
Digestive Enzymes Produced by the Body
Since raw, fresh, enzyme-active foods and enzyme-active supplements are subject to degeneration, foods must be stored properly under refrigeration and supplements kept in airtight product containers. Enzymes are easily destroyed by heat temperatures of over 120 degrees Fahrenheit, by chemical food processing such as pasteurization, sterilization, freezing and microwaving, and overexposure to light and air.
Once an enzyme-active food is disconnected from its parent plant and soil nutrient source, its own enzymes serve to break down its fibre and tissue structure toward its own decomposition, so it is better to consume enzyme active foods that are properly ripened and freshly picked, and properly preserved in a nutritional supplement.
Chemical fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides also reduce the amounts of active enzymes in live, fresh foods and may end up in your enzyme-active nutritional supplement. The green USDA organic seal on the product label assures that no toxic or synthetic chemicals were used in the growing of those food ingredients.
A black and white USDA organic seal indicates that only 70% of the ingredients in a product contains organically grown ingredients.
To keep disease-causing chemicals out of your supplements, purchasing products containing organically, sustainably grown ingredients in your supplements not only is an effective health-protective measure, but it also helps ensure that the organic food production industry can keep growing stronger and continue to help protect a food abundance environment.
Digestive enzymes are found in digestive aid supplement tablets, and some are in chewable form flavoured with fruit juices. Digestive enzymes, along with natural food enzymes such as bromelain from pineapples or papain from papaya, can be found in multi-nutrient supplements and fruit-greens-vegetable powders that may also include nut powders and other enzyme-active ingredients.
Supplements made with whole food ingredients, particularly when enzymes are preserved and contain fat-soluble vitamins and plant-derived oils, should be kept in airtight containers and refrigerated to prevent the degradation of nutrient quality and expose their susceptibility to free radical damage.
I have also reviewed a lot of dietary supplements, if you are interested, you might check them out.
The Serrapeptase Enzyme
The third type of enzyme not discussed so far is a systemic proteolytic enzyme known as serrapeptase, which has been shown to be a safe and effective cyclo-oxygenase 2 inhibitor (COX 2 inhibitor) in reducing instances of the body’s malfunctioning inflammatory response and therefore reducing pain.
Serrapeptase also has been shown to reduce swelling and improve microcirculation, and therefore improve nutrient delivery and oxygenation for more rapid healing. Used in Europe and Asia for over twenty-five years, serrapeptase has been shown to be effective for eliminating toxic cellular metabolic waste products and digestive waste materials, safely reducing the amount of fibrin that forms obstructive clots in the circulatory system, and safely dissolving hardened plaques in the arteries.
Clinical research applying serrapeptase has also been shown to induce cancer cell apoptosis (self-destruction) and reduce swelling in fibrocystic breast disease. It also has been shown to safely dissolve atherosclerotic plaques and scar tissue at the micro-level, reduce the pain of arthritis, help reduce infection in sinusitis, bronchitis and inflammation in other cardiovascular problems.
After discovery and scientific analysis revealed that the pansystemic serrapeptase enzyme had many beneficial properties that could be applied clinically, it has been applied successfully as an aid for pain relief, digestion and a variety of health improvement applications.
Serrapeptase has no typical adverse side effects and hazards of pain reliever medications such as over-the-counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) acetaminophen, ibuprofen or aspirin. NSAIDs come with side effect warnings, cautioning a person seeking pain relief for their possible damage to kidneys, digestive system, and symptoms such as nausea, dizziness, difficulty breathing or swallowing, “swelling of the face, throat, tongue, lips, eyes, hands, feet, ankles, or lower legs”, and hives, itching, or rash (Acetaminophen 2013).
Or, in the case of aspirin, side effect symptoms include bloody stools, bloody vomit, fast heartbeat and fast breathing, cold clammy skin and ringing of the ears, to name a few (Aspirin 2013). Serrapeptase when used as a pain reliever has no such effects.
Neither a metabolic enzyme produced by the human body nor a food-derived enzyme, serrapeptase is actually derived from a nonpathogenic or non-illness causing intestinal bacteria found in the silkworm. After the silkworm’s metamorphosis into a moth, it is able to create an area of escape through its protective cocoon walls composed of silk fibres, one of the strongest natural fibres found in nature.
Scientific analysis as to why it is able to accomplish this feat reveals that the serratiopeptidase enzyme produced by the bacterium Serratia marcescens present during the silkworm’s regurgitation and exit process actually dissolves the cocoon’s tough fibrous material.
For the production of serrapeptase supplements, the Serratia marcescens bacteria is extracted from the silkworm’s intestine and grown in highly selective nutrient culture mediums, where the serratiopeptidase enzyme is recovered and undergoes various types of filtration, purification and characterization for maintaining the quality, value and efficacy of the enzyme (Mohankumar 2011).
As with any supplement, side effects can occur with overuse and inattention to recommended dosing as instructed on product labelling. Cautions against taking serrapeptase include patients who have blood coagulation abnormalities or are taking anticoagulant medications, or have a liver or kidney disorder.
Taking serrapeptase for extended periods or taking it in excess may result in gastrointestinal disturbances, discomfort or nausea, anorexia, or eruption.
Lactating, breastfeeding or pregnant women are also cautioned against taking serrapeptase. Since it is a very potent enzyme, the literature indicates that long term use is not recommended to prevent the long term use side effects discussed above.
Daily care and attention to eating whole foods with a healthy amount of dietary fibre, regular exercise habits, drinking plenty of clean water, and taking a full range of nutrients and phytonutrients in your supplements leave serrapeptase’s role as a temporary measure for healing and restoring the body to its normal balance or homeostasis when needed. If you are suffering from any kind of illness or health abnormality, it would be wise to discuss the use of serrapeptase with your physician, especially if he or she is willing to examine the respectable amount of scientific literature available.
To prevent the degradation of the serratiopeptidase enzyme that would occur in the stomach’s gastric hydrochloric acid or digestive juices, serrapeptase tablets are enterically coated in order to reach the higher acidic environment in the small intestine, where it can be slowly absorbed and utilized.
When looking for a more effectively absorbed serrapeptase supplement, the enteric coating is key. The composition of enteric coatings varies throughout the supplement and pharmaceutical industries from plant-derived substances to plastic or lacquered coatings. The thicker the coating and farther removed from your body’s natural metabolic, digestive enzyme capability, the least likely your serrapeptase tablet may be utilized at all.
Therefore, to ensure your serrapeptase supplement arrives both mostly intact at your intestines and gets absorbed properly, industry labelling recommendations are to take it on an empty stomach, either a one-half hour before a meal or at least two hours after a meal, and it also makes sense to choose a tablet that is enterically coated with a vegetable coating. However, unless you call the manufacturer and ask, or unless the product label or advertising literature claims the product has a vegetarian coating, you won’t know if your product choice will be effective.
Typical serrapeptase supplement potencies are expressed in milligrams per 10,000 units of enzyme activity, such as 5 mg of serrapeptase per 10,000 units, 10 mg of serrapeptase per 20,000 units, 20 mg per 40,000 units, and 30 mg per 60,000 units. Doses range from one to two tablets per day or as recommended on product labelling.