All about enzymes

Enzymes are essential to life.  Everything that is alive has and needs enzymes to live. This is true for us, for animals, plants, and every living thing on this planet.  In fact, enzymes works as spark plugs for almost every chemical reaction that makes life possible.

There’re over 2,500 known kinds of enzymes.  All enzymes are a special kind of protein that enables our body chemistry.  It helps us in every stage of the digestion process, from the saliva to our intestines.

When we eat food, the chewing motion breaks down the cells and release it’s nutrients, including enzymes.  For a long time, we believed that the acid found in our stomach automatically destroyed the enzymes we ate.  New research suggests that the stomach enzymes, called gastric enzymes, are specially designed to survive the extremes condition of our digestive system. However, those specific proteins are very sensitive to cooking.  If the food we eat is cooked, the enzymes in it are inactivated.

What enzymes do?

  • Ensure a proper digestion
  • Protects from inflammation and oxidation
  • Support the immune system
  • Promoting general metabolic efficiency

How does it work?

Enzymes and substrate works like a key in a lock, or even better, like a hand in a glove.  This analogy is often used to stress the importance of not changing the food structure.  When the structure of the food is too different than what the specific enzyme is made for, the reaction can’t occur.  This is one of the back bone of most primal diets, and it’s the reason why some authors claim that we should stay away from all form of food transformation including, cooking, heavy processing, and food coming from hybrids and of course, from GMOs.

Enzymes enemies

What happens when we are enzyme deficient?

As I said, enzymes are essential to life.  It is also essential for supporting body to detox naturally.  A severe lack of enzyme over time can lead to many health problems including:

  • Fibromyalgia
  • Depression
  • Schizophrenia
  • Alzheimer
  • Parkinson
  • Diabetes
  • Migraines and headaches
  • Hypoglycemia
  • Cholesterol
  • Obesity
  • Digestive problems
  • Premature ageing, etc…

How can I make sure I have enough enzymes?

Since virtually all food cooked al standard temperatures lack of active enzymes, your best bet is to eat as many raw foods as possible.  Many processing techniques used by food manufacturers also destroy the enzymes, as well as the storage time and conditions. This means that you should choose foods as fresh, whole and unprocessed as possible.  As enzymes activation implies minerals and oligo-elements, having a mineral-rich diet can also help.

*Photo credit: Paul Bodea

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