Digestive enzymes are catalysts for the initial break down of food in the stomach and are divided into several categories. Each enzyme has a specific action upon the food signaling its secretion. They do not always work in tandem. Protease, a protein enzyme and Amylase, a carbohydrate enzyme, neutralize each other out when foods requiring these enzymes enter the stomach together. For this reason it is not recommended to combine starches and proteins together in a meal such as pasta and meat or potatoes and meat. The body tries to handle the situation by robbing energy from other systems and directs it to the digestion taking place to aid the process. Whether or not the food is completely broken down into a chyme state, it will be passed onto the next stage, (approximately 3 hours time) to the duodenum. Constant food combining will have an impact on your absorption of nutrients when the stages of digestion are impaired.
The list below states the enzyme and what it acts upon. Proteolytic enzymes break down protein but also circulate throughout the system clearing fibrin and fibrinogen to prevent the blood from becoming too thick and promoting a stroke. Fish oil also assists this process by keeping the blood more slippery. Beside the stomach enzymes, without the secretion of enzymes by the salivary glands in the mouth and the pancreas, digestion would be completely ineffectual – digestion of food and absorption of nutrients would not take place. Digestive enzymes decrease with age as do our taste buds. To help remedy this problem, combination formulas of digestive enzymes including the pancreatic enzyme can be purchased from a health food store or from the supplement area in grocery stores.
Enzyme Function Performed
Amylase – Carbohydrates – starches and other sugars (polysaccharides)
Protease – Protein – large amino acid chains
Peptidase – Peptides – smaller amino acid chains
Lipase – Fats – lipids and triglycerides
Lactase – Lactose – milk sugar
Cellulase – Cellulose – plant fiber
Maltase – Maltose – malt sugar
Invertase – Sucrose – sugar
Phytase – Phytic acid – wheat and whole grains
Bromelain – Proteolytic – strong anti-inflammatory – from pineapple
Papain – Proteolytic – anti-inflammatory – from papaya
Pancreatin – Protease, lipase, amylase – anti-inflammatory
Nattokinase – Proteolytic – anti-inflammatory, breaks down fibrinogen
Proteinase – Proteolytic – breaks down protein/scar tissue/fibrinogen
Food Based Enzymes
Digestive enzymes that are derived from a food source include bromelain found in pineapple and papain from papaya, among others. Raw foods are abundant in digestive supporting enzymes. For this reason it is highly encouraged to incorporate raw food into your daily diet like salad and vegetable or green juicing. Eat your fruits whole and snack on raw veggies for the fiber and nutrients as well as the enzymes. When you eat whole, unadulterated raw food, these plant enzymes and antioxidants greatly support the body’s enzymes and the body as a whole.
Make an effort to incorporate fresh juices into your diet, especially vegetable that include carrot/beet and green juice. The concentration of antioxidants, live enzymes and nutrients will provide nutritional insurance of health and longevity.
Copyright © 2016 – All Rights Reserved – Michelle Honda Ph.D.
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While close attention was given to the accuracy of information in this article, the author accepts neither responsibility nor liability to any person with respect to injury, damage, loss or any circumstances involving alleged causes directly or indirectly related to the information in this article. The sole purpose is to educate and broaden ones awareness. This information is not meant to replace medical advice or services provided by a health care professional.