ENZYMES: PART II
Enzymes and Immunity
There are a host of immune disturbances where the body’s own defense mechanisms may attack body tissues (autoimmunity). This type of self-attack by the body’s own immune system is called autoimmune disease. In this circumstance, immune reactions occur in an uncontrolled manner that cause a variety of types of inflammation and damage to body tissues. It is believed that some enzymes can inhibit the complexes or chemical consequences of immune reactions, but this is not an easy area of nutritional, self-management. In these circumstances, one may appreciate the real concept of food or nutrients as “medicine,” a dictum of Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine. In other words, some metabolic enzymes may inhibit several complicated cascades of immune events, especially when antibodies are deposited in tissues as immune complexes. These are complicated issues that are best discussed with knowledgeable healthcare givers.
There is a growing body of scientific evidence that provides good scientific agreement that enzymes can provide nutritional support for tissue and cellular health, in a variety of circumstances. It would be illegal to state that enzymes can prevent or cure any diseases, but metabolic enzymes are increasingly used in the nutritional support of many disorders. These disorders include those that are encountered with alterations in body structures and functions, e.g. in circumstances such as tissue repair, inflammation and cancer. Throughout this book, I am very conscious of complying with regulations and laws and readers must understand that limitations exist on the information that can be discussed –at law. I reiterate that dietary supplements cannot be used to prevent or treat any disease, even though some medical practitioners may justifiably use supplements in this manner. The problem is that using supplements in this manner is not considered by some people to conform to usual and customary standards of medical practice.
A review of literature on the health benefits of enzymes has led me to develop combination enzyme supplements. These dietary supplements contain a combination of enzyme preparations including bromelain, chymotrypsin, pancreatin, papain, trypsin, amylase, lipase and elastase, together with bioflavanoids, including rutin from biologically active sources.
I believe that enzyme combinations have many advantages over single enzymes because of a broader range of action, under different conditions, on many different tissues. This is the concept of synergy when applied to combined digestive and metabolic enzyme supplements. In brief, this approach may make systemic or metabolic enzymes more effective in their ability to alter body structures and functions in a favorable manner. Systemic enzyme supplements have been used with apparent safety for many years, both in the practice of medicine and in freely available dietary supplements.
Safety Issues with Metabolic Enzymes
There are no significant side effects to be expected with oral enzyme supplements, used at recommended dosages, in individuals who are not known to be allergic to the components of the enzyme supplements. There is good scientific agreement that enzyme preparations obtained from suitable sources are quite safe when used in supplements. Enzyme supplements are not to be used in pregnancy and their use in children must be supervised by a knowledgeable medical practitioner. Any signs of allergic reaction should result in immediate discontinuation of enzyme supplements and any individual with a bleeding tendency from any cause, including drugs or diseases, should avoid metabolic enzyme supplements, unless prescribed by a physician for a specific, valid reason. Enzymes should not be administered by enema, in topical applications or by injection without prescription and supervision by a medical practitioner.
Keynote Summary: Enzymes
There are several combination enzyme products that claim health benefits and some of these products are accompanied by illegal treatment claims. Enzyme deficiencies have been variably associated with many disorders including: hardening of the arteries, increased blood clotting tendencies, high blood pressure, low blood sugar, obesity, fatigue, leaky guts, constipation, bad breath, allergies and skin problems… to name a few. Of course, this does not necessarily mean that enzyme supplementations can prevent or treat any of these diseases, in any consistent manner.
Manufacturers of bulk enzymes from various natural sources recommend enzymes as nutritional support for many conditions including indigestion, sugar intolerance in the diet, fatigue and general nutritional disorders, but evidence of the benefit of enzymes in several of these conditions may not be complete in scientific literature.
The science of metabolic enzyme supplementation is emerging and one cannot divorce the effects of digestive enzymes entirely from metabolic or systemic enzymes. These concepts are used in revolutionary, combination, enzyme, dietary supplements.