Enzymes & Longevity
by: Charles Hallquist, PhD
We are all going to arrive at our Golden Years. How can we best insure our longevity and be in good physical and mental condition at the same time? The answer may be that there is a definite correlation between the amounts of enzymes an individual possesses and the amount of energy he has. With increasing age, we show a decreased energy reserve. A quote from the work of Dr. Edward Howell is, “If you take in enzyme reinforcements during the younger years, your enzymes at eighty years will be more like those at forty years.”
How does a lack of enzymes speed the aging process? When our enzyme levels become so low that our metabolism suffers, death may result. When our metabolism is falsely stimulated by coffee, a high protein diet, and/or other stimulants, our metabolism increases and enzymes are used up. This is a false energy and we feel a sense of well being, however, the end result will be a rapid burnout of energy causing premature aging. The greater the amount of enzyme reserves, the stronger our immune system and the more healthy we are.
Invariably any discussion about enzymes results in the question: Do we lose our ability to produce enzymes because we age or do we age because our ability to sustain production of enzymes decreases? We are all born with an enzyme potential that is predicated upon our DNA, referred to as enzyme reserves. Following are some examples of why life cannot exist without enzymes:
- Enzymes are needed for every chemical reaction that takes place in the body.
- Enzymes are catalysts. They make things work.
- Enzymes are connected to every working organ in our body and run our life’s processes.
- Enzymes are needed by vitamins and minerals to accomplish their delivery within the body.
- Enzymes are required for any food digestion to occur.
- Enzymes are made inactive by processing or cooking food over 116º.
- Enzymes can prevent partially digested proteins from putrefying, carbohydrates from fermenting, and fats from turning rancid within the system.
- Enzymes from plant sources become active as soon as they enter the body. It only takes moisture and heat to activate them.
- Enzymes from animal sources only work or are activated within the small intestine, and in an alkaline setting of 9-11.
Nature has endowed all raw food with the required enzymes for digestion. Chewing and breaking down the fiber of the food releases the necessary enzymes for digestion to begin.
Raw foods do not contain as many enzymes as in the past, due to environmental factors, i.e., depleted soil conditions and modern preserving techniques. Our body needs to compensate by secreting more and more enzymes to make up for the lack.
In addition to cooked foods, illness, stress, and even exercise, are some other factors that take their toll on our enzyme reserves.
Enzyme deficient food puts a burden on our digestive system, which wasn’t designed to handle incompletely digested foods. This, in turn, may lead to poor nutrient absorption, fatigue, digestive upset, food allergies, and many other conditions. When partially digested food molecules escape into the bloodstream, this causes an immune response, such as LeakyGut syndrome which over-burdens the immune system. The body then steals enzymes from the white blood cells, thereby compromising our immune system even further.
Dr. Edward Howell, father of enzyme research in the United States, and Dr. Wolf of Germany have done extensive research on enzymes. They have shown in numerous studies that enzyme output gradually decreases with age and may be reduced by more than 60% by the time we reach age 55.
At some point in time, we must supplement our enzyme reserves in order to fight the degenerative conditions associated with aging.
We know that the major cause of aging is cellular deterioration due to excess toxins in the body. Enzymes help the body to resist free radical damage. This destructive damage has to be stopped, as it weakens the whole body and causes premature aging.
As we age, free radicals cause cross-linkage that reduces connective tissue and causes the skin to lose its elasticity, resulting in wrinkles. Enzymes fight the aging process by increasing blood supply to the skin, bringing with it life-giving nutrients and carrying away waste products that can make your skin look dull and wrinkled. Circulation slows down as we get older. A diet which includes an abundance of raw fruits and vegetables (which are high in enzymes) along with taking a complete enzyme supplement becomes more important with age, because eating a cooked or processed diet has depleted our body’s natural enzyme reserves. Other challenges of aging that can be addressed with enzymes are:
- Purifying blood – Is it possible that an enzyme can clean up or purify the blood? When you look at it from the simplest perspective, it makes sense. It is a known fact that fungal forms, parasites, and bacteria are made up of protein. Also, take into consideration that the shell that protects a virus in our bodies is also a protein coating. Protease is suggested to take on an empty stomach to break down protein invaders, i.e., fungus, yeast, toxicity, bacteria, and parasites.
- Strengthening the immune system – Enzymes deliver nutrients, carry away toxic wastes, digest food, purify the blood, deliver hormones by feeding and fortifying the endocrine system, balance cholesterol and triglyceride levels, feed the brain and cause no harm to the body.
- Breaking down fats – It is a proven fact the enzyme lipase breaks down (digests) fat. When added to your meal as a supplement, it is able to do this job in the digestive tract. This takes stress off the gallbladder, liver, and pancreas.
- Lowering cholesterol – Lipase helps lower cholesterol levels because of its ability to break down fat.
- Taking off excess weight and fat – Many overweight people have metabolism imbalances or the potential of creating one. The endocrine system rules our metabolism. Once we are able to fortify the endocrine system, get the bowels working regularly, and digest our food rather than turning it into fat, we have a successful combination for losing weight. Rather than creating common “weight loss” which is often nothing more than water loss, we will instead burn fat and properly digest our food. This process is not instantaneous, because we have to lose fat instead of weight. It takes longer, but is healthier and lasts longer. Best of all, it does no harm.
- Enhancing mental capacity – Your body uses glucose called from the liver to feed and fortify the hypothalamus. Your red blood cells do the work of carrying oxygen to your brain. Nutrients have to be delivered throughout your body by means of the enzyme delivery system. When this is not accomplished, you become fatigued and are less able to think clearly. Remember that the hypothalamus directs our endocrine system and is responsible for water balance, body temperature, appetite and even emotions.
- Cleansing the colon – Undigested foods that are stored in the colon begin with a digestive problem. In the colon, undigested protein will putrefy; starch, sugars and carbohydrates will ferment; and fats will turn rancid. If we eat more than one meal per day, we should experience at least one and two bowel movements per day to rid our body of toxic waste. Enzymes aid in natural colon functioning by properly breaking down the proteins, carbohydrates, and fats. The proper digestion of food is the first step in encouraging regularity.
- Enhancing sleep – When nutrients are unable to get past the brain’s barrier, it can create insomnia and depression. The undernourished endocrine system may create a malfunction in our hormonal system, which can upset our nervous system and sleep patterns. If we are able to correctly digest our food, however, we get proper delivery of the nutrients to keep the endocrine and nervous system in sync. We can then rebuild our lifestyle and energy patterns.
Although there is no silver bullet or magic potion to stop aging, we do know it takes years for our health to decline, and it usually takes many more years to resolve our health problems. The simple fact is, we should always give our body the correct fuel to perform, and it will give us many years of service. Intervention with enzymes and other nutrients is the key in anti-aging.
We all are going to arrive at our Golden Years. Let’s be in the best physical and mental condition possible.
David Dressler and Huntington Potter, Discovering Enzymes, Harvard Medical School
Erik Emby, MD, Hidden Killers
DicQie Fuller, PhD, The Healing Power of Enzymes
D.A. Lopez, MD, Enzymes
Edward Howell, MD, Enzymes for Health and Longevity