Why is understanding how enzymes function crucial to your life potential?

I was in Yunnan, China, and South Tibet. Our group visited a Tibetan herbal medicine factory and the moment I entered the front entryway, there was a huge sign in bold Chinese Characters that said: “Thousands of diseases start with indigestion.”

I learned that Tibetan medicine was different from Traditional Chinese medicine and that the Tibetan doctors read your palms to determine your health. I found out the old Tibetan ritual was very similar to American Indian traditions where they let old people stay in the mountains and die. Students of medicine dissected these cadavers and put together a lot of information in their medical books. From these observations they came up with the bold statement on the wall.

It was 2006 when I visited that factory, and since then I have decided I need to find out more about our digestive system. I found out I need to understand enzymes because they play a big role in our health and also affect our ability to age well. If we can keep our digestive system functioning like a young person’s we should maintain youthful health and appearance for a long time. So I set out to understand enzymes because they play such an important part in the digestive system.

What are enzymes?

Enzymes are delicate lifelike substances found in all living cells. Enzymes are biologically active proteins necessary for all living organisms. Metabolic enzymes catalyze and regulate every biochemical reaction that occurs within the human body, making them essential to cellular function and overall health. Digestive enzymes turn the food we eat into energy and maximize this potential energy for use in the body. Our bodies naturally produce both digestive and metabolic enzymes, as they are needed.

Metabolic enzymes are an essential component for optimal cellular function and health. They speed up the chemical reactions within the cells for detoxification and energy production. They enable us to see, hear, move and think. Every organ, every tissue and all 100 trillion cells in our body depend upon the reaction of metabolic enzymes and their energy factor. Without these metabolic enzymes, cellular life would cease to exist.

Digestive enzymes are secreted along the digestive tract to break food down into nutrients and waste. Most of the digestive enzymes are produced by the pancreas. The liver, gallbladder, small intestine, stomach and colon also play pivotal roles in the production of these enzymes. Digestive enzymes allow the nutrients found in the foods we consume to be absorbed into the blood stream and the waste to be discarded. Some human digestive enzymes include lipase, protease, amylase, ptyalin, pepsin and trypsin.

Food enzymes are introduce to the body through raw foods we eat and through through the consumption of supplemental enzyme products. Raw foods naturally contain enzymes, providing a source of digestive enzymes when ingested. However, raw food manifests only enough enzymes to digest that particular food. The cooking and processing of food destroys all of its enzymes. Since most of the foods we eat are cooked or processed in some way and since the raw foods we do eat contain only enough enzymes to process that particular food, our bodies must produce the majority of the digestive enzymes we require, unless we use supplemental enzymes to aid in the digestive process.

Life cannot exist without enzymes

  • Enzymes are needed for every chemical reaction that takes place in the body
  • Enzymes are catalysts for chemical reactions
  • Enzymes are an essential part of every working organ in our body
  • Enzymes are needed by vitamins and minerals to maximize their distribution and delivery within the body
  • Enzymes are required to properly digest all foods
  • Enzymes are inevitably destroyed by cooking and processing food
  • Enzymes can prevent partially digested proteins from putrefying, carbohydrates from fermenting, and fts from turning rancid within the digestive system
  • Enzymes from a plant based source become active as soon as they enter the body

Enzymes and digestion

Between 60 to 80 percent of the body’s energy is used to move food through the digestive system, maintain balance between the acidity of the stomach and the alkalinity of the body, and most importantly, produce the massive amount of digestive enzymes necessary to extract nutrients from food in order for the body to benefit from its intake. Meanwhile all the other systems of the body, including the immune, respiratory, reproductive, cardiovascular, nervous and muscular systems, must share the remaining 20 to 40 percent of the body’s energy. The digestive system consumes four times more energy than all other systems combined.

It’s possible that when we suddenly start experiencing indigestion, heartburn, acid reflux, gas, food craving , bloating and other digestive issues, that the real culprit is something else. For example, energy that could be used to balance the acid level in the stomach or produce enzymes is being used elsewhere. Most people give little thought to the connection between their digestion and their overall health, but the two are intertwined. Understanding the digestive process in an important part of understanding how digestive enzymes can be beneficial to your health.

Some very convincing research shows that the greater the burden on the digestive system, the less effective and active our immune system becomes. When we eat, digestion becomes the priority. Our body will always supply the energy our digestive system needs to benefit form the food we have eaten, no matter how little that leaves for the other systems. If the pattern persist over time, our body may no longer be able to keep up on a regular basis; a shortage of metabolic enzymes ( metabolic energy ) will then occur, eventually takes it’s toll. However we do not call it en enzyme deficiency — we have given it other names, like diabetes, cancer, heart diseases, and lupus.

Enzyme Potential

Dr. Edward Howell, in his book Enzyme Nutrition, explains that we are all born with different potentials for producing enzymes. “Enzyme potential” is the number of enzymes we have the ability to produce in our lifetime, whether metabolic or digestive. The more digestive enzymes your body is forced to manufacture to digest the food you consume, the fewer metabolic enzymes it will have the ability to produce.

This leads to an enzyme shortage and, according to Dr. Howell, the quickest path to disease and a shortened life span. Dr. Howell illustrates his concept by suggesting we have a kind of “enzyme bank account” from we make constant withdrawals; the fewer withdrawals, the longer we live.

With each passing decade, our bodies produce approximately 10 to 13 percent fewer enzymes than the previous decade. We decrease in enzyme output with age.


  1. Enzymedica says:

    25% of this post is word for word form Tom Bohagers book: Everything You Need to Know About Enzymes to Treat Everything from Digestive Problems and Allergies to Migraines and Arthritis. Please reference the book and link the the main site or remove the content.. Thank you

    Sent 7/9/12

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