Enzymes, the life force

When it comes to health, an anti-inflammatory diet could be said to be our first line of defense. We have seen how important digestion is and how we can support it with foods that heal our digestive tract. Only when this is the case can we ensure nutrients are absorbed and our immune system works at peak performance. A very important role in an anti-inflammatory diet is played by enzymes. Enzymes can be used to strengthen our gastrointestinal health and support all the different organs in the body. For example, did you know that just your arteries have 98 different enzymes, each with a unique job? Did you know that the act of thinking is made possible by a specific enzyme? You could say that every action in our body is controlled by enzymes. We have over 5,000 enzymes that create perhaps 25,000 different reactions. Stephen Blauer, in his introduction to the book ‘Enzyme nutrition’ (1) asserts that without enzymes we would be ‘nothing more than a pile of lifeless chemical substances, vitamins, minerals, water and proteins. In both maintaining health and in healing, enzymes and only enzymes do the actual work. They are what we call in metabolism, the body’s labor force’. In fact, enzymes are responsible for all functions of a living body: movement, breathing, heartbeat, thinking, etc. According to Dr. Hiromi Shinya, MD ‘Life itself is an ‘integration of enzyme reactions’ and it will end when the worn-out metabolic enzyme activity of the body drops so low that it is unable to carry on vital enzyme reactions’.

Since enzymes are so important, it would be in our interest to learn to improve our enzyme potential. How can we do this? Mainly through diet, highly processed foods lack the enzymes our body needs. But also through lifestyle, stress, smoking, alcohol, etc can exhaust the enzymes in our body. In our previous blogs we mentioned enzymes as part of the supplementation protocol to heal the gut. In this blog, we will look closely at what enzymes are, how they benefit our health and what functions they have in the body. We will focus on Dr. Hiromi’s research on enzymes as detailed in this book ‘The Enzyme Factor’ (2) and Dr. Edward Howell’s book ‘Enzyme Nutrition’.

What are enzymes?

An enzyme is a generic term for a ‘protein catalyst’ that is made within the cells of all living things. The definition of ‘catalyst’ is ‘a substance that causes a chemical reaction to happen more quickly’. (3) This means that without enzymes, any of the many reactions that happen in the body on a daily basis could potentially take decades to happen.

Enzymes are also unequivocally tied to life, in this sense, whenever there is life, whether in plants or animals, enzymes always exist. This is why enzymes take part in all actions necessary to maintain life:

  • Synthesis
  • Decomposition
  • Transportation
  • Excretion
  • Detoxification
  • Supply of energy
  • Digestion and absorption
  • Metabolism of old cells being replaced by new cells
  • Breakdown of toxins
  • Maintenance of homeostasis
  • Repair and regeneration cells
  • Support of the nervous, endocrine and immune systems
  • Maintenance of the immune system and other life activities

According to Dr. Howell, enzymes are ‘the life element without which many chemical reactions cannot occur…In the human body, enzymes have a life force of their own that doesn’t come from the food that enzymes metabolize. Instead, enzymes use this life energy to metabolize food…This life force can be seen by a radiation they emit… From a biological point of view, enzymes contain proteins and some vitamins and it’s the proteins that act as carriers of enzyme activity factors.’

Living things would not be able to sustain life without enzymes. More than 5,000 of these vital enzymes are produced in the cells of our body and we also produce enzymes from the enzymes in the food we eat daily. There are so many different types of enzymes because each has a specific job. Dr. Edward Howell in his book ‘Enzyme Nutrition’ explains there are three different kinds of enzymes: metabolic, digestive and from raw foods. Digestive enzymes are probably the ones you have heard of, we will first explain these, followed by metabolic enzymes and enzymes from raw foods will be the topic of our next blog.

Digestive enzymes

Generally speaking, there are just a few types of digestive enzymes: Proteases digest protein, amylases digest carbohydrates and lipases digest fats.

Digestive enzymes start working from the moment we put food in our mouth. In this sense, we could say digestion starts in the mouth and it is why a very healthy habit that we can start implementing with every meal is to make sure we make a conscious effort to chew our food thoroughly, at least 30 times for each mouthful. This will ensure that food is broken down into small particles that can be absorbed and will take a load off our digestive system. The act of chewing stimulates release of saliva which contains a starch digesting enzyme named ptyalin. This enzyme operates only on cooked starches.

As the food moves through the digestive system, digestive juice in the stomach contains hydrochloric acid and pepsin. Hydrochloric acid provides the level of acidity in which pepsin is most active and it is pepsin that does most of the work breaking down proteins, not the acid. Pepsin is known as a proteolytic enzyme, with chymotrypsin and trypsin being the other two proteolytic enzymes. (5)

But pepsin doesn’t break down proteins completely, so there is more work to be done. As the strongly acidic food mixture from the stomach enters the small intestine pancreatic juice is released, a strong alkaline secretion. Then, one of the electrolytes, sodium, neutralizes the acid from the stomach so the digestive enzymes in the small intestine can do their work. The enzyme amylase begins breaking down starches (both raw and cooked) into sugar. Lipases start breaking fats into fatty acids and glycerol. Bile is secreted into the intestine along with pancreatic juice, and the bile salts in the bile act like soap, combining with the fat so it can be more easily acted on by the lipases.

When the pancreatic juice and bile have completed their work, finely broken up food particles are drawn into the intestinal wall where more enzymes complete the work of digestion. Then the digested food particles are assimilated into the blood and lymph vessels, where it is distributed throughout the body where the body needs it.

The food enzyme stomach

Something very interesting regarding enzymes and digestion concerns raw foods and what Dr. Howell called the ‘food enzyme stomach’. He asserted that in humans, the upper part of the stomach has no enzymes but instead, this part of the stomach is where raw foods go to be digested by the enzymes present in them. The carbohydrates, proteins and fats from raw foods are initially digested by saliva. After chewing and swallowing, digestion continues in the food enzyme section of the stomach for 1/2 to 1 hour or until the rising acid is inhibited. Then, stomach enzyme pepsin takes over. If food is cooked and therefore lacks enzymes, it sits in this food enzyme stomach waiting, where harmful bacteria possibly swallowed with the food, may attack the contents of the stomach while they are waiting, causing digestive distress. This is the reason he recommends raw foods and/or enzyme supplements.

The ‘Law of Adaptive Secretion of Digestive Enzymes’

Dr. Howell coined this term to refer to the optimal scenario in which the enzymes from food help with digestion so the body can save enzymes and use them to run the entire body. According to it, enzymes have biological and chemical properties that when ingested, whether from food or supplements, increase digestion, lowering the drain on the body’s own enzyme potential. He emphasized that cooking foods destroys its enzymes, forcing the body to produce more and enlarging digestive organs, specially the pancreas. When this happens, the enzyme potential may be unable to produce an adequate number of metabolic enzymes to repair the body and fight disease. In most people, enzymes are being used up and never replenished.

He explained that the body makes less than two dozen digestive enzymes and it uses up more of its enzyme potential supplying these than it uses to make the hundreds of metabolic enzymes needed to keep the organs and tissues functioning. ‘The body values its enzymes dearly and won’t make more than needed. If enzymes are present in the food, the body will produce less concentrated enzymes for digestion.’

Enzymes and disease

For Dr. Howell, health is directly tied to how much we conserve our enzymes. He believed that most of the human race are at least “half sick” because they live in the “minus diet” (food minus its enzymes). He compared our enzyme potential to a “checking account which could become dangerously deficient if not continuously replenished”. With this concept he introduced a new way of looking at disease. In this sense, the human body is at all times working to maintain homeostasis (balance). That is why when large amounts of highly toxic free radicals accumulate in the body, enzymes in the body work to detoxify these free radicals.

Food enzymes add life

Dr. Howell believed that enzymes are the most precious assets we have. We should take care of them and not depend on the ones we inherit only. Wasting them can lead to disease and even death. For this reason, he saw that disease could only be explained in terms of the ‘food enzyme concept’. In this regard, he saw diseases as having only two causes:

  • Enzyme deficiency, which speeds up the development of cancer, heart disease, arthritis, premature aging silently and treacherously.
  • When cause number one is well advanced in its progress, then things like carcinogens, bacteria, smoking, food additives etc can really wreak havoc.

Metabolic enzymes

While digestive enzymes are crucial, they only have the job of digesting food. Metabolic enzymes, on the other hand, are used everywhere in the body, they literally run the body. Each and every organ and tissue in the body has its own particular metabolic enzymes that do a specialized work. According to Dr. Howell, good health depends on each of these enzymes doing their job. A shortage is certainly a problem.

Metabolic enzymes take the protein, fats and carbohydrates which digestive enzymes helped us digest, turn them into a healthy body and keep everything working properly, repairing damage and healing diseases.

Another very important job enzymes have is producing energy. Bernard Jensen, in his book ‘Come Alive!’ states: ‘Without energy, you and I couldn’t walk a step or wink an eye, and most of us never stop and think how we get that energy. Energy is created in the cells of our bodies by a nine-step process that requires an enzyme-assisted change at each of the nine steps. Your ability to walk or wink depends upon nine enzymes and sugar. Sugar is the food source of energy and it comes from carbohydrates manufactured by the action of sunlight on chlorophyll in plants. And what do you suppose is in the middle of each chlorophyll molecule? A magnesium atom. The process is called photosynthesis- a multi-step process with an enzyme at work in each step.’

Dr. Jensen further explains that enzymes cooperate with each other. ‘Dozens of enzymes may cooperate in making a big change on some substance, each enzyme making a small change, then passing the substance on to the next enzyme. When we consider that there are over a thousand enzymes at work in the human body, we may begin to see how important it is to provide all the nutrients needed for all these processes to work correctly.’

He further stated: ‘Studies show that the substances enzymes work on have to become linked to the enzyme before any chemical reaction can take place. There is a particular part of the enzyme molecule that must be attached to a particular part of the substance molecule for action to begin. This active site is a physical-lock-and-key connection. Each ‘key’ will only fit into one kind of ‘lock’ and that is how enzymes can be so specific in their activity with only one substance. What is important about this enzyme activity is that it changes the substance it operates on in order to fit into a certain place at a certain time in a step-by-step digestive process.’

Enzyme nutrition

To get enzymes, we have to eat raw. Cooking destroys enzymes (at 300 degrees), pasteurization (at 145 degrees) will destroy them too although not as much as cooking. When we eat raw food the body does not have to secrete as many enzymes as with cooked food and less stomach acid is secreted. Digestion in this case takes longer and more food is digested. Also, food enzymes lessen the strength of excessive high digestive enzymes such as pancreatic juice and saliva. According to Dr. Howell, the food enzyme stomach gives our digestive organs a break.

Cooking destroys enzymes

Dr. Howell put so much emphasis on the fact that cooking destroys the delicate enzymes in food that he went as far as to assert that disease and cookery originated at the same time. He supported his theory by saying that animals living in the wild subsist on raw foods high in enzymes and do not have the degenerative diseases we have. This, despite the fact that animals have a highly stressed life (running from predators). Humans, on the contrary, are exposed to less physical tension, yet our health is inferior. He believed that the theory that stress causes all disease is not accurate. The proof he gave for this is that animals in the wild are free of disease, it is only lab animals that are fed our diet that develop diseases. He further supported his theory by saying that wild animals have adrenal glands that are double the size as that of lab animals, proving they produce more adrenalin. On the contrary, lab animals do not have the need to stress reactions triggered by adrenals so their adrenals are smaller. If the stress theory was right, wild animals should be amongst the sickest, but they are not. The reason they are healthy is their raw enzyme diet.

Enzymes at varied temperatures

Something remarkable about enzymes that Dr. Howell observed is that they do more work at slightly warmer temperatures, at least four times more work on food at 100 degrees F than at 80, 8 times more at 120 and 16 times more at 160, but at this temperature, they wear out in 1/2 hour and no longer do any work. In other words, while enzymes do more work at higher temperatures they are used faster. This fact points to something you may have experienced at least once in our lifetime: fever. The increased temperature in a fever induces faster enzyme action and hence is unfavorable for bacterial action, while white blood cells assisted by enzymes eat up the germs. The extra work enzymes do during a fever causes some to wear out and be expelled through urine.

Strenuous physical exercise will have the same exhausting effect on enzymes. This is what the author calls ‘wear and tear’, ‘the waste products and ‘spent’ fractions of proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, minerals and enzymes are excreted as feces, urine and sweat, as well as by the lungs, after serving as food’. Since enzymes are used up, they have to be replenished through raw foods or supplementation.

Enzymes and your heart

Dr. Howell performed an experiment in his lab where he demonstrated that excessive physical work followed by rapid heartbeat and other body functions associated with rapid living resulted in an exhaustion of enzymes. In his experiment, at cooler temperatures the lab animals were sluggish, their heart rate was slow but the animal lived longer. When the temperature was higher, the heart beat faster and the movements were faster, but in both cases the total number of heartbeats was the same, proving that the organism has a fixed amount of enzyme activity to use up.

With his experiments he concluded: ‘Life is an enzyme process, ending when the enzyme potential becomes depleted beyond a certain point…the enzyme potential determines not only the length of life, but how effectively the organism can maintain a high state of health and deal with disease’.

He also observed that enzyme activity in the human body becomes weaker with age, for example the enzyme in saliva is 30 times stronger in young adults than in older people. Unless enzymes are supplemented, the pancreas must ‘steal, beg and borrow’ those stored in the whole body to make enough enzyme complex. Not only does this tiny organ (which weighs 3 oz) need vast amounts of enzymes, it needs protein to equip the enzyme complex.

The solution to a highly stressful lifestyle is to eat raw foods and/or supplement with enzymes in order to ‘cut down the secretion of digestive enzymes and allow the body to make enough metabolic enzymes’. He believed we should take supplemental enzymes as faithfully as vitamins and minerals, especially when not eating raw foods.

The enzyme factor

Dr. Hiromi Shinya, M. D. is considered another pioneer in the world of enzymes and nutrition. He began seriously researching the relationship between food and health over 40 years ago. Having examined many stomachs and intestines of Americans he has found a close connection between diet and gastrointestinal health. Dr. Hiromi is the pioneer of colonoscopy surgery, he developed the technique, which is named after him, and helped design the instrument used. He also worked with Dr. Leon Ginsburg, Dr. Burrill Bernard Crohn and Gordon Oppenheimer, the discoverers of Crohn’s disease. He was also the first person in the world to successfully excise a polyp using a colonoscope without having to perform an incision into the abdominal wall. Through his years of experience, he learned that ‘when a person’s gastrointestinal system is clean, that person’s body is easily able to fight off diseases of whatever type.’

Dr. Hiromi believes all the functions in the body are intertwined, a problem in one will impact the health of all. Ignoring this interconnection is counterproductive when it comes to health. He was also the first doctor to recommend breast cancer patients to have their colon examined, because he believes in treating the patient’s body as a whole unified organism. The basis of his philosophy is the relation between diet and the health of the digestive system.

He also believes that enzymes are so important that ‘our health depends on how well we maintain, rather than exhaust, the enzymes in our body’. He calls these enzymes ‘source enzymes’ because they are a general type of enzyme that are then converted into each of the 5,000 specialized enzymes, depending on the need and specific activity. He also calls them ‘miracle enzymes’ because they have the key role of healing the body.

Like Dr. Howell, Dr. Hiromi believes that we are born with a limited number of enzymes. If we exhaust them, they are not available in sufficient numbers to properly repair cells, so over time cancer and other degenerative diseases develop. Many factors in our modern society consume our precious enzymes: processed foods, alcohol, tobacco, drugs, food additives, agricultural chemicals, environmental pollution, electromagnetic waves, emotional stress, etc.

The deterioration he has observed in the intestines of many patients show a direct correlation between life-style and diseases like fibroids, hypertension, arteriosclerosis, heart disease, obesity, breast cancer, prostate cancer and diabetes. ‘When your intestines are unhealthy, your body is gradually weakened from the inside’.

Some of the contributors to poor intestinal health according to him are:

  • High consumption of meat and milk without enough fiber.
  • Medications like stomach acid suppressors, H2 blockers and proton-pump inhibitors.

All of these further accelerate the deterioration of the stomach lining. He explains that if stomach acid is suppressed with medication, the gastric mucosa atrophies and this may lead to the development of stomach cancer. Also, if stomach acid secretion is suppressed, the secretion of pepsin and hydrochloric acid which activate digestive enzymes is also suppressed resulting in indigestion. Moreover, insufficient stomach acid makes it more difficult to absorb iron and minerals such as calcium and magnesium. People who have had gastrectomies (removal of the stomach) are always anemic because they no longer secrete stomach acid and are unable to absorb iron. Furthermore, suppressing stomach acid destroys the bacterial balance in the intestine, resulting in a weakening of the immune system.

Dr. Hiromi asserts there is not such a thing as too much stomach acid. According to him, acid is produced because it is necessary to maintain the balance and overall health of the body. By overriding such natural mechanisms we will also shorten one’s life. To avoid these medications, he explains, it is necessary to understand how heartburn occurs in the first place, so it can be prevented.

This is how it happens: Overeating and/or indigestion cause acid to build up and flow back into the esophagus. Because the esophagus is alkaline, it is susceptible to acid and can result in scratch-like sores/erosions. If stomach acid flows up to the esophagus, it is like rubbing alcohol on a wound, causing symptoms of pain or discomfort commonly known as heartburn. The relief one feels after taking antiacids comes from suppression of further stomach acid secretion. Suppressing stomach acid makes the symptoms of heartburn disappear, but it puts a lot of stress and damage to all the parts of the body. By taking digestive enzyme supplements, however, stomach conditions will markedly improve.

In addition, in the stomach mucosa there are tiny projections called villi that secrete stomach acid. Acid suppressants make the villi shorter, weakening their function. This is what is known as ‘mucosal atrophy’. As this condition progresses the gastric mucosa becomes thin, causing inflammation, which will make the sufferer more prone to H. Pylori and other types of bacteria, worsening the stomach inflammation and in the end increasing the chances of stomach cancer.

Liver and enzymes

An organ where enzymes are of extreme important is the liver. This key organ uses enzymes to detoxify some very toxic compounds that if not broken down could be deadly. Breakdown of toxins is so important for health that the liver has a two-step detoxification system that uses enzymes at each step to accomplish this task. When the liver is overloaded, like in the case of excessive consumption of alcohol, the body will use more of our source enzymes, leaving other organs lacking. This is why it is important to maintain our enzymes and not use them up.

The liver detoxifies toxins by a 2-step process:

  • Phase 1 is responsible for breaking things down into smaller raw materials. These are then shunted to….
  • Phase 2, which builds new substances from the raw materials, by adding molecules to them (this process is called ‘conjugation’).

For this to be possible ‘enzymes work to subtract molecules from substances and break them up into smaller more useful units, just like the process of food digestion in the gut. Phase 1 is completely dependent on these enzymes, whose speed of metabolism is in turn affected by things like genetics, exercise and the presence or absence of certain substances/supplements in the diet that can either speed them up (induce them) or slow them down (inhibit them). After the enzymes have broken down some of the substances, some very toxic end products (metabolites) remain and they must quickly be shunted to phase 2 pathway in order to make them safer for the body to use. Heavy metals in particular can make these enzymes dysfunctional.’

In Phase 2, new substances are added/conjugated to the toxic and good metabolites produced in phase 1 in order to make them easier to transport, more stable and/or more functional for the body…particular enzymes are waiting to add something else and create a new substance. Mostly specifically, amino acids are added, such as glycine and taurine, as well as other substances such as glutathione, sulfate, and methyl.

Where do these conjugation substances, used in phase 2, come from? We must supply them via our diet and/or make them in our body through enzyme-dependent chemical reactions….many of these conjugation substances can be derived from big proteins that you eat’. (6)

According to Dr. Lam in his article ‘Detoxification and Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome’, ‘Toxin overload can burden our liver, triggering Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome” (7). Similarly, Dr. Keith Nemec in his article ‘The brain body connection. The first of the four major systems that maintain health’ asserts: ‘A weakened digestive lining allows chemicals and toxins to enter the blood. This overloads the liver and when the liver can no longer “detoxify” these chemicals they spill over into the general circulation causing premature cell death. This is seen as organ and gland dysfunction which produces symptoms, conditions and diseases.’ (8)

Dr. Hiromi’s research showed him that if a part of the body needs and consumes a large number of enzymes, other parts of the body tend to lack their own necessary enzymes. For example, if a lot of alcohol is consumed a higher number of enzymes will be used up by the liver to break down alcohol, creating a shortage of necessary enzymes for digestion and absorption in the stomach and intestines.

Enzymes made by intestinal bacteria

Of the more than 5,000 types of enzymes working in the human body Dr. Hiromi distinguishes between two main types of enzymes: those made inside the body and those coming from outside in the form of food. Among enzymes made in the body about 3,000 kinds are made by intestinal bacteria. What creates an intestinal environment that allows intestinal bacteria to produce enzymes? Eating high enzyme foods. Because the number of enzymes we are born with is finite, it is then key to consume and efficiently use enzymes made by other living things.

To sum up, all of the more than 5,000 types of enzymes are needed in order for people to conduct their life activities. The reason for this number is that each enzyme has only one function. If one specific organ uses up an excessive number of enzymes, it will deplete the source enzymes and create a shortage of enzymes in those other areas. The body then will have a difficult time maintaining homeostasis, repairing cells, supporting the nervous, endocrine and immune system, etc. Homeostasis is so important that the body is able to up regulate itself to the number of enzymes it needs if this balance is affected. This is only made possible if we have enough source enzymes stored in the body. Since the levels of source enzymes decrease with age and they are not produced automatically, eating in a manner that doesn’t waste enzymes allows our body to produce the energy it needs. This is the secret to living a long healthy life and keeping disease at bay, according to Dr. Hiromi.

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The High Enzyme Diet

We have seen how enzymes control all human life. Everything we do, whether it is moving our hands, or using the brain, depends on enzymes. Also, the body is equipped to maintain homeostasis (balance). A cut healing is just an example of the body returning to homeostasis. In this sense, the body always works to respond sensitively to any abnormality and tries to return to its original health and normal conditions. What helps the body regulate homeostasis? Enzymes. If abnormalities occur once in a while, the body will be able to adjust to them. However, if the abnormalities are repeated or became chronic, source enzymes get exhausted, collapsing the internal balance of the body’s enzymes. This is why leading a well-regulated diet means preventing the excess consumption of source enzymes.

In this blog we will look at the High Enzyme Diet. We will see how many diseases deemed as caused by old age are actually caused by lifestyle choices, specifically by a diet that exhausts our source enzymes. We will also see how the products from the ‘Healthy Heart Club’, rich in enzymes, minerals and amino acids are the perfect addition to a high enzyme diet.

Not only there is a correlation between diet and adult illnesses like Crohn’s disease, connective tissue disease, and cancer, but also heart disease, hypertension and high cholesterol, liver disease, diabetes, and the list goes on. Dr. Hiromi believes we can strengthen our gastrointestinal system, and thereby our overall health, by following a diet high in enzymes that avoids exhausting our source enzymes and thus prevents many of these diseases.

The diet

The diet that Dr. Hiromi recommends and the one he practices is a very simple diet of fresh foods. His day starts every morning with 2-3 cups of good water at 70 degrees F, 20 minutes after drinking the water he eats fresh fruit rich in enzymes. Fruits prepare the way for breakfast 30 minutes later and help the functions of the gastrointestinal system, raising the blood sugar level, thus preventing overeating. For breakfast he has brown rice mixed with 5-7 types of grains, with a side dish of steamed vegetables, natto, dried seaweed and a handful of reconstituted wakame seaweed.

After 11:00 a.m. he drinks two more cups of water, followed by some fresh fruit 30 minutes later. For lunch he recommends eating something that has not been cooked like a salad. A main course consists of animal proteins like fish or meat and some vegetables that have been blanched or steamed for no more than two minutes.

Around 4:30 he drinks two more cups of water, then after 30 minutes he eats some more fresh fruit before eating dinner. Supper should not be finished after 6:00 or 6:30 and he recommends going to sleep on an empty stomach.

In general, he recommends a diet consisting of fresh foods. The fresher the foods are, the more enzymes they contain: Fresh vegetables, sea vegetables, fruits and fish, whole grains and beans. Sea vegetables are a great source of fiber. Insoluble dietary fibers that are indigestible absorb water in the intestines, adding bulk to the intestinal walls and accelerating peristaltic movement. In this way, they prevent the accumulation of toxins in the colon.

The enzymes present in this high enzyme diet can later be transformed into the 3,000 enzymes the body needs to function. Processed foods, on the contrary, are mainly dead foods that contain no enzymes and cannot be digested, therefore should be avoided.

The foods we chose have to be as fresh as possible because, apart from containing many enzymes, they are not oxidized. Oxidation occurs when oxygen bonds to matter and rusts, free radicals are then created when these oxidized foods enter the body. While free radicals in small amounts have important roles like killing viruses, bacteria, molds and suppress infections, when the numbers increase above a certain level, the cell membranes and DNA of normal cells start to be destroyed. When the number of free radicals is too high our body is equipped to neutralize them with antioxidant enzymes, like SOD (superoxide dismutase). However, after the age of 40 the levels of this enzyme decreases. When this happens, it is the source enzymes that battle free radicals, if they are available. If they are scarce, they cannot prevent the health damage caused by free radicals. Eating fresh food rich in enzymes, will limit the number of free radicals and will limit the depletion of source enzymes in the body. Foods to avoid in the high enzyme diet will be detailed next.

Processed milk is oxidized fat

Before being processed, milk contains many good elements. Enzymes like lactase which breaks down own lactose, lipase, which breaks down fats and protease which breaks down protein. Milk in its natural state also contains lactoferrin, known to have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-viral and immune regulatory effects. When milk is homogenized, the fat bonds with oxygen, changing it into hydrogenated fat (oxidized fat). Dr, Hiromi has observed that oxidized fat damages the intestinal environment, increasing the amount of bad bacteria and destroying the balance of the intestinal bacterial flora. As a result, toxins such as free radicals, hydrogen sulfides, and ammonia are produced in the intestine.

Apart from this process of homogenization, milk is pasteurized and this heats the milk at a temperature that destroys the enzymes. Enzymes begin to breakdown at 118.4 degrees F and are completely destroyed at 239 F. This heating also increases the amount of oxidized fat, changes the quality of proteins and destroys lactoferrin.

Dr. Hiromi does not recommend drinking milk even if its raw fresh milk in excess for the following reasons:

  • It can deteriorate the intestines, causing constipation and stagnant stools, diverticulitis (pocket-like cavities) on the intestinal walls where toxins and stagnant stools can accumulate causing polyps and cancer.
  • One of the biggest misconceptions about milk is that it helps prevent osteoporosis. It is believed that the calcium in milk is better absorbed than the calcium in other foods like small fish. However, he explains that when we drink milk the calcium concentration in our blood suddenly rises (it is normally fixed at 9-10 mg). The body then tries to return this abnormal level back to normal by excreting calcium from the kidneys through urine, ironically decreasing the overall level of calcium in the body. Dr. Hiromi has observed that the countries with the highest milk consumption, have the highest rates of hip fractures and osteoporosis. For these reasons, he recommends small fish, shrimp and seaweed instead because in these foods the calcium is not so quickly absorbed that causes a rapid increase in blood calcium.

What kind of meats?

Dr. Hiromi recommends eating only meats of animals with a body temperature lower than our own. Meats like beef and chicken whose body temperature is higher than ours will cause their fat to solidify in the human bloodstream. Fish, on the contrary, is better because fish oil liquefies in our body and even flushes out the arteries instead of clogging them. He also recommends plants oils like olive, animal fats like butter, lard, fat from meat and fish oil. Fish oil in particular he recommends because it is good for the brain. High blood levels of DHA found in fish oil has been linked to mathematical and other mental abilities. It also has been postulated that DHA lessens the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, lowers triglycerides and the incidence of blood clots.

Create an enzyme surplus in the body

Apart from eating the right kind of foods, Dr. Hiromi explains there are many things we can do to conserve our body’s enzymes. Some of these things are:

  • Chewing food properly. Chewing is one of the simplest things one can do for health. The human body is built in such a way that the salivary glands secrete more saliva the more one chews. Saliva has digestive enzymes that when mixed with food, improve digestion and absorption, and as the contents of the mouth get mixed with stomach acid and bile the digestive process proceeds smoothly. Hiromi recommends chewing each mouthful at least 30-50 times. Food that is so soft that doesn’t require much chewing can encourage overeating and maldigestion, because it does not stay in the mouth long enough to allow enzymes to be mixed in. This is the case of cooked oatmeal or soft breads that almost melt in your mouth. By chewing well you get the feeling of fullness more quickly, your appetite is naturally suppressed, which will also helps conserve enzymes. Another benefit of chewing well is that it kills parasites. Fish can be a source of parasites especially bonito, squid and freshwater fish. These parasites can be killed inside our mouth if we chew properly. In addition, the intestinal wall of a person can absorb up to 15 microns in size, anything larger than that will be excreted without being absorbed. Decomposition and abnormal fermentation occur inside the intestine when foods are not digested and absorbed, just as in the case of excess consumption. Decomposition gives rise to various toxins, which exhaust large amounts of enzymes.
  • Creating an intestinal environment conducive for good bacteria. About 300 different types of microorganisms and a total of about 1,000 trillion intestinal bacteria live inside each human intestine. One very important function these bacteria fulfill is to create source enzymes. Intestinal bacteria are believed to create approximately 3,000 types of enzymes. These additional enzymes supplement the ones we are born with. For this to be possible, we need to eat foods rich in enzymes that allow good bacteria to propagate. A bad diet will impact our ability to digest and absorb nutrients, damaging our intestinal tract, which will make our intestinal bacteria disappear over time. Dr. Hiromi believes that when the right kind of bacteria are missing , it causes the free radicals to not be able to be neutralized causing inflammation of the extremely delicate villi, destroying them and causing ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease. Also, the undigested food will start to rot in our intestines, becoming food for the bad bacteria which will begin to produce a lot of toxic gases. Intestinal walls that have been destroyed by free radicals give rise to polyps and cancer.
  • Minimize stress, air pollution, bacterial and viral infections, drinking, smoking, food additives, oxidized foods, etc.
  • David Jockers, in this article ‘Your body’s battle for enzymes’ asserts: ‘To create an enzyme surplus in your body you will want to incorporate a diet high in raw and living foods…at least 75-80% raw and living foods with 20-25% high quality cooked foods. Healthy cooked foods would include brown rice, quinoa, sweet potatoes and cruciferous vegetables.  Cruciferous veggies are great to steam as boiling will steal valuable water-soluble nutrients.  Steaming these veggies breaks down the outer cellulose wall that is challenging for the digestive system to metabolize.  This actually makes the food more bioavailable. Organic and grass fed animal products are to be cooked in a medium-rare fashion.  This will break down the thicker proteins but keep much of the powerful nutrition still intact.  Fresh squeezed lemon and apple cider vinegar should be added to any cooked food and especially to meat in either a pre/post cooked marinate or just before serving. Lemon and apple cider vinegar provide organic acids, enzymes, probiotics and anti-oxidants that help to pre-digest the cooked meal and neutralize any free radical formation.’ In addition, he explains ‘To boost enzymatic potential it is essential to soak and sprout all grains, seeds, nuts & legumes.  The practice of soaking, fermenting and sprouting breaks down challenging proteins and activates key enzymes that improve the bioavailability of the nutrients.  Sprouted legumes, seeds, cruciferous veggies and nuts are basically a pre-digested food that has unlocked its full potential of enzymes and nutrients. Broccoli sprouts may be the most nutrient dense foods on the planet. The fermentation process unlocks huge nutrient potential within the seed. Sprouted foods have five to ten times higher B vitamins, double the vitamin A, vitamin C, zinc, calcium and iron content of its pre-soaked and sprouted counterpart . The enzymes will also make the protein much more bioavailable for consumption.’ (1)

Minerals

Because enzymes need vitamins and minerals to work properly, Dr. Hiromi recommends we make sure they are part of our high enzyme diet both from foods and as supplements (enzymes supplements, multivitamin and mineral supplements).

Minerals include: calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sulfur, copper, zinc, iron, selenium and iodine. Minerals play as important a role as that of vitamins in preventing diseases, hypertension, osteoporosis and cancer. They work synergistically with vitamins and enzymes as well as antioxidants in eliminating free radicals. Minerals strengthen immunity and healing and support your own body’s enzyme factor.

Minerals come from the soil where plants are grown, while vitamins come from these plants and animals. The mineral content of foods depends on where the foods are grown as well as the quality of the soil. Minerals are usually lost with the use of pesticides, fertilizers and food processing. This makes our diet deficient in these vital nutrients and translates into loss of vitality, attention deficit, irritability, overweight, and other unhealthy states.

The importance of calcium

Animal protein and sugar demand increased calcium and magnesium leading to calcium deficiency. Calcium deficiency irritates the nervous system, contributing to nervousness and irritability. Calcium prevents cancers, resists stress, reduces fatigue, lowers cholesterol and prevents osteoporosis. Dr. Hiromi recommends to take calcium with vitamin D, as this helps calcium absorption from the small intestine and stimulates bone formation. It should be taken with food, because on an empty stomach calcium thins gastric acid promoting an imbalance of intestinal bacteria and poor absorption of iron, zinc and magnesium. He recommends to take from 800-1500 mg taken in divided doses with meals. Calcium has to be balanced with other minerals and vitamins.

Please check the ‘Calcium Extract’ from the ‘Healthy Hearts Club’ store.

Magnesium

Magnesium activates hundred of different enzymes and it is a treatment for migraines and diabetes. Magnesium is an important mineral and it is needed in high amounts. Its deficiency is manifested in irritability, anxiety, depression, dizziness, weakened muscles, muscle spasm, heart disease and hypertension. A recent study indicated that patients who had a heart attack had low magnesium levels. Low magnesium impairs glucose tolerance, hence diabetics are recommended to keep their magnesium levels up.

Sodium and potassium

A balance of sodium and potassium is a prerequisite of life. Sodium is known as salt, and despise the bad press it receives, unprocessed salt keeps the correct alkaline/acid pH in the blood and is indispensable for the correct functioning of gastric acid, muscles and nerves. Deficiencies can occur from excessive use of laxatives, diarrhea and profuse sweating. The right balance between sodium and potassium is necessary to keep the balance between the inside and the outside the cells. In this sense, sodium is normally found outside the cell and potassium outside. When potassium inside the cell’s fluid is low, sodium with fluid rushes inside the cell, causing it to swell. This increase in cell size places pressure on the veins, narrowing the vessel’s diameter and causing hypertension.

The ratio between sodium and potassium is one to one. High intake of processed foods can affect this balance and affect our health. For this reason Dr. Hiromi recommends plenty of fresh homemade raw vegetables juices to balance the amount of sodium present in the body.

Trace minerals

Small quantities of trace minerals work synergistically with vitamins, minerals and enzymes. Trace minerals are essential for the balance and harmony of our body functions. After they have been absorbed through the intestines, these minerals are ferried through the circulatory system to cells entering through the cell membrane.

This is the case of:

  • Boron, which is important for the absorption of calcium and maintenance of teeth and bones
  • Copper, which generates bone, hemoglobin and red blood cells, elastin and collagen, and lowers cholesterol.
  • Zinc, which helps in the production of insulin, metabolizes carbohydrates, creates protein and absorbs vitamins, especially B from the digestive tract. Zinc also maintains prostate function and male reproductive health.
  • Iron, which is a key component of hemoglobin, plays a key role in the function of enzymes, the B complex vitamins and resistance to disease.
  • Selenium, which prevents free radical formation when combined with vitamin E. Studies show that low levels of selenium increase the incidence of prostate, pancreatic, breast, ovarian, skin, lung, rectal colon and bladder cancers as well as leukemia.
  • Chromium, which facilitates the metabolism of carbohydrates and protein, and glucose metabolism, helping maintain the levels of blood glucose without the need of excess insulin.
  • Iodine, which is critical for the functioning of the thyroid and the prevention of goiter.

Enzymes are present in herbs

The ingredients in our herbal formulations contain enzymes that can support our ‘source enzymes’. For example, ginger contains enzymes that can help turn cholesterol into bile acids, help tone the heart, stimulate the liver and strengthen the intestines. Cayenne enzymes trigger stomach secretions that help digestion. (2) Cayenne also contains a high amount of vitamin A, vitamin C, sulphur, iron, calcium, magnesium and phosphorus. (3)

To sum up, eating a diet that is high in fresh raw foods and supplementing with enzymes, vitamins and minerals can help us live a long and healthy life.

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