Digestive Enzymes

Information about digestive enzymes, and why I take them

• Enzymes are needed by every chemical reaction that takes place in the body.
• Enzymes are catalysts.
• Enzymes are required for the proper function of every 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 the complete digestion and assimilation of food.
• Enzymes are destroyed by cooking and processing food.
• Enzymes can prevent partially digested proteins from putrefying, carbohydrate from fermenting, and fats from turning rancid within your system.
• Enzymes from a plant based source become active as soon as they enter the body.
• Enzymes from an animal source are only active within the small intestine in an alkaline state of 8.0 pH.
• Enzymes are neutralized by hydrochloric acid in the stomach.

Enzymes prepare food for absorption into the body. They are chemical compounds that break down large food particles into smaller ones. Protein is broken down into amino acids. Complex carbohydrates turn into simple sugars, and fats become fatty acids and glycerol. Every day the pancreas, liver, stomach and intestines produce several quarts of digestive juices for this purpose. Nutrients are needed for the body to make enzymes. As a direct result of eating processed food, I became nutrient deficient, so enzyme deficiency soon followed, making my body unable to utilize nutrients, leading to even more severe enzyme deficiency. This cycle continued.

I became zinc deficient. Zinc is needed to make both stomach acid (HCL) and protein-splitting enzymes called protease. The lack of zinc in my body soon stopped the breaking down of protein in my stomach. Large food particles ended up in my small intestine, where they should not be. Leaky gut is common in people with zinc deficiency, so the undigested food was able to get into my blood stream, where it is seen as invaders and attacked. This lead to the development of food allergies and intolerances. Enzyme deficiency is always a possible cause of food allergies, especially if accompanied by bloating, indigestion, gas, digestive pain, IBS, Colitis, Crohn's Disease or Candidiasis (yeast overgrowth). Unable to digest meat, I stopped eating it and was forced to be a vegetarian, until it resulted in such severe vitamin B deficiency that other organ systems and especially my nervous system began to weaken greatly. Every nerve in my body was screaming with pain and I had memory loss. It was frightening. It required a conscious effort, discipline, consistency, and a commitment to work with, and not against my body, to break the cycle.

If this story sounds familiar to you, contact me.

Enzyme Actions

The following is a list of plant-based enzymes.
Alpha-Galactosidase - Breaks down carbohydrates to digest of raw vegetables and beans.
Amylase (Carbohydrase) - Breaks down carbohydrates such as starch and glycogen, and polysaccarides into smaller units.
Betaglucanase - Breaks down beta D-glucan components.Helps break down beta-linked glucose bonds in grains, such as barley, oats and wheat.
Bromelain - Breaks down protein.Beneficial for reducing normal inflammation in the body.
Catalase - Breaks hydrogen peroxide down into water and oxygen. One of the most potent antioxidants.
Cellulase - Breaks down cellulose and chitin (chitin is cellulose like fiber found in the cell wall of Candida). Helps free nutrients in both fruits and vegetables.
Diastase - Breaks down carbohydrates, malt and grain sugars, complex and simple sugars.
Glucoamylase - Breaks down carbohydrates, specifically polysaccharides into glucose.
Hemicellulase - Breaks down carbohydrates. Helpful with polysaccharides found in plant foods.
Invertase (Sucrase) - Breaks down carbohydrates, especially sucrose.
Lactase - Breaks down lactose (milk sugar). Used for lactose intolerance.
Lipase - Breaks down lipids and improves fat utilization. Supports gallbladder function.
Maltase (Diastase, Malt Diastase) - Breaks down carbohydrates, malt and grain sugars, complex and simple sugars.
Nattokinase - Breaks down inappropriate cross linked protein. For promoting cardiovascular health, inhibits ACE, reduces C-Reactive Protein.
Papain - Breaks down protein. For reducing normal inflammation in the body.
Pectinase - Breaks down carbohydrates, such as pectin found in many fruits and vegetables.
Pepsin - the chief digestive enzyme in the stomach which breaks down proteins into polypeptides.
Protease - Breaks down protein. Bonds with alpha 2-macro-globulin to support immune function when taken on an empty stomach.
Phytase - Breaks down carbohydrates. Especially helpful in breaking down physic acid found in the leaves of plants. Helps with mineral absorption.
Sucrase - Breaks down carbohydrates, especially sucrose.
Xylanase - A type of Hemicellulase found in grains. Breaks down soluble fiber.

The Chemistry of Digestion & Food Combining


Enzymes are required to break down starch and carbohydrates in the mouth, during chewing. They require an alkaline environment to be effective at properly digesting foods. Hydrochloric acid is needed to digest protein in the acid environment of the stomach. Acid and alkaline cannot co-exist at the same time. The digestion of protein takes priority over carbohydrate digestion in the stomach. If protein is consumed at the beginning of a meal, along with starch and carbohydrates, the receptors in the mouth detect the presence of protein and signal the production of HCL in the stomach. The process that the enzymes began, to digest starch and carbs in the mouth, stops in the presence of acid in the stomach. The pancreas must then produce even more enzymes to finish digesting the starch and carbohydrates in the intestines. This constant abuse of my pancreas put me on the verge of Type 2 Diabetes. Of course, consuming protein and carbs at the same time also slows motility and causes other unpleasant symptoms, like heart-burn, acid reflux, indigestion and gas.

It is important to mention that beverages consumed with or after a meal dilute digestive enzymes and hydrochloric acid, reducing their ability to effectively digest food. I consume a beverage at least 30 minutes before or two hours after eating. I never wash food down with liquid during a meal.

Eating fruits alone, on an empty stomach at least 30 minutes before a meal, cleanses the palate and prepares the digestive system to receive a meal.

Before I begin to eat a meal, I take a digestive enzyme capsule and start with the veggies and other carbohydrates first. I chew thoroughly, because 80% of the digestion of carbs takes place in the mouth, as the food is mixed with saliva during chewing. "I drink my solids and chew my liquids". Which means, I chew solids until they go down like liquid and swish liquids around as if I am chewing. This gives the digestive enzymes time to do their best work. I eat consciously, take my time and enjoy my meal. Then, I finish my meal with the meat. When the mouth detects the presence of protein, it sends a message to the stomach to make hydrochloric acid, but by then, the enzymes have broken down the carbs and they are ready to go to the next stage of digestion. Proteins can take up to 2 hours to digest. Also, I never lay down after eating, because digestion slows or stops when the body is in a horizontal position.

I take one Digest with a snack and one Digest Gold, by Enzymedica with a meal.

My body stopped making hydrochloric acid over 20 years ago. For almost as long, my pancreas was so exhausted that it didn't produce the digestive enzymes I need to digest my food, so it needed a lot of help and still does, because some damage has been done that can't completely be reversed. I must take both HCL and enzymes when I eat, but for the first several years I was doing it wrong; taking them together and not receiving the benefit of the enzymes. Then I learned about the chemistry of digestion. If I don't take my pills (forget to bring them or run out), I can't eat. I must take an enzyme at the beginning of a meal and HCL 20 minutes after I am finished eating, for which I must set a timer. If I forget to take my pills at the right time, the food I just ate doesn't get digested at all, and I am a mess until that meal passes two - three days later, instead of within 24 hours. I can't imagine a better test for an enzyme product than my digestive system. I tried many different brands on the market, with their various combinations of digestive enzymes, and none of them did the job half as well as Digest Gold. In my opinion, there is no better enzyme product anywhere.

If this information resonates with you, I want you to reach out to me. Send me an email to schedule your free introductory consultation. I look forward to serving you.

Johnna Wheeler - Certified Eating Psychology Coach
Whole Family Health and Nutrition, LLC
47 E. All Saints Street Frederick, MD. 21701
301-293-1500

Email: johnna@wholefamilyhealthandnutrition.com
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I wish I could help everyone on the planet, but I can only work within the United States.