Enzymes and Digestion
    Digestion in the Mouth

Food is chewed in the mouth and saliva is mixed with the food.  The saliva is made up of mucus that serves as a lubricant, an alkaline electrolyte solution that moistens the food, amylase, an enzyme that initiates the digestion of starch, lingual lipase, an enzyme that begins the digestion of fat and protease, which digests protean.

Most carbohydrates are broken down here by the process of chewing the food that hopefully had its own viable enzymes to be mixed with the enzymes mentioned above.  

Enzymes:
Without enzymes we could not digest food, could not breath, could not think; enzymes sustain our life.  There are hundreds of thousands of biochemical reactions that take place in our bodies that use enzymes as a catalyst.  Without enzymes these reactions would move to slowly to sustain life.   The food we eat contains enzymes that assist our digestive processes when we eat that particular food.  When you see food decomposing (a banana turning brown) it is the work of the enzymes contained in the food plus those that are brought to the food by insects or air born spores.

Enzymes in our bodies are divided into two groups and created by our cells: digestive enzymes and metabolic enzymes.  There are three types of digestive enzymes amylase, protease and lipase.  Amylase, found in saliva, pancreatic and intestinal juices; breaks down carbohydrates (sugars).  Protease, found in stomach, pancreatic and intestinal juices; helps digest proteins.  Lipase, found in stomach and pancreatic juices also enters the body via food we eat; breaks down fats.

Lipase: Is an enzyme that digests fats, helping to maintain correct gall bladder function.   Protease: Is a digestive enzyme that digests proteins and may be helpful for people with food allergies.  Amylase: Works great for digesting starches and carbohydrates and may be useful for people with gluten sensitivities.

Metabolic enzymes catalyze chemical reactions within the cells of the body providing us with energy production and detoxification.  These enzymes run all the bodies’ organs, tissues and cells.  They build the body from proteins, carbohydrates and fats. 

The main areas we need to concern ourselves with are digestive enzymes.  We produce less of these enzymes as we get older, plus cooking (over 118 degrees F) pasteurization and irradiation destroy enzymes that come to us in our foods.  This is why it is so important that we eat a diet that contains 75% fruit and vegetables (the majority of these should be raw) and about 25% high protein meat, dairy, and whole grain products.

You can also find digestive enzyme complex products that can help you get full nutritional value from the food you eat.  Be cautious, some of these can contain products from slaughtered animals that will bring toxins with them, read the label look for the word bovine.   Ask the person at the health food store for plant enzymes I have found these to be the best.      

Sources:
Prescription for Nutritional Healing, James Balch, M.D. and Phyllis Balch, CNC, Avery Books 2000
Enzymes The Fountain of Life, D.A. Lopez, MD, R.M. Williams, MD PhD, K. Miehlke, MD,
The Neville Press, Inc 1994

 

 
Important Note:
The information presented herein by The Natural Path Botanicals is intended for educational purposes only. These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, cure, treat or prevent disease. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

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