Digestive System Enzymes - Cancer Support - Page 2

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Digestive System Disorders - Page 2

For a good part of the 20th century, European oncologists have included enzyme therapy as a natural, nontoxic support in dealing with cancer.  Most leading alternative cancer specialists treating Americans suggest both food enzymes and concentrated enzyme supplements as primary or adjuvant therapies.

Cancer Support
Nicholas Gonzalez, M.D., a New York City cancer specialist, uses high doses of supplemental pancreatic enzymes as a primary tumor tool.  Dr. Gonzalez's clinical successes have led others to seek natural therapies and offer them as adjuvant support to drug therapies.  If pancreatic enzymes are efficacious in helping with existing cancers, maintaining a large pool of these precious enzymes may help to prevent cancer from developing in the first place.  Epidemiological studies on human populations show that those who eat organic fresh fruits and vegetables (loaded with natural enzymes) have significantly reduced levels of problematic health issues.  Whether the high enzyme content of these foods is partially responsible for their effect has not been proven, however, the evidence is compelling.

Digestive organs such as the pancreas and liver produce most of the body's digestive enzymes.  The remainder should come from uncooked foods such as fresh fruit/vegetables, raw sprouted grains, seeds/nuts, un-pasteurized (non-heat treated -- heat kills) dairy products, and enzyme supplements.

Heated Food = Dead Food
Eating food in its natural, unprocessed state is vital to the maintenance of good health.  Lack of natural foods in the modern diet is directly responsible for a large number of degenerative diseases.  Cooking food, particularly if heat is prolonged for more than 118 degrees Fahrenheit, destroys enzymes.  Heating food in this fashion leaves what is commonly consumed in the modern person's "enzyme-less" diet.  As a result, by middle age, we become metabolically depleted of enzymes.  The glands and major organs, including the brain, suffer most from this deficiency.  The brain may actually shrink as a result of a cooked, over-refined diet devoid of enzymes.  As stated earlier, the pancreas swells as it attempts to meet the deficiency.  Laboratory mice fed on heat-processed, enzyme-less foods have a pancreas 2 or 3 times heavier than that of wild mice eating their natural enzyme diet of raw food.

If foods are consumed uncooked, fewer of the body's digestive enzymes are required to perform the digestive function.  The body thereby adapts to the plentiful, external supply by secreting fewer of its own enzymes, preserving these enzymes to assist in vital cellular metabolic functions.  Frying is one of the worst cooking methods since it occurs at a much higher temperature than boiling.  Heat damages protein as well as destroying enzymes.  Many digestive disorders such as bloating may be related to an enzyme deficit that begins in middle age.

Enzymes can also be wasted by lifestyle factors.  Enzymes are forced to work harder with increasing temperatures and are depleted at a faster rate.  For example, a fever induces more enzyme action making the enzymes less available for bacterial suppression.  Enzymes are found in the urine after fevers and after strenuous athletic activity.

Animals harness the power of enzymes in food by burying or covering it, thereby allowing enzyme activity to begin predigesting food.  In that manner, animals instinctively preserve their own enzyme supply.  In fact, animals and people of some native cultures, teach us about preserving our enzyme supply and disease prevention through efficient use of enzymes.  Even though whales have up to a 6 inch layer of fat, for instance, their arteries are unclogged.  Similarly, Eskimos and Inuit Indians, who eat large quantities of fat, are not considered obese.  To a large degree, these groups eat the fat-digesting enzyme lipase in the form of raw foods.

"In vitro" (occurring in a lab) and controlled "in vivo" (occurring with a living organism -- human, rat, etc.) studies using internal and parenteral routes have examined the effectiveness of different types and sources of plant enzymes in a wide range of conditions.  Some of these conditions include mal-digestion, mal-absorption, pancreatic insufficiency, steatorrhea (eating non-digestible fats such as Olestra -- large, greasy foul-smelling stools), celiac disease, lactose intolerance, arterial obstruction, and thrombotic disease.  

Enzymes derived from the aspergillus oryzae fungus have been subjected to numerous studies evaluating their role in supporting healthy digestive function.  Moreover, several human studies suggest the proteolytic enzymes derived from this fungus may play a role in anti-inflammatory and fibrinolytic therapy.  These enzymes appear to be relatively heat stable and are also active throughout a wide pH range.  Most enzymes are deactivated in stomach acid.  These enzymes, synthesized from fungus, contain no fungal residue even though that is their derivation.  Modern filtration technology enables these fungal enzymes to be ideal for human consumption.

Oral Supplementation
Taking digestive enzymes in pill form just before or at mealtimes can assist digestion, according to Dr. Mark Percival.  Writing in Nutritional Pearls, Dr. Percival states, "Although most supplemental enzymes will deactivate when exposed to stomach acid, some remain active if taken just before or with a meal."  He continues, "The enzymes are physically protected by the meal allowing for some enzymatic activity to occur in the stomach.  And, those enzymes that make it through to the small intestine may help with digestion as well.  Since pH plays a major role in enzymatic activity, the enzymes derived from aspergillus may be highly useful as they appear to be remarkably stable even when subjected to an acidic environment."

Joint Related Maladies
Dr. Arnold Renshaw reported in Annals of Rheumatic Disease that he obtained results with enzyme treatment from more than 700 patients with rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, or fibrositis.  "Some intractable cases of ankylosing spondylitis and Still's Disease have also responded similarly."  He continues, "Out of 556 people with various types of arthritis, 283 showed improvement and 219 improved, however, to a lesser extent.  Of 292 cases of rheumatoid arthritis, 264 improved of various degrees.  The longer the duration of the disease, the longer time before improvement was observed.  Most started to show improvement just after 2 or 3 months of enzyme therapy."  Despite these favorable findings, digestive enzyme therapy in conventional medicine has been reserved for those diseases that directly result in a pathological deficiency of pancreas-derived digestive enzymes.

Pancreatic Insufficiency
According to Schneider et al., in pathological digestive diseases, the oral intake of exocrine pancreatic enzymes are of key importance in the treatment of mal-digestion in chronic pancreatitis.  They studied the effectiveness of a conventional and an acid-protected enzyme preparation and an acid-stable fungal enzyme preparation concerning severe pancreatogenic steatorrhea. The results showed that a supplemental enzyme preparation is best for those with chronic pancreatitis and those who underwent Whipple's procedure (a surgical procedure performed on pancreatic cancer patients).  Patients with an intact upper gastrointestinal tract fare best with an acid-protected porcine pancreatic enzyme preparation.

Dr. Brad Rachman says that 58% of the population suffers from some type of digestive disorder and a lack of optimal digestive function associated with enzyme inadequacy.  The problem is exacerbated in the elderly since their production of gastric hydrocholoric acid may be sub-optimal.  "This can be a significant factor that can impact nutrient absorption along with the creation of mal-digestive-type symptoms.  Bacterial production of hydrogen and methane are determined after a carbohydrate challenge.  Excessive levels of these gases reflect overgrowth of bacteria in the upper gut.  "Help is at hand with enzyme replacement."  Dr. Rachman adds, "enzymes taken orally at meals may improve the digestion of dietary protein and thereby decrease the quantity of antigenic macromolecules leaking across the intestinal wall into the bloodstream."  Such leaks may trigger the body's defenses against exposure to what it perceives as foreign protein or polypeptide invaders an produce allergy related symptoms.

Pancreatin is secreted from the pancreas and provides potent concentrations of the digestive enzymes protease, amylase, and lipase.  Pancreatin is sold as a drug to treat those with pancreatic insufficiency.  Pancreatin efficacy was demonstrated in a study conducted on patients who took pancreatin to maintain postoperative digestion. The effects of supplementation were determined by measuring the postoperative intestinal absorption and nutritional status in a randomized trial with patients receiving pancreatin or placebo.  Before the trial, patients showed abnormal digestion of fats and protein, and total energy was low at baseline and 3 weeks after surgery.  Pancreatin supplementation improved fat and protein absorption as well as improving nitrogen balance.  However, those patients taking a placebo had worsened absorption after the surgery.  The data suggest that long-term postoperative pancreatic enzyme supplementation is efficacious in surgery patients who suffered from pancreatitis.

Cholesterol Relationship?
Dr. Howell (previous page) states he chews an enzyme capsule with his food in order to start the digestive process and adds, "allergies can also be helped by enzyme additions to the diet ... so too can excessive cholesterol levels."  Discussing cholesterol and atherosclerosis, he mentions a 1962 study by three British doctors, C. W. Adams, O. B. Bayliss, and M. Z. Ibrahim, who set out to discover why cholesterol clogs arteries that ultimately manifest into heart disease.  They found that all enzymes studied became progressively weaker in the arteries as people aged contributing to hardening of the arteries.  They suggested a shortage of enzymes as part of the mechanism that allows cholesterol deposits to accumulate in the inner part of arterial walls.  Blood tests conducted by Stanford University researcher, LO Pilgeram in 1958, demonstrated progressive decline in lipase in the blood of atherosclerotic patients with advancing middle and old age.

About the same time, Becker, Meyer, and Necheles at Michael Reese Hospital in Chicago found that enzymes in the saliva, pancreas, and blood became weaker with advancing age.  They speculated that fat may be absorbed in the un-hydrolyzed state associated with atherosclerosis.  They also found improvement in fat utilization following the use of enzymes.

Intravenous administration of brinase, a proteolytic enzyme preparation from Aspergillus oryzae, was found by an Irish research group, Fitzgerald et al., to be beneficial in the treatment of chronic arterial obstruction.  Patients were observed for 3 months before receiving six intravenous infusions of either saline or brinase for more than 2 weeks.  During the observation period, no changes were observed.  After the infusion, 17 of the 27 obstructed arterial segments were found to have resumed blood flow, and the number of segments increased from 11 to 27.  No improvements were observed in the placebo-treated patients.

Natural & Supplemental
Considerable evidence exists to support the beneficial effects of enzymes, both.  And, it is obvious that plant enzymes are beneficial for specific conditions.  Research dealing with intact absorption of food substrates shows that non-digested food substrates enter the blood and that plant enzymes break down different food substrates that would otherwise be passed into the blood without being fully digested.

The time when our normal ability to produce enzymes is greatest is in our youth -- a time of rapid growth. When we age and our food enzymes become depleted, we begin to suffer a broad range of health complaints.

How long we live and in what state of health is determined by our enzyme potential, according to Dr. Howell.  Referring to a study by Dr. Meyer and his associates at Michael Reese Hospital in Chicago, Dr. Howell said the presence of enzyme of the saliva in young adults is 30 times greater than that in people aged over 69 years.  Similarly, a German study by Eckardt, pointed out that 1200 urine specimens displayed almost twice as much of the starch-digesting enzyme, amylase, in young people compared to the elderly.

So, humans eating an enzyme-less diet use up vast quantities of their enzyme potential through secretions from the pancreas and other digestive organs.  This results in a possible shortened lifespan, illness, and lowered resistance to all types of stress.

In addition, G. A. Leveille, a University of Illinois researcher, discovered in the early 1970s that enzyme activities in the tissues become weaker with aging.  Conducting experiments on rats, he found that at the age of 18 months (considered old age for rats) enzyme-free fabricated diets showed enzyme activity shrank to less than 20% of its level at one month of age.  And, Dr. Howell agrees:  "the more lavishly a young body gives up its enzymes, the sooner the state of enzyme poverty, or old age, is reached."

Raw Foods
The answer is substitution of raw food for cooked as much as possible.  By eating foods with their enzymes intact and by supplementing cooked foods with enzyme capsules, Dr. Howell suggests we can considerably slow-down abnormal and pathological aging processes.  He singles out raw milk, bananas, avocados, seeds, nuts, grapes, and other natural foods that are rich in enzymes.  He also suggests an enzyme supplement be taken with all cooked food and, under medical supervision, large doses in enzyme therapy to deal with certain maladies.

We are what we eat.  Few would disagree with this adage but not everyone realizes it is not so simple.  Enzymes make the digestion of food possible.  This means we must make maximum use of enzyme activity, both internal enzymes and those we consume either in food or as supplements.

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