Therapeutic Enzymes*

Using the Body’s Helpers as Healers

Chris D. Meletis, N.D., and Jason E. Barker, N.D

Enzyme therapies are becoming more prevalent in medicine today, with many manufacturers targeting their advantages in disease treatment. In the last 100 year s, enzymes have been increasingly used to treat various diseases.

Early observations of Bacillus pyocyaneus revealed that its secretions could destroy anthrax bacilli and protect mice from inoculation with this deadly bacterium. Scientists deduced that the secretions were able to destroy anthrax by chewing apartits nucleic acids, via enzymatic degradation. This early observation paved the way for the use of enzymes in medicine. Today, enzymes are used as oncolytics, anticoagulants, thrombolytics, anti-inflammatories, fibrinolytics, mucolytics, antimicrobials, and digestive aids.

Enzymes are found throughout the natural world; the number of uses for them in various fields of industry in addition to medicine is staggering. Enzymes are found in animal and plant sources. Enzymes can be thought of as protein molecules with a specific mission—to initiate and regulate countless biologic reactions in living organisms.

Enzymes are used for metabolic and digestive processes. Metabolic enzymes greatly increase the speed at which chemical processes take place within the body; without enzymes, cells could not perform their multiple functions. Every aspect of life depends on the energetic stimulus that enzymes provide.

Perhaps therapeutic enzymes are used most often for enhancing digestive function. Enzymes help food break down into its smallest component s. Enzymes secreted by humans include pepsin and protease for breakdown of proteins, lipase for fats, and amylase for carbohydrates. Cellulase, which helps with digestion of plant cells, is not produced by humans but is extracted from plant tissues as they are mechanically broken down. Plant- based foods are often cooked but heat destroys enzymes; a plant food in its raw, fresh state produces considerably more enzyme activity than one that has been cooked.

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