Enzymes called essential to good health

Published 12:00 am Thursday, September 28, 2000

They are the "spark plugs" of the human body and are increasingly used in industry as well.

Thursday, September 28, 2000

They are the "spark plugs" of the human body and are increasingly used in industry as well. Although scientists are very familiar with what enzymes do, no one has been able to reproduce an enzyme by synthetic means.

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According to Troy Aupperle, an authority and educator on enzymes, the molecules are essential to good health.

"Enzymes act as a catalyst," he explained to a small audience that gathered last week at his seminar held at Days Gone Bye health food store in Osage, Iowa. "They break down other molecules, and they’re not affected by doing that."

Enzymes break down protein, carbohydrates, fats and fiber molecules, he said. They also work with vitamins and minerals, which are called coenzymes.

While enzymes can perform 100 to 1,000 actions per second, the enzyme itself doesn’t break down. It just keeps going.

Because they’re safe and inexpensive, industry continues to research uses for enzymes, and they’re found in many products already, such as laundry detergent, livestock feed, cleansers and contact lens solutions.

The only thing that stops an enzyme is heat.

That’s why most people don’t get the amount of enzymes they need. Enzymes are found only in raw or fermented foods, Aupperle said. Because most foods are cooked or pasteurized, the enzymes in them are lost.

Enzymes can be found in animal extracts; microbial, bacterial and fungal extracts; and plant extracts. If the enzymes cannot be taken from food, the body will take them from other systems, starting with the digestive system and moving to the metabolic system.

Enzymes will only work in certain pH ranges as well. That means that papain, the enzyme gathered from scarred papaya fruit and a popular nutritional supplement, will work only in the systems that have a high pH. It will help speed healing, but won’t help digest food, for example.

And systems that lack an appropriate number of enzymes are likely to become diseased, Aupperle said.

"Most all diseases are a result of enzyme disorders," he said.

As much as 100 years ago, doctors and scientists tried to link enzyme disorders with diseases, including cancer.

But the research has far to go, Aupperle said, before it’s widely accepted by the medical community. His company, Enzymology Research Center, continues to research how enzymes can help the human body, but the bulk of their work goes to industrial uses, he said. The company has developed a line of enzyme supplements that are available at Days Gone Bye.