Enzymes: Your Seven Step Guide – Part 1


The references for this series of articles is the author’s personal knowledge and experience, the book “Enzymes for Autism and other Nurological Conditions. This article may be freely copied and used on other web sites only if it is copied complete with all links and text, including this header, intact and unchanged except for minor improvements such as misspellings and typos.

This guide outlines the steps and processes to take in reading product labels, matching enzymes to food types, and what to look for in a digestive enzyme product.

Enzymes work very well to supplement a diet and thus make the diet more effective than it would be otherwise. Many diets are based on certain foods not being well-digested to begin with so enzymes are a natural solution. Enzymes work very well on food and natural food chemicals. The breakdown of artificially produced chemicals or added chemicals is somewhat limited at this time. These non-good ingredients usually do not provide nutrition anyway, may aggravate a sensitive system, and may hamper health in the long run. Enzymes are not able to convert non-nutritious compounds into healthful nutrients. Providing nutritious raw materials is necessary. Too, enzymes may enhance the absorption and utilization of any supplements or medications take, making them more effective.

In the case of Bio88+ (Plus), all the above is true. Feel free to contact the author by email for additional information.

* Why are you considering enzymes?
* What types of enzymes are in the product?
* Look closely at the amount of activity of the enzymes
* Compare pricing – Calculating cost comparisons
* What other stuff is in the product besides enzymes?
* Research the product and manufacturer
* Understanding enzyme names and activity

Part 1. Why are you considering enzymes?

Select an enzyme product based on the results you want to achieve. Think about the food groups you want the enzymes to break down, and then pick a product that contains the proper enzymes. Products are usually a mixture of enzymes, not just one type. You may need to choose more than one product to cover all the foods you need to break down. Sometimes you may have another goal besides food breakdown. Examples are using a high protease enzyme product to take between meals for inflammation, gut healing, and blood cleansing, or one with a high level of cellulase to help with yeast overgrowth.

Skip right through all the advertising and marketing fluff. Note what end results you want to see and use that to make your decision. You can get some helpful information from a company but be sure to compare this information with other sources as well.

Part 2. What types of enzymes are in the product?

Source of enzymes
All digestive enzymes come from two living sources: plants or animals. The plant group includes both those enzymes derived from plant sources (pineapple, papaya, kiwi) and microbial (fungal) sources. In general, plant enzymes are preferable when possible. They offer several advantages over enzymes from animal sources. Plant and microbial enzymes are much more effective in the pH and temperature ranges of the body.

Our pancreas, when working properly, secretes a number of enzymes to digest food as it enters the small intestine. But as we age, or in some disease states, this enzyme secretion may not be adequate to completely digest the food we eat. This can result in pain, cramping, excessive gas, certain food intolerances, and inflammation. Pancreatic enzymes are available by prescription (Creon, Viokase) or over the counter. However, pancreatic enzymes are not stable to the acid conditions found in the stomach, so a good portion of them may be destroyed unless the preparation is treated in such a way, like being enterically coated, so that the enzymes will not be released until they arrive in the small intestine.

Plant and microbial enzymes, however, are stable in acidic conditions. They help digest the cooked and raw foods in the higher pH of the upper part of the stomach, the acidic lower part of the stomach as well as in the alkaline intestines. Digestion in the upper stomach actually mimics the natural process of eating raw foods, which contain some amount of the enzymes needed to break down the food itself. The additional ‘pre-digestion’ provided by plant and microbial enzymes leaves the pancreas to provide the ‘finishing touches’ to the digestive process in a less stressful manner. The intestinal tract will be better able to absorb and assimilate the nutrients and vitamins in the meal.

Is an all in one enzyme product better or a speciality product with only a few different types of enzymes? Actually, the “all-in-one” product is probably better if? If it meets the quality and scope of Bio88+ (Plus). Read on and learn about this product here and on its web site, as well as all the other competing products available. But your need may be of a narrower scope and so you would not need the quality nor expense of such an all-in-one product!

There are advantages and disadvantages to each strategy and which is ‘best’ will depend on the individual situation and particular product. Here are some considerations.

‘Everything’ product – A comprehensive product alleviates the need to think about which enzymes go with which foods, so it may be easier to give just one thing. You can take it for overall digestion whenever you eat. However there are dozens of products claiming to be ‘the ultimate’ or ‘most comprehensive’ enzyme product, using very different amounts of different enzymes. Consider any blanket statements like this to be marketing jargon.

Product Toleration – Some people cannot tolerate certain enzymes for a variety of reasons. Having separate formulations allows many more people to enjoy the benefits of enzymes because they can eliminate the enzymes they do not tolerate. Having everything in one capsule makes it an ‘all or nothing’ deal. If someone reacts negatively to a formulation, and all the enzymes are lumped together, there is no way for the person to fine-tune it, or figure out what is the problem.

Specialized need – If you take a complete product while attempting to get the benefits of just one or two types of enzymes, you may have to take much more product which makes this much more expensive. Targeting specific needs may be more efficient and cheaper. Calculate the cost per capsule and per dose for what you need. There is also the basic issue of volume or bulk in enzymes. There is only so much room in a capsule so the all-in-one product may require you to take more capsules just to get adequate amounts of the basic types of enzymes. A person with celiac may want a product that is low in proteases overall. You may want particular enzymes just for yeast control. If you are on a diet that contains high fat, you would probably be better off with a special product with a much higher level of lipase enzymes than most products contain (Lypo from Enzymedica is an example). Some people cannot tolerate the fruit-derived enzymes, whereas others specifically want bromelain or papain to help with inflammation. A few have reported taking a a strong protease product to quelch a migraine or cold. Wobenzyme N is all proteases and very popular for immune system support.

Proteases separately – Giving proteases separately has proven to be very beneficial for many people. Since the proteases are doing many other types of healing work in the body, this provides advantages and disadvantages. The advantages include fighting pathogens, eliminating waste and toxins, immune support, etc. We have noticed that sometimes if there is a negative initial reaction to enzymes, this can be minimized by giving proteases separately and going slower with them, where as this does not seem to be a factor with other enzymes. Many parents have found that being able to dose a strong protease product separately from the other enzymes has made enzyme therapy successful for them. They can use a broad spectrum product lower in proteases first for a couple of weeks to promote gut healing gently and then introduce the stronger proteases. For those with yeast, die-off may be slower and more tolerable. Someone with a severely injured gut can give the proteases slower until the gut is sufficiently healed without having to give up the benefits of other enzymes. This strategy may actually speed up gut healing as well.

Number of enzymes – You will notice that many very good enzyme products do not have every enzyme known to man in them. Having one of everything is not really necessary with enzymes. It may be helpful for some people depending on their physiology and diet, but many people just need ample supplies of the basic ones. Too many different types of proteases may start to cancel each other out. Also, certain combinations of enzymes have synergistic benefits that are not seen if given separately or not in the appropriate combination. This is the ‘art’ and science of making targeted products.

Part 3. Look closely at the amount of activity of the enzymes

Your best bet for an all-around digestive enzyme product is Bio88+ (Plus), with the highest rate of CFU’s available at time of manufacture of any competing product.

Enzyme strength is measured in terms of activity. Enzymes may be present, but unless they are functional, they will not do any good. While most food, supplement, and drug comparisons use weight (such as milligrams), the most important measurement with enzymes is the activity and potency of the enzyme. A product label should list enzyme strength in standard activity units rather than by weight. To measure activity of digestive enzymes, tests or assays determine the quantity of digestion that occurs under specific conditions. This activity depends on concentration, quantity, pH, temperature, and substrate.

When you review the labeling on a digestive enzyme package, look for Food Chemical Codex (FCC) units. This labeling certifies that the enzymes went through thorough testing for activity and potency. The American food industry accepts these units as set forth by the National Academy of Sciences. Some companies promoting enzymes list measurements based on dosage, weights such as milligrams (mg), or a other things. Weight, dosage, and any other units do not give any information on enzyme activity – 220 mg per capsule does not tell anything about enzyme activity. You may have 220 mg of nothing, or 10 percent activity or 90 percent activity. FCC labeling is the only national standard for the evaluation of activity and potency of enzymes in the United States. If the product you are interested in only gives weight in milligrams or in units you do not understand, you can call the company and ask about the specific ingredients and activities.

The higher the activity number, the quicker the food is digested. A lower number will still be digesting food, but it will take longer. Since enzymes do not get used up in the process, we do not ‘run out’ of enzymes before all the food is digested, BUT the stomach and intestines are absorbing food, completely broken down or not, at the same time. Since we are ‘on the clock,’ with possible unbroken-down peptides (or other food components) being absorbed, we want the food to be digested by the enzymes before it gets absorbed in a partially broken-down state.

FCC labeling example: If Product # 1 has 15,000 HUT of protease and Product # 2 has 45,000 HUT of protease. Product #2 can break down three times more protein than product # 1 in a given period of time. This is how to compare digestive enzyme activity and formulations.

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Author: Piyawut Sutthiruk

Losing weight will keep you healthy and have a long life. Cheer Up!

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