What is it that most of us do at least three times a day, seven days a week? We ingest food and drink. Could this possibly affect our body, mind, spirit? Could this simple act contribute to allergies? Whether we eat the best organically grown food or regular store bought items, what we ingest has a profound affect on our being. The old adage, “You are what you eat.” is only partially true.
You are not only what you eat, you are what you can digest
While it is important to eat organically grown, pesticide-free foods, it is essential to digest them completely. Proteins are digested into amino acids and smaller protein peptides. Carbohydrates are broken down from complex sugars and starches into simple sugars. Fats and oils are split into essential fatty acids. Healthy bacteria in the digestive tract utilize soluble fiber. Insoluble fiber acts like a broom cleaning out the waste. All of these factors contribute to whether we are healthy or succumb to disease.
Enzymes are found in all living things. Generally speaking, there are three classes of enzymes in human physiology.
|Food enzymes are found in all raw food|
|Metabolic enzymes are those that the body makes|
|Digestive enzymes are made by digestive organs|
All raw food contains the correct amount and type of food enzymes to digest itself. An apple contains mainly fiber (pectin) sugars and very little fat and protein. It has very little protein or fat digesting enzymes. It contains mostly disaccharidases to digest the sugars. This would differ for an avocado where the fat digestive enzyme, lipase, is more abundant. However, all enzymes are destroyed when food is cooked at 118°F or higher. Because raw foods contain enzymes they spare the body’s metabolic enzymes from having to be given up to digest cooked food.
Metabolic enzymes are made by every cell to carry out its normal functions. Regulating heartbeat, breathing, tissue repair, and reading this article require enzymes. Virtually every function of the body depends on enzymes. Eating cooked, processed food robs the body’s metabolic enzymes for digesting what is ingested. Clinical studies reveal white blood cells must give up their enzymes whenever we eat food that has been cooked or processed. Macrophages (white blood cells) are summoned whenever a “foreign” substance is in the blood. Undigested food remnants cross the mucus barrier of the gut are carried into the bloodstream and considered foreign (not-self). This triggers an allergic/immune reaction.
This is how all food allergies begin
Allergies show how poor digestion leads to chronic conditions. An allergy is the body’s inability to “digest” (breakdown) the substance (allergen) causing the immune reaction. It can be an acute reaction like that of a bee sting or a chronic reaction to substances such as food allergies and/or sensitivities.
Food allergies or hypersensitivity can occur every time you eat cooked, processed food
It is known as digestive leukocytosis. In 1930, Dr. Paul Kautchakoff presented evidence to the 1st International Conference on Microbiology. He showed raw food does not cause an elevation of leukocytes (white blood cells) after eating. Depending on how much the food was cooked or processed, the numbers and activity of leukocytes corresponded proportionally. Luncheon meats and highly processed foods caused a severe reaction equal to that of food poisoning! Think about that with your next meal. Ask yourself – am I about to consume life-giving food (enzyme rich) or create an immune reaction with cooked lifeless matter?
Regardless of the source, allergies are the failed attempt to breakdown a substance and eliminate it from the body. White blood cells create antibodies to mark the antigen so the rest of the body recognizes it. This allows for the disposal of the antigen. If this does not occur within a short period of time, the antigen/antibody complexes circulate in the bloodstream for days, weeks, even months, causing mast cells and basophiles to release histamine. These are known as Circulating Immune Complexes (CIC’S). CIC’S have been found in chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, lupus, and many other diseases. Histamine causes inflammation, the well-known symptoms being a runny nose, restricted breathing, congestion, and red inflammation of the tissue (edema). The longer the exposure to the allergen, the longer the circulating immune complexes remain in the blood.
As early as 1935, evidence for the use of enzymes in the treatment of food allergies was published in medical journals. In the “American Journal of Digestive Disease and Nutrition 1935/36″, Anton W. Oelgoetz MD et. al. demonstrated the administration of pancreatic enzymes resolved food allergies in most patients.
“…allergy to foods is caused by an excess of food…an excess with reference to the …necessary quantity of enzymes for complete digestion. …This is the reason why one observes such contradictory results from the skin scratch test; why an allergic patient will react to beef at one sitting and a week later, thought still allergic, will react negatively to beef, and positively to some other food which was negative in the first instance.”
“…Food allergy may be caused by a decrease in the concentration of serum enzymes, which permits whole…proteins to reach the cells, where, because they cannot be used as food, they exert their own physiological action which is essentially that of irritation.” (Inflammation)
“The cases of allergy comprised urticaria, eczema, angio-neurotic edema, allergic indigestion, allergic rhinitis, allergic migraine, joint allergy, hay fever, and bronchial asthma. Under treatment with pancreatic substance 129 of 153 instances of allergy or 85% improved; 23 or 15% did not improve; and 9 did not follow the plan outlined. Of the 143 who followed the plan 129 or 90% improved, while 14 or 10% did not improve.”
“Apparently, the enzymes are not toxic when given in large doses; nor do they injure the kidneys, as we have never encountered a case in which the urine shoed signs of irritation.”
Carbohydrates are the predominant food in our culture. The current Food Pyramid advocates carbohydrates as the base. People with air-born allergies and chemical sensitivities have sugar intolerance with very poor carbohydrate digestion. Sugar intolerance includes lactose from milk, maltose from grains and sucrose from sugar cane and sugar beets. This information is proven with a 24-hour urinalysis. People with allergies and chemical sensitivities have been raised on a diet high in sugars and simple carbohydrates – all refined white flour products (flour products that are NOT labeled 100% whole grain) including pasta, cookies and other pastries, white refined rice and rice products and starchy vegetables including potatoes and squashes.
Amylase is the main digestive enzyme for starches found in carbohydrates. Excessive consumption of cooked carbohydrates exhausts amylase reserves. When exposed to plants and other common allergens, persons respond with an allergic reaction because they cannot digest the carbohydrate portion of the allergen! Amylase is known to block IgG histamine release by stabilizing mast cells and basophiles.*
Everyone has dietary stress factors in the form of carbohydrates, fats or protein. These are the foods a person cannot digest adequately causing stress. Most people eat only about 20 different types of foods throughout their lifetime. This leads to predictable degenerative disease. Increasing the variety of foods and minimizing the stress foods, the pattern and process leading to the disease is averted. Enhancing digestion with plant enzymes gives the body what it needs for optimal health. These two principles are the primary steps in preventing and restoring health. The reason why “allergy shots” fail over time is because they do not address the root cause – chronic enzyme deficiency. If one is deficient in enzymes from diets high in cooked processed foods, it is not possible for the body to “win the war against allergies.”
Homeopathic treatments for allergies have been found to be helpful but only for a limited period of time. Homeopathic remedies stimulate the body to respond in a precise manner as described in the Homeopathic Materia Medica. However, enzymes are the only substances in the body that do work. It is possible Homeopathic medicine stimulates the enzymatic pathways of the body to accomplish its “cure”. Since the metabolic enzyme reserves of most people have been severely depleted over time by the over-consumption of cooked food, it should be clear why traditional treatments work for a short period of time.
Digestion is the starting point in healing. Without good digestion the body cannot get what it needs to function optimally and maintain health. Since enzymes are the only substances that digest food, it makes sense to supplement and replenish them. 30 years ago the market for vitamin and mineral supplements grew because it was clear the 11 or so added vitamins found in commercial food was not enough. “One-A-Day” multiple vitamins were promoted to ensure people would get the “essential nutrients”. However, vitamin and mineral supplements will not work without enzymes or proper protein digestion. Vitamins and minerals are co-enzymes – they complete the enzyme structure, which allows the enzyme to work on specific reactions. So even if one takes the best vitamin/mineral product, the question is “How much benefit are you getting if you are enzyme deficient and cannot digest your food?” 20%, 50%, 70% absorption?
When the body is unable to completely digest food it accumulates in the intestine causing fermentation and putrefaction. This is known as indicanuria or toxemia. One of the by-products of this process is indican. It is associated with the following: eczema, psoriasis, diseases of the middle & inner ear, nasal sinuses, tachycardia, cardiac arrhythmias, Crohn’s disease, allergies, gastritis & heartburn, irritable bowel disease, thyroid goiter, eclampsia, breast pathology, arthritis, fibromyalgia, asthma, depression, irritability, poor memory & lack of concentration – the list is extensive.
While colon cleansing and detoxifying programs is beneficial in many cases, one must get to the root of the problem. Toxins occur from within (endotoxin) and without (exotoxin). Endotoxins are the result of an over accumulation of metabolic and microbial waste. Metabolic waste is a normal function – get the garbage out of the cell and out of the body. Very often this waste is the result of undigested food passing into the blood and stored in tissue. Pathogenic microbes are capable of using undigested food as a food source. One will experience bacterial, yeast & fungal infestation as a result. Microbial waste products can circulate in the body causing liver and kidney stress. The lymph system becomes overwhelmed as it is filled with waste that must now be stored in tissue. Fibromyalgia is one the results of this process.
Exotoxins are outside the body from the environment around us. Pesticides, herbicides, plastics, etc. all contribute to toxins that accumulate in the fat cells. Our body’s ability to detoxify is dependent on enzymes. Without enough enzymes and a diminished ability to make more, the body becomes burdened and disease develops. Exotoxins can also mimic certain hormones, especially estrogen. They compete at the receptor sites, disrupting normal body functions. By supplementing with enzymes we increase our ability to detoxify substances that interfere with normal bodily functions and restore health.
Fortunately, a new field of health care has opened up. Enzyme Nutrition Therapy (ENT) is a complete approach to determining what each individual body needs through testing the urine (24-hour urinalysis) and a digestive challenge test. Taken together, these two tests reveal the patient’s inability to digest certain foods and how this leads to signs and symptoms of stress. Resolving the dietary stress with digestive enzymes resolves food and air-born allergies, and chemical sensitivities.
While the main focus of ENT is on digestion, it also adds nutritional support for stressed organs. It is a matter of getting food nutrients passed an incompetent digestive system. ENT breaks down food into the micro-nutrients the body requires while at the same time prevents food allergies from occurring. Allergies constitute one area where enzyme therapy has proven highly successful. By reducing the carbohydrate dietary stress factors and supplementing with concentrated plant enzymes, new hope is available to those who have tried everything else. Supplemental plant enzymes and eating more raw food conserves our metabolic enzymes, restoring are most optimal state of well being.
* While this information is commonly cited, this author has not been able to verify it’s authenticity. It is offered as an example of some of the attributes of enzymes where clinical studies from the early 1900’s are difficult to locate.
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