I attended a medical seminar the other night. The topic was “Systemic Enzymes and Their Function”.  I was vaguely aware of what systemic enzymes were, but this seminar really opened my eyes to their function and importance.

“Systemic” means body wide. Enzymes are catalysts-they make something else work or work faster.  Chemical reactions in the human body usually occur very slowly, too slow for life as we know it. Enzymes speed them up. The human body has over 3000 enzymes, and you can recognize their names by the suffix ‘ase’. 

Humans make a finite amount of enzymes in a lifetime, and we use up a great deal of them by the age of 27 or so. Our bodies realize this and starts to dole out enzyme production so it will last-if it didn’t we’d run out by the time we reach our 40’s and probably be dead.

Most of us are aware of the digestive enzymes such as protease (protein), amylase (saliva), lipase (fats), responsible for breaking down our ingested foods. However, there are many more important functions for enzymes.

1) Blood cleansing. Blood not only transports nutrients and oxygen, it also carries respiratory garbage and dead material (cells). All of this material is supposed to be cleared by the liver on its “first pass” through, but given the suboptimal function of most people’s livers these days, that seldom happens. As a result, the blood thickens like catsup with the sludge, and can take days to clear out. Enzymes take the strain off the liver by cleaning (eating) excess fibrin from the blood and reducing the stickiness of blood cells, minimizing the causes of strokes and heart attacks.

2). Enzymes break down dead material so that can pass immediately into the bowel for elimination.

3) Enzymes are a natural anti-inflammatory, and a first-line defense against inflammation. Inflammation is a normal duty for the immune system in response to an injury or irritation. It causes redness, pain, and swelling, a beneficial reaction at first because it lets us know that something is wrong. But, inflammation is self-perpetuating, itself creating an irritation and the body keeps pumping pain and swelling into the area. Systemic enzymes ‘eats’ the bad stuff and lowers inflammation without harming the liver or the GI tract. (For a great article on systemic enzymes, go to SystemicEnzymes.net).

4) Enzymes eat scar tissue and fibrosis. Fibrosis is a thickening of tissue in organs which prevents fluids from moving through, thus killing the organ and eventually us (think cystic fibrosis, fibrocystic breast disease, arterial sclerosis, uterine fibroids, etc). This is one reason that as we age, wounds heal with thicker, less pliable, weaker, and very visible scars. If we can replace the lost enzymes we can reduce the amount of fibrosis and scar tissue, (even old scar tissue) our bodies have. Medical doctors in Europe and Asia have been using orally administered enzymes for these types of situations for years.

5) Enzymes also seek ways to restore the body to homeostasis or a ‘steady state’, by regulating the immune system so that it doesn’t eat its own tissues, as seen in Lupus, MS, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Crohn’s, etc.

6) Enzymes also help us fight off viruses by preventing the virus from replicating our own DNA.

There are currently over 200 peer-reviewed research articles dealing with the absorption, utilization, and therapeutic action of orally administered systemic enzymes. Many are available at health food stores.

Rememberr teleomeres? They are back in the news, published this week in the journal Nature. Researchers injected mice with a drug to block the action of telomerase (an enzyme which can add to the ends of chromosomes), and the mice began to fail. They then injected a drug which promoted the telomerase to do its job, and the sheen returned in their coats, the sperm in their testes. In other words, the scientists took them to the edge of death, then brought them back to the prime of life.

Telomere’s are the marker for age in humans-the shorter they are, the older you will be. Unless, you  take care of them. Make good health choices like diet and exercise.

Stay well, John R Blilie, M.S.