Many of us eat a lot, and have much fat “reserves” to show for this. In USA, the combined overweight and obesity ( severely overweight with medical risks ) rates, even among teenagers, have exceeded 40% of the population. With growing affluence and the couch-potato culture, the Asian countries are set to follow, with the accompanying rise in heart disease, stroke, diabetes, cancer and many other diseases.
However, although the overweight and obese people have a lot of spare calories, they are usually sluggish and lethargic. Even after eating excess calories, they do not seem to have the energy to exercise, the lack of which adds to their poor health. One of the reasons for this is the lack of enzymes in the modern-day diet.
ENZYMES ARE POWERED BY QI
Although enzymes are protein structures, the real reason why these chains of amino-acids ( the building blocks of peptides and proteins ) can do their remarkable work of enabling all the cellular activities in the body is that the enzymes are powered by qi-energy. This is not just a statement by a Qigong master who is also a doctor, but shared also by the world’s foremost expert on enzymes.
In his book, Food Enzymes for Health and Longevity, Dr Edward Howell wrote that, “Enzymes are a true yardstick of vitality. Enzymes offer an important means of calculating the vital energy of an organism. That which we call energy, vital force, nerve energy, and strength, may be synonymous with enzyme activity.”
In a remarkable experiment in 1933, it was shown that the energy carried by such a protein can be transferred to another protein, leaving the donor protein devoid of its original activity. This proves that the protein structure is only the carrier of the life-energy that is responsible for the enzymatic action. However, the protein structure is also important for “locking” onto the substrate (targeted molecule or compound).
ENZYMES ARE VITAL FOR LIFE
Enzymes are essential at every stage of our digestion, absorption, transport of nutrients by the blood and lymph, assimilation by the cells, and finally by the metabolic processes that occur inside the cells. Our cells cannot function at all without the enzymatic energy that breaks and combines atoms and molecules of various compounds, as they work within the various cellular compartments and organelles.
They are so crucial to our survival and every living organism could be regarded as an orderly, integrated succession of enzymatic reactions: Enzymes are needed for every chemical action in the body; all cells, tissues and organs require enzymes for their metabolic functions; and vitamins, minerals and hormones require enzymes for them to be useful and effective ( enzymes in turn also require certain vitamins, minerals, hormones and co-enzymes ). There are more than 1500 enzymes working in the body to fulfill all our requirements.
DIGESTIVE AND METABOLIC ENZYMES
Digestive enzymes digest food and allow for absorption and assimilation. These enzymes continue their action in the blood – acting on absorbed partially-digested food that would otherwise cause allergies and other diseases. Metabolic enzymes then take over. They help send nutrients into cells, process them inside cells, assist specific cell functions, and help in detoxification. Often the same enzyme is used in many tissues, eg. Amylase is found in intestines, blood and WBCs ( white blood cells ).
Raw foods provide digestive as well as metabolic enzymes (eg. SOD or superoxide dismutase, which has a powerful antioxidant activity ). The enzymes are more powerful if the food is fresh.
Endogenous digestive enzymes are produced salivary glands, stomach, pancreas, etc and levels decline with age, especially if excessive amounts are secreted during the younger days due to over-eating and lack of food enzymes.
Endogenous metabolic enzymes are produce by the liver, spleen and other tissues. Their functions include as antioxidant (eg. SOD, GSH-ST), energy-production, detoxification, reproduction ( dissolving the protective shell around the ovum), etc. These also decline with age, though some increase in certain diseases.
ENZYME PRODUCTION DECREASES WITH AGE
Enzyme production and secretion in an old person is much less than in a younger person, due mainly to depleted reserves. A 21year-old can have 30 times more amylase in his saliva compared to an elderly 70 year man. Thus younger people can tolerate bread, starches and cooked food while the same can cause constipation, bloating, blood disorders, ulcers, arthritis, etc. in older people. Furthermore, in the older person, poor digestion results in fermentation, putrefaction and toxins which may get absorbed and get deposited in joints and organs.
Those suffering from all chronic diseases ( eg. Diabetes, psoriasis, TB, liver disease, etc ) have been found to lack important enzymes.
During the acute phase of disease, enzymes can be high as the body releases the reserves to try to cope with the problem. After some time, the reserves are depleted, except some that are produced directly by the affected cells ( eg. Liver enzymes in chronic active hepatitis ).
Age is not a matter of how many years one has lived, but more of the health of the tissues and organs. Aging is the decline of biological/physiological function. The different organs age/deteriorate at different rates, depending on the many factors that contribute to aging. Since all cellular activities are initiated by enzymes, therefore enzymes modulate the function of all organs – including how fast they age.
Therefore, to slow or reverse aging, you must maintain enzymes at optimum ( youthful ) levels. Low enzyme levels accelerate aging, and slow down healing. Maintaining optimum enzyme levels prevents both premature aging and many disease.
ENZYMES ARE PRESENT ONLY IN RAW FOOD
In fact, enzymes start acting even before we eat our food. Raw foods are rich in food enzymes that assist our own digestive enzymes. Some food enzymes start their reactions as soon as the fruit, vegetable, grain or whatever is separated from the main plant or uprooted from the soil. So ripening continues, and “pre-digestion” enzyme activity makes the food so much more easily digested when we eat them. Soaking certain food in water can also activate pre-digestion. In this way, up to 40% of the food can be pre-digested, and help spare our own digestive enzymes from being needed in excessive amounts, which otherwise could lead to overwork and ultimately, exhaustion of the organs responsible ( eg. The pancreas, which secretes most of the digestive enzymes ).
These enzymes are active only in raw, uncooked food. When heated or destroyed by other means, enzymes lose this power. Under certain conditions ( eg. pH ), they may temporarily lose their activity until the right biochemical environment is restored.
HEAT DESTROYS ENZYMES
Our normal body temperature is about 37*C, and that is the optimum temperature for our enzymes to function. Heat damages, and ultimately destroys these enzymes. Destruction starts at about 48*C, especially if maintained for over 30 minutes. At 65*C or more, destruction occurs in less than 30 minutes, and at 80*C or more, it takes only a few minutes.
Bearing in mind that water boils at 100*C, you will realize that many of our cooking methods will destroy most of the food enzymes. Food prepared by these methods have the enzymes completely destroyed: cooked at above 80*C, boiled, canned, pasteurized, baked, roasted, stewed, fried, microwave, etc. Even steaming and stir-frying, which are more healthy methods of cooking in that these reduce the use of cooking oils and minimize destruction of vitamins respectively, still do not spare the enzymes. The only way to get the food enzymes is to eat raw food. Since enzymes are also present in tissues, even raw meats have enzymes, but you have to be sure there is no bacterial and parasitic contamination.
Because enzymes are easily destroyed, we cannot assume that all raw food we consume have the full enzyme activity. For example, blending of fruit and vegetable juices will generate enough heat to destroy much of the enzymes. To reduce the loss, you should add ice-cold water or even ice cubes when blending.
In the next installment, I will elaborate on how important it is to switch to an enzyme-rich diet that includes plenty of raw foods, if you want to be very healthy and avoid chronic diseases like diabetes and cancer. It will be more important for you if you already have any of these diseases.