The Hidden Causes of Chronic Complaints
Enzyme deficiency are believed to be a major cause of chronic disease in this country. Unfortunately, a significant percentage of doctors are completely unaware of the dietary importance of enzymes. The reason for this lack of understanding is twofold. First, enzymes and their role in human health are not emphasized in present day medical schools, and therefore isn’t viewed as something of significance. Second, enzymes occur naturally and are inexpensive and easily obtained. As a result, pharmaceutical companies pay them little to no attention because of their inability to obtain a patent. With no money to be had, enzymes are likely ignored in favor of development of new and more profitable medications. Incidentally, all medications alter enzyme systems in the body — thus creating the desired effect.
All nutritional references and studies recommend eating at least 6 servings of fresh fruits and vegetables each day to maintain health — yet most of us don’t come close to those quantities. So what do fresh food sources contain that canned or processed foods do not? Enzymes!
Enzymes are a large class of protein substances that are produced by living cells and are essential to life because they perform all of the biochemical reactions in your body. In particular, enzymes digest food and they are (quite literally) your immune system. They are found in abundance in all living substances including raw foods.
Sadly, enzymes began being removed from our food supply soon after WWII with the development of military food rations — also called M.R.E.’s or Meals Ready to Eat. The removal of enzymes reduced spoilage and significantly prolonged the shelf-life of foods — particularly important during war time. This discovery gained popularity and quickly spawned the development of the processed food industry that we know today. Essential nutrients, such as vitamins and minerals, are routinely added back into processed foods but enzymes are not.
In the early 30’s, Edward Howell, MD, discovered the important role that food enzymes play in health maintenance. Howell spent his entire professional life treating chronic degenerative diseases with raw food diets and fasting. He considered enzymes to be essential nutrients present in raw foods and absent in cooked foods. He theorized that when we consume enzyme-deficient foods, the body is forced to produce the enzymes needed for digestion. Extracting enzymes from other parts of the body creates a competition for enzymes among various organ systems and tissues of the body.
One of the most amazing discoveries of our time was the understanding of how enzymes are able to “pre-digest” food in the stomach. This ability allows for the delivery of nutrients past an incompetent digestive system. There is not a nutritional supplement available to mankind that can replace food enzymes.