One of the most common health problems in North America today is poor digestion. There are several reasons for poor digestion, but the two biggest reasons are the inability of your body to produce enough enzymes, and the lack of digestive enzymes in the food that you eat.

What are digestive enzymes? They are organic protein molecules that break down food particles such as proteins, carbohydrates, and fats; and convert them into smaller absorbable nutrients that your body can use to build cells, tissues, and organs.

What do they do? Digestive enzymes are responsible for breaking down the food that you eat so that your food can be more easily absorbed and digested by your small intestine.

It works something like this. You put some food into your mouth and by chewing it you break this food up into smaller segments and mix it with saliva. The enzymes in your saliva start the pre-digestive process in your mouth, and this continues while your food is on its way to your stomach.

In the stomach your food is mixed with hydrochloric acid that helps to digest starches. More enzymes are added at this point which helps to break down your food even further and turn it into a paste-like substance called chyme.

After several hours this chyme moves from the stomach to your small intestine where pancreatic enzymes are added to help with further digestion. The more enzymes you have available, the better your digestion will be. Any food that you are not able to digest will be passed along to your large intestine where it will await elimination from your body.

Where do digestive enzymes come from? You obtain most of your digestive enzymes from the food that you eat, and your body also produces enzymes of its own. Unfortunately, because of soil depletion, herbicide sprays, etc., we do not obtain anywhere near the number of enzymes that we need.

Another major problem is that modern processing and preserving techniques, such as boiling and pasteurization, destroy most of the enzymes that ever were in your food. Enzymes are also destroyed by exposure to air, exposure to light, alcohol consumption, temperatures over 118 degrees, caffeine, cigarette smoke, and prescription drugs. Parasites, pesticides, pollutants, ultra-violet radiation, and fluoridated water also destroy enzymes.

Enzymes are either obtained from plants, or they are manufactured by the pancreas. Pancreatic enzymes are animal based and only function in your small intestine. If pancreatic enzymes are taken with food they will be destroyed by the acids in your stomach, and therefore, they are not nearly as effective as plant enzymes.

Plant enzymes are much more effective because they begin pre-digestion in your mouth, they are not destroyed by the acids in your stomach, and they function in both an acid and in an alkaline environment.

As we age, our body loses its ability to produce its own enzymes, and so we have to include them in our diet. There are only two ways to accomplish this. One method is by eating raw organic food, and the other method is by taking enzyme supplements.

Some good food sources for enzymes are alfalfa, barley grass, chlorella, spirulina, kelp, peppermint, and sea vegetables. Most fruits, especially bananas, are also a good source.

You should make very sure that you get enough enzymes, because a lack of digestive enzymes will cause a number of things to occur in your body, and here are some of the more common. You may develop abdominal bloating, abdominal cramps, constipation, crohn's disease, colitis, diarrhea, eczema, heartburn, indigestion, IBD, psoriasis, skin rashes, and many other conditions that can cause you a lot of problems.

Low levels of enzymes can lead to a toxic colon because undigested food in your intestines can ferment and turn toxic. The toxic byproducts that accumulate in your intestines will be absorbed through your intestine wall and will end up in your blood stream, and when these toxins enter your blood stream they will come into contact with all the cells throughout your entire body. When this occurs, all kinds of nasty things, like cancer for example, can and do develop.

Up to this point we have only discussed digestive enzymes, but there is another type of enzyme we should briefly discuss and that is metabolic enzymes.

Metabolic enzymes are protein-like substances that act as a catalyst in all metabolic actions within your body. In other words, metabolic enzymes are the workers within your body that allow the minerals, vitamins, and proteins to do their job. Metabolic enzymes are your body's labor force, and they are responsible for all the anabolic or catabolic activity in your body.

If you eat cooked food, fast food, or processed food, your body needs all the help it can get. There are virtually no enzymes in these kinds of foods, and without enzymes, you will not be able to digest any of the nutrients that may be present.

If your diet consists of these foods I would strongly suggest changing your diet to raw vegetables and fresh fruits so that you can maximize your enzyme intake. Above that, I also strongly recommend taking enzyme supplements as part of your daily diet. This will ensure that you are getting all the enzymes that you need for your good health.

Enzymes are very selective in that each enzyme can only do one specific job. One enzyme cannot do another enzymes job, so a shortage or absence of just one enzyme can have a very serious impact on your health.

As you can see, enzymes are an extremely important part of your diet. How important are they? Enzymes are the first of the "workers" in your body. They are the catalyst that allows the minerals and vitamins in your body to do their job. They are responsible for all metabolic functions. They are responsible for life itself.

İRon Harder 2003
This article written by Ron Harder, Nutritional Health Consultant, Iridologist, and Author of "How to DEFEAT CANCER NATURALLY without Chemo, Radiation, or Surgery". A free chapter of this new book is available at :

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