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  • Adriano dos Santos

Enzyme Therapy against Inflammation

How enzymes work has always been fascinating to me and I like using it with my clients for digestion problems, gut issues or even some metabolic issues too. However I must be honest that I don't have much experience with them on treating inflammation in the body yet. Today I took a course on enzyme therapy and I have been reading loads about it in order to find better solutions to my dear clients. I am pleased with the masterclass give by two authorities in the orthomolecular and pharmacology from Belgium and I am encouraged to study it further. 

What are Enzymes? 

Enzymes are the unsung heroes of the body – without them life would be impossible. It has been estimated that the human body contains at least 50,000 different enzymes that orchestrate the countless biochemical reactions that control all life functions.

Enzymes also play an essential role in inflammation and other functions of the immune system. Inflammation is one of the body’s most important mechanisms for protecting itself against danger. If you’ve ever had an insect bite, a sprained ankle, a sore throat, or a bad sunburn, you know what inflammation is. Inflammation is the body’s way of imposing a measured, temporary discomfort in the interest of long-term health. The five cardinal symptoms of inflammation are:

  1. Redness

  2. Heat

  3. Swelling

  4. Pain

  5. Restriction of Movement

These signs indicate that the body is bringing in more blood and immune resources, like white blood cells and macrophages, to remove microorganisms and other foreign matter. Redness is a sign that vasodilation is allowing more blood and other fluids to reach the affected area; local heat reflects the increased flow of warm blood from deep within the body; swelling (edema) is caused by the local accumulation of fluids; pain and restricted mobility arise from the added pressure due to the swelling.

Inflammatory Response

Proteolytic enzymes, such as bromelain, papain, pancreatin, trypsin, chymotrypsin, and rutin, are essential regulators and modulators of the inflammatory response. Among their important actions is a seven- to ten-fold increase in the “appetite” of macrophages and in the potency of natural killer (NK) cells. Proteolytic (protein-destroying) enzymes also degrade pathogenic complexes that can inhibit normal immune function. These immune complexes, which consist of an antigen bound to an antibody, are a normal part of the immune response. But when immune complexes occur in excess, they are a principal cause of certain kidney diseases, nerve inflammations, and a number of rheumatologic diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis. Evidence suggests that trypsin, papain, and other proteolytic enzymes can break up existing pathogenic immune complexes and even prevent their formation in the first place, enhancing lymphatic drainage. The bottom line of these actions is a regulatory or stimulatory effect on the immune system.

Proteolytic enzymes modulate the inflammatory process by a variety of mechanisms, including reducing the swelling of mucous membranes, decreasing capillary permeability, and dissolving blood clot-forming fibrin deposits and microthrombi.

By reducing the viscosity (thickness) of the blood, enzymes improve circulation. This consequently increases the supply of oxygen and nutrients to and the transport of harmful waste products away from traumatized tissue. Proteolytic enzymes also help break down plasma proteins and cellular debris at the site of an injury into smaller fragments. This greatly facilitates their passage through the lymphatic system, resulting in more rapid resolution of swelling, with the consequent relief of pain and discomfort.

Proteolytic Enzymes versus Anti-Inflammatory Drugs

Italian researchers have shown that the ability of proteolytic enzymes to reduce inflammation is equal to or superior to four powerful steroidal and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs: Phenylbutazone, Hydrocortisone, Indomethacin, and Acetylsalicylic Acid.

Although individual proteolytic enzymes are useful, the extraordinary combination of these enzymes yields a combination greater than its sum. Systemic multi-enzyme therapy has proved helpful in cases of arthritis and related diseases, offering a wide range of benefits relative to anti-inflammatory, vasculoprotective, and immuno-modulatory effects.

Food rich in Enzymes

Salad Dressings. If you can, please make your own. Use a raw vinegar and some raw garlic as the base. Or, turn your kefir, yogurt, or sour cream into a creamy base for ranch, blue cheese, or ceasar dressing.

Fermented Vegetables. This is a super easy side when you don’t have salad fixings. Pickles, kraut, kimchi, salsa – the skies the limit. Chop them finely and add to tuna, egg, or chicken salad or just plop them next to a sandwich or stew.

Creme Fraiche. This is a fancy way of saying sour cream. You can let your unpasteurized cream clabber into sour cream, make it by adding 2 tablespoons of buttermilk to cream that hasn’t been ultra-pasteurized, or get a special culture just for the job. Top soups, sandwiches, or salmon cakes (as pictured up top) with a dollop of this cultured treat.

Kombucha & Water Kefir. These two beverages are a great addition to a meal that lacks enzymes.

Raw Apple Cider Vinegar. We keep a gallon of this stuff on hand when we can. I’ll often add about a tablespoon to a tiny bit of water and drink it just for the enzymes. You can also mix it with honey and ice water for a refreshing drink.

Raw Fruits and Vegetables. Of course these guys are great. Salads made from anything and everything coming from the garden, or chopped into sticks for dipping into a cultured dairy dip. Fresh fruit eaten as dessert or made into a big fruit salad covered in yogurt or kefir. Yum.

So, I shoot for one or more of these as a component to every meal. It certainly doesn’t always work out, but when it does there is a noticeable difference in our digestion, energy, and overall feeling of well-being.

What are the best enzymes to take?

  • Aminopeptidases degrade peptides into amino acids.

  • Lactase, a dairy sugar, converts lactose to glucose.

  • Cholecystokinin aids digestion of proteins and fats.

  • Secretin, as a hormone controls, the secretion of the duodenum.

  • Sucrase converts sucrose to disaccharides and monosaccharides.

  • Maltase converts maltose to glucose.

  • Isomaltase converts isomaltose.

Dealing primarily with fats and amino acids, pancreatic enzymes include: 

  • Lipase converts triglycerides into both fatty acids and glycerol.

  • Amylase converts carbohydrates into simple sugars.

  • Elastases degrades the protein elastin.

  • Trypsin converts proteins to amino acids.

  • Chymotrypsin converts proteins to amino acids.

  • Nucleases convert nucleic acids to nucleotides and nucleosides.

  • Phospholipase converts phospholipids into fatty acids.

How to add supplements?

This is very wide question and you need to analyse various cofactors which could determine the effect of the treatment. Therefore my advice is to search for a professional help in which you will get the right dosages and the best recommendation of products. 

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