Systemic enzymes are amazing. In fact, you might call them extraordinary, since they provide systemic health benefits. For those of us starting a new health regimen for the New Year, that’s exceptionally good news.
As review, enzymes are proteins catalyzing every bodily chemical action. There are over 3,000 bodily enzymes—most of them proteolytic, or protein-eating, enzymes—and fall into three kinds of enzymes: food, digestive and metabolic/systemic enzymes. Food enzymes come from foods, particularly raw foods with their enzymes intact, while digestive enzymes help to digest food. Metabolic/systemic enzymes—while they may have some enzymes in common with digestive enzymes—work differently, going beyond the stomach, into the bloodstream and cells to work their amazingly healthy outcomes.
Some systemic enzymes with particularly beneficial health effects are the pancreatic enzymes included in an important systemic enzyme called pancreatin. Others include:
- papain, a protein-cleaving enzyme from papaya and other plants.
- bromelain, a protease enzyme derived from the pineapple plant.
- trypsin, another noteworthy pancreatic enzyme.
- chymotrypsin, a digestive enzyme synthesized in the pancreas.
Together, they constitute a force of systemic enzymes supporting cellular and immune health, healthy levels of inflammation and more.
Cellular health is tied to the function of enzymes because systemic enzymes devour fibrin, the sticky protein coating on unhealthy cells, viruses and bacteria in the body—making the immune system more efficient at protecting the body against these unhealthy cells and intruders.
Fibrin is tough, too—up to fifteen times thicker than the protective coating on some other cells—but these enzymes are tougher because they ingest and digest fibrin to support cellular and immune health. Unfortunately, fibrin can also “spider web” throughout the body, leading to unhealthy inflammation and restriction of joint and muscle function—but systemic enzymes can tame fibrin and positively affect bodily inflammation levels. That’s a good thing, too, because unhealthy inflammation levels can adversely affect overall health.
Inflammation isn’t all bad, though. Healthy inflammation is a natural immune system response which protects the body from infection or further injury. It’s when the body’s inflammation responses go overboard that trouble can begin. Prolonged, systemic inflammation can cause bodily damage and adversely affect bones, joints, tissues, blood vessels, blood sugar, cells and bodily organs. This kind of debilitating inflammation can go undetected, too, as many organs don’t have pain-sensitive nerves, and there are virtually no outward signs of the fires within.
What adds fuel to the fire, so to speak, is that most people aren’t even aware that they’re walking around with unhealthy levels of inflammation. For example, Dr. Paul Ridker of Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women’s Hospital, believes that 25 to 35 million seemingly healthy middle-aged Americans are walking around unaware of the danger they are in due to above-average inflammation levels and the risks that surround those levels.
Not all inflammation goes unnoticed, however. Sometimes we feel it because our body, particularly our muscles and joints, tells us when we’ve overdone a workout or have otherwise pushed the limits. Fortunately, systemic enzymes also support healthy inflammation to promote muscle, joint and tendon health as well as flexibility and mobility—offering natural relief from everyday aches and pains from everyday life.
Additionally, enzymes break down and remove old, unhealthy cells and tissue from the body to support natural detoxification. But when enzyme stores are low, unhealthy cells and tissue can remain in the body and wreak havoc. The problem is that our enzyme levels begin to decrease by age 20 and continue to dwindle with each passing decade—so make sure you have an adequate supply of enzymes.