Note: This is part three, click here for part one!
In my past two enzyme articles I explained why enzymes were important and what they did. This third installment will go over specific enzymes, were they come from and what they do.
Many of the following enzymes can be found in supplement form or in various foods from health-food stores. First, I shall go over the biggies: the enzymes most people have heard of and that are fairly easy to find.
This enzyme is known to most people who buy it in the stores as Beano. It is designed to prevent gas by breaking down carbohydrates such as raffinose, stachyose, and verbascose thus keeping them from fermenting. Obviously, this is used as a digestive aid for high fiber foods like beans and grains.
In food it can be found in cucumbers and legumes. From a microbial source it comes from Aspergillus niger and Aspergillus oryzae.
Amylase (Carbohydrase, Glycogenase) - Learn More
This enzyme breaks down many carbohydrates such as starch and glycogen and other related polysaccharides and oligosaccharides. Often time it is used in conjunction with other enzymes as a digestive aid and is also used in pancreatic enzyme replacement therapy. From animals it can be sourced from bovine and porcine pancreas.
The microbial sources are too many to number. It is most often found in plants and occurs most abundantly in raw sweet potato as well as corn, barley, wheat, oats, reishi mushrooms, beet leaves, banana, cabbage, egg, raw honey, and many other foods.
Bromelain - Learn More
I always recommend this with oneâ€™s protein shake because bromelain is a protein breaker-downer. It is used in pancreatic enzyme replacement therapy and improves overall digestion and absorption of nutrients (particularly protein) and has a wide pH range so can be used during digestive deficiency in place of pepsin and trypsin.
Bromelain also has the great side ability of being able to combat inflammation, reduce swelling, inhibit fibrin synthesis, and can be used to speed recovery from a large number of traumatic injuries.
It can be used therapeutically during respiratory conditions including throat infections, sinusitis, and pneumonia as well as improving conditions associated with degenerative bone disease such as arthritis. Topically, it can be used to treat skin problems like infections and burns.
Bromelain significantly enhances the immune system through numerous actions and wards off cardiovascular problems. It improves antibiotic absorption.
The amazing bromelain will help a personâ€™s body fight cancer and activate tumor necrosis factor. It can help prevent dysmenorrheal allergies, and oral infections; be used for thyroid therapy; inhibit appetite; prevent bacterial intestinal infections. Bromelain will help extend your life.
The best source of bromelain is fresh, raw pineapple. It can be taken orally or topically.
Cellulase (Endogluconase, Exogluconase) - Learn More
Many fruits and vegetables have indigestible fibers. Cellulase is an enzyme that breaks down cellulose, another term for these indigestible fibers. It is a digestive aid; used in pancreatic enzyme replacement; used in treating gastric bezoars. Cellulase can be found in avocados, peas, oat sprouts, reishi mushrooms. It also has numerous microbial sources. Cellulase should be taken orally.
One of the proteolytic (protein breaking) enzymes found in pancreatin, chymotrypsin can reduce swelling and inflammation as well as fight arthritis. It can aid in overall surgical recovery. Chymotrypsin may be used to treat soft tissue injuries, sprains, contusions, acute traumatic injuries, hematomas, various edemas, and sports injuries.
It can be used in the liquefaction of mucous secretions as well as in the treatment of ulcerations, abscesses, enterozoic worms, and cancer.
In animals it can be found in bovine and porcine pancreas and can be used orally, topically, or injected (severe caution is to be observed when injecting enzymes as one could suffer life-threatening side effects).
Diastase (Malt Diastase) - Learn More
It is a simple digestive aid that breaks down carbohydrates. Diastase can be found in barley malt and fresh barley. It is to be taken orally.
This enzyme acts similarly to papain (which I will get to later in this article) in that it breaks down proteins and is used as a digestive aid. It can also help lower swelling and combat inflammation. Ficin can be found in the latex of the fig tree but I prefer to just eat a few figs, which are also a good source. Ficin is to be taken orally.
Invertase (Beta-fructofuranosidase, Saccharase)
As can be deduced by its names, this enzyme breaks down various carbohydrates but likes to focus its attention on sucrose. Invertase can be found in the microbial sources Aspergillus oryzae and Saccharomyces. The best food sources are potato, sugar cane, and various green plants. Invertase is to be taken orally.
This is the enzyme that people need in order to break down lactose, otherwise known as milk sugar. Those who are lactose intolerant lack this enzyme. Often times the ability to process lactose is regionally evolved, being a trait of those peoples who began using milk products in their earliest civilizations.
Naturally, it is used as a digestive aid in the treatment of lactase insufficiency. Lactase can be gotten from bovine liver as well as many microbial sources. As for food, lactase can be found within tomatoes, persimmons, apples, peaches, almonds, and milk. Obviously, lactase is best taken orally.
Lipase - Learn More
This enzyme breaks down lipids. It can improve the bodyâ€™s fat utilization therefore improve digestion in cases of lipid mal absorption; this leads also to decreased amounts of fat in stool. It can be used as a digestive aid and in pancreatic enzyme replacement therapy. Orally supplemented lipase will act synergistically with lipase in the blood and intensify its actions.
Lipase can be gotten from bovine and porcine pancreas, lamb forestomachs, many microbial sources, avocado, wheat germ, rice, maize, various green plants, coconuts, flaxseeds, and other germinating plants that have a large amount of fat content. As said before, lipase should be taken orally.
Maltase (Alpha-Glucosidase) - Learn More
This enzyme is used as a digestive aid and acts on maltose and starch carbohydrates. Maltase can be found in barley, brewerâ€™s yeast, rice, beet leaves, sugar cane, banana, and mushrooms. Maltase is taken orally.
This is actually a combination of many enzymes namely trypsin, chymotrypsin, amylase, and lipase. Because of this combination, pancreatin breaks down proteins, carbohydrates, and fats. It also has at least four proteolytic enzymes with substrates.
It is nearly an all in one enzyme. Its uses include treatment of steatorrhea (excessive fat in fecal matter or fat mal absorption), pancreatic insufficiency and removal, after a gastrectomy, and cystic fibrosis. Pancreatinâ€™s activity can be increased with calcium intake. It comes from the animal sources bovine and porcine pancreas. Best taken orally.
A similar enzyme to chymotrypsin in both actions and uses, papain principally breaks down protein but other components of the enzyme also degrade fats and carbohydrates. It can be especially useful in aiding the digestion of high protein foods and meals.
Papain can be used in the treatment of celiac disease, pancreatic enzyme replacement, pain caused by intestinal parasites (nematodes), allergies, infections, inflammation, soft tissue injuries, psoriasis, warts, skin cancer and various other skin problems, ureteral obstruction, peritoneal adhesions, infected wounds, ulcers, tumors, insect and jellyfish stings, and to accelerate overall wound healing.
Thatâ€™s quite the list and actually, it goes on. Needless to say, papain is one very powerful enzyme. Papain can be gotten from the latex of the unripe papaya but I prefer to just get a nice papaya fruit and eat it down. Papain can be taken orally, topically, and in enema form.
These are just a few of the most important enzymes available and in my next installment I will go over many of the others as well as explain the value of proteolytic enzymes to athletes. If you take one thing away from this article, I hope it is eat more fresh pineapple and papaya to get that bromelain and papain.
Note: This is part three, click here for part one!
Enzymes Complete Part Two.