Scientific investigations and clarification of enzymes still belong to a relatively young field of research. Enzymes have existed for billions of years, and for about 8000 years they've been used in the fermentation of alcohol, the tanning of leather, and the production of cheese. In modern Western medicine, not even 200 years ago, people began to wake to the enormous potential of enzymes. However, primitive people, especially those gifted with enzyme-rich plants like pineapples and papayas, have used enzymes for a wide variety of purposes throughout history. A German physiologist first used the word ˈenzymeˈ in the late 19th century. It's derived from the Greek words "en" (meaning "within") and "zume" (meaning "yeast"). There is an assumption that about 15,000 different enzymes exist in the human organism. Of these, only about 3,000 have been researched in detail. Enzymes are active in every cell of our body, often several hundred different enzymes at once. No wonder they are called the source of life.
Without enzymes there would be no life in the world. No plants, nor animals. Enzymes are biological catalysts (also known as biocatalysts) that speed up biochemical reactions in all living organisms without being consumed themselves. Enzymes are proteins that are made up of long chains of amino acids. Only twenty amino acids in the human body are known, from which all proteins are formed. The different enzymes differ from each other only in the sequence of amino acids. However, this sequence is decisive for the outer shape of an enzyme. The body is in a constant process of exchange and renewal. Old structures permanently degrade and get replaced by new ones. The enzymes in our bodies do not exist independently. They are real "team workers," in constant and intensive contact. That means they share the work, stimulate one another to become active and slow each other down again.
Enzymes require a special environment to function correctly. Two factors are particularly important: temperature and pH value. Like any protein, enzymes are sensitive to heat. The activity of enzymes varies from one enzyme to another. Enzyme activity is a measure of the number of substrate molecules that it converts per second.
Additionally, each enzyme also has its pH optimum. If the pH value changes only slightly, the enzyme activity decreases, and the configuration of the enzyme molecule changes. Only at an optimal pH value does the active center of the enzyme fit precisely onto the substrate molecule, also known as the ˈkey-lock principleˈ. In food supplements, for example, the choice of the right ingredients and the "packaging" must be taken into account. Enzymes such as bromelain, papain, trypsin, and chymotrypsin are ultimately nothing but chains of amino acids. Without protection, pepsin would split them up in the stomach and destroy them. Proteolytic enzymes are generally packaged in a protective shell to prevent this from happening. This shell protects the valuable enzymes against the attacks of the aggressive gastric acid of the protein-splitting pepsin. In the small intestine, they can pass through the intestinal wall into the blood. In this case, the use of unique plant-based capsule shells with delayed-release properties is required. That means that they dissolve later than other capsules and don't release their ingredients until they reach the intestine without the need for additional chemical coatings.
Effects and Use Cases
The biological aspects of enzymes are remarkable. They regulate the activity of the immune system and support the body's repair mechanisms. The combination of several enzymes supports the work of the immune system throughout the body. More precisely, in areas where the immune system reacts too weakly, enzymes boost its activity. And in areas where the immune system develops an excessive overreaction, they dampen it. Without the enzymes involved in digestion, our bodies would not be able to do anything with food, making them indispensable for digestive performance. They are "true professionals" because they help divide food into different substances so that they can be transported through the cell walls and made available for bodily functions. For the work to run optimally, enzymes need additional helpers to function, so-called co-partners. The most essential co-partners or components thereof are vitamins, minerals, and trace elements. These cannot be produced by the body and must be obtained from outside. That's why it is so important to keep an eye on them. Enzymes take over so many important tasks that they can be called the basis of life and health.**
Due to their unique properties, enzymes are used in a wide range of applications. Among other things, they are used to support joint and tendon health and to regenerate tissues in sports. The administration of enzymes is also suitable for supporting digestive performance. Depending on the application, the recommended intake of enzymes must be considered. For local support of the digestive performance, intake directly before a meal is recommended. On the other hand, proteolytic enzymes for systemic intake should be taken on an empty stomach (30-60 minutes before a meal) or a time interval to a meal (2 hours after a meal).**
Side Effects and Dosage
Enzymes have been recognized as a safe and successful supportive measurement, and are being used by individuals worldwide. In general, enzymes are well tolerated by most people. This is because they are entirely natural proteins. Only in rare cases, like allergies to pineapple or papaya fruits, should you refrain from taking them. Unpleasant side effects are more common, but quite harmless: digestive problems or mild nausea. These usually dissipate if you reduce the dose slightly and then gradually increase it again so that the body can get used to the enzymes. Sometimes slight changes in stool texture, color, and odor can happen but are also harmless. Enzymes also influence the coagulation properties of the blood. A reduction in the blood's ability to coagulate cannot be ruled out when enzymes are taken. This is important when a surgical procedure is scheduled, or anticoagulant drugs are used. In these cases, medical consultations will be required. As is the case for supplements in general, you should consult your healthcare provider before taking enzyme supplements.
Information concerning the dosage of enzymes can be found on the label of the respective product or the corresponding product information.
When we ask ourselves what enzymes are, and what their functions are in the human bodies and every living organism, it leads us directly to the question of what life is. No other substance is as closely connected as enzymes with the processes that make up life. Enzymes have great importance due to their crucial role in biological processes. Various findings from traditional and clinical reports as well as numerous research applications, require their use and demonstrate their effectiveness.