Proteins are the building blocks of the human body. They are about 80 percent of the dry weight of muscle, 70 percent of the dry weight of skin, and 90 percent of blood. They are responsible for transporting all molecules into and out of cells.
Enzymes are stable protein catalysts. They have a three-dimensional structure and are not living organisms, they simply become a part of the final product of the biochemical reaction they are catalyzing. When their job is over, the product or reaction leaves the enzyme to do its specific job on other molecules again and again until the enzyme is reabsorbed by the body when it’s no longer viable.
Every enzyme has a specific job description
They are designed to only attract suitably shaped molecules to bind to their active site (like a key in a lock). The enzyme serves as the lock, and the attracted molecule (called the substrate) is the key.
Enzymes are a little like computer software, created once and sold and used over and over again until it’s no longer viable.
Digestive enzymes 101
Enzymes break down food into tiny particles that can be converted into energy by the following:
- The enzyme, amylase, is found in saliva, and its job is to help break down carbohydrates.
- Stomach gastric juices, including peptidase and hydrochloric acid (HCL), naturally help break down carbs and help digest proteins.
- Pancreatic juices, including proteases and lipases, further help digest the fats emulsified by bile.
- Intestinal enzymes, including peptidases, lactase, maltase and cellulose, help break down cellulose molecules into simple sugars.
- Bile from the liver helps digest fat globules.
Enter antacid abuse and reduced nutrient uptake
Of all the over-the-counter medications available, one of the most popular groups is the antacid. They come in chewable tablets, capsules and liquids. Many of the previously prescription-strength antacids are now available over the counter, as well.
These medications are used by millions of people on a regular basis to relieve indigestion. Unfortunately, the vast majority of those using these products don’t need them at all. Most people suffering from indigestion, gas, bloating, heartburn and acid reflux do not actually have excess stomach acid, as is often portrayed in the TV ads hyping these products. They have the opposite problem, and their symptoms are being caused by a lack of stomach acid instead. These acids play the principal role in the breakdown of protein by unraveling the long chains of amino acids.
Stomach acid is necessary for the following functions:
- Absorption of essential nutrients, including calcium, magnesium, vitamins A, C, E, the B vitamins, zinc and iron.
- Activation of enzymes, hormones and neurotransmitters.
- Prevention of bacterial pathogens from going into the lower GI tract, causing infection and increasing the risk of disease and stomach cancer.
Proteins and minerals from foods and supplements must have the natural digestive aid of hydrochloride or hydrochloric acid. This powerful acid, secreted through the stomach, starts the breakdown of protein and acidifies minerals for optimal absorption, which cannot happen when the stomach does not empty correctly. Partly digested carbohydrates and proteins start to ferment in the stomach and back up into the esophagus, an uncomfortable problem too often interpreted by uninformed folks and even some physicians as too much stomach acid.
Both HCL and enzymes improve nutrient bioavailability, increase energy,and help prevent gastric issues occasionally associated with high-potency nutrition, particularly in those over the age of 60.
Aging & enzymes
After we reach the age of 40, we seem to produce less hydrochloric acid and fewer enzymes needed for optimal digestion and to prevent gastric issues.
Biosyntrx has addressed this issue by including 100 mg of HCL in our multiples, Oculair and Macula Complete, as well as including a digestive enzyme blend in Macula Complete that includes amylase, protease, lactase, lipase and cellulose. This small amount of blended enzymes also stimulates the body to manufacture it’s own natural digestive enzymes, which keep the whole body healthier and increases energy.
Ellen Troyer, with Spencer Thornton, MD, and the Biosyntrx staff
PEARL: Strategies for improving stomach acid, digestion and nutrient uptake, include the following:
- Supplementing with digestive enzymes and HCL
- Eating plenty of fermented foods (think sauerkraut and foods flavored with organic, unfiltered apple cider vinegar)
- Chewing food completely