1

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How useful are super enzymes?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created June 17, 2010 at 1:14 PM

I've seen a couple of people on various threads reference super enzymes and have to admit they are new to me. I had a quick google and come up with these guys:

http://www.lifesource4life.com/enzymes.htm

Who were delighted to inform me:

Dietary Shifts and Digestive Disorders:

Human evolutionary history clearly shows that we are primarily herbivores. Human saliva contains alpha-amylase, an enzyme specifically designed to break down complex carbohydrates into sugar compounds. Our teeth are designed to cut vegetable matter and to grind grains. The so-called canine teeth of humans bear no resemblance to the canines of even a domestic house cat. The human digestive system is long and the food is processed slowly to extract all the nutrients from plant material. Conversely, carnivores have short digestive tracts that digest flesh very quickly. The digestive systems of carnivores are able to eliminate the large amount of cholesterol consumed in their diets. Carnivores do not have alpha-amylase present in their saliva.

At which point I gave up on my research on the internets to ask you guys instead - Are these super enzymes really helpful generally (ie for those in reasonably good health on a balanced paleo regime) or are they just useful/advisable for people with GERD (and similar) symptoms?

Thanks

0d2dec01a5ed9363a9915e111ae13f7e

(4583)

on June 18, 2010
at 01:46 AM

Indeed, even raw foodists seem to ignore, or are ignorant of the fact that a human stomach has a lot of HCL that de natures and "cooks" proteins up same as slapping food on the grill!

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on June 17, 2010
at 09:07 PM

Yep, breakfast. Get your stomach pumping...

77732bf6bf2b8a360f523ef87c3b7523

(6157)

on June 17, 2010
at 07:59 PM

Melissa, "first meal" as in first meal of the day?

4b97e3bb2ee4a9588783f5d56d687da1

(22913)

on June 17, 2010
at 07:58 PM

Both really....

4145b36f1488224964edac6258b75aff

(7821)

on June 17, 2010
at 07:53 PM

Yeah I'm not saying that replacement stomach acid or properly delivered enzymes won't work or don't make sense for people who need them.. but I do doubt that EVERYONE needs them because we cook our food and destroy the "natural enzymes" therein.

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on June 17, 2010
at 07:05 PM

That's true. I also recommend that the first meal involve flesh because it stimulates gastric acid production.

0d2dec01a5ed9363a9915e111ae13f7e

(4583)

on June 17, 2010
at 06:57 PM

Melissa pointed out above that a damaged/compromised digestive tract might benefit from some pepsin/HCL etc added into meals until the gut's own enzymes come back on line. So that sort of enzyme supplementation seems legit to consider. I do agree with PFW that the idea that foods contain enzymes to help digest themselves is far fetched, and if so, would those enzymes even make it through the stomach's acid slurry?

0d2dec01a5ed9363a9915e111ae13f7e

(4583)

on June 17, 2010
at 06:17 PM

It seems years' long meat avoidance (or other illness/injury to the gut) can lead to a down regulated HCL content in the stomach. So bringing back in meat to the diet, may mean the need to supplement some HCL/enzymes at times until the body gets back up to speed with HCL/digestive enzyme production. Seems a reasonable approach from listening to various Robb Wolf podcasts. Excited for his book!

F652b96a3bcf646d8dad56cb1d035101

(205)

on June 17, 2010
at 02:37 PM

Yup - wasn't sure whether to laugh or cry really.....

4b97e3bb2ee4a9588783f5d56d687da1

(22913)

on June 17, 2010
at 01:49 PM

Short to eliminate cholesterol, Rofl.. Bro science makes me sad

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4 Answers

3
9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on June 17, 2010
at 06:09 PM

I would only take digestive supplements if your...umm...finished product is looking off. Transitioning into paleo can be take some digestive system adjustment and you also need to give your GI tract time to heal from SAD. The best ones are a commercial probiotic like Jarrodophilus, HCL with pepsin (Robb Wolf recs this and probably will write more about it in his new book), and green papaya since it helps with protein digestion. According to people I've recommended this regimen to, it helps errr...get their elimination solid and regular.

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on June 17, 2010
at 07:05 PM

That's true. I also recommend that the first meal involve flesh because it stimulates gastric acid production.

0d2dec01a5ed9363a9915e111ae13f7e

(4583)

on June 17, 2010
at 06:17 PM

It seems years' long meat avoidance (or other illness/injury to the gut) can lead to a down regulated HCL content in the stomach. So bringing back in meat to the diet, may mean the need to supplement some HCL/enzymes at times until the body gets back up to speed with HCL/digestive enzyme production. Seems a reasonable approach from listening to various Robb Wolf podcasts. Excited for his book!

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on June 17, 2010
at 09:07 PM

Yep, breakfast. Get your stomach pumping...

77732bf6bf2b8a360f523ef87c3b7523

(6157)

on June 17, 2010
at 07:59 PM

Melissa, "first meal" as in first meal of the day?

3
4b97e3bb2ee4a9588783f5d56d687da1

on June 17, 2010
at 01:46 PM

That info isn't remotely accurate, our digestive system is remarkably simple compared to herbivores...

Here, this site breaks down our digestive systems comparatively http://www.second-opinions.co.uk/carn_herb_comparison.html

1
4145b36f1488224964edac6258b75aff

(7821)

on June 17, 2010
at 02:15 PM

The "enzymes in food" argument has never made a lick of sense to me. Obviously a living animal is not going to have digestive enzymes in its muscles. After it dies and we chop it up, there maybe some bacterial contamination, which would introduce bacterial digestive enzymes. We then eat that food, it drops into our stomach... and then our stomach acid denatures 90% of any enzyme protein that is in the food bolus, along with just about all the protein in the meat.

So the hour or so when the food is in your stomach before the acid and pepsin have totally saturated it is supposed to be helpful in some clinically significant way? Really?

I can see pre-digesting something through fermentation. That makes sense. I can see probiotic therapy through eating enough bacteria that a few survive your stomach to populate the gut. Ok. I can even see taking an enteric coated enzyme pill so that the benefit reaches your small intestine more or less intact (assuming you are not producing enough digestive enzyme for some reason). But the idea that there is some sort of non-trivial load of digestive enzymes normally present in non-rotting food, and that this has some actual role in human digestion, strikes me as inconsistent with the basic physiology of the human stomach.

Here's an experiment I've always wanted to run. Buy some digestive enzymes. Crack open the caps to extract the powder or whatever is inside. Chew up some food, spit it out, and mix in the digestive enzymes. Place in a moist container and keep it at ~98-100 degrees F for an hour, then take it out and see how much it has been "digested". If it's soupy then, well, maybe the enzymes matter. If it's just warm chewed up food, then the enzyme in food argument is shot to hell.

0d2dec01a5ed9363a9915e111ae13f7e

(4583)

on June 17, 2010
at 06:57 PM

Melissa pointed out above that a damaged/compromised digestive tract might benefit from some pepsin/HCL etc added into meals until the gut's own enzymes come back on line. So that sort of enzyme supplementation seems legit to consider. I do agree with PFW that the idea that foods contain enzymes to help digest themselves is far fetched, and if so, would those enzymes even make it through the stomach's acid slurry?

4145b36f1488224964edac6258b75aff

(7821)

on June 17, 2010
at 07:53 PM

Yeah I'm not saying that replacement stomach acid or properly delivered enzymes won't work or don't make sense for people who need them.. but I do doubt that EVERYONE needs them because we cook our food and destroy the "natural enzymes" therein.

0d2dec01a5ed9363a9915e111ae13f7e

(4583)

on June 18, 2010
at 01:46 AM

Indeed, even raw foodists seem to ignore, or are ignorant of the fact that a human stomach has a lot of HCL that de natures and "cooks" proteins up same as slapping food on the grill!

0
647ae1f5aa7f7a3939ef5a0608059ac1

on June 17, 2010
at 01:35 PM

I am so glad you posted this because I wonder the same thing. I take digestive enzymes irregularly only because I go through phases thinking that they are good for someone in pretty good health-paleo eating and sometimes I think that our bodies are designed to digest on their own if we put the proper nutrients in them. I hear the best time to take them is after you eat a lot of fat or red meat (foods that are slow digesting). So hopefully someone can give us some better insight. What I do know, is that they work but sometimes I get gassy afterward :/

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