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Enzyme Research

Plant Enzyme Therapy and Absorption
of Undigested Food Substrates in the Bloodstream!
Research Paper By Douglas D. Grant.

The benefits of supplemental plant enzymes on your health and blood have been documented in numerous research studies. Most of the excitement and knowledge of this vital nutritional factor stems back to the work of biochemist, Dr. Edward Howell whose extensive, pioneer study in the enzyme concept began more than 50 years ago. His work and that of other noted researchers has shown the benefits of supplemental plant enzymes on various conditions of the body, particularly as they relate to the digestion and assimilation of foods..
Recent research has been increasingly more specific, focusing on different types and sources of plant enzymes, including various protease, lipase, carbohydrase, and cellulase preparations. Both in vitro and controlled in vivo studies using internal and parenteral routes have examined the effectiveness of these enzymes in a wide range of conditions including maldigestion, malabsorption, pancreatic insufficiency, steatorrhea, celiac disease, lactose intolerance, arterial obstruction and thrombotic disease. Reports from doctors across the nation indicate that plant enzymes are being used in an even broader spectrum of clinical conditions.

Data from various studies and clinical applications verify the efficacy of plant enzymes for a broad spectrum of conditions.

An English study showed a small dose of acid-stable lipase from plant sources (400 mg) was as effective as a 25 times larger dosage of conventional pancreatin (10,000 mg) in the treatment of malabsorption, malnutrition and steatorrhea due to pancreatic exocrine insufficiency. Unlike pancreatin, plant enzyme lipase delivers enzyme activity in the broad PH range from 3 to 9. It safely digests fat in pancreatic insufficiency patients, beginning in the stomach and continuing in the abnormal acidic conditions commonly found in the duodenum and jejunum.

Human and animal studies have compared the effectiveness of acid-stable lipase from various fungal species with that of pancreatin in the treatment of malabsorption and steatorrhea due to pancreatic insufficiency. Administered orally at mealtime, plant lipase has been found to be effective in these conditions and to offer certain advantages over both conventional and enteric- coated pancreatic enzyme replacement therapy.

Chronic pancreatitis and cystic fibrosis are the most common causes of pancreatic exocrine insufficiency. (1) Pancreatogenic steatorrhea, malabsorption, impaired nutrition, weight loss and considerable social embarrassment.

Protease enzymes dramatically improve chronically obstructed arteries in humans. (1, 2, 3) Numerous cross-over, single-blind and placebo studies have confirmed this. (4, 5) Intravenous therapy with plant protease is dramatically more effective than anti-coagulant therapy (e.g.; heparin, warfarin) at re-canalizing obstructed arteries and improving blood flow through stenosed arterial segments. (4, 13, 15)

Amylase enzymes from plant source are effective in vitro in the treatment of celiac disease. By enzymatically cleaving the toxic carbohydrate portion of gliadin, plant amylase preparations render grains like wheat and rye virtually harmless to individuals with gluten enteropathy. (10, 17)

With the prevalence and wide range of documented research, it is obvious that plant enzymes benefit specific conditions in the body. Much of this research has gone unrecognized by some health care professionals, particularly the research dealing with the intact absorption of food substrates. This research proves undoubtedly that non-digested food substrates do enter the blood and that plant enzymes can greatly benefit the bloodstream by breaking down different food substrates that otherwise would passed into the blood without being fully digested.

Macromolecules can and do pass intact from the human gut into the bloodstream under normal conditions (18-23, 25) This has been described as the "leaky bowel" phenomenon and may help to explain the apparent effectiveness of plant enzyme therapy in the nutritional management of conditions, including food allergies, immune dysfunction and certain inflammatory bowel disease. (18, 19, 35-43)

Pure plant enzymes ( molecular weight approximately 35,000) are fully absorbed following oral administration. These proteases exhibit the same properties in the bloodstream as in other applications. This includes the ability to hydrolyze dietary proteins and polypeptides which have leaked into the bloodstream as food antigens. Protease shows anti-inflammatory properties (5, 8 , 9, 12, 14, ) and has been shown to be effective when administered intravenously in re-establishing circulation through chronically obstructed arteries in humans. (4, 13)

Other animal and human studies have shown that numerous specific whole proteins, including plant and animal enzymes, are absorbed intact into the bloodstream following oral administration. These include human albumin and lactalbumin, bovine, albumin, ovalbumin, lactoglobulin, ferritin (M.A. 500,000), chymotrypsinogen, elastase, and other large molecules, such as botulism toxin (M. 1,000,000). (18-20, 24, 32-34) Even inert particles, such as carbon particles from India ink, (and whole viruses (26) can cross the healthy intestine.

Proteins and polypeptide's absorbed intact from the gut can exert pharmacological effects on target tissues. Several peptide hormones are known to be biologically active when administered orally, including luteinizing hormone releasing factor and thyrotropin releasing hormone. (27, 28) Insulin can cross the intestinal mucosa intact and produce significant hypoglycemia under limited circumstances ( e.g.: in the presence of protease inhibitors or hypertonic solutions in the intestinal lumen). (29, 30)

There is strong evidence that the body seeks to conserve its digestive enzymes by absorbing intact endogenous and exogenous pancreatic enzymes, trypsin and chymotrypsin and are absorbed intact into the bloodstream in an enzymatically active form following oral administration.

Even more dramatic is the finding that both endogenous and exogenous pancreatic enzymes are not only absorbed intact from the gut, but also transported through the bloodstream, taken up intact by pancreatic secretory cells, and re-secreted into the intestinal lumen by the pancreas, co- mixed with newly synthesized pancreatic enzymes.(31) The existence of this enteropancreatic circulation of proteolytic enzymes is closely analogous to the "recycling" of bile salts by the liver.

By digesting dietary protein, plant enzymes administered orally at mealtime work to decrease the supply of antigenic macromolecule's available to leak into the bloodstream. In addition, orally administered plant enzymes which have, by themselves, been absorbed intact may help to "digest" antigenic dietary proteins which they encounter in the bloodstream. Further research is needed to evaluate the role of plant enzymes in the treatment of food allergies.

The considerable exists supporting the biological and therapeutic importance of the "leaky bowel" phenomenon and the role of plant enzyme therapy. The intact absorption of orally administered foods and plant enzymes can no longer be reasonably denied.

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Jeffrey T. Maehr, D.C. (Ret.)
Certified Nutritional Microscopist
Wholistic Nutritional Consultant

Email: drhealth (at) purehealthsystems (dot) com

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