Did you know that life stops without enzymes? That enzyme production from inside your body was never meant to be the primary source of digestion? For millions of years, animals have eaten enzyme-rich diets, which fueled digestion with active enzymes from raw fruits and vegetables as well as raw milk.
According to Dr. Edward Howell in Enzyme Nutrition: The Food Enzyme Concept:
“Enzyme potential is limited and withers as time marches on. The more lavishly a young body gives up its enzymes, the sooner the state of enzyme poverty, or old age, is reached… Humans eating an enzymeless diet use up a tremendous amount of their enzyme potential in lavish secretions of the pancreas and other digestive organs. The result is a shortened lifespan (65 years or less as compared with 100 or more), illness and lowered resistance to stress of all types.”
He adds: “Old age and debilitated metabolic enzyme activity are synonymous. If we postpone the debilitation…what we now call old age could become the glorious prime of life!”
Fast Facts from Dr. Howell: A 69 year old person has only 1/30th the saliva enzymes (amylase) that a young adult has. The enzyme, lipase, for digesting fats, is deficient in obese humans. And, the concentration of amylase in the pancreas of hens (carb eaters) is 800 times more than in a cat (protein eaters)!
Dr. Howell goes on to give examples of how at African watering holes, where water supplies are contaminated, hundreds of animals drink and do not get sick. He believes the reason is that their diet is raw foods rich in enzymes.
The pancreas gets enlarged just trying to keep up with digestion of food multiple times per day. Since enzyme potential can wane, overworked enzymes from the pancreas can lose their “charge” and work more slowly. Worse, the pancreas can become totally overloaded and call in white blood cells to “attack” food particles (in order to help out with digestion). The speedy little plant enzyme seems like a humane solution for the pancreas’s predicament.
Sadly, vital metabolic processes (like organ repair) get shorted when the pancreas is overworked, and disease and decay set the stage for premature aging. Ghastly thought, eh?
Fasting, Enzymes & Longevity
Plenty of scientific research shows that short but regular fasting promotes longevity. It’s not just about reducing calories or fat (that’s good though). It’s also about reducing the burden on the pancreas and internal enzyme production.
While recurring digestive holidays (fasting) can help move the “old age” threshold downstream, that’s not the only strategy to pursue.
The good news is that it is not cheating to add enzymes—whether with raw foods or with supplements. Your body was designed to get lots of help with digestion, which is why many naturopaths recommend a digestive enzyme formula prior to each and every meal, especially meals that are cooked. This advice is doubly important for those of us qualifying for AARP membership!
Meanwhile for Bill Henderson subscribers, you know about his call for more raw food, which leaves internal enzymes available for cellular repair and revitalization.