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by Ron Harder

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Copyright © Ron Harder 2002

One of the most common health problems in North
America today is poor digestion. There are several
reasons for poor digestion, but the two biggest reasons
are the inability of your body to produce enough
enzymes, and the lack of digestive enzymes in the food
that you eat.

What are digestive enzymes? They are organic protein
molecules that break down food particles such as
proteins, carbohydrates, and fats; and convert them into
smaller absorbable nutrients that your body can use to
build cells, tissues, and organs.

What do they do? Digestive enzymes are responsible
for breaking down the food that you eat so that your
food can be more easily absorbed and digested by your
small intestine.

It works something like this. You put some food into
your mouth and by chewing it you break this food up
into smaller segments and mix it with saliva. The
enzymes in your saliva start the pre-digestive process in
your mouth, and this continues while your food is on its
way to your stomach.

In the stomach your food is mixed with hydrochloric
acid that helps to digest starches. More enzymes are
added at this point which helps to break down your
food even further and turn it into a paste-like substance
called chyme.

After several hours this chyme moves from the stomach
to your small intestine where pancreatic enzymes are
added to help with further digestion. The more enzymes
you have available, the better your digestion will be.
Any food that you are not able to digest will be passed
along to your large intestine where it will await
elimination from your body.

Where do digestive enzymes come from? You obtain
most of your digestive enzymes from the food that you
eat, and your body also produces enzymes of its own.
Unfortunately, because of soil depletion, herbicide
sprays, etc., we do not obtain anywhere near the
number of enzymes that we need.

Another major problem is that modern processing and
preserving techniques, such as boiling and
pasteurization, destroy most of the enzymes that ever
were in your food. Enzymes are also destroyed by
exposure to air, exposure to light, alcohol consumption,
temperatures over 118 degrees, caffeine, cigarette
smoke, and prescription drugs. Parasites, pesticides,
pollutants, ultra-violet radiation, and fluoridated water
also destroy enzymes.

Enzymes are either obtained from plants, or they are
manufactured by the pancreas. Pancreatic enzymes are
animal based and only function in your small intestine.
If pancreatic enzymes are taken with food they will be
destroyed by the acids in your stomach, and therefore,
they are not nearly as effective as plant enzymes.

Plant enzymes are much more effective because they
begin pre-digestion in your mouth, they are not
destroyed by the acids in your stomach, and they
function in both an acid and in an alkaline environment.

As we age, our body loses its ability to produce its own
enzymes, and so we have to include them in our diet.
There are only two ways to accomplish this. One
method is by eating raw organic food, and the other
method is by taking enzyme supplements.

Some good food sources for enzymes are alfalfa, barley
grass, chlorella, spirulina, kelp, peppermint, and sea
vegetables. Most fruits, especially bananas, are also a
good source.

You should make very sure that you get enough
enzymes, because a lack of digestive enzymes will
cause a number of things to occur in your body, and
here are some of the more common. You may develop
abdominal bloating, abdominal cramps, constipation,
crohn's disease, colitis, diarrhea, eczema, heartburn,
indigestion, IBD, psoriasis, skin rashes, and many other
conditions that can cause you a lot of problems.

Low levels of enzymes can lead to a toxic colon
because undigested food in your intestines can ferment
and turn toxic. The toxic byproducts that accumulate in
your intestines will be absorbed through your intestine
wall and will end up in your blood stream, and when
these toxins enter your blood stream they will come
into contact with all the cells throughout your entire
body. When this occurs, all kinds of nasty things, like
cancer for example, can and do develop.

Up to this point we have only discussed digestive
enzymes, but there is another type of enzyme we should
briefly discuss and that is metabolic enzymes.

Metabolic enzymes are protein-like substances that act
as a catalyst in all metabolic actions within your body.
In other words, metabolic enzymes are the workers
within your body that allow the minerals, vitamins, and
proteins to do their job. Metabolic enzymes are your
body's labor force, and they are responsible for all the
anabolic or catabolic activity in your body.

If you eat cooked food, fast food, or processed food,
your body needs all the help it can get. There are
virtually no enzymes in these kinds of foods, and
without enzymes, you will not be able to digest any of
the nutrients that may be present.

If your diet consists of these foods I would strongly
suggest changing your diet to raw vegetables and fresh
fruits so that you can maximize your enzyme intake.
Above that, I also strongly recommend taking enzyme
supplements as part of your daily diet. This will ensure
that you are getting all the enzymes that you need for
your good health.

Enzymes are very selective in that each enzyme can
only do one specific job. One enzyme cannot do
another enzymes job, so a shortage or absence of just
one enzyme can have a very serious impact on your

As you can see, enzymes are an extremely important
part of your diet. How important are they? Enzymes are
the first of the "workers" in your body. They are the
catalyst that allows the minerals and vitamins in your
body to do their job. They are responsible for all
metabolic functions. They are responsible for life itself.

Other articles by Ron Harder are available at


This article written by Ron Harder, Nutritional Health
Consultant, Iridologist, and Author of "How To Defeat
Cancer - Naturally - without Chemo, Radiation, or
Surgery". More information on the power of enzymes is
available at

--------------- End Of Article ---------------

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