Benefits of Systemic Enzymes
for Healthy Aging
by Nancy Hearn, CNC

two elderly adults on bikes

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The benefits of systemic enzymes are not widely known. However, I consider them one of the most essential supplements we can take, especially to support healthy aging.

Enzymes are the essential building blocks of life. I consider enzymes and water to be equally important in the body. 

Water is critical to every function in the body, and thus it is essential to drink enough water on a daily basis.

Likewise, enzymes provide the energy we need to rebuild cells, nerves, tissues, muscles, bones, and glands. The benefits of systemic enzymes include all the advantages of normal healthy aging.

Enzymes are protein molecules that act as catalysts, speeding the rate at which biochemical reactions occur. They are found in every cell of every living plant and animal, as well as in humans.

Without enzymes, the chemical reactions in our bodies would be too slow for life as we know it. 

We have roughly 3,000 enzymes in our bodies, which are involved in 7,000 to 25,000 enzymic reactions. 

Most of these enzymes are of the proteolytic type, which break down proteins. Some of the key systemic enzymes include proteinase, protease, serrapeptase, bromelain, papain, lipase, and amylase, as well as trypsin and chymotrypsin.

Digestive Enzymes vs Systemic Enzymes

Most people think of enzymes as being involved only in digestion. However, aiding digestion is one of the last things that enzymes do in the body. 

Digestive enzymes primarily act in the stomach to digest food, while systemic enzymes are designed to survive the stomach’s acid. Thus, they pass through the stomach into the intestines, where they are absorbed into the body. 

Dr. Max Wolf (M.D., Ph.D.), who researched enzymes and hormones at Columbia University from the 1930’s to the 1970’s, determined that enzyme production significantly diminishes in humans between the ages of 27 and 35. Thus, this is essentially when the body begins the aging process.

We are born with limited enzyme reserves. In past decades, people would naturally supplement their enzyme levels by consuming fresh, locally grown foods throughout their lives. 

Unfortunately, this is not the case with most people today. Modern food manufacturing, processing, preparation and cooking destroy most, if not all, of the enzymes that foods contain. 

Thus, most adults suffer an enzyme deficiency that causes our bodies and normal body functions to break down and age prematurely.

Replenishing Enzymes with Fresh Food

Eating an abundance of raw fruits and vegetables will increase our enzyme reserves. 

When we eat cooked or processed food (especially animal protein), our body is forced to extract enzymes from other areas of our bodies, including our glands, organs, and muscles to aid in digestion. 

Thus, our body has to essentially rebuild the food so that it is similar to its original fresh enzymatic form. This is a huge energy drain on our body!

If the idea of a raw-food diet does not appeal to you, I encourage you to simply add more raw foods (preferably organic)—especially vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, and sprouts—to your daily intake. 

For example, if you are currently eating 10% raw food, increase your intake to 20% in the next month or so.  Ideally, we want to be eating at least 50% or more raw food for optimum health and longevity. 

Pick up a raw-food book and try some recipes!  You’ll be surprised at how tasty and energizing raw foods can be.  

Benefits of Systemic Enzyme Supplements

If you haven’t banked your enzyme reserves by eating an abundance of fresh foods most of your life or you don't want to eat more raw foods, I highly recommend systemic enzyme supplementation.

It’s important to note that to get the most full-body benefits of systemic enzymes, you want to take them in between meals rather than with meals.

There are many systemic enzyme supplements on the market. In my experience, the most effective ones contain papain, protease and bromelain, as well as serrapeptase, trypsin and chymotrypsin. 

Three brands I highly recommend are Pure Encapsulation, Garden of Life and Enzymatic Therapy.  


William Wong, N.D., Ph.D.; What Are Systemic Enzymes and What Do They Do?

Michael T. Murray, M.D.; The Healing Power of Proteolytic Enzymes 

Further reading

Systemic Enzyme Therapy Offers Numerous Health Benefits

Return from Benefits of Systemic Enzymes to Water Nutrition - The Foundation of Good Health

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