For AGING WITH VITALITY, Full-Spectrum Plant Enzymes augment digestion, which declines with age, and bring potent anti-inflammatory benefits that can relieve joint pains. The body’s output of digestive enzymes drops with aging, then reduced absorption of nutrients can contribute to lower energy. Potent digestive enzymes can help to maximize the nutrient uptake and energy production from food.
The primary role of enzymes is to act as catalysts that speed up life-preserving chemical reactions in the body. Without enzymes, our metabolic processes–from releasing energy out of food to building new cells–would be too slow to sustain life. Digestively speaking, intestinal enzymes lower the amount of energy required to break up our food into molecules that are small enough to pass through the intestinal wall and into circulation. For example, protease enzymes break down protein foods like meat, beans or eggs into peptides, small units that are more ready for absorption. Lipase breaks fats into tiny globules, and cellulase cuts plant cell wall materials into absorbable pieces.
Enzymes are molecules that occur throughout nature in plants and animals, and which enable life-supporting biological processes. Most enzymes function with essential vitamin and mineral cofactors that are necessary to assist or activate the enzymes. Enzymes that digest food must be able to act in the wide range of conditions found in the gut. Proteases in particular must work in a variety of digestive tract environments in our bodies. They help to disassemble bonds between amino acids throughout the upper gut, so that proteins can be absorbed in tiny fragments. The stomach has a highly acidic pH after eating, then the food enters the very alkaline environment of the duodenum. Digestive enzyme formulas ideally include a full spectrum of proteases that range from acid-stable to alkaline-stable, as both animal and vegetarian proteins must be dismantled in all gut environments, from very acidic pH 1 or 2 through neutral pH 7 to ultra-alkaline pH 10 or 11.
Digestion is a complex interaction between mechanical chewing, swallowing and peristalsis; chemical actions such as hydrochloric acid in the stomach and enzymes from bile and the pancreas; and neurological activity including nerve that help gut muscles to move food along the gastrointestinal tract. Aging can lower the function of any of these. Individuals over the age of 65 seek medical care for gastrointestinal issues more often than any other age group. With age, each organ associated with digestion, including the stomach, liver, gall bladder, pancreas, colon and rectum, may experience a natural decline, which impacts overall digestive function.
During the normal aging process, our stomachs produce less acid, and digestive enzyme production can begin to decline as early as the late 20s. Genetics, ethnicity, lifestyle, or trauma can also reduce digestive enzyme levels. Muscles in the gastrointestinal tract that squeeze and release to move food through, and which control sphincters including the esophagus and bowel, can atrophy, commonly leading to acid reflux or constipation in those over age 65.
Broad-spectrum digestive enzymes can do some of the work of the digestive organs, including the stomach, pancreas, liver, gallbladder and small intestine, by helping break down difficult-to-digest proteins, starches, and fats. This can help decrease symptoms like bloating and gas cramps, and will improve absorption of essential nutrients. Many plants, such as raw fruits and vegetables, naturally contain enzymes that aid in their own digestion. For example, pineapple, papaya, apples and many other plants contain beneficial enzymes.
A 2013 study examined the effects of digestive enzymes on 2,125 patients whose symptoms included flatulence, bloating, belching, feelings of fullness, abdominal discomfort, heart burn, or poor appetite. The researchers used a multi-enzyme preparation containing amylase, protease, lipase, lactase and alpha-galactosidase, to adequately assist in the digestion of every nutrient. The supplement also needed an optimum pH range of operation in the gastrointestinal tract, to originate from a plant source, and to have the intrinsic advantages of being heat stable and resistant to acid digestion. The study demonstrated that such a digestive enzyme significantly alleviated the frequency and severity of digestive symptoms, with excellent efficacy and tolerability.1
Natural remedies have traditionally been used for centuries for abnormal digestion in indigenous holistic medicine in tropical and industrialized countries alike. Another 2013 study sought to provide evidence of the physiological effect and efficacy of enzymes in humans. Volunteers with chronic indigestion and gastrointestinal dysfunctions such as gas, bloat, belching or cramps, were given either enzymes or placebo for 40 days. The treatment group experienced statistically significant improvement. Researchers agreed that enzyme treatment ‘contributes to the maintenance of digestive tract physiology and ameliorates various functional disturbances, like symptoms of IBS.’2
In our clinic, we have excellent results for older patients who use a broad-spectrum, full pH range, plant-sourced digestive enzyme formula: Our patients see improved absorption with better blood levels of protein, ‘good’ HDL, iron and vitamin B12; higher energy; increased muscle building; and reduced indigestion or IBS symptoms. Potent plant enzymes also have anti-inflammatory benefits, reducing joint or muscle pain, easing connective tissue inflammation and helping to bring down C-reactive protein levels.
We prefer only plant-derived enzymes that bring more consistent levels of activity, without risk. We avoid bovine or porcine pancreatic enzymes which often come from animals raised on commercial feeds. Pesticides or fertilizers from that feed can concentrate in the animals’ organs, including their pancreas, liver, bile, and stomach, so those animal enzymes can dose the human body with unwanted chemical residues.
Recommendation: Full Spectrum Plant Enzymes where each dose provides a total amount over 600mg, including protease I, II, III, IV USP (pH range 1 to 11) 25-30,000 USP, FCC (pH 7.0) 35-48,750 PC, FCC (pH 4.7) 70-82,000 HUT; also amylase USP (pH 6.8) 25-32,000USP, FCC (pH 4.8) 18-23,800 DU; with lipase I, II FIP (pH 7.0) 1,800-2,100 FIP, FCC III (pH 6.5) 800-970 LU; lactase I, II FCC III (pH 4.5) 1,300-1,600 ALU; cellulase I, II FCC (pH 4.5) 300-350 CU; sucrase (Invertase) FCC (pH 4.6) 250-300 INVU; maltase (malt diastase) FCC (pH 4.6) 28-32,100 DP°.
- Khandke, Devendra A., Sanjay K. Jain, and Prashant A. Shirsath. “Post-marketing surveillance study to assess the efficacy and tolerability of Al5zyme—A multienzyme preparation in patients with functional dyspepsia.” Indian Med Gazette 5 (2013): 181-191.
- Muss, Claus, Wilhelm Mosgoeller, and Thomas Endler. “Papaya preparation (Caricol®) in digestive disorders.” Neuroendocrinology Letters 34.1 (2013).
- Hall KE, Proctor DD, Fisher L, Rose S. American Gastroenterological Association Future Trends Committee report: effects of aging of the population on gastroenterology practice, education, and research. Gastroenterology. 2005;129(4):1305-1338.
- D’Souza AL. Ageing and the gut. Postgrad Med J. 2007;83(975):44-53.
- Saffrey MJ. Ageing of the enteric nervous system. Mech Ageing Dev. 2004;125(12):899-906.
- Bhutto A, Morley JE. The clinical significance of gastrointestinal changes with aging. Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care. 2008;11(5):651-660.
- Greenberg, Ronald E., and Peter R. Holt. “Influence of aging upon pancreatic digestive enzymes.” Digestive diseases and sciences 31.9 (1986): 970-977.
- Saltzman, John R., and Robert M. Russell. “The aging gut: nutritional issues.” Gastroenterology Clinics of North America 27.2 (1998): 309-324.