Enzymes are essential chemicals that are the foundation of human bodily functions. They are catalysts (activators) in the chemical reactions that are continually taking place within the body. As coenzymes, vitamins work with enzymes, thereby allowing all the activities that occur within the body to be carried out as they should.
Digestive enzymes enable food to be broken down into nutrients, which our bodies then use to produce energy, repair themselves, grow, and function. There are many different kinds of enzymes in the human body, acting as catalysts for the many biochemical processes needed for life. Studies have shown that raw food is easier to digest and healthier than cooked food, because it still contains active enzymes, which are destroyed by the heat used in cooking foods. Usually secreted by the pancreas into the small intestine, digestive enzymes are those which help to breakdown the food we eat, continuing the digestive process which began in the stomach.
It is a misconception among some doctors that you do not need enzyme supplements because your body makes its own. While it is true that your body does produce digestive enzymes, if they are not in the right place at the right time then they will not do you much good. Furthermore, when stomach acid is low, the output of digestive enzymes may be reduced once the food reaches the small intestine. Some people need to take a good digestive enzyme along with their meals so that the food will be thoroughly digested/absorbed and their liver will get the nutrition it needs to produce other enzymes on its own.
Plant enzymes help food to be broken down and assimilated. When a body is functioning properly, food is digested into tiny particles that go into the blood and from there into cells. If one lacks any of the necessary digestive enzymes, this does not happen. Plant enzymes work well with your own natural pancreatic enzyme activity and some people need to eat right as well as take supplemental enzymes in order to experience improved health.
When the digestive system fails to properly convert food into nutrients, poorly-digested food particles fail to reach the blood stream and can cause cravings for these missing nutrients.
90% of all dietary retinol is in the form retinyl palmitate which requires action by pancreatic enzymes before it can be absorbed.
Bromelain has been used successfully as a digestive enzyme following pancreatectomy, in cases of pancreas insufficiency, and in other intestinal disorders. The combination of ox bile, pancreatin, and bromelain is effective in lowering stool fat excretion in patients with pancreatic insufficiency and resulting in a symptomatic improvement in pain, flatulence and stool frequency. [J Asso Phys Ind 1981;29: pp.207-209]