What can enzymes do for health, energy, and long life? What effect does an enzyme deficiency have on the body? The magic of enzymes is that they are a delicate lifelike substance found in all living animal and plant cells. They are energized protein molecules that are essential for digesting food, repairing tissue, and creating virtually all of the chemical reactions in the body. A recent study from the Medical College of Belgaum in India discovered that protein-digesting enzymes were more effective than aspirin in reducing swelling and inflammation. According to the book “Enzymes: The Foundation of Life,” life cannot be sustained without enzymes, and because one’s body produces only so many enzymes during one’s life, there are less and less of them available with age. This may lead to poor digestion and blocked absorption of the vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients needed for good health. Digestive enzymes are made in the pancreas and released into the intestine to break down food and turn it into energy. Enzyme supplements are widely known to be beneficial for indigestion. Also a helpful remedy for osteoarthritis, the Journal of Clinical Rheumatology found supplemental enzymes to be beneficial for joint health. Raw food enzymes are obtained from eating raw foods such as fruits and vegetables. Foods high in natural enzymes are avocados, bananas, mangos and sprouts. Cooked and processed foods are depleted of all of their enzymes. Another type of enzyme is a metabolic or systemic enzyme. These are also made by the pancreas and other glands, but they travel directly through the bloodstream and initiate chemical reactions inside the cells that orchestrate life’s processes in every organ, gland, tissue and cell. It is a key part of nutrition to eat raw foods and to take enzyme supplements when eating cooked or processed foods, in order to not rob the body of the metabolic enzymes it must have to keep the body running. When there aren’t enough digestive enzymes, the body forces its metabolic enzymes into use to digest food. This takes them away from their vital duties of repair, maintenance and infection fighting, all of which need constant attention. Enzymes can either be taken with food or on an empty stomach. When enzyme supplements are taken on an empty stomach, 45 minutes to one hour before meals, they stimulate the immune system to engulf and remove waste material such as bacteria, cysts, and tumors (per the article “Oral Enzymes – New Approach to Cancer Treatment.” Munich, Germany: Forum-Medicine, 1996). Studies have confirmed the successful use of proteolytic (protein digesting) systemic enzymes for treating a wide variety of conditions. They have helped healing and eased the pain of sports injuries, they are used to control inflammation and swelling, to bring about faster recovery after surgery, and to maintain good heart health by breaking down fats and cholesterol (The Lancet Journal – “Effects of enzymes in stable coronary artery disease”). Proteolytic systemic enzymes include bromelain, papain and pancreatin. Taken between meals, they can fortify the blood and be stored for later use when needed. Without enough enzymes, the digestive tract deposits a large quantity of toxic material from undigested food into the blood, which is carried throughout the body. It accumulates over time and contributes to many chronic health problems and conditions. The body has to use a great deal of its energy to digest enzyme deficient foods. By eating more uncooked and raw foods and using supplemental enzymes, energy can be diverted right back to the body.