Enzymes are special types of proteins which enable biochemical reactions to take place in our body. They are "biocatalysts", which means they either initiate a chemical reaction or cause the reaction to speed up. Since chemical reactions are generally slow, anything that speed them up is very important to the body's survival. For life to occur as we know it enzymes are essential. Enzymes are found in every cell of every living plant and animal, including humans. Our pets have roughly 3000 enzymes in their bodies and these affect over 7000 chemical reactions. Enzymes can not function without the help of specific coenzymes known as vitamins and minerals . The enzyme and coenzymes join together to form a very specific shaped molecule which has an active site that binds other molecules together and transform them into many different chemical substances.
There are two major categories of enzymes: 1) Digestive enzymes and 2) Systemic enzymes. Digestive enzymes are enzymes produced by the digestive tract which help the body break down their food into small molecules so they can be easily absorbed into the blood. Digestive enzymes supplements are made up of animal or plant derived enzyme which can be added to the diet as a pill or powder in order to replace enzymes that are deficient in the diet or that were not manufactured in adequate quantities by the GI tract. Digestive enzymes supplements reduce the stress placed on the pancreas to produce enzymes for digestion and allows it to produce more systemic enzymes. Digestive enzymes come as "proteases" for digesting protein, "amylases" for digesting starch, "lipases" for digesting fat, and "cellulase" for digesting cellulose.
Digestive enzymes are particularly important to dogs and cats that are fed a highly processed, cooked, grain based diet. The cooking process destroys the natural enzymes in the food. When these enzymes are not inactivated by cooking they help the food auto digest and by doing so reduce the demand for enzymes placed on the pancreas. Dogs and especially cats are carnivores and have digestive systems that evolved to digest primarily meat but are poorly adapted at breaking down vegetable matter, especially, grain protein. Because most cat and dog foods are made up primarily of grain, , dogs and cats need the help of digestive enzyme supplements to break down the grain protein molecules to a size small enough that they will not act as an inflammatory allergens or antigens. The presence of inflammatory grain protein allergens in the gut will eventually produce a leaky intestinal lining. This leaky barrier will no longer be able to prevent yeast, bad bacteria, bacterial toxins, and large grain protein molecules from getting into the blood stream where can they travel throughout the body and cause a variety of chronic inflammatory diseases including arthritis, allergic dermatitis, and glomerulosclerosis (kidney disease).
Plant derived digestion enzymes are much preferred over animal derived digestive enzymes because plant enzymes are much less sensitive to and less easily damaged by the acidic pH of the stomach. Animal enzymes are readily inactivated by stomach acids. Healthzymes is a very high potency, customized blend of plant derived digestive enzymes which when sprinkled over food will help the body predigest digest its meal while still in the stomach, consequently, it will greatly reduce the work load of the pancreas. When fed regularly, Healthzymes will reduce the pet's food requirements by as much as 20% due to more complete digestion. The pet's stools will become smaller, firmer, and less odiferous. The amount of intestinal gas produced will be significantly decreased. Healthzymes will enhance your pet's coat, helping to make it fuller and shinier. Healthzymes will also help stop dogs from eating their own stools (coprophagy). If digestive enzymes are given to the pet apart from food they are not used up in the process of digestion and are absorbed into the blood stream where they can function as anti inflammatory enzymes
Systemic enzymes are enzymes that differ from digestive enzymes in that they do their work in many places throughout the body other than the digestive system. To prevent these enzymes from being used up in the digestive process they must be given approximately an hour apart from meals. When we give our pets systemic enzymes we want these enzyme to be absorbed into the blood stream and carried throughout the body to where ever they are needed. Systemic enzymes work primarily through their "proteolytic" and "fibrinolytic" actions. These terms refer to their ability to break down protein and fibrin which may have accumulated in certain areas of the body and as a result are causing health issues.
Systemic enzymes have many functions. They are anti inflammatory, anti fibrotic, anti allergic, blood cleansing, immune modulating , virus fighting, and cancer preventing. Systemic enzymes are our pet's first line of defense against inflammation and pain. They are much safer than NSAIDs (Non Steroidal Anti inflammatory Drugs) like Ibuprofen, Rimidyl, Etogesic ,Celebrex, Viox, and acetaminophen which are anti inflammatory but which can be toxic to the animal's liver, kidneys and the GI tract. Systemic enzyme supplements, on the other hand, are perfectly safe and free of dangerous side effects. They are very effective in helping reduce the pain and discomfort of physical injury, sport trauma, arthritis, allergies, blood clots and auto immune disease. The anti inflammatory effect of systemic enzymes helps reduce healing time from injuries or surgery by as much as 50%. They are particularly helpful in preventing post traumatic swelling. bruising, and stiffness.
Systemic enzymes are also anti-fibrotic which means they prevent and remove fibrin or scar tissue from the body. Whereever scar tissue develops in the body it will eventually cause that tissue to shrink and cause the organ to work less effectively. As your pet ages his or her body's ability to produce enzymes decreases and less enzymes are available to prevent fibrin scar tissue formation. It is at this point that enzyme supplementation becomes even more important. Providing your pet with extra systemic enzymes will keep his or her organs from shrinking in size and will enable them to work at a much more youthful rate. Kidney scaring and shrinking, known as glomerulosclerosis, is just one example of a progressive disease that can be very effectively slowed down with systemic enzyme supplementation. Consequently, systemic enzyme supplementation will slow down the aging process and help keep your pet's internal organs large and highly functional.
Systemic enzymes also serve as blood cleansers and help to reduce the detoxification work load placed on the liver. Blood is not only the river of life; it is also the river through which the cells and organs dispose of their waste. All this waste is suppose to be cleansed by the liver as the blood passes through, but due to the toxic environment we and our pets live in, the liver is usually not able to adequately clean the blood the first time it passes through. Consequently, the blood gets thicker with waste and circulates more slowly. When systemic enzymes supplements are taken, they stand ready in the blood to take the strain off of the liver by:
- Cleaning excess fibrin from the blood and reducing the stickiness of blood cells. These two actions minimize the leading cause of stroke, heart attacks and blood clots
- Breaking down dead material into small enough particles that can immediately pass into the bowel
- Cleansing the receptor sites on the white blood cells thereby improving their function and availability to fight infection
Systemic enzymes modulate the immune system. This means they help the immune system adapt to what ever is needed and therefore assist in preventing infection, allergies, and auto immune disease. When our pet's immune system is running low he/she becomes more susceptible to infectious disease. When it is cranked up too high then the system creates antibodies that attack it's own tissues as seen in the auto immune diseases like, glomerulonephrosis, arthritis, Lupus, and degenerative myelopathy. In these cases, systemic enzyme supplementation tones down the immune system and eats away at the antibodies the immune system is making to attack its body's own tissue. In this way it can also help the body deal with such allergic conditions as allergic dermatitis, allergic otitis, and inflammatory bowel disease.
Finally, systemic enzymes help the body fight viruses. Viruses harm us by replicating in our body's cells. To do this the virus particles must bond themselves to the cells DNA with specialized protein substances. Systemic enzymes are able to recognize this foreign protein and eat away at it, thus preventing viruses from attaching to the cell.