What Are Enzymes?
Enzymes are not just about digestion (digestive enzymes), they are necessary for every biological process (metabolic enzymes) in the body; low enzyme function leads to impaired energy production and degenerative diseases over time. Eating healthy and following a rigorous exercise protocol may not necessarily be enough to ensure healthy enzyme function, as other factors such as chronic stress (leading to sympathetic dominance), lack of sleep, low production of stomach acid, not consuming enough raw foods and environmental factors, may impair your body’s ability to maintain normal enzyme production and function.
Enzymes are made up from long chains of amino acids (essentially, they are proteins (regulatory)) and manufactured in the pancreas. There are over 3,000 known enzymes (scientists say there are many more yet to be discovered), with each one having its own unique function, acting as a catalyst that “unlocks” a certain biomechanical reaction necessary to life. These vital little protein molecules allow your body to build raw materials, they help to circulate nutrients, assist in nutrient uptake, regulate hormone function, modulate the immune system, eliminate toxic waste, reduce inflammation (by breaking down protein-based foreign bodies in the blood – a common problem in modern-day, western lifestyles – inflammation is responsible for almost every degenerative disease and can be controlled by increasing enzyme function), they regulate triglyceride and cholesterol levels (by breaking down fats in your blood) and ultimately, slow down the whole aging process – some scientists believe that your life-expectancy depends on the status of your enzyme function. Interestingly, a series of studies show the body’s production of enzymes decreases by 13% every 10 years, meaning that by the time you’re 70, you may only be producing around 1/3 of the enzymes your body needs.
One of the best-known enzyme specialists, Dr Edward Howell theorised that if you don’t take in enough enzymes from the foods you consume, a great demand is placed upon the digestive system to compensate and provide the “shortfall” in enzymes necessary to complete biological processes. The deficiency in digestive enzymes this causes, in turn further reduces the availability of your metabolic enzymes and sets you up for a whole host of potential problems in the long-term. Dr Howell believed a metabolic enzyme deficit leads to many of the chronic diseases we face today.
If you increase your intake of raw foods (foods cooked over 46 degrees Celsius, render most enzymes inactive) and/or supplement with a good quality digestive enzyme, then you take away the burden on the digestive system to make up any shortfall and potentially allow for a surplus of enzymes which can then be used to fuel other physiological processes.
General symptoms of low enzyme production include gas and bloating after meals, heartburn, acid reflux, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), constipation and undigested foods in your stool.
More specifically, deficiencies in certain types of enzymes may lead to the following:
Protease Deficiency (creates alkaline excess in the blood) - osteoarthritis, osteoporosis, sciatica, degenerative disk problems, hypoglycaemia, oedema, colitis, mood swings, irritability and anxiety.
Amylase Deficiency - psoriasis, eczema, hives, atopic dermatitis, all types of allergy problems, all types of herpes, Lung problems (including asthma and emphysema), abscess.
Lipase Deficiency – hypochlorhydria, chronic fatigue syndrome, muscle spasms, Meniere’s disease (vertigo/labrynthitis).
Cellulase Deficiency (malabsorption syndrome) – lower abdominal pain, bloating, problems associated with the pancreas and small intestine, Bell's Palsy, Tic and facial neuralgia.
Sucrase Deficiency - seizures, cranial problems, headaches, mood swings, depression, panic attacks.
Lactase Deficiency – diarrhea, abdominal cramps, bloating, gas, allergy symptoms.
Safety & Bioavailability
As is standard with any supplement you buy, cheap means cheap and this will be reflected in the quality. At Monkey, we only sell comprehensive, multi-source enzyme complexes, as these are by far the best. An enzyme blend is much more effective than a single source product, as each enzyme (being of different origin and different substrate) works synergistically with the next to increase absorption. Monkey Digestive MX comes in capsule form, unlike many other cheaper products, which are often found in tablet form. Enzymes in capsule form are much more bioavailable, with tablet forms usually containing binding agents and protective coating that inhibit absorption of the enzymes. Processing techniques used to manufacture tablets employ extreme pressure to compress the ingredients, generating friction and high temperatures, which renders them useless to the body. Manufacturing capsules is a much more delicate process that allows the enzymes to stay intact and provides a more bioavailable product.
On the label of our enzyme complex, you will notice a breakdown of enzymes followed by units including HUT, PU, ALU etc. These units measure the potency and activity of each enzyme, rather than the weight (mg). Whereas the weight of other nutrients in supplements is important to know, the weight (mg) of an enzyme supplement carries no significance and usually, enzyme products not declaring potency/activity, but defining the enzymes by weight, are doing so because they are weak products. Digestive MX uses enzymes from sources that won’t interfere with the natural functioning of the body, meaning they are extremely safe to take and cause no side effects. Many competitor products contain sources which only work in a narrow range of pH and can easily be destroyed by stomach acid.
Why Monkey’s Digestive Enzyme Is Better?
Monkey Digestive MX is one of the most complete enzyme formulations currently available on the market. Our non-GMO complex includes enzymes from various sources (fungal, bacterial, yeast, plant) and is designed to allow more effective digestion of the macronutrients, proteins, carbohydrates, fats and fibers. A wider variety of enzyme sources and types, means they are active over a wide pH range (3.0 to 8.0), which covers the conditions of the entire digestive process. Digestive MX includes enzymes to assist with food sensitivities to dairy and legumes, which can cause digestive issues such as gas, bloating and diarrhea.
The multiple proteolytic enzymes within Digestive MX are capable of assisting in the hydrolysis of many different proteins from both plant and animal sources, and according to Dr. Davidson (Director of product development at our enzyme supplier) “Since all of the declarable allergens are proteins, this could be an important aspect to help minimize potential issues from the proteins contained in food”. Protein provides the amino acids used by the body as building blocks to make new proteins necessary for every metabolic process in the body, so if you want your muscles to grow, then protease enzymes are an important consideration! These enzymes function to hydrolyze the peptide bonds in the dietary protein, which results in a greater release of their amino acids for absorption. Including multiple protease enzymes (acid, neutral and alkaline) in a digestive enzyme supplement, means they perform their digestive function over a wider range of pH throughout the digestive tract.
There are also a number of enzymes included, which will assist with the breakdown of fibrous plant material such as cellulose, hemicellulose, beta-glucans, pectins, xylans and phytic acid (which binds minerals), thus making the nutrients more available for absorption. In addition, each non-GMO capsule breaks down gluten with the help of aspergillopepsin, contains anti-inflammatory properties, assisting pain relief (bromelain - a proteolytic enzyme with broad substrate specificity capable of hydrolyzing most soluble proteins into peptides and amino acids), reduces gas, bloating, abdominal pain and helps to strengthen the immune system. Monkey Digestive MX ensures nothing escapes your digestive system, enabling you to get the most out of your nutrients, ensuring enhanced vitality.
A frequently asked question when considering digestive enzymes - does enteric coating work where enzymes are concerned? As already stated, when taken as a blend, the enzymes within Digestive MX are active over a wide pH range (3.0 to 8.0) which covers the conditions of the entire digestive process. The enzymes begin digestion of the food on contact and enteric coating would mean they wouldn't be active until they reached the neutral pH of the small intestine, which is why we haven't applied this gastro-resistant coating.
How To Take It
Take digestive enzymes with foods, as foods contain necessary enzyme co-factors, which assist enzymes in catalysing biochemical reactions.