The word “systemic” means body wide. Systemic enzymes
are those that operate not just for digestion but throughout your
body in every system and organ. But let’s take first things
first, what is an enzyme?
An enzyme is a biocatalyst - something that makes
something else work or work faster. Chemical reactions are generally
slow things, enzymes speed them up. Without enzymes the chemical
reactions that make up our life would be too slow for life as we
know it. (As slow as sap running down a tree in winter). For life
to manifest as we know it, enzymes are essential to speed up the
reactions. We have roughly some 3000 enzymes in our bodies and
that results in over25,000 to 30,000 enzymic reactions. Most of
these enzymes are derived or created from what we think of as the
protein digesting enzymes. But while digestion is an important
part of what enzymes do, it's almost the absolute last function.
First and foremost these body wide proteolytic (protein eating)
enzymes have the following actions:
They are the first line of defense against inflammation. (1,2,3).
Inflammation is a reaction by the immune system to an irritation.
Let’s say you have an injured right knee. The immune system
sensing the irritation the knee is undergoing creates a protein
chain called a Circulating Immune Complex (CIC for short), tagged
specifically for that right knee. (The Nobel Prize in biology was
won in 1999 by a scientist who discovered this tagging mechanism).
This CIC floats down to the right knee and causes pain, redness
and swelling are the classic earmarks for inflammation. This at
first is a beneficial reaction; it warns us that a part of ourselves
is hurt and needs attention. But, inflammation is self-perpetuating,
itself creating an irritation that the body makes CIC’s to
Aspirin, Ibuprofen, Celebrex, Vioxx and the rest of the Non Steroidal
Anti Inflammatory Drugs all work by keeping the body from making
all CIC's. This ignores the fact that some CIC’s are vital
to life, like those that maintain the lining of the intestine and
those that keep the kidneys functioning! Not to mention the fact
that the NSAID’s, along with acetaminophen, are highly toxic
to the liver. Every year 20,000 Americans die from these over the
counter drugs and another 100,000 will wind up in the hospital
with liver damage, kidney damage or bleeding intestines from the
side effects of these drugs. (4,5).
Systemic enzymes on the other hand are perfectly
safe and free of dangerous side effects. They have no LD-50, or
toxic dose. (6). Best of all systemic enzymes can tell the difference
between the good CIC’s and the bad ones because hydrolytic
enzymes are lock and key mechanisms and their "teeth" will
only fit over the bad CIC’s. So instead of preventing the
creation of all CIC’s, systemic enzymes just “eat” the
bad ones and in so doing lower inflammation everywhere. With that,
pain is lowered also.
Enzymes eat scar tissue and fibrosis. (7). Fibrosis
is scar tissue and most doctors learn in anatomy that it is fibrosis
that eventually kills us all. Let me explain. As we age, which
starts at 27, we have a diminishing of the bodies’ output
of enzymes. This is because we make a finite amount of enzymes
in a lifetime and we use up a good deal of them by the time we
are 27. At that point the body knows that if it keeps up that rate
of consumption we’ll
run out of enzymes and be dead by the time we reach our 40’s.
(Cystic Fibrosis patients who have virtually no enzyme production
to speak of, even as children usually don’t make it past
before they die of the restriction and shrinkage in the lungs from
the formation of fibrosis or scar tissue).
So our body in it's wisdom begins to dole out
our enzymes with an eyedropper instead of with a tablespoon; as
a result the repair mechanism of the body goes out of balance and
has nothing to reduce the over abundance of fibrin it deposits
in nearly every thing from simple cuts, to the inside of our internal
organs and blood vessels. This is when most women begin to develop
things like fibrocystic breast disease, uterine fibroids, endometriosis,
and we all grow arterial sclerotic (meaning scar tissue) plaque,
and have fibrin beginning to spider web its way inside of our internal
organs reducing their size and function over time. This is why
as we age our wounds heal with thicker, less pliable, weaker and
very visible scars.
If we replace the lost enzymes we can control and reduce the amount
of scar tissue and fibrosis our bodies have. As physicians in the
US are now discovering, even old scar tissue can be “eaten
away” from surgical wounds, pulmonary fibrosis, kidney fibrosis
and even keloids years after their formation. Medical doctors in
Europe and Asia have known this and have used orally administered
enzymes for these situations for over 40 years!
The blood is not only the river of life, it is
also the river through which the cells and organs dispose of their
garbage and dead material. Enzymes improve circulation by eating
the excess fibrin that causes blood to sometimes get as thick as
catsup or yogurt, creating the perfect environment for the formation
of clots. All of this material is supposed to be cleared by the
liver on its "first pass", or the first
time it goes through but given the sluggish and near toxic or toxic
states of everyone's liver these days that seldom happens. So the
sludge remains in the blood waiting for the liver to have enough
free working space and enough enzymes to clean the trash out of
the blood. This can take days, and in some cases, weeks! (8).
When systemic enzymes are taken, they stand ready in the blood
and 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 causes of
stroke and heart attack causing blood clots. (8).
- Breaking dead material down small enough that it can immediately
pass into the bowel. (8).
- Cleanse the FC receptors on the white blood cells improving their
function and availability to fight off infection. (9).
And here we come to the only warning we have to
give concerning the use of systemic enzymes - don't
use the product if you are a hemophiliac or are on prescription
blood thinners like Coumadin, Heparin and Plavix, without direct
medical supervision. The enzymes cause the drugs to work better
so there is the possibility of thinning the blood too much.
Immune System Modulating.
Enzymes are adaptogenic seeking to restore a steady state to the
body. (9). When the immune system is running low we become susceptible
to infectious disease, when it’s cranked up too high then
the system creates antibodies that attack it's own tissues as are
seen in the auto immune diseases of MS, Rheumatoid Arthritis, and
Lupus. Here the enzymes will tone down immune function and eat
away at the antibodies the immune system is making to attack its
bodies own tissue.
Viruses harm us by replicating
in our bodies. To do this a virus must bond itself to the DNA in
our cells through the medium of its exterior protein cell wall.
Anything that disrupts that cell wall inhibits the ability of viral
replication by rendering individual viruses inert. (10,11). Systemic
enzymes can tell the difference between the proteins that are supposed
to be in your body and those that are foreign or not supposed to
be there, (again the enzyme lock and key mechanism).
One note: many in the States have learned in school
that enzymes are too big a protein to be absorbed through the gut.
The pioneering research done in the US by Dr. Max Wolf (MD & PhD
x7) at Columbia University in the 40’s through the 70’s
has not made it to the awareness of most doctors. There are currently
over 200 peer reviewed research articles dealing with the absorption,
utilization and therapeutic action of orally administered systemic
enzymes. A search through Pub Med using the key words: serrapeptase,
papain, bromelain, trypsin, chymo trypsin, nattokinase and systemic
enzyme will yield some of the extensive work. Systemic enzymes
now have a 4 decade plus history of widespread medical use in central
Europe and Japan.
1) Carroll A., R.: Clinical examination of an enzymatic anti-inflammatory
agent in emergency surgery. Arztl. Praxis 24 (1972), 2307.
2) Mazzone A, et al.: Evaluation of Serratia peptidase in acute
inflammation of otorhinolaryngology pathology: a multicentre,
randomized trial versus placebo. J Int Med Res. 1990; 18(5):379-88.
3) Kee W., H. Tan S, L., Lee V. Salmon Y. M.: The treatment of
breast engorgement with Serrapeptase: a randomized double blind
controlled trial. Singapore Med J. 1989:30(l):48-54.
4) Celebrex article Wall Street Journal 19 April 1999.
5) No author listed: Regular Use of Pain Relievers Can Have Dangerous
Results. Kaleidoscope Interactive News, American Medical Association
media briefing. July 24, 1997.
6) Enzymes ñ A Drug of the Future, Prof. Heinrich Wrba
MD and Otto Pecher MD. Published 1993 Eco Med.
7) Kakinumu A. et al.: Regression of fibrinolysis in scalded rats
by administration of serrapeptase. Biochem. Pharmacol. 31:2861-2866,1982.
8) Ernst E., Matrai A.: Oral Therapy with proteolytic enzymes
for modifying blood rheology. Klin Wschr. 65 (1987), 994.
9) Kunze R., Ransberger K., et at: Humoral immunomodulatory capasity
of proteases in immune complex decomposition and formation. First
International symposium on combination therapies, Washington, DC,
10) Jager H.: Hydrolytic Enzymes in the therapy of HIV disease.
Zeitschr. Allgemeinmed., 19 (1990), 160.
11) Bartsch W.: The treatment of herpes zoster using proteolytic
enzymes. Der Informierte Arzt. 2 (1974), 424-429.