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Digestion & Nutrition – Frequently Asked Questions

How long will it take to start seeing results when I start taking enzymes?
Though everyone is different, for most individuals results can be noticed relatively fast compared to other alternative health therapies. Typically, using a particular product from a few days up to a few weeks (3-4 weeks) will allow one to make a decision whether benefits are being produced.

Are there any side effects when taking enzymes?
We are happy to say that positive effects rather than negative effects are experienced by most people. When starting enzymes, the body may experience what we like to call “adjustment effects” rather than true side effects. Many of the uncomfortable reactions such as an upset stomach, allergy-like symptoms or irritability are actually signs that the enzymes are working. The body is cleaning itself out and the healing process is starting. The body is processing more food and liquid and receiving more nutrition from food or supplements when taking digestive enzymes. The gut is healing, cleaning out inflammation and waste and there is die-off from yeast, bacteria and pathogens when taking therapeutic formulas that contain high amounts of protease. If adjustment effects are not well tolerated, simply lower the dosage and slowly build up the potency. Some people see no adjustment effects at all.

Are your plant enzymes which are produced by fungus safe to use?
Since their introduction, there has never been a documented case of illness from mycotoxins or Aspergillus fungus infections associated with fermented enzymes, which is a testament to the effectiveness of the screening process employed by the enzyme manufacturing industry. Before the Aspergillus fungal organism is used in fermentation, the specific strain is extensively screened to determine if the organism is capable of producing mycotoxins under the conditions of fermentation. Theramedix only uses plant enzymes derived from the fermentation of specific strains of “pharmaceutical grade” Aspergillus, which establishes their safe use. Once fermentation is complete, the enzymes are extracted by a complex process that isolates protein compounds from the surrounding material. No living Aspergillus cells remain in the isolated enzyme after the extraction process is complete except purified compounds, which do not contain any living Aspergillus cells and therefore cannot initiate infection or colonization.

Why are some of your products called “therapeutic” and others called “digestive?
Digestive enzymes are just as they imply. They are to be taken with food. We have broad-spectrum digestive formulas and also specialty digestive formulas for those with specific food intolerances. Therapeutic enzymes which have been shown to provide many healthful benefits, work systemically in the body so they should be taken when the stomach is empty. We recommend taking therapeutic enzymes at least 30 minutes before or 2 hours after a meal.

How do I know which enzymes to supplement with?
We like to take a simple approach and first start with digestion since it is the foundation of optimal health. By improving your digestion you increase nutrient absorption and lessen the burden on the body to manufacture enzymes. The body’s energy is then freed up for production of metabolic enzymes for systemic health needs. The second step would be to determine the number one health issue that you would like to overcome or reduce the negative effects of and choose the appropriate therapeutic formula. The Enzyme Deficiency Test is an effective tool for this purpose. Please feel free to give us a call if you need assistance with the test.

If I am on a raw food diet or juices, do I still need enzymes?
Raw foods provide only enough enzymes to digest that particular food and may seem like the ideal type of diet. However, for many it is generally not practical and in some cases not medically advisable. Due to the risk of bacterial contamination many foods such as meats, poultry, eggs and beans should not be eaten raw. Many people find the fiber content in many raw vegetable foods very difficult to digest.

If I am taking vitamin/mineral supplements or other nutritional supplements do I still need enzymes?
There are numerous types of supplements that can have health benefits. Vitamins and minerals are actually considered coenzymes. A coenzyme is dependent on energy and an enzyme to work. Also many products such as those containing Algae, barley grass or chlorophyll are wonderful foods that contain minerals, vitamins, and enzymes because they are a plant food. However, they do not have the digestive action of supplemental plant enzymes and, at best, their enzymes will only deliver the nutrients they contain.

If supplemental enzymes are taken will the body stop producing its own enzymes?
No, because supplemental enzymes support normal body organ function and perform very specific activities (amylase breaks down carbohydrates, lipase breaks down fats, protease breaks down protein). This may relieve stress on the body, reducing the load of work, thus reducing the load of output or energy utilized by these organs. Supplemental enzymes do not control organ function or organ production directly. If you discontinue supplementing the body will continue to make whatever enzymes are necessary for digestive and metabolic purposes.

Do children need to supplement with enzymes?
Unfortunately, children usually eat the same SAD (Standard American Diet), enzyme-deficient foods as their parents. Also, many very young children and even infants suffer from food intolerances. Children receive the same health benefits from enzymes that adults do.

Is there a way to preserve our body’s enzyme levels?
It is thought that we inherit a certain “enzyme potential” at birth, sort of an enzyme piggy bank. Preserving this potential is the key to optimal health and longevity. The demand we put on our bodies may deplete our supply at a much faster rate than nature intended. There are several ways to fortify your enzyme potential; eat raw foods as much as possible, lessen your intake of foods in general, and the simplest way is to take high quality digestive enzyme supplements.

Are supplemental enzymes destroyed by stomach acid?
We use plant based enzymes which can tolerate the acidic environment of the stomach. Each enzyme type has an optimal pH, meaning it will work at its highest capacity within a specific range. Many are not completely “denatured” in stomach acid. They become “inactive” when in an incompatible pH in the body and will become “active” when entering a compatible pH. Some will even remain active in stomach acid. On the other hand, animal based enzymes (glandular) many times do become completely denatured in stomach acid.

Can enzymes be taken when a person is on prescription medications?
Plant based enzymes are considered natural and break down components from natural sources. Pharmaceutical drugs are synthetic and therefore enzymes wouldn’t interfere with their activity. Proteolytic (protease) enzymes, such as Nattokinase which is in our NK do have an effect on blood viscosity (thickness). Please consult your physician if you are on blood-thinning medications. CDX, which contains Cellulase, should not be taken with any timed-release medications as they have a cellulose coating.

Can more than one enzyme product be taken at the same time?
Yes, but just make sure that you take digestive enzymes together with meals and therapeutic enzymes together on an empty stomach (30 minutes before or 2 hours after eating).

Can probiotics be taken with enzyme supplements?
Yes and probiotics actually help manufacture enzymes for the body. Proteolytic enzymes will only hydrolyze or break down the 3 Ds; anything that is Dead, Damaged or Does not belong. They will not interfere with colonization of probiotics.

Some companies use HCL (Betane hydrochloric acid) in their digestive formulas. Why do none of your products contain HCL?
A complete enzymatic digestive formula should not contain hydrochloric acid. HCL will counteract the activity of the enzymes amylase and lipase, which work in a more alkaline environment. For example, when HCL and lipase are combined in the same formula, lipase is undetectable when tested because it has been rendered ineffective by the HCL.
Theramedix Thera-Blends the four main types of enzymes in every formula – protease, amylase, lipase and cellulase. Thera-Blending allows these enzymes to work across the board in the pH range of a 2-12. Whether the person is acidic or alkaline, in every range of the human body with or with out HCL, Thera-Blended enzymes are active.

What is the difference between DGT and DGX?
DGT is less potent than DGX so it is recommended for those who may desire a gentle product or want to start by introducing enzymes gradually. It is also good for more sensitive individuals and the elderly or younger children who have difficulty swallowing a larger capsule. DGX is ideal for anyone suffering from other health issues and who want the highest potency available. Generally, if there are no digestive sensitivities present, people 35 or older would benefit as this is when our own enzyme production starts dropping more noticeably.

When a person has milk or dairy intolerance should they take GCF or LCS?
It depends on what part of the dairy component they have a problem breaking down. GCF contains DPP IV Protease Thera-blend which assists in casein (dairy protein) digestion. LCS contains Lactase Thera-blend which assists in lactose (dairy sugar) digestion.

Some products seem to have similar benefits, such as RPR and Serratio 120k. How do I determine which one is appropriate?
RPR is recommended to help speed the recovery of sore muscles and joints due to overexertion or damage. Inflammation related to injuries, sprains or surgeries, all of which are considered acute, is relieved. Serratio 120k is recommended for more chronic conditions or those related to autoimmune disorders. Conditions that cause pain, discomfort, swelling and stiffness would benefit. Both may be taken together in severe cases.

How does PRX compare to other proteolytic formulas available?
When comparing products it is important to determine potency, purity and reliability. Make sure the enzymes in the formula are all measured according to FCC standards and by units of activity not weight (such as mgs). It is important that plant enzymes be utilized to achieve the most activity over the broadest pH range. The addition of a mineral blend to provide necessary metabolic cofactors for better bioavailability is important. Check for other ingredients and avoid products that contain fillers and additives like silicon dioxide or magnesium stearate. Finally, make sure the product is tested to ensure that it meets label claim. PRX meets all of these requirements. PRX proves to be a highly effective formulation to support immune function and assist the body in detoxification. Many other products do not fall within these criteria.

Most of the products I have seen for Candida overgrowth contain herbs. How does CDX work?
CDX, which uses just two groups of enzymes, Cellulase Thera-Blend and Protease Thera-Blend, appears to be a very simple formulation. However, it is extremely effective and has none of the side-effects of the traditional herbal formulas. We could compare the Candida cell to a coconut which has a very hard, protective outer shell and a meaty interior. Cellulase has two functions; it hydrolyzes the hard outer shell of the fungal or yeast cell which is called chitin and it also breaks down undigested fiber in the colon which is food for yeast. The Protease breaks down the protein core of the organism along with the toxins that are released, thereby reducing the effects of “die-off”.

Should GCF be used by those who have Celiac’s Disease? 
No. GCF was designed for individuals who have gluten allergy or intolerance. However, we have found that some individuals who have celiac’s disease may benefit from the use of GCF along with other digestive enzymes. We consider it a “safety net” product to use when a person is unsure of the content of a certain food.

What is recommended for more severe digestive disorders like Ulcers, Crohn’s, GERD or Colitis?
SGI contains no protease, which can be irritating to inflamed, irritated tissue. It is formulated with a lower potency combination of plant enzymes along with herbals to soothe, protect and repair the gastrointestinal area.

I have heard how important pHB balance is overall health. How do I determine if I need pHB?
Our pHB is designed to raise alkalinity. There are numerous indications that pH is out of balance such as acid reflux, weight gain or difficulty losing weight, mineral deficiency disorders, acidosis and hormonal imbalances. An overly acidic condition in the body will eventually, if left uncontrolled, lead to disease. As a preventative it is simple to monitor your urine acidity by using pH test strips. Urinary pH should fluctuate between 6.0-6.4 in the morning and 6.4-7.0 in the evening.

Can enzymes be used as an anti-aging supplement?
Much research is currently being done in the field of anti-aging and enzyme therapy is one area of exploration with promising implications. Dr. Edward Howell, an important researcher in the field of enzyme nutrition stated, “The length of life is inversely proportional to the rate of exhaustion of the enzyme potential of an organism. The increased use of food enzymes promotes a decreased rate of exhaustion of the enzyme potential.” When the body fails to replace old cells with new ones at the rate it should along with the body’s loss of enzymes the aging process accelerates. Thus, immune cells eventually face the same fate as the body ages, further resulting in age related diseases and many health issues. Since our body’s supply of enzymes is not an endless reservoir, supplementation makes good sense.

Is it possible for enzymes to have an effect on diseases and other health issues?
In Germany and Japan enzymes have been used for several decades by orthodox medical researchers to augment established therapy. Systemic enzyme therapy as an adjunct to overall treatment for various diseases has finally gained a foothold in America. Enzymes have been shown to benefit some people with everything from allergies, migraine headaches and insomnia to cancer, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes and heart disease. Enzymes help in balancing body systems such as the digestive system, the circulatory system and the endocrine system. In turn, when the body is functioning properly and efficiently the immune system is better prepared to fight any disease and maintain the balance.

The team at Ann Arbor Holistic Health is here to help you.

Please call (734) 222-8210 at any time. We can set up a free evaluation and consultation when you’re ready.