Mike Milic is an expert in enzyme nutrition and his goal is to convey the message about crucial importance of enzymes in human existence. He is the founder and CEO of Suncore Health Products – importers of world's best enzymes, organic vitamins and organic super foods. To subscribe to free Newsletter go to www.soladey.co.zaView all articles by Mike Milic
Enzymes - the Key Link in Digestive Process
To grasp the function of enzymes in digestive process, first we have to understand digestive system.
Digestion starts even before we have consumed any food. Just a thought of food is enough for the brain to send a signal to the salivary glands to start producing saliva which contains digestive enzymes. We produce about one to one and a half litters of saliva per day.
Saliva is produced by sublingual, parotid and submaxillary glands and secreted trough the ducts into the mouth.
However saliva contains only amylase (ptyalin), enzyme which digests starches (carbohydrates). Digestion of proteins and the fats starts in the stomach.
Besides digestive role, saliva performs few additional very important functions:
• To moisten the food and provide lubrication for easier swallowing.
• To keep the mouth and the teeth clean.
• To keep mouth and the lips lubricated.
• And to stimulate taste buds.
Click on the image to see digestive system diagram (you need Macromedia Flash).
In order for saliva and enzymes to be effective, it is of paramount importance to chew the food properly. This is the first important step in digestive process.The longer you chew the food the greater activity of enzymes in your mouth.
The digestive process
From the mouth the food passes into the throat (pharynx), which is about twelve centimeters long. After we swallow the food a special flap (epiglottis) closes the windpipe to prevent choking.
From the throat food travels by way of peristalsis (muscular contraction), to the first part of the stomach.
Food – enzyme stomach
The following information is the most important information for understanding Food Enzyme Concept, Enzyme Potential and their relevance to digestive system. Yet this is unknown to most nutritionists and nutritional scientists. Even those who know about it are totally ignoring it. It is ignorance of the highest order.
When the food arrives to upper part of the stomach (Food – enzyme stomach), it stays there for about thirty to sixty minutes. What happens in this time span, it will greatly influence your health and longevity.
The upper part of the stomach secretes no enzymes. If we eat raw food, the enzymes from the food will be realised by way of mastication (chewing) and digestion will start immediately. During the stay in the upper stomach, major part of the food will be pre-digested. This has a tremendous benefit for our body. Now the body doesn't have to produce great amount of digestive enzymes and instead it will produce metabolic enzymes, crucial for every function of the body, including healing and fending off foreign invaders.
Unfortunately most of the food we consume is processed or cooked – totally devoid of any enzymes. Now, proteins and fats won't be pre– digested and the body will have to use precious energy, to produce digestive enzymes, which will seriously curtail production of metabolic enzymes. This is the beginning of the journey of enzyme potential depletion and of health erosion.
By the time we are thirty, our body’s ability to produce enzymes is decreased by 15% and each following decade by 10%. You can work it out for yourself, what enzyme potential you have left by the time you are sixty. These figures are enough to awaken even the dead men. But sadly, not enough to awaken living men.
Did you know that digestion takes precedence over any function in the body and consumes 80% of body's energy? This indicates how important it is, to consume small quantities of raw, enzyme and other nutrient rich food, as opposed to big quantities of dead food. Longevity is inversely proportional to the amount of calories we consume.
It is well known fact that humanity is doing the precise opposite thing. We are consuming mountains of food, which is lacking nutrition and especially enzymes. Average person consumes about 70 tons of food, during the life span. You can imagine what damage we are inflicting on all digestive and other organs, by consuming excessive amounts of food – particularly dead food.
Is there a solution?
Most definitely there is and it is very simple.
Most of our diet should consist of raw food and when we eat cooked food we have to take digestive enzymes supplements.
Although, it is advisable to take enzymes supplements even when we eat raw vegetables. Vegetables are not very easy to digest. Mostly because we are not chewing them properly.
Most potent enzymes supplements are derived from plant source. Enzymes derived from animal material are unstable and required in mega doses.
The lower stomach
Lining of lower stomach contains thousands of glands which produce enzymes, hormones and hydrochloric acid. Lack of any of these three components will result in serious digestive problem. Pre–digested food from upper stomach is mixed with digestive juices.Our stomach produces about one to two litres of digestive juices every day.
Secreted hormones trigger enzymatic activity which brakes food into increasingly smaller particles. The food stays in the stomach until thick liquid (chyme) is produced. This process can take up to one hour. At the end of the stomach there is a valve (pylorus) which keeps chyme in the stomach until it reaches right consistency to be realised into small intestine.
Small intestine is a coiled tube about 6,6 meters long and 2,5 centimetres in diameter. It consists of three sections:
The greater part of digestive activity takes place in small intestine, with the help of liver, pancreas and gallbladder. The absorption is accomplished trough the intestinal wall covered in finger–like protrusions called villi.
Finally digestion is completed in the large intestine which consists of three sections:
• Cecum connects small intestine to large intestine. At the end of cecum there is a pouch like extension called appendix. It is believed that appendix is just an evolutionary leftover which seems to have no digestive or any other function.
• Colon consists of ascending, transverse and descending segments. Colon’s primary role is to collect, store and excrete waste. Colon contains large number of various friendly bacteria which plays crucial role in our health. Friendly bacteria feeds on parasites and other harmful bacteria which could cause serious health problems if not kept in check. Friendly bacteria also produces vitamins and enzymes. Enzymes are used to digest food which wasn’t digested in the small intestine.
• Rectum is about 20 centimetres long and serves to store the faeces (stool). Stool is kept in place by transverse folds until bowel movement forces it trough the anus out.
The information on this site is provided for educational purposes only. It is not intended as a substitute for professional advice.