What is an enzyme?

Definition

A substance produced by a living organism that acts as a catalyst to bring about a specific biochemical reaction.
Enzymes are needed for practically every process in the body, from digestion, to repair and maintenance work to the body, converting calcium into bone, maintaining the immune system; even thinking requires enzyme activity!

There are three main groups of enzymes acting in our bodies; metabolic enzymes, (responsible for maintaining the immune system, and a wide range of bodily processes), digestive enzymes for digestion, and exogenous enzymes, the enzymes we eat through raw foods that pre-digests food for us. The former two groups of enzymes are produced by the body. We come equipped with a finite number of enzymes at birth; like a bank account full of money we have to manage these reserves carefully and responsibly if not the money runs out. How WE use our enzymes is fundamentally important to leading a healthy disease free life just in the same way how we withdraw money from our bank account has a bearing on how much we will have to spend later on. Dr Edward Howell, in his book, Enzyme Nutrition (Howell, 1985), who was the pioneer in enzyme research first came up with "the law of adaptive secretion" which states that the body will withdraw enzymes only as and when is needed. Enzymes die at 40 degrees Celsius and with a large percentage of the global population eating cooked food the pancreas would be under a lot of strain to produce the necessary digestive enzymes to keep the digestive processes going. This leaves little opportunity for the metabolic enzymes to carry out the necessary repair and maintenance work around the body and eventually, together with the unhealthy life styles we live we open ourselves up to all sorts of potential trouble later on in life. All too often we are totally unaware of what is going on the inside of our bodies and too preoccupied with what is going on the outside!

Just like a bank account we need to make deposits of enzymes in our bodies.

Raw food "cooked"* under 40 degrees has all of its exogenous enzymes still intact, and so will start to digest the food for you thus relieving the pancreas so it can produce metabolic enzymes to do other jobs around the body. If you feel you cannot do without cooked food then why not start consuming wheatgrass* juice as it is a "complete food"* packed with vitamins, enzymes, over 90 minerals and a full set of amino acids.

Without enzymes our bodies would simply be a pile of inorganic carbon, water, silicon and all the rest of the elements that go to make us up; Could we therefore assume that Enzymes are our life force?