Enzymes and Longevity...
In this interview,
Dr. Edward Howell tells what enzymes are, what they do in our bodies,
why he believes a state of enzyme deficiency stress exists in most
people, and finally, what he believes you can do about it.
Enzymes and Longevity...
"Enzymes may be the key factor in
Dr. Edward Howell was born in Chicago in 1898. He is the holder of a limited medical license from the state of Illinois.
The holder of a limited practice is required to pass the same medical boards as a medical doctor. Only surgery, obstetrics and materia medica are excluded.
After obtaining his license, Dr. Howell joined the professional staff of the Lindlahr Sanitarium, where he remained for six years. In 1930, he established a private facility for the treatment of chronic ailments by nutritional and physical methods.
Until he retired in 1970, Dr. Howell was busy in private practice three days each week. The balance of this time he devoted to various kinds of research.
Dr. Howell is the first researcher to recognize the importance of the enzymes in food to human nutrition. In 1946, he wrote the book, "The Status of Food Enzymes in Digestion and Metabolism". Dr. Howell's latest book is entitled "Enzyme Diet".
This book contains the reference and source materials for the enzyme theories which Dr. Howell has collectively called The Food Enzyme Concept. The manuscript for "Enzyme Diet" reviews the scientific literature through 1973. It is approximately 160,000 words long and contains 47 tables and 695 references to the world's scientific literature.
In this interview, Dr. Howell tells what enzymes are, what they do in our bodies, why he believes a state of enzyme deficiency stress exists in most people, and finally, what he believes you can do about it.
"Neither vitamins, minerals nor hormones can do any work -- without enzymes."
Biser: What are enzymes?
Howell: Enzymes are substances which make life possible. They are needed for every chemical reaction that occurs in our body. Without enzymes, no activity at all would take place. Neither vitamins, minerals nor hormones can do any work -- without enzymes.
Think of it this way: Enzymes are the "labor force" that build your body just like construction workers are the labor force that builds your house. You may have all the necessary building materials and lumber, but to build a house you need workers, which represent the vital life element.
Howell: I believe it's one of the paramount causes of premature aging and early death. I also believe it's the underlying cause of almost all degenerative diseases.
To begin with, if the body is overburdened to supply many enzymes to the saliva, gastric juice, pancreatic juice and intestinal juice, then it must curtail the production of enzymes for other purposes.
If this occurs, then how can the body also make enough enzymes to run the brain, heart, kidneys, lungs, muscles and other organs and tissues?
This "stealing" of enzymes from other parts of the body to service the digestive tract sets up a competition for enzymes among the various organ systems and tissues of the body.
The resulting metabolic dislocations may be the direct cause of cancer, coronary heart disease, diabetes, and many other chronic incurable diseases.
This state of enzyme deficiency stress exists in the majority of persons on the civilized, enzyme-free diet.
Biser: Did human disease begin when man started cooking his food?
Howell: This is what the evidence indicates.
For example, the Neanderthal Man of 50,000 years ago used fire extensively in his cooking. He lived in caves and ate mostly roasted meat from the continuous fires which warmed the caves. These statements are documented by scientific evidence in my published and unpublished works.
From fossil evidence, we know that the Neanderthal Man suffered from fully-developed crippling arthritis.
It's possible that the Neanderthal Man also had diabetes or cancer or kidney disease and so forth. However, we'll never know since all soft tissue have disappeared without a trace.
Incidentally, another inhabitant of the caves was the cave bear. This creature protected the Neanderthal Man from the cave tiger, who also wanted the protection of the cave to avoid the frigid weather. The cave bear, according to paleontologists, was a partially domesticated animal and most likely lived on the same roasted meat that the cave man ate. Like the cave man, the cave bear also suffered from chronic, deforming arthritis.
Biser: Isn't it possible that cold weather, not cooked food, was responsible for the arthritis of the Neantherthal Man?
Howell: No, I don't think weather had much to do with it.
For example, consider the primitive Eskimo. He lived in an environment just as frigid as that of the Neanderthal Man. And yet, the Eskimo never suffered from arthritis and other chronic diseases.
Incidentally, another effect associated with food enzyme deficiency is that the size of the brain decreases. In addition, the thyroid overenlarges, even in the presence of adequate iodine. This has been shown in a number of species. Of course, you can't prove it on human beings. The evidence, however, is very suggestive.
Biser: What else is there?
Howell: Next, consider that the human pancreas is burdened with enzyme production far in excess of any creature living on a raw food diet. In fact, in proportion to body weight, the human pancreas is more than twice as heavy as that of a cow.
Human beings eat mainly cooked foods, while cows eat raw grass.
Then there is evidence that rats on a cooked diet have a pancreas about twice as heavy as rats on a raw diet.
Moreover, evidence shows that the human pancreas is one of the heaviest in the animal kingdom, when you adjust for total body weight.
This over enlargement of the human pancreas is just as dangerous - probably even more so -- than an over enlargement of the heart, the thyroid and so on. The overproduction of enzymes in humans is a pathological adaptation to a diet of enzyme-free foods.
The pancreas is not the only part of the body that over secretes enzymes when the diet is cooked. In addition, there are the human salivary glands, which produce enzymes to a degree never found in wild animals on their natural foods.
In fact, some animals on a raw diet do not have any enzymes at all in their saliva. The cow and sheep produce torrents of saliva with no enzymes in it.
Dogs, for instance, also secrete no enzymes in their saliva when they're eating a raw diet. However, if you start giving them cooked starchy food, their salivary glands will start producing starch-digesting enzymes within ten days.
In addition, there is more evidence, that the enzymes in saliva represent a pathological and not a normal situation. To begin with, salivary enzymes cannot digest raw starch. This is something I demonstrated in the laboratory.
The enzymes in saliva will only attack a piece of starch once it is cooked. Therefore, we see that the body will channel some of its limited enzyme producing capacity into saliva only if it has to.
Incidentally, there is some provocative animal research which I have done in my own laboratory some years ago. If you'd like, I can explain it now for your readers.
Biser: Yes, please do.
Howell: I fed one group of rats a cooked diet and one group a raw diet and let them live out their lifespan to see which group would live longer.
Howell: This is not true. Although most nutritionists claim that enzymes in food are destroyed in the stomach, they overlook two important facts.
First of all, when you eat food, acid secretion is minimal for at least thirty minutes. As the food goes down the esophagus, it drops into the top portion of the stomach. This is called the cardiac section, since it's closer to the heart.
The rest of the stomach remains flat and closed while the cardiac section opens up to accommodate the food. During the time the food sits in the upper section, little acid or enzymes are secreted by the body. The enzymes in the food itself go about digesting the food. The more of this self-digestion that occurs, the less work the body has to do later.
When this 30 to 45 minute period is over, the bottom section of the stomach opens up and the body starts secreting acid and enzymes. Even at this point, the food enzymes are not inactivated until the acid level becomes prohibitive. You see, food enzymes can tolerate chemical environments many times more acid than neutral.
Biser: Do animals also have a special section of the stomach where food digests itself?
Howell: Absolutely. In fact, some creatures have what I call a food enzyme stomach.
These are the cheek pouches of monkeys and rodents, the crop of many species of birds, and the first stomachs of whales, dolphins and porpoises.
When birds, for instance, swallow seeds or grains, these grains lie in the crop for 8 to 12 hours. As they sit, they absorb moisture, swell up and begin to germinate. During germination, enzymes are formed which do the work of digesting the seeds and grains.
Whales, dolphins and porpoises have a first stomach which secretes no enzymes. Whales, for example, swallow large quantities of food without chewing it. The food simply decomposes and digests itself. In the flesh of the fish and other marine life the whale eats an enzyme called cathepsin, which breaks down the fish once it has died. In fact, this enzyme is present in almost all creatures.
After the whale's catch has liquified itself, it passes through a small hole into the whale's second stomach.
It mystifies scientists how the whale's catch can get through that small hole into the stomach. They have no idea that self-digestion was at work.
"Vegetables and fruits are not concentrated sources of enzymes."
Biser: Most--if not all of us, eat lots of cooked foods every day. Can we make up for this enzyme loss by eating raw foods in addition?
Howell: No. Cooked foods cause such a large drain on our enzyme supply that you can't make it up by eating raw foods. In addition, vegetables and fruits are not concentrated sources of enzymes. When produce ripens, enzymes are present to do the ripening. However, once the ripening is finished, some of the enzymes leave and go back into the stem and seeds.
For example, when companies want to get enzymes from papaya, a tropical fruit, they use the juice of unripe papaya. The ripe papaya itself has no great concentration of enzymes.
Biser: Are there any foods particularly high in enzymes?
Howell: Bananas, avocados and mangos are good sources. In general, foods having a higher calorie content are richer in enzymes.
Biser: Do you recommend all raw foods as sources of enzymes?
Howell: No. There are some foods, seeds and nuts, that contain what are called enzyme inhibitors.
These enzyme inhibitors are present for the protection of the seed. Nature doesn't want the seed to germinate prematurely and lose its life. It wants to make sure that the seed is present in soil with sufficient moisture to grow and continue the species.
Therefore, when you eat raw seeds or raw nuts, you are swallowing enzyme inhibitors which will neutralize some of the enzymes your body produces. In fact, eating foods with enzyme inhibitors causes a swelling of the pancreas.
All nuts and seeds contain these inhibitors. Raw peanuts, for example, contain an especially large amount. Raw wheat germ is also one of the worst offenders. In addition, all peas, beans and lentils contain some.
Potatoes, which are seeds, have enzyme inhibitors.
In eggs, which are also seeds, the inhibitor is contained mainly in the egg white.
As a general rule, enzyme inhibitors are confined to the seed portions of food. For instance, the eyes of potatoes. The inhibitors are not present in the fleshy portions of fruits or in the leaves and stems of vegetables.
There are two ways to destroy enzyme inhibitors. The first is cooking, however, this also destroys the enzymes. The second way, which is preferable, is sprouting. This destroys the enzyme inhibitors and also increases the enzyme content from a factor of three to six.
Some foods, like soybeans, must be especially well heated to destroy the inhibitors.
There is one other way to neutralize enzyme inhibitors, but we'll get to it in just a minute.
Biser: You said that it's not possible to overcome the enzyme drain of cooked foods just by eating other raw foods. What then can people do?
Howell: The only solution is to take capsules of concentrated plant enzymes.
In the absence of contraindications, you should take from one to three capsules per meal. Of course, if you are eating all raw foods, then no enzyme will be necessary with that meal.
Incidentally, taking extra enzymes is the third way to neutralize the enzyme inhibitors in unsprouted seeds and nuts.
Concentrates of plant enzymes or fungus enzymes are better for predigestion of food than tablets of pancreatic enzymes. This is because plant enzymes can work in the acidity of the stomach, whereas pancreatic enzymes only work best in the alkalinity of the small intestine.
If the enzyme tablet has an enteric coating, then it's not suitable, since it will only release after it has passed the stomach. By this time, it's too late for food predigestion. The body itself has already used its own enzymes to digest the food.
"We see that diets deficient in enzymes cause a 30% reduction in animal life span."
Biser: Would people benefit from taking enzymes, even if they have no problem with digestion or if they eat mainly raw foods?
Howell: They probably would benefit. Our bodies use up enzymes in so many ways that it pays to maintain your enzyme bank, regardless of what you eat. For example, enzymes are used up faster during certain illnesses, during extremely hot or cold weather, and during strenuous exercise.
Also, keep in mind that any enzymes that are taken in are not wasted since they add to the enzyme pool of your body. Furthermore, as we pass our prime, the amount of enzymes in our bodies and excreted in our sweat and urine continues to decline until we die. In fact, low enzyme levels are associated with old age and chronic disease.
So far, there's not much hard evidence on whether taking additional enzymes will extend the lifespan. However, we do know that laboratory rats that eat raw foods will live about three years. Rats that eat enzymeless chow diets will live only two years. Thus, we see that diets deficient in enzymes cause a 30% reduction in lifespan.
If this held true for human beings, it may mean that people could extend their lifespans by twenty or more years -- just by maintaining proper enzyme levels.
Editor's Note: While not much in the way of evidence, at the time of this interview, Dr. Howell and his wife Evangeline can be offered as examples of the benefits of taking enzymes. She looks about twenty years younger than her age. And Dr. Howell, though he was well over 70 at the time, felt as alert and vital as 30 years previous. He even jogged frequently at this age.
Twelve Points On Enzymes
1. Enzymes rule over all other nutrients. Enzymes are responsible for nearly every facet of life and health and far outweigh the importance of every other nutrient.
2. Enzymes are needed to help control all mental and physical functions. Each body cell has in excess of 100,000 enzyme particles necessary for metabolic processes.
3. Enzymes cannot function properly without the presence of other substances which are known as coenzymes. Coenzymes are minerals, vitamins and proteins.
4. Once enzymes have completed their appointed task they are destroyed. For life to continue, you must have a constant enzyme supply which requires continual replacement of enzymes.
5. Enzymes are found in all living cells including raw foods or those that are cooked at a temperature lower than 116 degrees Fahrenheit. Enzymes begin to perish when the temperature increases beyond 116 degrees. The degree of enzyme destruction is a function of time and temperature.
6. Enzymes are primarily proteins, yet enzymes need amino acids for their normal function. Hormones are primarily proteins which require interaction with enzymes to regulate bodily processes.
7. Enzymes aid in transforming proteins into amino acids. Protein does not perform its function unless broken down into amino acids. Amino acids can be considered as an enzyme carrier whose function is to transport enzymes to various functions in the body.
8. Enzymes help extract minerals from food. Enzymes transform minerals into an alkaline detoxifying agency which combines with acid cellular wastes and toxic settlements within the body thus neutralizing them and preparing them for elimination.
9. Enzymes use minerals to create an even balance of dissolved solids both inside and outside the cells, thus equalizing both internal and external pressures which we call osmotic equilibrium.
10. Vitamins are required as coenzymes to work with enzymes in every chemical reaction in every cell of the body. Without mineral extracted from food by enzymes, vitamins would be unable to perform their function.
11. An enzyme deficiency must be carefully considered as a possible precursor of bodily imbalance and consequent disease symptoms.
12. Enzymes are, therefore, justified as a supplemental dietary substance which need is parallel with mineral, vitamin and all other supportive therapies.
From "Body Electronics Fundamentals" by Douglas Morrison - page 101-102.
It Does Not Have To Be That Way!
Extensive research at hundreds of the best medical centers in the world has proved that by taking supplements of eight enzymes, you can help alleviate or prevent the majority of these and other diseases.
We Would Die Without Enzymes
No Side Effects! Over 15,000 people in Europe and Japan have been given enzyme supplementation or therapy with enormous success, all with no important side effects! The reason there are no side effects is because enzymes are food forms, not drugs. Much of the serious scientific interest began when Dr. Ernst Freund noticed that most cancer patients get thrombolysis (blood clots that cause heart attacks), and most thrombolysis patients get cancer. He suspected that the common connection might be enzymes. On testing their blood, he found both patient groups to be lacking in three important enzymes. Recently researchers found that two of those enzymes destroy blood clots and the other creates macrophages which break down fibrin. Cancer cells hide under a coating of fibrin. Once the cover is removed, our bodies killer cells destroy the cancer cells.
Everyone Has Cancer Cells--Normally!
Normally, in our bodies there are 100 to 10,000 cancer cells floating around at all times, according to medical school professor and well-known immunologist, Dr. Michael Williams. But if your immune system weakens sufficiently, the cancer cells attach themselves to an organ, building a covering of fibrin so antibodies can't find them --and you're in trouble!
The good news is that Dr. A.E. Leskovar reported that supplementation with enzymes increases the macrophages by 700% and killer cells by 1300% in a short time. That's why people with healthy immune systems don't get cancer.
European doctors have had significant success in stopping early onset cancer by oral supplementation of enzymes and by injecting the enzymes directly into the tumor.
Works Better Than Chemotherapy!
Dr. Chin Po Kim, a highly respected scientist and internationally recognized immunologist, cited a remarkable 23% overall mortality rate in cancer patients who took oral enzymes. This is about the same rate achieved by chemotherapy and radiation treatments -- but with none of the side effects.
Also, several studies conducted by European scientists show that oral enzymes taken with chemotherapy and radiation improves the response rate and reduces the side effects significantly.
In published reports in several medical journals, 141 physicians participated in multicenter controlled studies treating 1004 patients with enzyme mixtures. Depending on the type, 76% - 96% were classified as improved. The enzymes reduced stiffness, joint swelling, improved ability to bend and slowed down or completely halted deterioration of the joints.
Heal Faster From Injury or Surgery!
Professor Raas of the University of Innsbruck, who is responsible for the health of Austrian athletes in the Winter Olympic games, also confirmed those findings. He stated that, "A good portion of the success achieved by the athletes under his care would not have been possible without enzymes."
He advises even casual athletes to take enzymes daily to lessen the effects of potential injury. Another benefit of enzymes is that they regulate your metabolism. The fewer enzymes in your body the lower your energy level. Those with chronic fatigue can improve with enzymes. Doctors elsewhere have found that oral enzymes taken prior to surgery accelerates healing, allowing patients to leave the hospital quicker and resume normal routines sooner.
Weight Loss and a Cause of Obesity!
Lipase is an enzyme that aids the body in breaking down fats and removing fats from storage. Without this enzyme, fat stagnates and accumulates not only in the obvious places, but in the arteries. The fats in the arteries contribute to cholesterol and atherosclerosis.
Dr. David Galton at the School of Medicine of Tufts University tested people weighing an average of 230 pounds. He found that every one of them was lacking enzymes in their fatty tissue.
Veterinarians conducted an experiment with hogs. One group of hogs was fed only raw potatoes, the other cooked. The group eating raw lost weight; the other group eating cooked gained weight. This clearly shows the effect of enzymes on weight because even though potatoes are high in enzyme content, cooking destroys the enzymes.
Enzymes have so many functions that it takes an encyclopedia size volume of books to cover all that is known today.
As we have shown, enzymes really are essential to life. As you age, the reduced ability of your body to produce the required amounts of enzymes from their limited sources in foods makes you more vulnerable to illness and disease.
Now You Can Fight Off the Worst DiseasesMany scientists have proven that oral supplementation of enzymes builds up the immune system to fight off the worst diseases as well as improve the function of the entire body.