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Enzymes killed in the stomach?

ZoeZoe Raw Newbie

I know that enzymes are molecules not organisms and I know that they are denatured by high temps and high Ph, but what about happens to them when they get to our stomachs? Some people say that they are destroyed/denatured by our stomach acids and we can’t use them anyway. I am sure I read somewhere that a scientist discovered that we actually absorb enzymes in the mouth way before the stomach, but I can’t find that research anywhere.
Are enzymes even a factor in the benefits of raw food?
Anyone know anything about this subject?



  • This is livingfoods.com
    Doesn’t the acidic ph of the stomach destoy enzymes?
    Viktorus Kulvinskas, one of the world’s foremost and most experienced active researchers into enzyme nutrition has information showing then stomach acid merely deactivates food enzymes. The enzymes are then reactivated in the more alkaline small intestine. Many people who eat all raw foods, sense a world of healthful difference in our energy, digestion and connectedness with nature by eating enzyme-rich living foods. When we stopped eating cooked protein foods which require large secretions of stomach acid (which is not healthful for several reasons) our stomach doesn’t produce much stomach acid. Many people who eat raw foods eat a low protein diet and are free from the stomach acid secretions and have much more energy and a lighter disposition.

  • ZoeZoe Raw Newbie

    Thank you so much, that answers everything :)

  • I never really preach the whole enzyme thing to people when mentioning the raw food lifestyle. Personally I have my doubts the whole theory and Viktoras Kulvinskas is one of those raw food preachers who is way to far out there in la-la land, in my opinion,to take anything he says as the gospel. You can still be unhealthy and overweight on a raw food diet.

    I don’t buy into the enzyme thing and think it’s just ‘snake oil’ for salesmen.

  • ZoeZoe Raw Newbie

    If enzymes are not organic things but are molecules , they cannot be destroyed only deactivated, and they are de activated in extremes of temperature and pH. So what Viktoras says makes sense to me, and fits in with school text book explanations of what molecules are and how they act. I don’t think it is “out there” at all,I haven’t read Viktoras’s actual book yet, maybe he gets a little more crazy in that:)

  • youryogi- how is it possible to be unhealthy and overweight on a raw diet? I’ll presume you’re speaking of someone who is on a less than 100% raw diet who also eats processed foods…

  • Actually my own experience and that of other raw fooders is that too much fat- too much of avocados, nuts & seeds, olive oil etc can easily put a raw diet into the high end of fat intake..its total percentage of daily calories that adds up.. Doc Graham in 811 spells out the science re fats & what they do in the blood..Too much of anything can create problems.. like raw fooders with diabetes- hows that for proof of what Graham, Cousins and many others say regarding too much fat in any diet..?

  • I asked this question to Doug Graham who has a degree in biological and nutritional sciences and does very detailed research in the scinces before he will state something and he said that the enzymes in all foods get digested along with the food. All of the necessary enzymes that we use to actually digest the food come from our pancreas and other organs. In other words, what many of the raw food fairy talers say about using less of our own enzymes because the food already contains enzymes is all untrue. No matter if the food is cooked or raw our body will produce enough enzymes to fully digest it and nothing is saved if the food is raw. Some of the enzymes are beneficial to us however once digested.

  • I don’t think there is any one definite answer on the subject, and reading the article on Karen Knowlers site ( http://karenknowler.typepad.com/living_in_the_r… ) I quote from the article “It is important to get all this in perspective and not get too hung up about enzyme theory”. So I will leave it up to you to decide. I just have my doubts that’s all.

    (sorry SoCal I was writing all that when you replied)

    I also agree with Raweve on what was said about high fat items and nuts and seeds. Even though things may be raw, if they are eaten in large quantities they still can be bad for you and make you gain weight and be unhealthy. Hey drink a liter of cold pressed olive oil a day and see what happens. Okay in the real world no one would do that, however I am sure you have made some recipes and have had raw cakes and such and they were just super heavy. Eat enough of them and you will feel the consequences. Raw or not.

    And adding to it, and assuming I will get severely bashed here for doing this, Victoria Boutenko isn’t exactly thin ( http://www.eternalsprout.com/images/boutenko.jpg ) and David Wolfe has a small tummy ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=50qN37118XU )

    So in conclusion I still have mixed believes with the enzyme thing and do believe anything in excess can be bad for you (except sweet loving).

  • I like Victoria’sdvds, but can’t help but wonder why is she overweight? Anybody Know?

  • Well, if I eat n pounds of nuts a day I’ll be fat too. So the why is probably that she happens to eat a large amount of high-fat foods. Which is not to say that she’s unhealthy; size is not an absolute indicator of health. It’s possible to be heavy on a raw diet, of course, but I’ll be bound that you’re going to be healthier and your body happier than on a different type of diet.

  • Overweight is always a sign of poor health nomatter the diet you are on. Humans are the only species in the world that gets overweight (except of course domesticated animals). When living in the world and lifestyle that nature intended for humans we would never be overweight. If you restrict your fat intake to around 10 percent of total calories then you will not only never become overweight but you will reverse many of the current illnesses which are plaguing most people in developped countries such as heart disease, strokes, cancer, diabetes, and many many more. Raw dieters have been diagnosed with heart disease and other common diet related illnesses.

  • The stomach contains 2 sections: an upper and lower section When food is chewed, enzymes are created in the mouth to aid digestion in the upper stomach section. Also, the food’s own enzymes aid in this digestion. The stomach is beginning to transform food into chyme. There are no enzymes in the upper portion of the stomach that come from the stomach. When the chyme moves into the lower portion of the stomach, then whatever is undigested from the upper stomach gets digested here and peristalsis begins. Your organs will react in an “emergency” mode to handle the situation it finds in this lower portion and this is where you lose organ enzymes in the digestion process. If you eat a banana, this will be pure chyme by the time it gets to the lower stomach. If you eat meats, dairy, etc., you will create an emergency! This I summarized from Dr. Fell’s Guide to Health and Wellness.
    BTW, Victoria looks great to me! She lost half her former size at least. She russian lady!

  • Hi all,
    Interesting topic that is!
    I have been wondering too, why enzymes in food shouldn’t be degraded by our body just as other proteins. Because that’s exactly what they are – proteins. So (no matter if it makes a difference to the “outcome”) I have to correct Zoe here (just to add the “scientific know-it-all approach” ;) ):
    Enzymes ARE organic things AND molecules. They are organic molecules, and molecules CAN be destroyed/changed/hydrolysed.
    Which doesn’t say, how much slower (if so) enzymes are digested (means hydrolysed to finally aminoacids) than “normal” non-enzyme proteins in our digestive system…
    (To be honest, I don’t care too much, as rawfood rawks anyway ;) ).

  • First of all, enzymes are small proteins. The hydrocholoric acid (stomach acid) cannot break down proteins in the stomach, therefore enzymes stay alive in our intestines and can be absorbed into our tissue system…which helps break down old cooked food residues.
    I believe enzymes are a very important thing in the raw food diet.


  • germin8germin8 Raw Master

    Indeed an interesting topic.

    Zoe, I don’t understand how the mouth can absorb enzymes… especially, since the amylase enzyme is secreted by the mouth.

    I don’t remember what book I was reading, but it was probably Dr. Veith or Dr. Howell… whoever it was, they said that enzymes are activated/deactivated at certain pH. Because an enzyme is deactivated at a certain pH, it doesn’t mean it cannot reactivate later. So, for example… salivary amylase assists in digestion at the mouth and stops after you swallow it. But, it can reactivate at the lower intestines.

    SocaL, I find that hard to believe…

    No matter if the food is cooked or raw our body will produce enough enzymes to fully digest it and nothing is saved if the food is raw.

    That’s different from what I’ve been reading! I agree with the part about the body can produce enough enzymes to fully digest it; assuming this is real food the body recognizes. But, what do you mean “nothing is saved”?

  • TomsMomTomsMom Raw Newbie

    The body cannot digest everything that is taken it. It can only pass it along, digest or no. Not all foods are “fully digested”. I’m referring to cooked foods mostly. Producing a stinking sludge at the end of the gastro-intestinal tract is not fully distesting much. It’s just the end product of the outpour of massive amounts of stomach acids and bile on foods that can’t be properly processed. If the outcome of any food that is eaten is a stinking, sloppy mess, whether it is cooked or raw, then the body has not been able to properly digest it.

    When I say “digested”, I mean it in the truest sense: foods properly broken down and assimilated. Waste should be (relatively)compact and smell very little. I’m not referring to gobbling in any crap and pushing out a mess at the end. It’s absolutely not true that the human body can digest anything that is eaten.

    Waste from ANY animal should never stink to high heaven. Not if it has been correctly processed. Fact.

  • C2HO3C2HO3 Raw Newbie

    I'm reading this blog for the first time and I see a great deal of misinformation. Perhaps I can clear up some of it to enhance better understanding of human anatomy and physiology. Sorry if I step on toes but please be objective. None of what I wrote is to be taken as a personal attack.

    @Freshy: Digestion doesn't take place in the stomach and it has more than two sections -- there are the cardiac region, the fundus, the body and the atrium.

    @Socal: Overweight is NOT always a sign of poor health. BMI is no indicator of lean muscle mass to fat ratio and thin people (e.g. cachexia) can be very ill. Raw diets don't reverse "many diseases", however a balanced raw diet may help prevent some.

    @Zoe: Enzymes are proteins and function as organic catalysts. They ARE organic molecules. The four most important classes of organic molecules are lipids, carbs, nucleic acids and proteins!

    @germin8: You're right that "the mouth" doesn't absorb enzymes but the mouth doesn't secrete them either. The process of digestion begins in the mouth during mastication (chewing). Saliva is the key. Saliva is produced and secreted by salivary glands -- the sublinguals, the submandibulars and the parotids.The major enzymes in saliva are alpha amylase, salivary kallikrein, salivary lipase and lysozyme. Although a very few substances, such as alcohol and water, are absorbed from the stomach into the blood, digestion doesn't take place there. The bulk of digestion takes place in the three sections of the small intestine, not the "lower intestines", which I interpret to mean the large intestine. By far, most ingested enzymes are broken down, not utilized as is. Enzymes are complex proteins that fall into 3 main categories: metabolic, food and digestive. Most digestive enzymes are synthesized in the pancreas, not the intestines. The other organs accessory to the GI tract -- liver and gallbladder -- also contribute to the process. With the exception of pineapple & papaya, raw food contains only enough enzyme to digest that particular food. Not enough to be stored for later use. 

  • SunSpiritSunSpirit Raw Newbie

    C2HO3.....Thank you for your discussion.  You seem very knowledgeable.  Are you studying Naturopathic medicine ? or are you an avid reader of health topics like me ?  Thank you for your input.    Sun Spirit.

  • bheemnbheemn Raw Newbie

    After reading the whole discussions, there is clarity in my mind regarding enzymes. Enzymes given for elderly to aid digestion are just to help in speeding up of digestion. But now it seems that these enzymes help in digestion but they also get destroyed simultaneously. There are many examples of enzymes in the body, but we do not take them orally as part of medicare. We are only advised to have protein rich food. This means we synthesize enzymes and they are not effective when taken orally.

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