The reason we're supposed to take probiotic
supplements is to replace the probiotics that we used to get in a wide range
of unprocessed fermented foods such as homemade yogurt, sauerkraut,
buttermilk, pickled foods, kimchi, raw vinegar, tempeh, etc. -- foods that
are no longer a significant part of our diet.
These foods are not enteric coated. How could
these foods provide probiotic value if the beneficial bacteria were
destroyed by stomach acid? The simple truth is that beneficial bacteria, for
the most part, easily survive stomach acid. Also, if you take your probiotic
supplements with water on an empty stomach they encounter almost no stomach
acid and therefore remain effective.
Most people treat the symptom of stomach acid
reflux with antacids and suppress stomach acid production, ultimately
leading to long-term health problems.
The questions related to probiotics are
essentially the same as those for proteolytic enzymes: aren't they broken
down and destroyed by stomach acid -- thus requiring special, acid-proof
capsules? And the answer, for most probiotics, is absolutely not. We believe
this is primarily a marketing pitch for companies selling probiotics in
enteric coated capsules, but the logic is flawed.
Enzyme absorption absolutely occurs and
manifests through two main avenues: Peristalsis & Pinocytosis.
Peristalsis not only forces food (and enzymes)
down through the intestinal tract, it also forces transit through the
Pinocytosis enzyme molecules are bound to, and
encapsulated, by other substances such as water. Since they are
encapsulated, the intestinal wall cannot recognize them as enzymes and
thinks they are "water," thus readily passing them through the intestinal
wall. Once the enzymes are in the bloodstream they attach to lymphocytes and
travel easily throughout the vascular and lymphatic systems
Stomach acid and digestion
To start, you must first deal with these issues:
1. Too much stomach acid
2. Too little stomach acid
3. Stomach acid and proteolytic enzymes
4. Stomach acid and probiotics
5. Stomach acid and digestion
Before we can even talk about stomach acid, we need to spend a little time
talking about how it fits in the digestive process. Most people believe that
when you eat a meal it drops into a pool of stomach acid, where the food is
then broken down and then goes into the small intestine to have nutrients
taken out and then into the colon to be passed out of the body, that is if
you're lucky. Only this is not quite the case.
What nature intended is that you eat enzyme rich foods and chew your food
properly. If you did that, the food would enter the stomach laced with
digestive enzymes. These enzymes would then "predigest" your food for about
an hour -- actually breaking down as much as 75% of your meal.
Only after this period of "pre-digestion" are hydrochloric acid and pepsin
introduced. The acid inactivates all of the food-based enzymes, but begins
its own function of breaking down what is left of the meal in combination
with the acid energized enzyme pepsin. Eventually, this nutrient-rich food
concentrate moves on into the small intestine. Once this concentrate enters
the small intestine, the acid is neutralized and the pancreas reintroduces
digestive enzymes to the process. As digestion is completed, nutrients are
passed through the intestinal wall and into the bloodstream.
That's what nature intended. Unfortunately, most of us don't live our lives
as nature intended!
Processing and cooking destroys enzymes in food. Any sustained heat of
approximately 180 F or above, destroys virtually all enzymes. This means
that, for most of us, the food entering our stomach is severely enzyme
deficient. The food then sits there for an hour, like a heavy lump, with
very little pre-digestion taking place. This forces the body to produce
large amounts of stomach acid in an attempt to overcompensate. In addition
to failing in this attempt (much of the meal still enters the small
intestine largely undigested), there are two major consequences.
1. Too much stomach acid;
2. Too little stomach acid; which still creates too much stomach acid
This is obvious. In an attempt to overcompensate for lack of enzymes in the
food, the stomach produces an inordinate amount of stomach acid to
compensate, leading to acid indigestion. Taking antacids or purple pills
doesn't solve the problem; it merely masks one of the symptoms. Ultimately,
though, it passes even more quantities of poorly digested food into the
intestinal tract where it leads to intestinal putrefaction, gas, bloating,
bad digestion, chronic digestive disorders, in addition to overworking your
pancreas, which tries to compensate by producing huge amounts of digestive
enzymes for use in the small intestine. All of this is exacerbated by foods
and beverages such as alcohol (especially beer), high sugar foods, and
caffeinated foods (coffee and tea, etc.) that can actually double acid
The simple solution for most people with excess stomach acid is to
supplement with digestive enzymes which can digest up to 70% of the meal in
the pre-acid phase, thus eliminating the need for large amounts of stomach
acid and also taking tremendous stress off the digestive system and the
One other factor which may be contributing to the problem is a hiatal
hernia, in which part of the stomach can protrude through the diaphragm into
the chest cavity allowing food and stomach acid to back up into the
esophagus. Combine a hiatal hernia with excess stomach acid and you have the
potential for great distress. The standard treatment for severe hiatal
hernia is laparoscopic surgery -- with mixed results. Fortunately, there are
chiropractic alternatives that can be quite effective.
In either case, dietary changes and supplemental digestive enzymes are
likely to produce significant results, without creating problems further
down the digestive tract.
Drinking 2-4 ounces of organic, stabilized,
aloe vera juice every day can also help soothe irritated
tissue in the esophagus and help balance out digestive juices in the
When you follow the logic, too little stomach acid will have similar
symptoms as having too much.
If you spend years forcing your body to massively overproduce stomach acid
to compensate for the lack of enzymes in your diet, what do you think the
long-term consequences might be in terms of your ability to produce stomach
The answer is: Eventually, your body's capacity to produce stomach acid
begins to fade, along with a consistent loss in your body's ability to
sufficiently process food in the stomach. The health consequences can be
profound. Low production of stomach acid is quite common and becomes more
prevalent with age due to our poor nutritional intake. This is the main
reason why I say: Chronological aging is inevitable however; biological
aging is due to our poor choice in life. By age forty, 40% of the population
is affected, and by age sixty, 50%. A person over age 40 who visits a
doctor's office has about a 90% probability of having low stomach acid.
Consequences can include:
Poor digestion. Not only is there insufficient stomach acid to break down
food, there is insufficient acidity to optimize the digestive enzyme pepsin,
which requires a pH of around 2.0. This results in partial digestion of
food, leading to gas, bloating, belching, diarrhea/constipation, autoimmune
disorders, skin diseases, rheumatoid arthritis, and a host of intestinal
disorders such as Crohn's and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). It is
estimated that 80% of people with food allergies suffer from some degree of
low acid production in the stomach.
Many vitamins and minerals require proper
stomach acid in order to be properly absorbed, including: calcium, iron,
vitamin B12, and folic acid. Vitamin B12 in particular requires sufficient
stomach acid for proper utilization. Without that acid, severe B12
deficiency can result. (Note: ionic delivery systems can bypass this
With low acidity and the presence of
undigested food, harmful bacteria are more likely to colonize the stomach
and interfere with digestion. Normal levels of stomach acid help to keep the
digestive system free of harmful bacteria and parasites.
It's worth noting that symptoms of low acidity include:
1. Bloating, belching, and flatulence immediately after meals.
2. Indigestion, diarrhea, or constipation.
This list sounds very similar to the
symptoms associated with too much stomach acid? In fact, up to 95% of people
who think they are suffering from too much stomach acid are actually
suffering from the exact opposite condition. The use of antacids and purple
pills then become exactly the wrong treatment to use since they exacerbate
the underlying condition while temporarily masking the symptoms.
Supplementing with digestive enzymes to reduce the need for
stomach acid -- giving the body a chance to rest and recover its ability to
produce sufficient stomach acid. Mix one
teaspoon of apple cider vinegar with water and a little honey and drink this
with each meal. You might gradually increase the vinegar up
to 3-4 tablespoons in water if needed. Something I don’t advise my clients
of, however does exist is; supplementing with betaine hydrochloride (HCL)
tablets (which are a source of hydrochloric acid, a naturally occurring
stomach acid that helps break up fats and proteins for further digestion in
the small intestine) can possibly help, but anything beyond minimal doses as
found in some health food store supplements should only be administered
under the supervision of a health practitioner to avoid damage to the
Stomach acid and
When we receive questions from our clients on this issue, most of them have
nothing to do with high or low stomach acid, but rather with the effect of
stomach acid on supplements. I remind them quickly that CO-Q-10 should
always be taken in the form of a chewable tablet, so that the most value can
be receive from the oral absorption from the inner lining of the mouth;
however enzymes, probiotics and other vitamins far well in and through the
The great concern is with how stomach acid
affects proteolytic enzymes, and pretty much ran along the following lines.
Since enzymes are made from proteins and proteolytic enzyme formulas
are taken orally:
How do they survive the digestion of proteins that takes place in the
stomach? Wouldn't they be broken down by stomach acid into amino acids?
If they do make it through the stomach, since
they are so large, wouldn't they be unable to pass through the intestinal
Surviving stomach acid!
Not all proteins and enzymes are proteins, are
broken down by stomach acid. Not getting technical, I’ll point out pepsin.
Pepsin is an enzyme secreted by the stomach to aid in digesting the proteins
in your food. Not only is pepsin not broken down by stomach acid, pepsins
optimum pH environment is about 2.0, which is very acidic.
But these facts show; that although some enzymes such as Serrapeptase are
destroyed by stomach acid, most are not -- just temporarily rendered
(Note: that's one of the reasons I do not use
Serrapeptase in my own proteolytic enzyme formulation.)
Different enzymes function differently in different pH environments, which
is why I formulated my proteolytic enzyme formula, pHi-Zymes, to function in
a wide range of pH's
The body produces metabolic enzymes in the
pancreas and other organs but without the enzymes contained in each of
Mother Nature’s foods, due to their being removed due to processing, we must
supplement our body. We are born with the ability to make a finite amount of
metabolic enzymes and through depletion due to the consumption of processed
food plus what decreases with age, supplementation is vital. It is agreed
that complete health is the sum total and soundness of our on individual
enzyme system. Simply stated health and nutrition is:
1. The body’s ability to consume the 45 known
nutrients in their proper amounts.
2. Digest these nutrients.
3. Absorb these nutrients.
4. Carry these nutrients into the cells.
5. Metabolize these nutrients.
6. Eliminate them as waste through the
lymphatic system, adrenal cortex, liver, etc., without getting fat.
Since all 100 trillion cells in our bodies
depend upon the reaction of metabolic enzymes and their energy factor it
makes sense to use them solely for these tasks and not for digestion
When humans first evolved we ate everything
raw and therefore no metabolic enzymes were required to assist digestion.
Since all things in their raw form have the required amount of enzymes
needed to cause digestion of that particular food, our metabolic enzyme
production was left intact to support our metabolism.
In today’s world we eat processed foods and
cook most everything we eat for sanitary purposes, even our vegetables. This
destroys the enzymes in that particular food required for the digestion of
that food. This causes our bodies to furnish our digestive systems with the
use of our metabolic enzymes. Calorie Restricted and Appropriate Nutrition
diets (CRAN) have been shown to extend life in animals. This is due to the
fact that more often you eat during the day of healthy un-cooked fruits and
vegetables and even though you eat less, what you eat over all is healthier
in that diet and the less your demand is on your metabolic enzyme source for
One of the most important life extension
portions of the Clinic’s program is supplementation for immune support and
digestive enzymes and to limit inflammation; inflammation can limit joint
function, and destroy bone, cartilage and other arteriole structures. The
prime cause of western diseases is now considered to be chronic inflammation
caused by eating starchy carbohydrates, processed, micro-waved and generally
overcooked foods. This is measured by the rise in C-Reactive proteins after
eating such foods. When we have chronic inflammation as well as free radical
damage, we get what is known as sticky blood, where the platelets stick
together and can clot.
Digestive enzymes to decrease the body's
dependencies on the metabolic enzyme supply are very important to supplement
program we suggest after testing. Taken orally enzymes can have systemic
absorption and systemic effects on the whole organism. If we postpone the
debilitation of metabolic enzyme activity then we might delay the aging
process. Disease is considered nothing more than the lack of or imbalance of
Research findings for Serrapeptase!
The search for a superior enzyme that offers
safe but powerful anti-inflammatory properties, thus averting the terrible
side effects, ended when Serratia peptidase (Serrapeptase) enzyme was
discovered in the early 70’s. Serrapeptase is now in wide clinical use
Asia as a viable alternative to salicylates, ibuprofen (sold as an
OTC in the U.S.) and the more potent NSAIDs. Serrapeptase is an
anti-inflammatory, proteolytic enzyme isolated from the microorganism,
Serratia E15 and has no inhibitory effects on prostaglandins, is devoid of
gastrointestinal side effects and offers a sensible alternative.
Serrapeptase is processed commercially in the laboratory through
fermentation. It was originally found in the silkworm where it is naturally
present in its intestine. This immunologically active enzyme is completely
bound to the alpha 2 macroglobulin in biological fluids. Histologic studies
reveal powerful anti-inflammatory effects of this naturally occurring
enzyme. The silkworm has a special relationship with the Serratia E15
microorganisms in its intestines. The enzymes secreted by the bacteria in
silkworm intestines have the ability to dissolve avital tissue, but have no
detrimental effect on the host’s living cells. Thus by dissolving the
silkworm’s protective cocoon (avital tissue), the winged creature is able to
emerge and fly away.
The discovery of this unique biological
phenomenon led researchers to study clinical applications of the
Serrapeptase enzyme in man. In addition to its widespread use in:
Fibrocystic breast disease
Carpal tunnel syndrome
Germany have used Serrapeptase for atherosclerosis to digest
atherosclerotic plaque without harming the healthy cells lining the arterial
Atherosclerosis conditions as well as Cholesterol!
Today, researchers consider atherosclerosis an
inflammatory condition (similar to many other degenerative diseases whose
cause is identified as chronic inflammation). Some immunologists are even
categorizing atherosclerosis as a benign tumour. Hardening and narrowing of
the arterial wall is a cumulative result of microscopic trauma; inflammation
occurs in the presence of oxidized lipids. Serrapeptase doesn’t interfere
with the synthesis of cholesterol in
the body, but acts as an anti-inflammatory and helps clear avital tissue
from the arterial wall. It is important to note that
cholesterol in its pure state is an
antioxidant and a necessary component of the major organ and is at the top
of hormonal pathway systems in the body. It is the most important hormone in
the body. The use of medications, which block
cholesterol biosynthesis, may eventually damage the liver and
compromise anti-oxidant status of the eyes, lungs and other soft tissues as
well as to disrupt the hormonal system.
Serrapeptase has been used as an
anti-inflammatory agent in the treatment of:
To improve the elimination of bronchopulmonary
Traumatic injury (e.g. sprains and torn
To facilitate the therapeutic effect of
antibiotics in the treatment of infections
Cystitis and epididymitis
Serrapeptase has been admitted as a standard
treatment in Germany and other European countries for the treatment of
inflammatory and traumatic swellings. Decreasing pain correlated for the
most part with the reduction in swelling; also for improvement (due to
inflammation) of breast pain, breast swelling and indurations, with persons
receiving Serrapeptase who reported moderate to marked improvement. No
adverse reactions were reported with the use of Serrapeptase. The use of
enzymes with fibrinolytic, proteolytic and anti-edemic activities for the
treatment of inflammatory conditions of the ear, nose and throat has gained
increasing support in recent years.