Dr. Houston

Welcome to Dr. Houston's Corner. I understand that the subject of "enzymes" can be intimidating to some. This section of the site is intended to educate the lay public on enzymes and their uses. Having spent the better portion of my life researching enzymes gives me a great appreciation for their power and usefulness. I hope to instill that same appreciation in you.

The More You Know About Enzymes…

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I attended an autism conference several weeks ago and became involved in a discussion group with some other doctors.  One very prominent practitioner made some statements about the use of enzymes that really surprised me.  He mentioned that since plant-based enzymes were so “powerful” he was afraid to use them in children with gut problems.  When pressed he stated that it was because enzymes could work through the whole GI system because of their acid stability (unlike pancreatic enzymes).  There is an error to his thinking, though.  pH stability does not mean that an enzyme is more “powerful” than other enzymes, it is not reflective of the ability of the enzyme to do work.  Acid stability simply means that the enzyme can work in more areas.  Actually, the protease enzymes from the pancreas (trypsin and chymotrypsin) are actually more powerful because they have a wider of range of proteins that are susceptible to their activity.

The other statement made by this doctor was that oral enzymes caused the pancreas to shut down its own production of enzymes.  This has been a controversial area of human physiology for several decades.  The latest and most reliable studies now suggest that the pancreas cannot detect the presence of oral enzyme supplements.  I can find no studies in which plant-based enzymes were used but there are several in which oral pancreatic enzymes were used.  While the regulation of pancreatic enzyme production is complex, it now seems very certain that the mechanism involves mechanical and hormonal control of pancreatic enzyme release.

 

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