The Basics of Digestive Enzymes as Dietary
by Dr. Devin Houston
What are enzymes?
Enzymes are specialized proteins that
accelerate chemical reactions that otherwise would
not occur under conditions to sustain life. The enzyme
itself does not change during the reaction, but
changes one compound (known as the "substrate")
into another (known as the "product").
Enzymes are involved in almost every
metabolic function in any living organism. There are
over 10,000 separate and distinct enzymes that have
Each enzyme usually has only one
function, or works on one substrate to produce one
product; therefore, enzymes demonstrate specificity in
Not all enzymes are useful when taken
orally. Metabolic enzymes are types of enzymes that
work inside of specific cells and taken orally cannot be
directed to enter the correct cell from the digestive
tract. Digestive enzymes, however, are active orally as
they do not need to enter a specific cell to perform
How do digestive enzymes work?
Digestive enzymes include
proteases/peptidases (break down
proteins/peptides), carbohydrases (break down
carbohydrates), and lipases (break down triglyceride
fats). Proteins are degraded to peptides and amino
acids, carbohydrates to sugars, and triglycerides to
fatty acids by breaking specific chemical bonds within
Are enzymes safe?
Yes. Studies have determined that the great majority
of orally available enzymes produce no toxicity or
adverse side effects, even when taken in extremely
large doses (see references 1-10).
Read more about:
- What is the difference between plant enzymes
and pancreatic enzymes?
- What happens if I take an enzyme supplement and
- Will oral enzymes affect my pancreatic enzymes?
- Who should take enzyme supplements?
- What about children?
Q: I'm just not sure which Enzyme product to
buy for my son, who is 2½.
His continuing problems are very bad attention, poor
sleeping patterns, and tantrums.
He does make mushy stools with occasional bouts of
He eats a LOT of carbs, and they seem to be one of
the ONLY things he eats without giving us a hard time.
He has very little sugar in his diet except what's in fruit.
He LOVES fruit and eats a lot of it, which I always
thought was what was causing his mushy stools.
We attempted to do the "Gluten Free" diet and it was a
disaster. He was practically starving himself then to
go without his favorite foods. I don't ever want to
go through the nightmare of doing the "diet"
again. Thanks for any help you can give me.
A: Try the Zyme Prime first, see if his stools
get firmer. If that goes well, then consider adding the
AFP Peptizyde, which will be similar to using
diet, but without the hassle.
Q: I have been purchasing your enzymes for
year now. I read on a website that protease
[protein-digesting enzyme] as a product creates MSG
processing. I don't really understand how MSG is
created - could please educate me on this matter?
I don't have any other alternatives for enzymes, so I will
continue taking the product, as it has
helped my son in so many ways.
A: I've heard this before, and it is not
enzymes do not "cause" MSG or create MSG. All
proteases do is release amino acids from proteins.
Glutamate is an amino acid, a rather important acid
for nutrition. There is an enzymatic process for
conversion of glutamate to monosodium glutamate
(which is not an amino acid), but that enzyme is not
present in humans. So any MSG that would be
ingested would be deliberately added to foods.
Protease enzyme supplements do not contain MSG.
The confusion comes from people seeing the
term "protein hydrolysate" in many things that have
MSG in them, and assume that the proteases
contributed to the MSG. That is not the case.
Q: We have just started using AFP-Peptizyde
with our son. I have heard of some interesting ways to
give the enzyme, so I decided to try it with a recipe my
son already likes. I add the right amount of enzyme to
a recipe of:
1 part peanut butter, 1 part honey, 1 1/2
parts powdered milk. I mix well and then divide into
Will the enzymes store well in this ball if
refrigerated for a few days or do I need to freeze the
balls and take out as needed?
After adjusting him to AFP-Peptizyde we also plan to
Zyme Prime. Will it be OK to add both
enzymes to the
balls at the same time? Also, if I am giving the
enzyme in liquid, can I mix both enzymes in a small
amount of liquid to drink just prior to a meal?
A: Yes, it should be fine in the peanut
butter/honey mix in the fridge for several days. Both
those foods will act to protect the enzyme activity.
Freezing should let them last for several weeks.
You can add any enzymes in combination, no
problem. Same for adding to liquids.
Q: I am breastfeeding my 8-month-old son
who has problems with spitting up. He is not taking
any medication for
this. In the past week I have gone on the GFCF diet
and it seems to have improved his spitting up a good
bit. I have spoken to two different nutritionists who
recommended Enzymes. However, they have differing
opinions on who should take them - me or my son.
Are enzymes going to help with his
problem? Should I be taking them or should
my son take them?
A: I suggest that you take the enzymes,
especially AFP Peptizyde, if you are only breastfeeding
the baby. That should ensure that proteins are
digested and no peptides cross over into your milk.
The fact that baby's spitting up is less while you are
GFCF is indicative that you should be taking the
Read our most frequently
|New Product Coming Soon
We are pleased to announce a new Houston
The formulation will be for those who already know
a combination of AFP-Peptizyde, Zyme Prime and
No-Fenol. The new blend will be an economical and
convenient alternative, and still high in DPP IV activity.
It will be in capsule form.
Watch for an
email alert and check our website for the
arrival of this exciting new enzyme formula.
|"Your Enzymes Have Done the Trick"
By Joan Matthews
I first heard of Dr. Houston's enzymes in 2002, in the
kitchen of a sleepover camp for special needs kids.
Two other mothers and I were staying near the camp
so we could prepare special meals for our sons. My
son James was on a gluten-free diet, another
mother's son was on the specific carbohydrate diet,
and the third mother's son was eating a well-balanced
diet and taking Dr. Houston's enzymes.
The mom whose son was taking enzymes told me
that he had gone from an out-of-control, out-of-touch
kid with digestive problems to a happy, social guy. And
indeed, I saw him hanging out and interacting
normally and appropriately with other kids in the pool.
This mom told me all about the enzymes, and said
that when her son first took them, he actually went
through a withdrawal period, as if he were coming off
a drug. After that, his personality changed for the
Since my son James had suffered from chronic
stomach problems, including gluten-induced
migraines and severe stomachaches, I couldn't wait
to go home and try the enzymes. We had
experimented with acid neutralizers, simple antacids,
etc., but somehow this didn't seem to be the route he
needed, and in fact, he seemed to get worse with
every prescription drug we'd tried.
When we got home from camp, I ordered the
complete set of enzymes. Right after starting
enzymes, James's stomach discomfort was either
greatly diminished after a meal or not occur at all, and
instead of a severe migraine, his allergic reaction to
gluten would be some mild sniffles. James took the
enzymes for about six months and his digestion was
so much improved that he then used them only on
However, as James started traveling on his own and
taking more classes at the local high school (he was
homeschooled until 16), he started eating more
unhealthy food and gluten, and his stomach issues
If he takes the enzymes, he has no stomach
he forgets his enzymes, he wakes up in bad pain. So,
I try to give the enzymes to
him every night nowadays, to ward off any morning
discomfort (when it is the worst). For him, those pills
are the difference between waking up with a bad
stomachache or waking up feeling normal.
I plan to give James your enzymes for the rest of his
James needs to boost his digestion, not
impair it, and
your enzymes have done the trick.
Co-author with son James
The Self-Help Guide for Special Kids and their
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