Houston Enzymes
 Issue 35,  September 2010
In This Issue
Stomach acidity: To betaine or not to betaine
Enzymes for gray hair?
Survey update: Enzymes improve quality of life
Q and A with Dr. H
Join us at these events
Stomach acidity: To betaine or not to betaine
From Dr. Houston:

My anatomy professor in college amazed us naive students one day by drinking a glass of diluted hydrochloric acid (HCl).  We thought it was a Dr. Devin Houstondeath-defying stunt until he told us the amount of acid in the glass was less than the acid content of our stomach. 

Americans continue to be fascinated by the whole issue of stomach acid.  From "Plop, plop, fizz, fizz, oh what a relief it is," to the irritating commercials on acid reflux, we always seem to be unhappy with our acid situation.

HCl is secreted by special cells in the stomach wall.  There is always some amount of acid being produced, but acid really pours out when food enters the stomach.  The HCl does not break food down; that is left up to the enzymes. 

Acid does prepare foods for digestion, especially proteins.  Normally, proteins exist in a tightly coiled globular structure.  Acid denatures the protein which results in the protein unraveling into a more linear structure.  This then allows enzymes access to the peptide bonds so the protein can be broken down. 

Acid also jump-starts enzyme activity.  Above pH 5.0, stomach enzymes are inactive.  Once acid lowers the pH to under 5.0, they become active.  This is why those on acid reflux medications often get relief from the reflux but their digestion becomes less than optimal.  The lack of acid prevents our own enzymes from working. 

Luckily, enzyme supplements do not need HCl to be active because they are already in an active form, once they are in solution.  Our plant-based enzymes can function in a broad range of pH, usually from 2 to 9. 

I am often asked if I recommend taking betaine HCl.  If one takes enzyme supplements I really see no need for doing so, but it also won't hurt the enzymes either. 

If you feel better taking the betaine, then by all means use it.  Your Houston Enzymes supplements will work just as well with or without it.

- Devin Houston
Enzymes for gray hair?

Over the past year, reports have surfaced indicating that gray hair may be caused by an accumulation of hydrogen peroxide in hair shafts.  This appears to be a result caused by deficiencies in certain metabolic enzymes such as catalase, methionine sulfoxide reductase, and tyrosinase.

It didn't take long for some dietary supplement companies to take this information and provide a so-called "solution" to the problem. 

Some products have popped up espousing the use of catalase, an enzyme involved in the breakdown of hydrogen peroxide and other free radicals, in an oral supplement to reverse the graying of hair.  Playing on the vanity of those who can't accept that they are getting older (and showing it) is a sure-fire way to make a buck these days.

Unfortunately, these products don't work because catalase is an unstable enzyme easily degraded by stomach conditions.  Even if it did survive the gut, there is no way to direct the catalase specifically to hair follicles - it would simply be distributed throughout the circulation and then removed by the body's defenses.

I am a guy in his fifties whose hair is full of gray.  I actually get a lot of compliments on my salt-and-pepper look, and I know I wouldn't be fooling anyone if my hair suddenly became dark again.
-Devin Houston
Survey update: enzymes improve quality of life 
Have you participated in our survey?  It only takes a few minutes.  
Participants were using Peptizyde, AFP-Peptizyde or TriEnza.  Positive results continue to roll in.  
Our feature question: 
If you challenged the GFCF (Gluten-free/Casein-free) diet, how effective were enzymes?

Very effective, no longer strictly GFCF -     63%  (152 responses)
Effective for some infractions -                   29%  (71 responses)
Not effective, had to stay totally on diet  -    7%  (18 responses)
Read some of the comments:

"I have tried other products sold in local and health food stores. None of these products were as effective as TriEnza."

"GFCF did not reasonably help at all. We will not run out of TriEnza...I tell everyone about TriEnza. It changed my life back to a normal person."

"Have enjoyed working with your company and appreciate your very prompt service. With all we have going on in our day to day lives, it's hard to make sure that I keep up on all the meds and supplements. Often I am close to being out before I reorder. Thank you for your prompt shipments!"

"Works GREAT!!!!! Love it!!  I tell all the parents I know about it!!"

"...we really needed an enzyme to help because he [son] would 'cheat' on his diet more and more as he got older. The enzymes did in four months what we tried to accomplish in four years...he can eat ANYTHING now. He could not do that before."

"Good results..don't have to be so careful w/diet."

"Makes mealtimes SO MUCH EASIER!"

"Too many infractions cause some difficulty."

"Your products are designed with children in mind who are not able to swallow capsules. Even your capsules can be opened and dissolve better than other brands I've tried. Your formulas are also gentle on the stomach compared to the ones marketed to non special needs kids."

"AFP has decreased the digestive cramps and gas issues."

"We tried the GFCF diet for 6-8mo's. If was difficult to follow in our area because foods were not available to us, we had to order or drive 2 hours to get products.  All gluten and casein foods are now tolerated with enzymes." 
"We primarily used No-Fenol, which allows our child to eat foods previously 'off limits' due to salicylate sensitivity."

"This program [TriEnza] dramatically changed the quality of life of entire family!"

"Thank you for always assisting with any questions I may have or requests! This is my first time shopping online as I have always called my orders in! Still love knowing I can speak to a live body when needed!!!"

"We implemented a GFCF diet and then only CF for our son for 5 years along with AFP Peptizyde. We allow only specific foods with casein in and use enzymes successfully!" 
Q and A with Dr. H

Q: Do your enzymes contain any preservatives?

A: Our enzyme products don't contain any preservatives - none are needed.

Q: If someone burps a lot after eating, can that be a sign of low HCl?  I read online that you shouldn't eat a lot of carbs if you take a lot of HCl supplement.  

A: Carbs don't affect acid.  Burping is gas production in the stomach.  Gas could form from acid and base mixing together (e.g., vinegar and baking soda), or carbonated drinks releasing CO2, or any kind of fermentation process.

Q: Is there any connection between enzymes and bile production?

A: No, enzymes have no effect on bile production or release.  Bile is made in the liver and stored in the gallbladder. 

Join us at these events
Dr. Houston will be speaking/exhibiting at the events below.  Find more details at our Event Calendar.     

Does your group want to learn more about enzymes? Contact Outreach Coordinator Cindy Kelley for:
  • Presentations
  • DVDs
  • Literature
Dr. Devin Houston, Ph.D. enzyme biochemist, speaks at no cost to parent groups and parent conferences.
Toll free: 866-757-8627
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