26th March 2015
The Association for Comprehensive Neurotherapy (ACN) editor writes:
When researchers suggested that autism was linked to imbalances in the gut, the findings were met with fierce opposition. Yet, as physicians and parents began to correct problems in the digestive tract, positive results were seen. As a result, many forward-thinking professionals and families have embraced dietary changes and the use of digestive enzymes for these children. There is not a one-size-fits all answer, but a trial of enzymes can be a safe and relatively inexpensive approach worth considering.
Digestive enzyme supplements can be used to help the body break down undigested proteins which can trigger allergies, food intolerance reactions and can feed bad bacteria in the gut, causing dysbiosis. Pressure is taken off the pancreas and the digestive system when the enzyme action in the stomach is increased.
Raw foods are naturally enzyme-rich, but these important 'biological catalysts' get destroyed by heat. Enzymes are proteins and the disbelievers say that they are therefore destroyed (denatured) in the stomach by stomach acid. Dr. Devin Houston states that this is what he was taught in medical school. He explains that the reality is more complex than that. Majority of enzymes, Dr. Houston says, including pancreatic enzymes, really are destroyed in acidic environments, however, plant-based enzymes are not and can work in a pH range of 2 to 9 with no loss of activity. (2)
Some enzyme supplements are enteric-coated to protect them from the stomach acid. These start acting only once they reach the neutral pH of the small intestine. However, to get the full benefits of enzymes, they are used to break down gluten, casein, soy and other food proteins in the stomach. Thus the best enzyme supplements are plant-based and not enteric-coated, according to Dr. Devin Houston. (2)
Many [...] parents try a gluten-free, casein-free (GF/CF) diet and report success in reducing symptoms of autism, OCD, tics, ADHD or behavioral difficulties. The diet is restrictive and difficult to implement, yet positive results can justify its effort. [...] Dr. Houston suggests that some children who appear to need a GF/CF diet can sometimes eat dairy- and gluten-containing foods without reaction when taking the proper enzymes.
- ACN Latitudes (1)
The article suggests that eliminating food allergies and intolerances, eating a gluten- and casein-free diet, and taking digestive enzymes may also help reduce tics in Tourette's syndrome as well as compulsive behavior in OCD.
Digestion can be negatively affected by hectic lifestyles, by the difficult-to-digest foods eaten, and by nutritional deficiencies, among other things. Maldigestion can produce many problematic symptoms of the digestive system, but it can also produce food intolerances, which can be difficult to detect because intolerance or sensitivity symptoms often come with a delay of hours or even days. Some food intolerances are 'silent' and just wear the body down without giving clear symptoms. Other food intolerances cause nutritional deficiencies and further problems with digestion. Even though there are only very few food intolerance conditions currently recognised by the main-stream medicine - the most well-known ones being gluten-intolerance (Celiac disease) and lactose intolerance - many more types of food intolerances exist. Unfortunately in many cases food intolerances have been linked to many serious illnesses. To read more about how to recognise and eliminate many food intolerances without paying for expensive tests, read here: Food Intolerance.
I have personally felt how good-quality enzyme supplements can quickly reduce the many food intolerance/ food allergy symptoms I have been struggling with. This was an accidental discovery for me and I am excited to have found further proof of this fact and reasoning as to why this is.
Note that there are some safety concerns when taking enzymes, i.e. they should not be taken by people with ulcers, blood in the stools, severe bowel inflammation, bleeding disorders, or close to the time of undergoing surgery. Some enzyme products and other supplements may contain aspergillus mold which may cause problems with those struggling with fungal infections - contact the manufacturer of the enzymes to find out. Discuss the use of any supplements with your doctor first if you want to make absolutely sure that they are safe for you to use.
(1) ACN Latitudes (Latitudes.org): "Digestive Enzymes for Food Intolerance and Allergy"
(2) Dr. Devin Houston: "Enzyme Myth: All Enzymes Are Destroyed by Stomach Acid" (Houston-enzymes.com)
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