Proteolytic enzymes refer to a group of enzymes involved in hydrolysis or the breakdown of the peptide bonds that link together different amino acids forming proteins. Proteolytic enzymes are also known as proteinases. They occur in large groups of enzymes. These enzymes occur naturally in all organisms. They facilitate simple reactions such as breakdown of food proteins in the body to complex reactions such as blood clotting. These enzymes are released into the small intestines from the acinar cells of the pancreas. If you’re low in them it can weaken your digestive system. Taking too many proteolytic supplements can lead to side effects such as diarrhea.
These enzymes work in three different ways depending on the nature of the reaction. The mechanism of action may involve activation of a certain function, breakdown of a protein into its main components, or through a signalling path.
Proteolytic enzymes can act on a specific peptide bond on the whole of the peptide bond. This depends on the sequence of the amino acid making up the protein. Proteins in the stomach are first acted upon by pepsin, an enzyme released from the gastric juice. The proteins which are only partially digested are further acted upon by the proteolytic enzymes in the small intestine.
The proteins are broken down into free amino acids. These amino acids are absorbed by the cells of the intestinal wall and pass into the bloodstream where they are carried by the bloodstream to all parts of the body. Proteolytic enzymes have many health benefits in the body. As we have seen, they are very important in the digestion process, specifically in the breakdown of ingested proteins forming amino acids.
Proteolytic Enzymes and Inflammation
The other function these enzymes perform involves the reduction of inflammation in body tissues. Excessive inflammation caused by an injury may hamper the healing process. Inflammation is the body’s automatic response to injury. The inflammation response is often much greater than the injury warrants and can impede the healing process. Proteolytic enzymes keep inflammation in check by neutralizing the chemicals that bring about inflammation. Reducing inflammation allows your body to repair the injury more effectively and can result in quicker recovery.
Proteolytic enzymes are also important in the removal of damaged and oxidized proteins and other molecules. These organic debris have been linked to several diseases such as atherosclerosis, diabetes and degeneration of the neurons. In addition, these debris accelerate the aging process. Oxidized proteins are those which are inactive and have lost their function and therefore need to be removed from the blood.
Proteolytic Enzymes and Cancer
These enzymes are thought to alleviate some of the side effects caused by radiation treatment in patients. These enzymes may decrease the rate of metastatic cells moving around your body. Metastasis is the spread of cancer from one part of your body to another.
Foods accumulating in your digestive tract can trigger allergic reactions. Proper amounts of proteolytic enzymes work to fully digest all of your foods, thus helping against allergies.
Proteolytic Enzymes and Fibroids
These enzymes are also important in dissolving fibroids. They make the fibroids shrink and disappear. This is because fibroids are composed of proteins. Proteolytic enzymes supplements help those suffering from fibroids.
Another important function is the reduction of blood clots, thereby minimizing the risk of stroke. Certain proteolytic enzymes optimize the quality of the blood cells; thereby improving the flow of blood in the circulatory system. These enzymes are known as nattokinase.
Proteolytic Enzymes and Immune System
These enzymes also boost the performance of the immune system. These enzymes are involved in the destruction of invaders or microorganisms that invade the body. These enzymes are help in the digestion of viruses, molds, bacteria and fungi, all of which could be ingested with food. These microorganisms are composed of proteins and as proteolytic enzymes breakdown protein; they are perfectly suited to take care of those invaders.
These enzymes are involved in the elimination of the scar tissue. Since the scar tissue is made of protein, the enzymes can easily digest it. These enzymes have also been linked to reduction of allergies and autoimmune diseases through eliminating circulating immune complexes. Oral proteolytic enzymes have been shown to detoxify the blood of heavy metals such as mercury and lead.
Whole proteins being leaked from the food you consume that get into your blood stream causes damage to your immune system. Having sufficient amounts of proteolytic enzymes increase the chances that all the proteins you eat will be digested properly. Properly digested proteins are less likely to leak into your bloodstream.
These enzymes are produced in your body by the pancreas. These enzymes are also present in certain foods, such as pineapples and papaya. Most of the time people produce sufficient quantities of proteolytic enzymes naturally. At times people can become deficient in these enzymes and may have to turn to other sources.
Proteolytic enzymes are manufactured by the pancreas. If this organ becomes damaged, it can lead to enzyme deficiencies. Signs of a sick pancreas include abdominal pain, indigestion, gas and poorly digested food in your stool.
The body produces proteolytic enzymes in the form of trypsin and chymotrypsin. Proteolytic supplements are made up of enzymes from other sources.
Proteolytic Enzyme Supplements
Common sources of proteolytic enzymes supplements are the pancreatic extracts from the pancreas of different animals. Proteolytic enzymes supplements can also be made from extracts of pineapple stems (bromelain) and papayas (papain). Cheese is also a good source of this enzyme. Proteolytic enzymes used in curdling milk to create curds and whey contain many proteolytic enzymes including trypsin, pepsin and chymosin.