Many DCs agree that chiropractic care is no longer just about providing patients with adjustments.
Patients look to their chiropractors for help and support in developing healthier lifestyles for happier lives. Nutritional support is one way DCs can help their patients in this way. Patients may wonder which nutritional supplements will provide them with the best overall health benefits. A good metabolic proteolytic enzyme supplement will help boost the body’s natural immune system at the cellular level.
What are proteolytic enzymes?
Proteolytic enzymes break down long protein chains until they are reduced to their amino acids.1 Enzymes are needed for any sort of chemical reaction in the body, ranging from seeing, to processing thoughts, to breathing.2 In essence, any metabolic function in the body requires enzymes.
Digestion is perhaps the most important chemical reaction within the body.2 If the digestive system is functioning properly, the body has more energy and stamina, and is better able to ward off illness. Proteolytic enzymes help the body be better able to digest food, and can be found naturally in raw pineapple and papaya.3
Combatting processed foods
Many typical diets contain food that is cooked or processed, which is enzymatically dead.3 When these foods are eaten, the body is forced to divert from producing metabolic proteolytic enzymes to producing enzymes for digesting protein-dead food. The end result is a low level of proteolytic enzymes to govern the metabolic system.3 An obvious way to prevent such low levels is to take proteolytic enzyme supplements.
Research on proteolytic enzyme supplements
A 2001 study published in a supplementary issue of the journal Cancer Chemotherapy and Pharmacology examined the effect of adding oral enzyme supplements to standard treatment in a group of about 650 breast cancer patients. Their aim was to reduce side effects associated with chemotherapy, including nausea, vomiting, and infections.4 The patients were divided into two groups: Oral enzyme (about 240 patients) and controls (410 patients). At the end of the study period, the physicians reported 74 percent of enzyme patients had no treatment-associated symptoms, as compared to 55 percent for control patients.
An older study from the journal Anesthetist looked at the effect of proteolytic enzymes in reducing pain after surgery in a group of 80 patients.5 Forty patients received proteolytic enzymes following surgery, while the other 40 patients did not. Pain scores were lower for the enzyme group than for the control group for the first five days following surgery. Furthermore, the enzyme patients required less analgesic medication, and experienced pain relief faster, than the control group.
Researchers in another study examined the use of proteolytic enzymes to reduce common side effects following surgery to remove excess skin around the eyelids.6 Among the 20 patients in this study, enzyme therapy was found to reduce pain, inflammation, and the formation of both hematomas and seromas, which are all common following plastic surgery procedures.
Proteolytic enzyme supplements make for a great addition to patients’ nutritional plans. This works together with a regular exercise regimen and sensible diet to keep patients healthy and happy. DCs should consider adding a proteolytic enzyme supplement as part of their recommendations list.
1 Encyclopaedia Britannica. “Proteolytic enzymes.” http://www.britannica.com/science/proteolytic-enzyme. Updated May 2015. Accessed June 2015.
2 Barron J. “Proteolytic enzymes.” Nutritional Wellness Online. http://www.nutritionalwellness.com/archives/2006/jul/07_proteolytic.php. Published July 2006. Accessed June 2015.
3 Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. “Proteolytic enzymes.” https://www.mskcc.org/cancer-care/integrative-medicine/herbs/proteolytic-enzymes. Updated October 2013. Accessed June 2015.
4 Beuth J, Ost B, Pakdaman A, et al. Impact of complementary oral enzyme application on the postoperative treatment results of breast cancer patients: Results of an epidemiological multicentre retrolective cohort study. Cancer Chemother Pharmacol. 2001;47 Suppl:S45-54.
5 Hoernecke R, Doenicke A. Perioperative enzyme therapy. A significant supplement to postoperative pain therapy. Anaesthesist. 1993;42(12):856-61.
6 Dusková M, Wald M. Orally administered proteases in aesthetic surgery. Aesthetic Plast Surg. 1999;23(1):41-4.