The Truth Behind Enzyme Depletion
What is an enzyme? An enzyme is a protein which increases the rate of chemical reaction, otherwise known as a catalyst. In other words, an enzyme is a biological middle man whose role is to expedite whatever process is occurring.
Almost every raw, fresh food—whether it is from a plant or animal source—contains enzymes. They are everywhere, and they are important. Enzymes are responsible for, but certainly not limited to the following list of bodily functions:
- Supports the immune system
- Aids in the absorption of vitamins
- Promotes normal body weight without hunger cravings
- Helps support healthy teeth and gums
- Helps maintain healthy cholesterol levels
- Removes toxins
- Provides energy
- And more!
The two main types of enzymes most important to your pet’s well-being are metabolic and digestive enzymes. Metabolic enzymes function by helping to carry out the critical bodily function of building and maintaining cells, tissue, and organs. Digestive enzymes work in the stomach and intestines to break down the food your pet eats. The four digestive enzymes are protease, amylase, lipase, and cellulase.
While enzymes are very abundant, they are also very fragile. Free radicals produced during periods of intense activity, and even normal cell activity can eliminate enzymes. In addition, air pollutants, smoke, excessive UV rays from sunshine, and medications can also eliminate enzymes.
A deficiency or imbalance in one or more enzymes can lead to commonly-seen symptoms like food sensitivities and occasional abdominal discomfort, gas, bad breath, and vomiting. Dr. Becker, a holistic veterinarian, recognizes that a lack of enzymes is a major factory in less-than-optimal health.
Because many pet owners do not considers their pet’s ancestral diet, often times they are unwittingly feeding their pet foods which their naturally occurring enzymes cannot digest, or foods which introduce (evolutionally) foreign enzymes into the equation. In fact, 30 years of scientific study has confirmed that the natural diet of both cats and dogs does not contain grains or seeds (unless pre-digested by their pray.) In other words, your pet has probably not evolved to eat the type of diet that many pet food manufacturers produce.
The fickle nature of enzymes is such that, even if a manufacturer adds an enzyme, they often break down when exposed to air, light, and the processing methods needed for long shelf life. Consequently, the enzymes required for healthy body function are often times not found.
Dr. Becker's Real Food for Healthy Dogs and Cats, Dr. Karen Becker asserts that the best way to get your pet the vital enzymes that it needs is to introduce raw foods into your pet’s diet. After all, unless
one is preparing it, one does not really know what is going into their pet’s meals. Raw foods, as we discussed, are unadulterated and so have the highest concentration of enzymes. Keep in mind that cats and dogs are both, by nature, carnivores and predators. Switching back to a diet high in raw meats, in terms of their biology, should be a welcome change.
Take a good look at your pet’s behavior, and if it seems to be experiencing any of the digestive or general malaise issues described above, try checking on its diet to see if any of the main ingredients stand in stark contrast to what is biologically ideal for your pet specifically—if so, try changing some ingredients so as to give your friend the enzymes it requires.