what enzymes do to make food digestible . . . part 3
We don’t think of our stomach as being two-chambered, but Howell goes to lengths to document all the experts and studies (including Gray’s Anatomy) saying that it does, in fact, have two distinct parts. And in the upper stomach, or “food enzyme stomach,” gastric juices are not released, and peristalsis is not yet churning the food. Most nutritionists don’t know this. But that’s where the digestive enzymes inherent in raw foods do their work for about 30-60 minutes before the lower stomach opens and stomach acid must begin to work. If the food is cooked, it sits there doing nothing, with any bacteria you swallowed with it getting a foothold. Or, the predigestion that can take place there only with raw food makes the draw on the body’s supply much less when that food continues on through the digestive tract.
Think of a snake, for instance, who eats a rat. That rat is so large that it can’t enter the snake’s stomach for some time to be broken down by stomach acids, until the natural enzymes that came inside the rat break it down. The healthy ancient meat eaters of various cultures ate not just meat and dairy products, but fermented products–foods that are broken down into component parts by live food enzymes. Some bizarre examples are Eskimos who eat the contents of a caribou’s stomach (and a number of other putrefied foods) as a “salad,” and Indians of the Amazon River basin, who chew boiled yucca, spit it into jars, and let it ferment with the amylase enzyme in saliva. This food is their main nourishment, with the average person drinking a gallon a day!
Because of the terrible draw on our enzyme processes when we don’t supply exogenous food enzymes, all metabolic activity is affected. Consequently we have dental cavities, baldness, thinning hair, and breaking nails, allergies, acne, headaches, constipation, cancer, energy problems, and so many more diseases. Animals in the wild simply don’t have the hundreds (thousands?) of diseases that modern man does as a result of destroying the enzymes in our food. Even the “healthy” among us tend to have many of the smaller ailments that no animal eating raw food in the wild has. Dr. Howell says that the idea that “nature cures” we’re all familiar with can refer only to metabolic enzyme activity, because “there is no other mechanism in the body to cure anything.”
In 1943, Northwestern University established the Law of Adaptive Secretion of Digestive Enzymes through experiments on rats. Dozens of other research teams later strengthened this law’s premise with similar findings. Researchers studied the amount of digestive enzymes secreted by the pancreas. What researchers found was that an organism values its enzymes highly: it will make no more than are needed for the job. So, if raw food containing exogenous enzymes are provided, the body has to manufacture very little, leaving its resources and energy well allocated to metabolic processes.
Many studies from the first half of the 1900’s prove that when an animal eats lots of starch, amylase is primarily produced. A meat-eating animal is found to produce mostly protease. A whale’s stomach has no amylase in it, because a whale eats no carbohydrate. And people? When we bring in lots of exogenous enzymes in our food, our body produces very little, leaving those capacities free for other metabolic work. Scientists missed knowing this, and Medicine and even Nutrition, as disciplines, have misunderstood or ignored these discoveries. By and large, those charged with guiding us to good health have ignored the critical factor of helping us avoid enzyme burnout.
Just like people have enlarged livers or enlarged hearts when those organs are heavily taxed, the pancreas becomes enlarged when a body is fed lots of enzyme-free (cooked or processed) food. Lab mice eating a cooked, enzyme-free food have a pancreas two to three times heavier than wild mice eating a raw-food natural enzyme diet.