Vitamin Retailer August 2012 : Page 30
While enzymes are a staple in aiding digestive health issues, their benefits reach far beyond an upset stomach. By Shari Barbanel 30 VITAMIN RETAILER A mericans have earned a stereotype of liv-ing their lives to certain extremes. From eating too much of the wrong foods, to being overcome with stress from working long hours and not getting enough sleep, many consumers are not taking care of them-selves the way they should. In fact, according to the Palo Alto Medical Foundation, 25 percent of Americans consume fast food on a daily basis. Diet, stress levels and a lack of sleep are among the many reasons that shoppers may look to their local health and wellness stores for assistance. And in many cases, retailers are recommending enzymes. Tim O’Brien, owner of Apple Wellness in Fitchburg, WI, said he finds that customers often come into the store asking for help with an issue, but don’t know what to look for. “[Customers] come in and they know WWW.VITAMINRETAILER.COM s AUGUST 2012
While enzymes are a staple in aiding digestive health issues, their benefits reach far beyond an upset stomach.<br /> <br /> Americans have earned a stereotype of living their lives to certain extremes. From eating too much of the wrong foods, to being overcome with stress from working long hours and not getting enough sleep, many consumers are not taking care of themselves the way they should. In fact, according to the Palo Alto Medical Foundation, 25 percent of Americans consume fast food on a daily basis. Diet, stress levels and a lack of sleep are among the many reasons that shoppers may look to their local health and wellness stores for assistance. And in many cases, retailers are recommending enzymes.<br /> <br /> Tim O’Brien, owner of Apple Wellness in Fitchburg, WI, said he finds that customers often come into the store asking for help with an issue, but don’t know What to look for. “[Customers] come in and they know There is a problem.<br /> <br /> They have irritable bowel syndrome, digestive issues or constipation and they say, ‘I need help.’ Yet I don’t think most people know how much they need enzymes, especially with today’s diet.”<br /> <br /> As consumers watch the cost of health care rise, and realize that many over-the-counter products only temporarily mask issues and, at times, cause unwanted side effects, they go in search for natural alternatives to help them get “back to normal.” “The demand for enzyme-based supplements has never been stronger and, despite a weak economy, this growth has been very consistent over the past five years,” said Scott Ravech, CEO of Deerland Enzymes, Inc. in Georgia.<br /> <br /> Digestive Relief<br /> <br /> Consumers most frequently associate enzymes with their ability to aid the digestive system. Whether they hear about them on a television show or learn about enzymes through an internet search, some know that enzymes can aid the digestive system, but may not know the specifics.“Enzymes are proteins that act as catalysts by speeding up chemical reactions in the digestive system,” explained Shailinder Sodhi, BAMS (ayurveda), ND, president of Washington-based RUVed® Inc. “Digestive enzymes break down macromolecules, such as carbohydrates, proteins and lipids (fats), into simpler molecules to facilitate the absorption of nutrients and therefore, they enhance the digestion of foods.”<br /> <br /> RUVed offers a wide spectrum of digestive support herbal supplement blends, which perform enzymatic functions and target many particular digestion- related health concerns. RUVed’s Vegenzyme is a pure, vegetarian formula that contains specific types of enzymes. The unique blend of enzymes in Vegenzyme contains high concentrations of enzymatic ingredients, which target the digestion of the appropriate macronutrients consumed in daily diets (carbohydrates, proteins and fats), according to the company.<br /> <br /> Not a “new thing,” the reality is that that enzymes have been around for some time. “Digestive enzyme products date back to 1894 when the first patented process for the industrial production of an enzyme—Fungal Amylase— appeared on the market. Digestive enzymes are frequently recommended by doctors, especially [for] those with pancreatic deficiency,” explained Ravech. “With most of us not eating as well as we should (processed foods, fast foods and cooked food, which denatures enzymes), most of us can benefit from including a digestive enzyme product in out supplementation strategy.”<br /> <br /> Digestive issues are common among Americans; according to the American Gastroenterological Association, almost 60 percent of people said that they manage their digestive problems by avoiding specific foods and approximately 65 percent indicated that their problems are triggered by eating the wrong types of foods. “The average consumer’s knowledge and understanding of food intolerance has grown dramatically over the past decade,” said Dave Barton, director of education for Florida-based Enzymedica. “We are now able to employ very specific blends of enzymes to reduce the impact of food intoleranceand broaden the choice of food groups people can eat.”<br /> <br /> Among its specific blends, Enzymedica offers GlutenEase™, which contains a unique enzyme blend with protease Therablend ™ plus DPP-IV activity to assist with gluten and casein digestion.The formula offers support for the gluten- and casein-free diet, according to the company. Enzymedica also offers other individualized products for specific food intolerance needs like Lacto™, or Gastro™, for lactose, bean and vegetable digestion. In addition, the company introduced Digest Spectrum to support multiple food intolerance issues, as well as Digest Gold™, which offers a high potency formula for severe digestive distress.*<br /> <br /> Beyond Digestion<br /> <br /> While consumers may recognize the positive effect enzymes can have on the digestive system, many do not know how far the benefits can reach. “The average consumer is unaware of the fact that every biochemical function of life is controlled by enzymes,” said Barton. “These same consumers know that the digestive process is run by enzymes, they are just not sure ‘how.’”<br /> <br /> Because the digestive system affects almost every other system in the body, enzymes can help with problems that a person would not think to be correlated.<br /> <br /> For instance, according to Enzymedica, enzymes can be taken to help relieve some of the symptoms related to allergies—the enzyme mucolase can help speed the breakdown and removal of mucus, while the enzyme protease can aid the respiratory system by fighting off pathogens.<br /> <br /> In addition, studies have shown that enzymes such as bromelain, trypsin and protease can support joint health and mobility, as well as help reduce inflammation.“Enzymes can be very beneficial to fighting inflammation in the Body, which has been linked to several degenerative bodily problems,” said Scott Mountjoy, web development, graphics and marketing with Missouri-based Enzymes, Inc.<br /> <br /> Because overgrowth of yeast in the digestive tract can result in abdominal discomfort, indigestion, constipation, as well as muscle and joint pain, Deerland Enzymes offers ThioZyme™YD, which is formulated to support optimal digestive tract function by promoting a normal population of yeast in the small intestine.In addition, the company offers ProHydrolase™, which optimizes the way protein substrates (such as whey, soy, egg, etc.) are turned into an amino acid combination that the body uses as building blocks to create muscle mass and recuperate muscles from physical activity.<br /> <br /> “Enzyme therapy goes beyond digestion,” said Kristi Kordella, RD, director of product development and clinical education for Pennsylvania-based Douglas Laboratories. “When enzymes such as bromelain, trypsin and rutin are taken on an empty stomach, away from food, the enzymes become absorbed in the small intestine and then activate alpha-2- macrogobulin-protease complexes.These protease complexes increase the binding capacity for certain cytokines, damaged proteins, amyloid beta peptide and fibrin. The binding and removal of cytokines and inflammatory mediators allow Th1 and Th2 cytokin balance and immunomodulation. This results in a healthy inflammatory state, which plays a positive role in many different health conditions.”<br /> <br /> Douglas Laboratories introduced Wobenzym® into the U.S. supplement market in 2007. Wobenzym is a natural systematic enzyme formulation of the plant-based enzymes bromelain (pineapple extract) and papain (papaya extract), natural pancreatic enzymes trypsin and chymotrypsin, and the antioxidant flavonoid rutin.According to the company, Wobenzym N formula is scientifically proven effective and safe in maintaining healthy joints.<br /> <br /> “Systemic enzymes (such as for inflammation and cardio health) have also gained in popularity due to their fibrinolytic properties, as well as antioxidants,” said Ravech. Recently, Deerland Enzymes launched ThioZyme®AO (antioxidant), which replicates the body’s main antioxidant defense system and in doing so, regenerates vitamins C and E. According to the company, ThioZymeAO contains endogenous antioxidants (reducing agents are natural to the body) helping the body maintain its own antioxidant defenses.<br /> <br /> Beyond those functions, enzymes can also have an effect on everything from the immune system to cardiovascular health and weight management.Enzymedica offers Glucoreductase™, an enzyme blend for weight management that converts starches to form soluble fiber. According to the company, the conversion of carbohydrates decreases the glycemic index of the foods consumed, helping maintain blood sugar levels already within a normal range and promotes healthy digestion. The enzyme lipase, which digests fat, holds the key to support proper fat metabolism.* A deficiency in the natural production of lipase may adversely affect the digestive system’s ability to properly use fat, impacting lipid metabolism and ultimately increasing fat storage.<br /> <br /> “There is still more ground to cover before a typical consumer fully grasps the intrinsic role healthy digestion plays with concerns such as energy, immune well-being, and whole-body health,” said Julia Craven, Enzymedica’s vice president of national accounts. “In the near future, digestive enzymes will be accepted as a foundation product, and will have a place right next to the multivitamins and the antioxidants in the consumer’s regimen.”<br /> <br /> Delivery Issues & Confusion<br /> <br /> A major concern in regards to enzymes is ensuring that they are able to bypass the stomach to make their way through the body. In addition to using enzymes that are active across a wide pH range, Enzymes, Inc. encapsulates enzymes in a slowly dissolving capsule to help get systematically active enzymes by the high pH conditions of the stomach, according to Mountjoy.<br /> <br /> “Proteolytic enzymes should be enteric-coated to bypass the stomach acid and breakdown and absorb in the small intestine,” added Douglas Laboratories’ Kordella, noting that Wobenzym formulas are enteric-coated tablets and provide great tolerance.“Proteolytic enzymes need to be taken On an empty stomach, at least 45 minutes before a meal.”<br /> <br /> In addition to ensuring that enzymes make their way through the body, Julia Fuller, store manager of Garner’s Natural Life, which has two locations in South Carolina, admitted that while some customers do know about enzymes and understand the wide range of benefits that they provide, others can’t distinguish enzymes from probiotics.<br /> <br /> “A few of our customers know [that taking] enzymes on an empty stomach help assist their bodies with other issues, such as viruses, inflammation or yeast; however, the majority really don’t even know what enzymes are or the role they play in the body,” she said. “A lot of customers think that enzymes and probiotics are the same thing. It is a more difficult process to educate a customer about how enzymes can improve their health because they are stuck in the medical mentality of ‘take this for that’ instead of looking at the big picture of what is going on in the body.”<br /> <br /> Educational Opportunities<br /> <br /> In order to make his customers understand the full benefits that enzymes provide, Apple Wellness’ O’Brien said he spends a lot of time educating his customers.“I have appointments with people where I’ll sometimes spend hours with customers depending what their issues are, and some people want to learn more than others. I am really just a resource [for them].”<br /> <br /> And while Fuller admitted that she doesn’t see the majority of her customers asking about enzymes when they come into the store, once they become educated and understand the benefits, enzymes become a part of their supplement regimen. “I can’t say I’ve noticed an increase in customers asking about enzymes, although I certainly have increased my recommendations since I personally learned why they are so important, she said.”<br /> <br /> Both Fuller and O’Brein name Enzymedica one of their favorite brands due to the company’s resources. It offers live trainings and seminars, phone training, an online enzyme learning center, as well as literature.<br /> <br /> “Many customers who come to retail health food stores have health issues, which can be minimized by taking care of digestive health,” concluded RUVed’s Sodhi. “Encourage your customers who understand that they need assistance with their digestive health to start with a dietary enzyme supplement. Enzymes help digest food properly, enhancing not only digestive health, but overall holistic health.”<br /> <br /> * These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.