Enzymes: Your Metabolic and Anabolic Pit Crew
Because of all the accumulated data concerning the healing and restorative capabilities of enzymes, they have emerged from the shadows, once considered to be of little use to resistance training individuals to anabolic forces that makes it all happen, meaning, growth, recovery, protein synthesis, fat-burning, nutrient storage, digestion and energy production. When you take a closer look at these guys, you quickly realize there isn’t a metabolic or anabolic process that enzyme’s aren’t involved with, up to and including determining how well all those power supplements you take like creatine, glutamine and whey protein work. In fact, Dr. Lita Lee, Ph.D. a well-known 30year bio-chemical and medical researcher and author of The Enzyme Cure, adamantly reminds us that without the presence of enzymes, many vitamins, minerals and other nutrients, as well as hormones are all powerless to elicit their intended metabolic response.
Quite Please -Anabolic Intelligence at Work
To regulate over 4000 known anabolic processes the cumulative data indicates that enzymes are biologically active, packed with amino acids and jacked with energy, which is what sets them apart from other proteins. The four basic enzymatic categories and the nutrients they breakdown or extract energy from are proteases (proteins), lipases (fats), amylases (carbohydrates) and cellulases (fibers/cellulos). From a physiological standpoint and how they work in the body enzymes are classified as metabolic (enzymes that run the body), digestive (enzymes that breakdown foods) and raw food enzymes that initiate digestion.
Bio-chemically, enzymes catalyze chemical reactions, meaning they regulate and determine the chemical and physiological changes that biological raw materials must undergo. This unique natural aspect of enzymes could be compared to locks attached to various metabolic and anabolic pathways throughout the body. However, within the built in communication system of these 5000 enzymes, like a giant jigsaw puzzle they piece together and interlock, essentially forming the correct group of enzymes or in practical terms here, the right biological keys to turn on various chemical reactions that sustain an array of metabolic and anabolic protocols.
Bottom line here, without enzymes there is no potential for growth and or repair.
Without these metabolic and anabolic fires starters the human physiological system would exist as a jumbled mass of powerless chemicals. In their absence many metabolic reactions would take an enormous amount of time to occur, essentially being stuck in-limbo somewhere out there in the twilight zone.
The Systemic Effect on Muscle Recovery
Body building icon Lee Labrada reminds us that growth doesn’t occur when you are in the gym, but out of it. This is why that initial period right after working out is so critical. It is here where sports medicine researchers contend that bodybuilders can greatly benefit from oral supplementation of enzymes. Because of their universal impact to promote healing everywhere, researchers discovered that contrary to a enzymes first responsibility to digest and breakdown foods, when taken on an empty stomach these guys change their Clark Kent image and mentally to that of Super Enzymes, systemically, meaning all over, looking for and destroying inflammatory miscreants in the blood to hasten muscle recovery. For example, proteases (the enzymes that breakdown protein) such as bromelain, (derived from pineapple) and papain (derived from the papaya plant)are very effective at blocking inflammatory signals, preventing muscle soreness and speeding muscle recovery. In fact, in a recent study appearing in the Journal of Strength Conditioning and Research, investigators reported that subjects administered 5.83g of a proteolytic supplement composed of bromelain and papain for 21 days recovered significantly faster after performing isokinetic extension and flexion of quadriceps, followed by a 45 minute downhill run.
These investigators determined that protease supplementation rejuvenates muscle power shortly after exercise accelerating the recovery of loss muscle strength by regulating leukocyte (white blood cell) activity and the reduction of inflammatory chemicals.
Proteases Safeguard the Anabolic Environment
Related studies also indicate that proteolytic enzymes breaks down fibrin, a network of fibrous protein in which blood cells become trapped. When fibrin accumulates at the site of injured tissues it prevents proper drainage of muscle wasting chemicals and healing. This mishap also prevents the proper circulation of clean fresh blood and oxygen to working muscles. Other recovery processes mediated by protease enzymes include blood coagulation (to make or become semisolid) , strengthening immune function, maturation of pro-hormones, bone formation, digesting dead and damaged cells, recycling cellular proteins that are no longer needed, to reducing stress in the pancreas and regulating insulin secretion. Protease enzymes also increase circulation, dissolve blood clots, as well as building muscle proteins.
Enzymes and Fat Metabolism
Although not highly publicized enzymes play a critical role in proper fat metabolism and its digestion. The enzyme lipase breaks down fats and regulates lipolysis, the chemical break down of body fat. While not readily discussed enough in weight loss, obesity, and bodybuilding circles, Dr. David Galton of the School of Medicine at Tufts University presented compelling evidence that to stay lean, begins and ends with increased enzyme activity. He reminds usthat fully undigested fats leave a film on food stuffs and other nutrient compounds, hampering there proper breakdown and metabolism. Accordingly, without adequate enzymes within fat and muscle tissue, fat stagnates turning the proper disposal of them into a partial process. This aspect of floating fat-fragments was recently confirmed by researchers at the American Diabetes Association. These scientists found that the toxic effects of additional fat fragments severely inflamed surrounding tissue increasing bouts of insulin resistance in diabetic patients. This abnormality was further clarified by researchers at the Division of Preventive Medicine, at Columbia University who reported that there is a definitive regulatory role of a enzyme named DGAT1 in inhibiting insulin sensitivity, specifically in slow-twitch muscle fibers which discouraged insulin resistance in subjects administered high-fat diets.
Fat Fragments and the Athletes Paradox
As you know anaerobic short-burst resistance or power lifting engages the fast-twitch muscle fibers. Slow-twitch fibers, on the other hand contain more mitochondria (cells that make energy) and myoglobin (the iron- and oxygen-binding protein found in muscle tissue) which extends muscle power. The problem here, when enzyme activity is compromised, increased fat deposition in skeletal muscle causes insulin resistance and paradoxically is accompanied by what researchers refer to as repartitioning of skeletal muscle lipid content, as intramyocellular triglyceride levels rise. This mishap or phenomenon is referred to as the athlete’s paradox.
The Athletes Paradox and the Enzyme Connection
As a point of reference here, intramyocellular lipids are fats stored in droplets in muscle cells. When you workout a large amount of circulating free fatty acids are directed into muscle cells for energy. However, during rest, incoming fatty acids are stored in the muscle cell as triglycerides for later burning. However, it is a known medical fact that excessive accumulation of intramyocellular fats causes muscle insulin resistance, contributing to aberrant (deviating from what is normal or desirable) metabolism of fats as seen in cases of obesity and diabetes. In practical terms here, while the body is trying to help supply your muscles with an extra energy source, namely fat, this build up results in reduced burning of those fats, even when you are engaged in routine exercise protocols, hence the term the athletes paradox. Accordingly, the researchers in the study above at Columbia University state that to counter this anomaly is with increased enzyme activity. The subjects in their study who engaged in routine exercise protocols saw significant overall improvement in their metabolic profile (reduced insulin resistance and fat deposition) evidenced by increased activity of metabolic enzymes. Other studies into this phenomenon show that with the inclusion of exogenous enzymes also results in enhanced substrate (a substance acted upon by an enzyme) delivery to muscle tissues as well as increased nutrient storage capacity of muscle tissue.
Bottom line here, without increased metabolic enzyme activity that anabolic spike of insulin via carbohydrates designed to drive nutrients like glutamine, BCAA’s and protein into the muscle at post-workout can be severely hampered. Instead of insulin acting as the most anabolic hormone in your body, it shifts gears slowing down metabolic processes and turning you into a fat-storage machine, even though you are working diligently to reduce body-fat. A dilemma many athletes, fitness enthusiast and resistance training individuals experience, but don’t quite make the connection.
Enzymes Protein Synthesis and the Steroid Affect
As you know protein synthesis is the process in which cells build new proteins. This process of synthesizing a protein chemically from an mRNA template or blueprint is referred to by biochemist as Translation. For clarification here, messenger RNA (mRNA) is a large family of ribonucleic acid molecules that transfer and transmit genetic information from DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) to the ribosome , the place where the construction sequence of various proteins and amino acids based on their gene expression takes place. As you know, gene expression is the process by which a gene's coded information is converted into the various structures operating within a cell.
Enzymes: Governing the Perfect Anabolic Storm
Interestingly, in a recent study appearing in Microbiology and Molecular Biology Reviews researchers summarize the process of protein synthesize as chemically being ignited by twenty enzymes, referred to as aminoacyl tRNA synthetase. Chemist refer this ignition switch that jumpstarts protein synthesis as charging or loading the tRNA with amino acids. Once the tRNA is charged, a ribosome transfers the amino acid from the tRNA onto a growing peptide or connecting bonds of amino acids, essentially accelerating the production of new protein, as instructed by there own biological blueprint or genetic code. As a note here, ribosomes are enormous submicroscopic clusters of proteins and RNA in the cytoplasm (the place where the complex chemical compounds and structures of living cells reside), that takes part in the manufacture of new proteins.
Enzymes: Making Protein to Make Muscle
Forget the scientific jargon above, but remember this connection to and interaction of enzymes with the ribosome’s is what has given enzymes the tag as the steroids of the future by forward thinking sports nutritional researchers. Not only do these guys do the work, they carry the intelligence that allow you to make all the muscle protein you need as well as supplying the impetus that allows other nutrients and supplements to do their metabolic and anabolic thing. To further clarify this point, researchers recently at the Karolina Institute in Sweden discovered that supplementing enzymes along with branch chain amino acids at post –workout not only improved recovery, but also heightened rates of protein synthesis exponentially for up to 48 hours. Moreover, in a study appearing in Fundamental Clinical Pharmacology researchers found that when enzymes interfered with the expression of intestinal proteins labeled CYP3A4 and P-glycoprotein that accelerate oxidation (destruction) of nutrients, increased nutrient concentrations in the blood and surrounding muscle tissues occurred .
Your Anabolic/ Enzyme Potential
Dr. Anthony J. Cichoke, author of the Complete Book of Enzyme Therapyreminds us that once an enzyme is manufactured its power last for only about 20 minutes. However, as an enzymes power like a battery dissipates, the body quickly dissolves it and makes another power packed one to replace it. This renewal cycle is referred to by enzyme researchers as the Law of Adaptive Secretion of Enzymes, a theory formulated by Dr. Edward Howell, M.D. of Northwest University who initially introduced enzyme therapy treatments to the US in the 1920’s. Today researchers know that this potential to produce an unlimited supply of healthy power –packed enzymes isn’t unlimited. In fact, as the body ages, the enzymes created by the body aren’t quite as powerful.
Maintaining Your Full Enzymatic Potential
Because of this, the body seeks to limit unnecessary disbursement of these anabolic fire-starters, prompting nutritional researchers today to contend that the best way to help the body maintain the healing and metabolic potential of enzymes is to ensure that large quantities of live enzyme packed raw nuts, seeds, fruits, vegetables and oral supplementation of preferable plant based enzymes occur judiciously.
In fact, as cited by Dr. Ellen Cutler, M.D., the author of Micro- Miracles: Discover the Healing Power of Enzymes, over- consumption of dead enzymes-less foods (red meats, cooked, frozen and all processed foods) forces the body to shift from an enzyme based metabolic mode to a digestive one. By the same token, sports medicine researchers now conclude that this disruption of metabolic enzyme activity, has a direct impact on a resistance training individual’s ability to physiologically realize their full anabolic potential.
Suggested Intake: take a plant based multiple enzyme formula before and after a workout. A separate digestive formula that focuses on various nutrient categories should be taken with meals.
The data definitively shows that when the need for digestive enzyme production decreases, the production and activity of metabolic enzymes increases, and so does your full anabolic potential.