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Bill Downs
Bill Downs is an expert on diet and digestion.
Bill is the author of the Trafon (spell it backwards) blog

Bill has unsurpassed knowledge of how nutrients help the body heal. Involved with nutritional information for over 20 years, Bill has lectured worldwide, is a published author, and has penned a number of papers in cited peer-reviewed scientific journals. A recognized expert in his field , Bill has had over 75 TV , Radio and Newspaper interviews. Bill's five years of post-graduate education in Nutrition Science and Biological Chemistry along with his years of clinical experience as a nutrition consultant have given him great insight into the modern human condition, the needless suffering of people, and a profound appreciation for the body's miraculous capabilities to heal itself when properly supported by nutrition.

In The News

World Health Organization and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations states; probiotics are "live microorganisms which when administered in adequate amounts confer a health benefit on the host".

"In conclusion, probiotics act as an adjuvant in the prevention and treatment of a wide variety of chronic diseases" (from a paper presented by Broekaert and Walker of Harvard Medical School , Mucosal Immunology Laboratory, Massachusetts General Hospital for Children

Elderly people should take probiotic supplements, according to scientists.

One a Meal

What are enzymes?

Enzymes are substances that make life possible. They are needed for every chemical reaction that takes place in the human body. No mineral, vitamin or hormone can do any work without enzymes. They are the manual workers that build our bodies from proteins, carbohydrates, and fats.

Enzymes are present in every cell of every living entity. They aid in food digestion, energy production, tissue and organ repair, as well as toxic waste removal. An enzyme is a functional protein molecule whose main function is to catalyze (speed up) chemical reactions within the cells so that physiological processes can occur. These chemical reactions simply would not occur, or would go far too slowly to sustain life, if it weren’t for enzymes. The enzyme itself however is not changed during the reaction process. Each enzyme has a unique shape that determines its function. Enzymes are one of the most important factors for digestion and begin the digestive process. The process of digestion begins in the mouth, makes its way to the stomach and concludes in the small intestine. During this process, digestive enzymes break down specific types of food. Protease enzymes, for example, not only digest protein from food but also organisms that cause certain viruses and toxic bacteria. Amylase proteins break down carbohydrates into simple sugars like glucose and fructose. Lipase proteins digest fats and lipids. And cellulose proteins help with cellulose disintegration. Metabolic enzymes speed up chemical reactions within cells for detoxification and energy production. Superoxide dismutase (SOD) is an antioxidant that protects cells from a common free radical; and catalase breaks down hydrogen peroxide, a waste product caused from metabolism, and frees oxygen for use by the body

Digestive enzymes are a special class of enzymes that work in the stomach and intestinal tract to help you digest your food. That means they break down the major nutrients in foods – i.e. carbohydrates, fats and proteins – into molecules small enough for your body to absorb. Digestive enzymes are made by your body, but they can also be found in raw foods. Raw foods are specified because cooked foods don’t contain enzymes (heat destroys the enzymes in foods). Since most of your diet consist predominantly of cooked foods, that means your body must produce nearly all of the enzymes it needs to digest your foods. If you’re young and healthy, you may not have any difficulty producing sufficient enzymes for proper digestion. But as you age your body becomes less and less efficient at producing and retaining enzymes. Eventually, the daily demand of eating cooked and processed foods can outstrip your body’s ability to produce enough enzymes to properly digest foods. This can lead to digestive disorders like gas, bloating, indigestion and perhaps more serious conditions.

Your underlying goal therefore is to increase the capacity for better nutrient absorption through enhanced digestion ,thus avoiding the digestive disorders associated with poor digestion. One way to achieve this goal is by taking supplemental enzymes. However the activity of any digestive enzyme supplement presupposes that the enzymes in the supplement survive the acidity of the stomach.
Note: The proprietary delivery system found in Trafon OneAmeal™ guarantees that all it's ingredients , including the enzymes , are safely and effectively delivered to their proper optimal location along the digestive tract.

Types of Enzymes

  • Metabolic Enzymes:
    Over 4000 involved in synthesis, detoxification, movement, and cellular regulation Usually found within cells Not active orally

  • Digestive Enzymes:
    Approximately 22 digestive enzymes exist within the human body. They are complex proteins involved in the digestion process that stimulate chemical changes in other substances. As such , enzymes are critical to the digesting of proteins, carbohydrates, sugars and fats. Digestive enzymes include pancreatic enzymes, plant-derived enzymes, and fungal-derived enzymes. There are three classes of digestive enzymes: proteolytic enzymes (Proteases) needed to digest protein, Lipases needed to digest fat, and amylases (Carbohydrases) needed to digest carbohydrates. Found primarily in pancreas and GI tract.

    Types of Digestive Enzymes:

    • Proteases:

    • Break down large proteins into peptides, which in turn are degraded to amino acids:
      Pepsin, trypsin, chymotrypsin, "peptidase", elastase, papain , bromelain, ficin, actinidin.
    • Carbohydrases:

    • Complex carbohydrates degraded to simple sugars:
      Amylase, lactase, glucoamylase, cellulase, sucrase, maltase, galactosidase, glucanase, xylanase.
    • Lipases:

    • Triglycerides broken down to short-chain fatty acids:

    Digestive Issues Related to Lack of Enzymes

  • Gut Inflammation
  • Increased immune system problems
  • Food Allergies More Prevalent
  • Incomplete Food Digestion
    causing gas, bloating, indigestion

    While most of the general public is not educated on the benefits of enzymes, many who suffer from lactose intolerance or other common digestive ailments have found improvements by using enzymes. In several conditions that cause malabsorption, such as pancreatic insufficiency and cystic fibrosis, doctors sometimes prescribe digestive enzymes to improve absorption of food. Doctors often tell people to try using pancreatic enzymes with meals when they have symptoms of indigestion that cannot be attributed to a specific cause. In a double-blind study, microencapsulated pancreatic enzymes were shown to reduce gas, bloating, and fullness after a high-fat meal. (Suarez et al., 1999)

    Clinical Studies
    Below are abstracts of referenced clinical studies from the PubMed site , a service of the Unite States National Library of Medicine and the National Institute of Health.

    Pancreatic Supplements Reduce Symptomatic Response of Healthy Subjects to a High Fat Meal

    Suarez F, Levitt MD, Adshead J, Barkin JS.
    Minneapolis Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Minnesota 55417, USA.

    In a double-blind, crossover study, we determined whether microencapusulated pancreatic enzymes reduce postprandial symptoms experienced by healthy volunteers after ingestion of a high calorie, high fat meal. At 7 AM, 18 subjects ingested 185 g of cookies (1196 calories and 72 g of fat) with three pancrelipase capsules or a placebo. The severity of gastrointestinal symptoms and flatus passages were recorded for 15-17 hr, and end-alveolar samples were obtained hourly for 10 hr. Ingestion of pancreatic supplements was associated with a significant (P = 0.049) reduction in bloating over the entire recording period, and with significant reductions in bloating, gas, and fullness during the dinner to bedtime period. Pancreatic supplements had no significant effect on breath H2 or CH4 concentration. The finding that pancreatic supplements reduce postprandial symptoms in healthy subjects suggests that these supplements also might be beneficial in irritable bowel syndrome.

    Everything You Learned About Enzymes Was Wrong

    By William Wong N.D., PhD.
    Member World Sports Medicine Hall of Fame

    Think you know all about nutrition? OK, name the primary functions of proteolytic (protein eating) enzymes in the body? If you said digestion go to the rear of the class! Digestion is one of the last things a proteolytic enzyme does. While most of us can name the actions of every vitamin and herb in creation, 99% of the people in the natural health, pharmaceutical and even medical world don't know what enzymes really are, what they do, and how they are being used to help human function.

    First let talk about what an enzyme is – an enzyme is a large protein molecule that cleaves, cuts or eats specific pre-designated things (think of Pac Man with shark-like teeth). Depending on the programming of the “teeth”, the enzymes fit over certain substances in a lock and key fashion, cutting through one specific type of thing, a particular type protein let’s say, yet leaving undisturbed protein of a similar but slightly different type.

    Enzymes are essential as “bio catalysts”, in other words they speed the action of chemical reactions. Without enzymes involved in every cellular event in our bodies, the chemical reactions within us would be so slow as to make life as we know it impossible. There are some 3000+ enzymes in the human body, most of them of the proteolytic type. These 3000+ enzymes create between 7000 to 25000 different enzyme reactions. The 3000 enzymes themselves are created as a result of either our own enzyme production (which is finite in nature), or created from ingesting enzymes from our live or uncooked food.

    This leads us to two issues:

    1) Enzymes are heat sensitive. Temperatures of 105 to 125 degrees F kill enzymes and their related activity. So cooked foods have virtually nothing in the way of enzymes. Enzyme cultured in laboratories can be made with an increased resistance to heat both in terms of degrees and in terms of time exposed to higher temperatures but overall, the enzymes in food die from cooking.

    2) Many scientists and physicians in the US still believe that enzymes are too big to pass through the intestinal tract and get into the blood stream intact. Something the size of Pac Man when compared to the dots he eats cannot possibly be absorbed through the tiny pores of the intestinal membrane. This ignores the medically known fact that Salmonella, a molecule 5 times larger than the largest enzyme, easily passes through the intestinal wall to be absorbed whole (i.e. without being broken down and digested), into the blood stream. For those late bloomers here in the States – there are over 200 peer reviewed medical and university studies proving beyond the shadow of a doubt not only the absorption of enzymes but their medical therapeutic actions.

    By now you may be asking yourself just what do enzymes do? Let's take a look at the three major forms of basic enzymes in the body and look into the work they do. There are three major subdivisions of enzymes in the human system:
  • Proteases, which eat or breakdown protein.
  • Lipases, which eat or break down fats.
  • Amylases, which eat or breakdown carbohydrates.

    “Wait a minute”, you'll say, “that all sounds like digestion; I thought you said that digestion is the last thing an enzymes does”? Quite so; let’s look at what these enzymes are cleaving and where!

    Of the 3 enzymes listed, proteases and lipases have systemic functions. That means they perform jobs all over the body in most every system. Only amylase, the carbohydrate lysing (cleaving or eating) enzyme acts almost solely in digestion.

    The first thing the proteolytic enzymes do is to create what is known as the enzyme cascade. Most of the enzymes active in the reactions that occur body- wide are proteolytic in nature; that is, they are concerned with cleaving a type of specific protein or another (we have literally hundreds of different types and arrangements of proteins in our bodies). So the vast majority of the 7000 to 25,000 enzymatic reactions that need to happen within us are proteolytic in nature. Aside from the 25,000 possible reactions of protein eating enzymes science now knows, they have 5 primary functions:

    Natural Anti-Inflammatory

    They are the first line of defense against inflammation. (1,2,3). Inflammation is a reaction by the immune system to an irritation. Let’s say you have an injured right knee. The immune system sensing the irritation the knee is undergoing creates a protein chain called a Circulating Immune Complex (CIC for short), tagged specifically for that right knee. (The Nobel Prize in biology was won in 1999 by a scientist who found the tagging mechanism). This CIC floats down to the right knee and causes pain, redness and swelling – the classic earmarks for inflammation. This at first is a beneficial reaction; it warns us that a part of ourselves is hurt and needs attention. But, inflammation is self perpetuating, itself creating an irritation that the body makes CIC’s to in response!

    Aspirin, Ibuprofen, Celebrex, Vioxx and the rest of the Non Steroidal Anti Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDS) all work by keeping the body from making all CIC’s. This ignores the fact that some CIC’s are vital to life, like those that maintain the lining of the intestine and those that keep the kidneys functioning! Not to mention the fact that they, along with acetaminophen are highly toxic to the liver. Every year 20,000 Americans die from these over the counter drugs and another 100,000 will wind up in the hospital with liver damage, kidney damage or bleeding intestines from the side effects of these drugs. (4,5).

    Systemic enzymes on the other hand are perfectly safe and free of dangerous side effects. They have no LD-50, or toxic dose. (6). Best of all, systemic enzymes can tell the difference between the good CIC’s and the bad ones because hydrolytic enzymes are lock and key mechanisms and their “teeth” will only fit over the bad CIC’s. So instead of preventing the creation of all CIC’s, systemic enzymes just “eat” the bad ones and in so doing, lower inflammation everywhere and with that, pain is lowered also.

    Anti Fibrosis

    Enzymes eat scar tissue and fibrosis. (7). Fibrosis is scar tissue and most doctors learn in anatomy that it is fibrosis that eventually kills us all. Let me explain. As we age, which starts at 27, we have a diminishing of the body’s output of enzymes. This is because we make a finite amount of enzymes in a lifetime and we use up a good deal of them by the time we are 27. At that point the body knows that if it keeps up that rate of consumption we’ll run plum out of enzymes and be stone cold dead by the time we reach our 40’s. (Cystic Fibrosis patients, who have virtually no enzyme production to speak of, even as children, usually don’t make it past their 20’s before they die of the restriction and shrinkage in the lungs from the formation of fibrosis or scar tissue).

    So our body in it’s wisdom begins to dole out our enzymes with an eyedropper instead of with a tablespoon; the result is the repair mechanism of the body goes off balance and has nothing to reduce the over abundance of fibrin it deposits in nearly every thing from simple cuts, to the inside of our internal organs and blood vessels. It is then when most women begin to develop things like fibrocystic breast disease, uterine fibroids, endometriosis, and we all grow arterial sclerotic (meaning scar tissue) plaque, and have fibrin begin to spider web its way inside of our internal organs reducing their size and function over time. This is why as we age our wounds heal with thicker, less pliable, weaker and with very visible scars.

    If we replace the lost enzymes we can control and reduce the amount of scar tissue and fibrosis our bodies have. As physicians in the US are now discovering, even old scar tissue can be “eaten away” from surgical wounds, pulmonary fibrosis, kidney fibrosis even keloid years after its formation. Medical doctors in Europe and Asia have known this and used orally administered enzymes for such for over 40 years!

    Blood Cleansing

    The blood is not only the river of life, it is also the river through which the cells and organs dispose of their garbage and dead material. Enzymes improve circulation by eating the excess fibrin that causes blood to sometimes get as thick as catsup or yogurt creating the perfect environment for the formation of clots. All of this material is supposed to be cleaned off by the liver on “first pass” or the first time it goes through, but given the sluggish and near toxic or toxic state of everyone’s liver these days, that seldom happens. So the sludge remains in the blood, waiting for the liver to have enough free working space and enough enzymes to clean the trash out of the blood. This can take days, and for some folks, weeks! (8)

    When systemic enzymes are taken they stand ready in the blood and take the strain off of the liver by:

    Cleaning excess fibrin from the blood and reducing the stickiness of blood cells. These two actions minimize the leading causes of stroke and heart attack causing blood clots. (8).
    Breaking dead material down small enough that it can immediately pass into the bowel. (8).
    Cleanse the FC receptors on the white blood cells improving their function and availability to fight off infection. (9).

    And here we come to the only warning we have to give concerning the use of systemic enzyme – don’t use the product if you are a hemophiliac or are on prescription blood thinners like Coumadin, Heparin and Plavix. The enzymes cause the drugs to work better so there is the possibility of thinning the blood too much.

    Immune System Modulating

    Enzymes are adaptogenic, seeking to restore a steady state to the body. (9). When the immune system is running low we become susceptible to infectious disease; when it cranked up too high then the system creates antibodies that attack its own tissues as is seen in the auto immune diseases of MS, Rheumatoid Arthritis, and Lupus. Here therapeutic dosing of oral administered systemic enzymes will tone down immune function and eat away at the antibodies the immune system is making to attack its body’s own tissue.

    When the immune system is run down too low the enzymes increase immune response, producing more Natural Killer cells, and improving the efficiency of the white blood cells, all leading to improved immunity.

    Virus Fighting

    Viruses harm us by replicating in our bodies. To do this, a virus must bond itself to the DNA in our cells through the medium of its exterior protein cell wall. Anything that disrupts that cell wall inhibits the ability of that virus’s viral replication by rendering individual viruses inert. (10,11). Systemic enzymes can tell the difference between the proteins that are supposed to be in your body and those that are foreign or not supposed to be there, (again the enzyme lock and key mechanism). Even now the US Military has developed a proteolytic enzyme blend to be used as an anti biological warfare agent against Anthrax and viruses. (12 ).

    As can be seen the primary actions of proteolytic actions are impressive and hold great promise for health and medical applications.

    Though the bulk of body-wide enzyme reactions are proteolytic, the remaining systemic enzyme, lipase performs some important jobs as well. The most important action of lipase lends itself to service in a few different areas:

    Fat Loss / Energy Releasing By Dissolving Body Fat:

    Lipase breaks down body fat so that it can start the long drawn out process of becoming blood sugar. Unfortunately as we age our own production of enzymes decreases and with that our ability to turn fat into energy decreases also. This could be one of the reasons why it is so difficult to lose weight after thirty-five. Lipase supplementation could be used to cause the breakdown of body fat, helping its conversion into energy, while decreasing body weight and cholesterol. (13).

    Still think enzymes are used only for digestion? Stick around; there are a myriad of other uses and applications for systemic enzymes that will come to the fore in the near future. Enzymes are our most important nutrients!

    1) Bodhankar S.L., Et Al: Anti Inflammatory and Analgesic activity of Exclzyme-EN. Scientific Abstracts, 54th Indian Pharmaceutical Congress 2002, Pune.
    2) Mazzone A, et al.: Evaluation of Serratia peptidase in acute or chronic inflammation of otorhinolaryngology pathology: a multicentre, double blind, randomized trial versus placebo. J Int Med Res. 1990; 18(5):379-88.
    3) Kee W., H. Tan S, L., Lee V. Salmon Y. M.: The treatment of breast engorgement with Serrapeptase: a randomized double blind controlled trial. Singapore Med J. 1989:30(l):48-54.
    4) Celebrex article Wall Street Journal 19 April 1999.
    5) No author listed: Regular Use of Pain Relievers Can Have Dangerous Results. Kaleidoscope Interactive News, American Medical Association media briefing. July 24, 1997.
    6) Enzymes – A Drug of the Future, Prof. Heinrich Wrba MD and Otto PecherMD. Published 1993 Eco Med.
    7) Kakinumu A. et al.: Regression of fibrinolysis in scalded rats by administration of serrapeptase. Biochem. Pharmacol. 31:2861-2866,1982.
    8) Ernst E., Matrai A.: Oral Therapy with proteolytic enzymes for modifying blood rheology. Klin Wschr. 65 (1987), 994.
    9) Kunze R., Ransberger K., et at: Humoral immunomodulatory capasity of proteases in immune complex decomposition and formation. First International symposium on combination therapies, Washington, DC, 1991.
    10) Jager H.: Hydrolytic Enzymes in the therapy of HIV disease. Zeitschr. Allgemeinmed., 19 (1990), 160.
    11) Bartsch W.: The treatment of herpes zoster using proteolytic enzymes. Der Informierte Arzt. 2 (1974), 424-429.

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    Did You Know?

    You carry around three pounds of bacteria (both "good" and "bad" types) in your intestines every day of your life.?

    There are about 400 different species of bacteria residing in your digestive tract?

    That these bacterium number in the trillions?

    That PROBIOTICS (good bacterium) are an INTREGAL part of your digestive system and are ESSENTIAL for good health?

    That the ratio of good bacteria to bad in a HEALTHY gastrointestinal tract is 85 percent versus 15 percent, respectively?

    People over 60 have about 1,000-fold LESS "friendly" bacteria in their guts compared with other adults

    That your diet, prescription drugs (especially antibiotics), stress, and illnesses, can kill your essential good bacteria?

    That enzymes are present in every cell of your body?

    That enzymes are NECESSARY to your food digestion, energy production, tissue and organ repair, and toxic waste removal?

    That due to a nutrient depleted diet , most Americans lack sufficient types and quanities of CRITICAL to health levels of both enzymes and probiotics?

    That Trafon OneAmeal™ contains the hightest premium quality strains of HEALTH promoting probiotics and enzymes CRITICALLY required by your body?
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