I’m wrapping up the digestive enzyme series this week. If you haven’t had a chance to follow it the last 2 weeks, refer to the previous articles. Week 1: Week 2:


So far I’ve really tried to drive home that digestive enzymes, and our ability to break down food is paramount to living a healthier life. Here are some reasons with a little explanation of many different benefits we’ll receive through better digestion.


Digestive enzymes can improve your physical (and athletic) performance. The nutrients in food help to fuel our body. If we don’t break down our food properly or completely, the food we eat is not doing us as much good as we think. By taking digestive enzymes with our meals, or with our post workout recovery shakes, etc. we are ensuring more of those nutrients will be broken down enough to get into our blood. (That’s why someone drinking a raw protein shake with 20 grams of protein can see the same kind of recovery gains as someone eating a processed bar with 50 grams of protein after a workout.)


I mentioned the aloe vera juice in last week’s post because our stomach’s ability to produce adequate acid at optimal pH is the complimentary process to digestive enzymes.


Another key to excellent nutrient absorption are omega 3s. DHA is a critical component to the cell wall of our 50 trillion cells. The more optimal your omega 3 levels are, the more efficiently your individual cells (including those in your small intestine which uptake nutrients) will be at absorbing the nutrients from your food.


All this “proper digestion” talk is really all about one thing: Giving your body the proper vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, carbs, proteins and fats to perform at the highest level. You are not what you eat. You are what you ABSORB!


How can digestive enzymes help you be healthier? By breaking down your food better, and absorbing more total nutrition, you’ll get more from your food and can eat less. Sure, that could be a money saver, but more importantly can help keep you at a healthy weight. Eating less has many more benefits aside from less calories. Digestion is the most energy intensive process in our body, and by spending less time doing that, your body has more time for other things.


Perfect segue into my next point. I believe supplementing with digestive enzymes will help you live longer. I have mentioned systemic enzymes a few times over these articles. Your body makes digestive enzymes to break down food, but it also makes the thousands of other enzymes which help to regulate body functions including energy production, detoxification and cell replication.


We know that our body’s production capacity for digestive enzymes diminishes as we grow older. Therefore, it takes us longer to produce enough enzymes to break down our food. Systemic enzyme production is put on hold while digestive enzyme production ramps up for those big meals that aren’t 100% raw.


Each cell in our body is its own living being. Less systemic enzymes for detoxification for example mean that our cells have less energy production capacity, less ability to get metabolic waste out of the cell, less ability to detoxify heavy metals, free radicals, or even replicate as quickly and efficiently. By slowing down all these critical functions to focus on digesting cooked and processed food, we’re doing damage to ourselves. That’s why I say, WE DIE A LITTLE BIT QUICKER EVERY TIME WE EAT COOKED FOOD!


I’m not crazy. Eating 100% raw is not only hard, it may not be completely ideal either as some food’s nutrients are unlocked by cooking them. Eat more raw food whenever possible and take a digestive enzyme with as many meals containing cooked food as you can. Your body will thank you, your energy will be more stable, your body will be able to shed a few pounds, or put some muscle on if working out and you may just live longer!


Bonus Feature: Systemic enzymes are on the forefront of anti-aging science and disease treatment. Keep an eye out for exciting science to come in future years. Here are a couple really cool enzymes that I can share with you. Super Oxide Dismutase (SOD) is an enzyme which is possibly the most powerful antioxidant inside our body. Antioxidants are critical because even though we need oxygen for cell respiration, oxygen ages us. Yep, oxygen is critical to us living, but instrumental in us dying too. Google oxidative stress for more on this. SOD and more of it can help our cells to live healthier and live longer.


Telomerase is an enzyme which stimulates longer life. This is an oversimplification, so be sure to google telomeres and the enzyme telomerase for more. Basically, at the end of our strands of DNA are little follicles called telomeres. They are the most accurate thing we’ve found for an aging clock. We’re born with about 15,000 base pairs at the end of our DNA, and we die with about 5000 base pairs from what I’ve heard. Everything that happens in between is what ages us or keeps us alive. Stimulating telomerase production (which saves our telomeres) seems to be the future of anti-aging technology. If you’re into being healthy and living longer, this is the future!


Russ Marchewka’s commitment to better nutrition has earned him the nickname “Mr. Healthy” on the tour. He has spent the last eight years studying how nutrition affects his volleyball game. For more, visit his website, or connect with him on Facebook,


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