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Posted on 08-18-2016

Autoimmune / Neurological Conditions and Enzymes

Our immune system functions through a complex system of checks and balances to ensure that harmful substances are cleared from the body while the ‘good’ necessary tissues and organs are left alone. However, sometimes this intricate system breaks down and the body starts attacking itself, or attacking normally beneficial substances in the body. Common auto-immune conditions include:

  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Parkinson's
  • Hashimoto’s
  • Chronic Fatigue
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Cancer
  • Arthritis
  • Ulcerative colitis/IBS

No one is completely sure what causes particular autoimmune diseases although a mixture of genetics, environment, and maybe pathogens is involved. Which symptoms actually appear may depend on a combination of the individual’s environment, experiences, and biochemistry, and which major organs or parts of the body are affected.

Currently, no cures for most autoimmune diseases exist. However, many good treatments are available that allow you to live around the condition, have a good life, and prevent the situation from worsening. A two-sided approach includes adding supplements to keep the immune system strong and avoiding things that stress it. Digestive enzymes, particularly proteases, may be quite helpful in improving auto-immune system related conditions.

A key source of problems with autoimmune conditions is inflammation, which causes much of the associated pain. If inflammation persists, tissue is destroyed. Managing and controlling inflammation goes a long way towards limiting the damage caused by an autoimmune condition. Proteases are very effective for controlling inflammation.

One of the problems with medications commonly used for autoimmune conditions is they often suppress the immune system. The thinking is that since the immune system is waging the attack on the body, then suppressing the immune system reduces the problem. However, slowing or suppressing the immune system will also prevent the body from its natural ability to protect itself from invaders. Now you are left open to developing other illnesses. This is one of the major blessings of using a natural substance such as digestive enzymes.

Enzymes are very effective at building up the immune system while at the same time decreasing inflammation, all with none of the side-effects of many medications. Enzyme therapy has an excellent track record in the treatment of many types of autoimmune diseases.

A substantial amount of research has found that there are compounds called circulating immune complexes which build up in auto-immune conditions. Under normal healthy conditions, these complexes are eliminated from the body immediately. Where there system isn't working properly, these complexes persist and may settle in different parts of the body. Where they settle may be different in different conditions. For example, in arthritis, these complexes tend to settle in the joints. Or in fibromyalgia it may be the tissue surrounding the joints. In Multiple Sclerosis, it may be the muscle or nerve tissue. When this happens, the complexes can cause inflammation and tissue damage. These complexes can also contribute to cancers. Testing shows many people with autoimmune diseases have a much higher number of these immune complexes, either lodged in tissue, in circulation, or both.

Research since the 1970s has shown that eliminating these immune complexes improves many conditions including the ones listed here. Enzymes are one way to eliminate these all-important immune complexes. Certain mixtures of hydrolytic enzymes, including proteases, lipases, and amylases have reduced the number of circulating immune complexes in past studies (Stauder 1990; Stauder et al 1989; Ransberger et al 1988; Targoni, Tary-Lehmann, and Lehmann 1999). Enzymes work by breaking up the harmful complexes and activating the macrophages, which gobble up and destroy the intruders. This ends the vicious cycle that leads to deterioration and many chronic disorders.

The idea behind using enzyme therapy to correct the autoimmune function is that you are not just treating symptoms, you are helping to re-establish the correct regulation and support of the immune system.  Some German clinical studies demonstrate that immune complex dysfunctions might be effectively relieved with enzymes, which target the formation of the immune complexes. There are very encouraging results with Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis. This is very good because such conditions have been hard to treat with known medicines. It is believed that the chronic inflammation involved in these conditions is triggered by immune complexes being deposited in the intestinal tissue.

Fiasse, R., Lurhuma, A.Z., Cambiaso, C.L., Masson, P.L., and Dive, C. (1978) ‘Circulating immune complexes and disease activity in Crohn’s disease.’ Gut 19:611–617.

Hodgson, H.J.F., Potter, B.J., and Jewell, D.P. (1977) ‘Immune complexes in ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease.’ Clinical and Experimental Immunology 29:187–196.

Kre, I., Kojecky, Z., Matouskova, I., and Benysek, L. (1980) ‘Crohn’s disease, serum immunodepressive factors, and circulating immune complexes.’ Bollettino Dell’Istituto Sieroterapico Milanese 59:619–624.

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