Papaya leaves

Papaya leaves


Enzymes are the body's labor force, performing every single function necessary for daily activities. Enzymes are required to keep humans, animals, plants and microorganisms alive. Enzymes direct, accelerate, modify or retard all body functions in a unique, step-by-step, safe and economic style.

The oldest recorded case of healing of cancer by enzymes in empirical medicine occurs in the Bible, Kings 11:20 Theologians believe that King Hezekiah was suffering from cancer. He implored God in tears to spare him. The text continues, "Then Isaiah (the prophet) told them to apply a fig-plaster; so they made one and applied it to the boil, and he recovered." King Hezekiah lived another 15 years.

The sap of the fig tree for wounds, the flesh of the papaya fruit, crushed pineapple or aloe leaf all contain large quantities of protein-dissolving enzymes and such poultices have been used by cultures in Africa, Asia, Australia, America and among the Mayas, Aztecs and Incas.

Today, with ongoing scientific investigation, around 3,000 enzymes are known to exist within the human body. Many thousands more yet undiscovered are believed to be responsible for keeping us alive. Within the sum total of our bodies, enzymes work constantly like a majestic orchestra conducting a splendid symphony in perfect harmony.( n1)
Since 1959 Dr. Karl Ransberger has worked with over 800 doctors throughout Europe and America, focusing on experimental and clinical research on the value of enzymes in fighting age-related, auto-immune and inflammatory diseases. Dr. R. Michael Williams has studied enzymes since 1962 and 10 years ago recognized the value of oral enzymes as therapy.

It has taken over 40 years of advanced research to develop effective oral enzyme formulations, which are the most powerful weapon we have against these diseases of age, and importantly, the ultimate prevention of age-related diseases.

Numerous studies underscore the therapeutic effects of enzymes in clinical management of acute injuries, such as athletic injuries or trauma.( n2) Their role in chronic conditions like arthritis, multiple sclerosis, diabetes and atherosclerosis is just now emerging. The aging process ensues as various networks in the body, either sequentially or concurrency, become compromised as the essential proteins and enzymes in circulation are depleted. As such, the structural support the body needs is progressively diminished with advancing age. Enzymes given as oral supplements could retard these age-related physiological changes.

This is a summary of the results of recent clinical trials that demonstrate the healing effects of proteolytic enzymes in chronic conditions, particularly rheumatic disease, and their potential use in the management of pain and in chronic diseases, including cancer and other age-related maladies.

Rheumatic diseases, including ankylosing spondylitis and soft-tissue rheumatism, are among the most common chronic ailments worldwide. Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is characterized by inflammation of the joints, particularly in phalangeal, carpal and tarsal joints, and the hinge joints between the proximal and distal portions of the extremities. Typically, the point involvement is symmetrical and is almost always progressive. Presently the treatment of RA includes medications such as chrisanol, D-penicillinamine and among others, methotrexate, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) and corticosteroids .

Whereas the former group of drugs may lead to cytotoxicity, the strong analgesic effects of NSAIDS and corticosteroids could effectively mask the progression of the disease such that it becomes considerably more resistant to treatment.( n3) The serious side effects particularly associated with persistent NSAIDS use include ulcerative bleedings and "ministrokes." These clinical findings make it imperative to explore alternative avenues of treatment for arthritic conditions. Numerous pre-clinical studies in animal model systems and human clinical trials in humans have shown that oral administration of a combination of proteolytic enzymes, comprising trypsin, chymotrypsin, papain and bromelain, helps manage arthritis with minimal side effects, if any.( n4-n8) Research has shown oral enzyme therapy to be as potent as NSAIDS in alleviating the severity of symptoms. Oral enzymes are much better tolerated, compared to NSAIDS, and side effects following prolonged use are virtually nonexistent.( n9)

The once controversial issue of absorption of macromolecules such as enzymes has been satisfactorily resolved. There may be several mechanisms by which orally ingested enzymes are efficiently absorbed.( n10) The nutritional value of the absolute amounts of enzymes absorbed in the gastrointestinal tract remains a moot point. From a corrective/preventive perspective, however, the absorption of intact, functionally active enzymes is, in fact, relevant, since not only are significant amounts of the enzymes absorbed, but the biological activity is retained.( n11)

How does an enzyme cocktail help manage the symptoms of arthritis? Among the key processes involved in the origination and development of arthritis are increased levels of inflammatory cytokines, e.g., interleukins 1 Beta and 6, and tumor necrosis factor-a- in the synovia or synovial joints that, in turn, cause activated leukocytes to migrate to the synovia. These activated immune cells attack cartilage.( n12) Ideally then, each of the steps in this pathway should be prevented and/or neutralized for a therapeutic regimen to be effective. That is precisely what proteolytic enzymes accomplish. The enzyme mixture reduces the absolute amounts of pro-inflammatory cytokines and inhibits the influx of activated immune cells into synovia by suppressing their activation. Thus, oral enzyme therapy enlists the available means in the body to initiate the healing process.( n13)

Enzyme therapy might be viewed as a "mild" immunosuppressant compared to corticosteroids or other immune suppressors, such as methotrexate. Oral enzyme therapy works best over longer periods of time as a preventive regimen. In acute episodes, the use of NSAIDS is very common, but oral enzymes in therapeutic doses has only recently become widely used, mainly in Europe. The effectiveness of proteolytic enzymes lies in alleviating the ravages of the disturbed defense mechanisms, resulting in autoimmunity over extended periods. There is an impressive body of data to suggest that much of the degeneration with accelerated aging may be due to subclinical autoimmune disease.( n14) If pre-clinical symptoms of devastating disease lay dormant only to develop into sudden and intense symptoms following (an) intra-or epi-cellular trigger(s) (Fig. 1), a preventive regimen is the most practical route to forestall the emergence of chronic disease. It is not entirely inconceivable that such an elementary mechanism might, in fact, prevail in the pathogenesis of most of the chronic diseases where a sub-pathological, latent state persists before the overt symptoms are clinically discernible. Among the more common examples of such sub-clinical conditions could well be fibromyalgia and age-associated pain due to decades of wear and tear.

While the triggering factors prevalent in the onset of chronic pain remain by and large obscure, the role of persistent inflammation cannot be ruled out. Prescription of NSAIDS is thought to be helpful if only for the analgesic effects. But the resulting insomnia may annul the benefits because the chronic pain is aggravated by non-restorative sleep. Without doubt pain is a complex phenomenon with physical, chemical and emotional components.( n15) In clinical studies a proteolytic enzyme cocktail effectively moderates pain in athletic injuries and hastens the recovery process. It is reasonable to deduce that oral enzyme therapy could be helpful in management of chronic pain as well.( n2, n16) Clearly more detailed and definitive studies should establish the efficacy of oral enzymes in age-associated pain, even pain due to chronic diseases such as cancer.

NSAIDS for pharmacological management of "mild" pain in chronic diseases is routine clinical practice. Oral enzyme therapy provides similar relief without the analgesic and other side effects of NSAIDS. Complications associated with NSAIDS include renal failure, hepatic dysfunction, bleeding and gastric ulceration that could become debilitating. Enzyme therapy does not provide the proverbial magic bullet but rather its efficacy becomes manifest by adherence to longer term regimens (vice infra). This delayed response makes oral enzyme therapy a useful preventive approach to help minimize, if not avert, the toll that the aging process exacts on the human body.

Aging ensues as the complex cascade of physiological networks in the body are compromised. The result is the onset of various illnesses, which are transitory enough in the early stages but fester if left unattended.

Thus, with aging, in apparently as minor a finding such as progressive reduction in the stomach acid could lead to difficulty in enzymatic digestion. Likewise the oxidative load on the body increases and individuals lose immunocompetence. Free radicals are a particularly pernicious group of molecular entities that contribute to the crosslinking of structural proteins. Sagging, wrinkled skin provides an example of such cross-linking, which is made worse by unrelenting environmental assaults and decreased enzymatic activity.

Recently the presence of the so-called advanced glycation endproducts (AGEs) has been reported, not only in adult-onset diabetes patients but also in the elderly population.

The formation of AGEs is due to increased circulating blood glucose levels. The elderly are less proficient in processing dietary sugar so that it remains in the bloodstream for prolonged periods of time. Circulating proteins are modified and, i.e. glycosylated. AGEs become hotbeds of free radical production,( n17) which interferes with glycation of critical proteins.

The reasonably high absorption rate of orally ingested enzymes retaining their biological activity suggests that dispensation of oral enzymes as a preventive measure over a long period of time could potentially break down the intra- and inter-protein crosslinks. While a certain percentage of absorbed proteolytic enzymes will be engaged in a productive binding with antiproteases, the remainder would remain free and therefore would catalytically disintegrate the cross-links (op. cit., Fig. 2). As such, proteolytic enzyme combination could provide a bona fide anti-aging tool not onlt to hold the aging process at bay but also to help alleviate some of the more damaging manifestations of the aging process.
Oral enzyme therapy has had an impressive pedigree for over 40 years which include substantiated patient cohorts. Numerous lines of investigation show the beneficial effects of proteolytic enzymes in a variety of human afflictions from heart disease and renal failure to rheumatoid and osteoarthritis, to name just a few.( n18) A large number of prospective, placebo-controlled and often double-blind clinical trials have established the efficacy of oral enzyme therapy versus traditional therapies. These studies have been rigorously analyzed and shown to be statistically significant. Oral enzyme therapy may well be poised to enter another potentially exciting phase in its application as an anti-aging modality.

Figure 1. An Hypothetical Model of Sub-Acute Immunity: In autoimmune disease, sub-clinical immunity may prevail before it clinically presents itself. A trigger may initiate the immune system, which results in progressive increase in autoimmunity. Over longer periods of time, the numbers of activated leukocytes increase, and once a critical threshold is reached, frank symptoms develop. Similar mechanisms contribute to the pathogenesis of a majority of chronic diseases.

Figure 2. Proteolytic Enzymes and AGES: With age the turnover of sugar is compromised. As a result, circulating proteins are glycated, and the resulting advanced glycation endproducts lose their structural flexibility, and their function is compromised. More important, the AGEs produce free radicals. Proteolytic enzymes after absorption should bind non specifically to the aggregates and desegrate the complexes.


(n1) Lopez, D., Williams, R., Miehlke, K, "Enzymes: The Fountain of Life," The Neville Press, Inc., Munich, Germany (1994).

(n2) Schedler, M. Townsend Letter for Doctors and Patients (February/March, 1998). pp. 80-2.
(n3) Mazourov, V., Lila, A., Klimko, N., N., Riamuev, K,, Makulova, T. "The Efficacy of Systemic Enzyme Therapy in the Treatment of Rheumatoid Arthritis," Intl. J., Immunotherapy (1997). Vol. XIII pp. 85-91.
(n4) Emancipator, S., Chintalacharuvu, S., Urankar, N., Petersilge, C., Stauder, G. "Effects of oral Enzymes in Collagen II Induced Arthritis in Mice," Intl. J. Immunotherapy (1997) Vol. Vol. pp. 67-74.

(n5) Uffelmann, K. "Therapy of Epicondylitis Lateralis Humeri with Oral Enzymes," in preparation.
(n6) Klein, G., Kullich, W. "Treatment of Painful Gonarchritis with Oral Enzymes: A randomized, Double-Blind Study vs. Diclofenac," submitted for publication.

(n7) Steffen, C., Menzel, J. "Grundlagenuntersuchungen zur Enzymtherapie bei Immunkomplexkrankheiten," Wien. Klin. Wschr. (1985). Vol. 97 pp. 525-8.

(n8) Miehlke, K. "Enzymtherapie bei rheumaoider Arthritis," Natur-und Gesundheitsmedizin(1988) Vol. pp. 108-12.
(n9) Wrba, H., Pecher, O. "Enzymes: A Drug of the Future," Ecomed Verlagsgesellschaft AG & Co. KG, Landsberg/Lech, Germany (1997). pp. 110-30.

(n10) Kolac, C., Streichhan, P, Lehr, C.-M. "Oral Availability of Proteolytic Enzymes," Eur. J. Pharm. Biopharm (1996). Vol. 42 pp. 222-32.

(n11) Seufert, J., Siebrecht, P., Lange, J. "Quantitative Untersuchungen zur Resorption von Trypsin, Chymotrypsin, Amylase, papain und Pankraetin aus dem Magen-Darm-Trakt nach oraler Applikation," Allg. Med. (1990) Vol. 19 pp. 132-7.

(n12) Kunze, R., Ransberger, K., Stauder, G., Gebauer, F. "Proteolytic Enzymes Modulate the Clq Binding Capacity of Fixed Immunocomplexes in vitro," Eur. J. Inf. Immunol. Dis. (Suppl. 1996).1 pp. 17-29.
(n13) Lopez, et al. Ibid.

(n14) Clark, W.R. "The Double-Edged Sword of Immunity: At War Within," Oxford University Press, New York, New York (1995).

(n15) Modolfsky, H. "Sleep, Neuroimmune and Neuroendocrine Functions in Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome," Adv. Neuroimmunol. (1995). Vol. 5 pp. 39-56.

(n16) Baumueller, M, Metken, J. "Treatment of Sports Injuries with an Oral Enzyme Combination," Eur. J. Inf Immunol. Dis. (Suppl. 1996). Vol. 1 pp.3-8.

(n17) Schmidt, A., Hori, O., Brett, J., Yan, S., Wautier, J.-L., Stern, D. "Cellular Receptors for Advanced Glycation Endoproducts," Arteriosclerosis end thrombosis (1994). pp. 1551-68.
(n18) Pecher, O. "Oral Enzymes: Basic Information and Clinical Studies," Mucos Pharma gmbH, Geretsried, Germany, Second Ed. (1996).
By Karl Ransberger, Ph.D., President, Medical Enzyme Research Institute, Munch, Germany and R. Michael Williams, M.D., Ph.D., Senior Medical Director and Chief Medical Officer, Cancer Treatment Centers of America, Arlington Heights, Illinois

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Fight Cancer "Down There"

Seasonal specialties can help

Getting the highest amount of folate from foods slashed colon cancer risk in men and women and rectal cancer in men by 30%, according to a 7-year study of more than 120,000 people (Cancer, Oct 2002). The colon and rectum are the third most common sites for new tumors, and these cancers rank third among cancer deaths in the US.
Tempt your tastebuds with these luscious high-folate foods that are plentiful right now:


Best when compact and firm. Steam; pull leaves through your teeth to extract the flesh.


Distinct aroma when ripe. Scoop right out of the rind.


Look for firm, spot-free skin. Tasty peeled and sliced.
By Holly McCord, RD
with Gloria McVeigh
Holly McCord is Prevention's nutrition editor.