The Many Functions of Proteolytic Enzymes

Your body contains over 3,000 different enzymes, and each plays a vital health role. The vast majority of metabolic enzymes (enzymes that help regulate everything) in your body are proteolytic enzymes or proteases. Digestive proteolytic enzymes expedite the chemical breakdown of proteins in food by breaking them into amino acids. Amino acids are the building blocks of your body, and that’s why this process is very important. Even the enzymes themselves are composed of protein.

Various proteolytic enzymes meet both metabolic and digestive needs in the body. Proteases that function as digestive enzymes are produced by the stomach and pancreas. There are also some enzymes in saliva that help break down certain substances in food.

Apart from digestion of dietary protein, proteolytic enzymes (as endogenous metabolic enzymes) play an important role in many other metabolic processes such as blood clotting, cell division, protein recycling, and immune function. Metabolic enzymes are found in the cells and tissues of the body. The body manufactures these enzymes from the amino acids derived from the digestive process; the breakdown of food proteins into amino acids that can be used by the body for building proteins. Therefore, your body will need a healthy supply of proteolytic enzymes to maintain optimal health.

When taken between meals so that it is not used in the digestion process, bromelain, another proteolytic enzyme, can be absorbed intact from the intestine into the bloodstream where the body can utilize the enzyme to address various issues. In this instance, these proteolytic enzymes are called “systemic enzymes.”

Proteolytic enzymes are especially beneficial when it comes to recovery. These enzymes are very effective at supporting your body’s post-exercise tissue breakdown, which in turn, helps decrease the recovery period after a strenuous workout.

These enzymes are also effective when it comes to supporting the immune system. Proteases make your body’s killer cells more powerful. They are also able to break down pathogens that often hinder the normal immune functions. When pathogenic immune complexes occur in large numbers, they can cause serious problems. However, because proteolytic enzymes prevent their formation, they help boost your immune system.

In a perfect world, you would eat raw and unprocessed foods that are high in active enzymes, but it’s not a perfect world. Much of the food you consume is enzyme deficient due to processing and cooking, which can destroy the natural enzymes present in food; therefore, your body has to divert the production of metabolic proteases to produce larger amounts of pancreatic enzymes to help break down the “dead” (enzymatically speaking) food in your diet. While your body can handle this easily in the short term, long-term consequences can be severe. It can lead to a weakened immune system and reduced athletic performance. Supplementing with a proteolytic enzyme supplement such as Rebound from New Earth, which contains both plant and animal-based proteases, can help offset this deviation and restore balance.