Enzyme Therapy

Enzymes are a type of protein used by the body to perform chemical reactions. Enzymes break down food in the digestive tract and carry out essential chemical functions in the rest of the body. It is claimed that treatment with enzymes is beneficial for many diseases, including multiple sclerosis (MS).

Enzyme therapy has a long history. In one form of possible enzyme therapy, the Indians of Central America and South America traditionally use the leaves and fruit of papaya trees and the fruit of pineapples to treat inflammatory conditions. John Beard, a Scottish embryologist, first used enzyme therapy for cancer treatment in 1902. During the 1920s, Dr. Edward Howell claimed that consuming large amounts of enzymes was a way to help the body not deplete its own natural enzyme supply. In Germany, during the 1960s and 1970s, enzyme treatment was recommended for MS, cancer, viral infections, and a variety of inflammatory conditions. Enzyme therapy was promoted by Drs. Max Wolf and Karl Ransberger.

Two major types of enzyme therapy are used. In digestive enzyme therapy, advocates claim that digestive enzyme supplements improve the breakdown of food, increase nutrient absorption, and decrease the accumulation of toxins. Through these mechanisms, enzyme therapy is believed to effectively treat hundreds of diseases and maintain health. In the other type of enzyme therapy, systemic enzyme therapy, it is believed that special enzyme preparations pass through the stomach undigested and then are absorbed into the bloodstream from the intestines. Whether this process occurs, and whether it offers any benefit, is unproven. It is claimed that enzyme therapy has been used by many well-known public figures, including Charlie Chaplin, Marlene Dietrich, J. Edgar Hoover, Aldous Huxley, members of the Kennedy family, Marilyn Monroe, and Pablo Picasso.

Enzyme therapy was under much scrutiny in the United States during the 1980s. In 1986, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) ordered one company, Enzymatic Therapy, Inc., to discontinue its published research bulletins because of false claims. Subsequently, the FDA

continued to monitor informational seminars and material produced by the company. In 1992, the use of false claims by the company was prohibited by a court order.

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