INFLAMMATION AND ENZYMES
Kyle Grimshaw-Jones ND, RT www.conscioushealing.com.au
1. Inflammation in its acute form is a natural response to tissue injury, and is part of how the body repairs damaged tissue. It is characterized by redness, soreness, limited movement, and swelling.
2. One aspect of inflammation is the presence of damaged capillaries (very small blood vessels) in the damaged/repairing tissue.
3. Plasma proteins, sodium ions, blood cells and other blood components leak out (extravasate) from these damaged capillaries into the intercellular spaces, thus creating pain, congestion, and swelling.
4. To minimize this, Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation have become the standard practice. Rest minimizes muscle movement in the area, thereby limiting arterial inflow into the area. Ice keeps the tone in the tissue, decreases arterial inflow, and slows the metabolism of the tissue. Compression prevents the area from swelling, minimizing the leakage from the damaged capillaries into the tissue spaces. Elevation also limits arterial inflow into the area, and increases drainage of the area through the lymphatic and venous systems.
5. To avoid exacerbating the extravasation of blood into the tissue spaces, it is important to avoid puncturing the area, deep pressures, heat, excessive stretching or mobilization, or vasodilating drugs/nutrients/liniments. If used, these can make the inflammation worse.
6. Tissue congestion must be removed by the lymphatic and venous systems in order for the tissue to heal properly. These are moved by oscillating pressure differentials. These are produced by alternating muscular contraction and relaxation, alternating pressure and suction, alternating in and out breath (respiration), gentle stroking towards the heart, and smooth muscle peristalsis surrounding the lymphatic vessels, which is determined by proper nerve supply from the spine.
7. Immediate and unrelenting compression for a long time on an injured area will sometimes result in ABSOLUTELY NO SWELLING after an injury that would otherwise swell greatly, as capillary leakage into the damaged tissue is prevented from the outset. For more information on this, refer to Samuel West's book on lymphology, The Golden Seven Plus One.
8. Consider that both dehydration and salt deficiency (Celtic Sea Salt is recommended) can induce heightened histamine responses, resulting in excessive/unregulated inflammatory processes. See water articles by this author summarizing Batmanghelidj's excellent book, Your Body's Many Cries for Water.
9. Dehydration also seems to predispose people to hardening of connective tissue, fibrosis, pain, myofascial restrictions, calcification, and to dramatically limit the effectiveness of several forms of manual therapy that are applied to correct these.
10. The red blood cells which find their way into the injured and surrounding area can form clots. If this occurs, it is necessary for these clots to be broken down and removed or they may ultimately form calcifications in the tissue. These can persist indefinitely unless conditions which favour their dissolution are created.
11. Damaged tissue fragments, clotted blood, and other material are broken down with proteolytic enzymes (enzymes which break down protein). These can either come from within the body, or be supplied from ingested material.
12. Cautions on Enzymes
Bromelains and fungal proteases have a low rate of adverse effects. If a person is sensitive to pineapple, they may be allergic to ingesting Bromelain. Caution is therefore suggested.
High dose proteases will thin the blood, predisposing to excess bleeding problems, if the tendency exists. People who are taking blood thinning agents may need to cooperate with their doctor to reduce the dosage appropriately. Those with gastric or duodenal ulcers or severe gastritis should also exercise caution, and should probably ensure they always consume food with protease enzymes, and be supervised by a practitioner.
If a person suffers irritation or burning sensations (in the stomach) then they should stop taking their enzymes and contact their healthcare practitioner.
Long-term protease supplementation may increase the body's need for calcium.
NOTE: PROTEOLYTIC ENZYMES CAN DIGEST THE PLACENTA AND POSSIBLY INDUCE ABORTION. AVOID IN PREGNANCY.
13. Sources of proteolytic enzymes:
(i) Pancreas either your own, or animal pancreas turned into pills. There are many digestive formulas that contain this. If using for inflammation BE CAREFUL THAT THE FORMULA DOES NOT CONTAIN BETAINE HCL OR ANY OTHER HYDROCHLORIC ACID. This is included in some digestive formulas to enhance protein digestion, but may cause harm if ingested in larger than recommended quantities on an empty stomach.
(ii) Kiwifruit contains actinidin (about 6-10 per day)
(iii) Pineapple contains bromelain (same volume as kiwi)
(iv) Mature Green (with just a tinge of yellow) Papaya or Pawpaw contains papain. See John Ray Article 12 points on Mature Green Papaya.
(v) Other vegetable-derived enzymes (often from Aspergillus cultures). Protease & Lymphatic Enzymes (from Enzymes International +1 715 543 8401, Manitowish Waters, Wisconsin, USA)
(vi) Lifestyle Enzymes Inflamase practitioner only (Ph: 07 5474 2909)
14. If using enzymes for injury recovery or prophylaxis, they are best taken between meals, so instead of acting on food in the digestive tract, they can be absorbed into the bloodstream, and find their way into the damaged tissue.
15. It may be wise, however, to also supplement with some digestive enzymes during this period, to relieve the workload of the pancreas, and free up the reserve enzymes of the body from being used on undigested food material. Supplementary enzymes for digestion are best derived from vegetables, as these ones activate twice, first in the upper fundic portion of the stomach (working on the initial liquification of the food mass, rendering it hydrophilic (able to mix with water)), and then again in the small intestine. Good sources of these enzymes are:
(i) Genuine N-Zymes, from the Genuine Enzyme Company, Noosaville, Qld, Australia, 07 5474 2909
(ii) Lifestyle Enzymes, Executive Digestive practitioner only (Ph: 07 5474 2909)
(iii) S.A.F.E. Foods Living Food Enzymes (Ph: 07 5593 4566) (nice taste for kids powder)
(iv) Super Food Enzymes from Enzymes International, above.
There is an international standard for measuring enzyme strength in enzyme activity units. Measurements in milligrams (mg) do not allow a proper comparison of the enzyme strength of one product over another, so you may wish to request product data from the manufacturing company to be expressed in international standard enzyme activity units.
16. These proteolytic enzymes are actually technically pro-inflammatory. By this I mean they accelerate and enhance the body's inflammatory process, cleaning the area up faster, and allowing the inflammation to serve its valuable purpose of tissue reconstruction properly and quickly. This places them in a different category than other suppressive anti-inflammatory compounds like cortisone, prednisone, and NSAIDS.
17. There is a time and place for everything under heaven.
18. The motivation to use a painkiller is usually founded in mental and emotional resistance to the sensory experience of pain. According to Robert Becker in his book The Body Electric, there is a COI (current of injury) generated as an electric potential between damaged tissue and the brain. The brain then responds to this COI and mobilizes the body's resources to produce optimal healing of the tissue. Any technique or substance which interferes with this COI will therefore tend to interfere with optimal tissue healing. Painkillers appear to be in this category.
19. It is therefore very important to gradiently learn the attitude of lovingly and willingly enduring the pain (Dr John Ray), or smiling and relaxing into the pain. Smiling gently around the eyes and mouth, as in ancient Taoist meditation, helps a person to inhibit the tense-muscle reaction to pain, particularly in the deep muscles behind the eye sockets and deep inside the jaw and skull. Relaxation in these muscles may be vital to the proper distribution of nerve supply and cerebrospinal fluid throughout the body, which is a precondition to optimal healing. (Erlingheuser, R.F., The Circulation of Cerebrospinal Fluid Through the Connective Tissue System, in the Academy of Applied Osteopathy Yearbook, 1959)
20. Cortisone has an effect upon connective tissue quite the reverse of that of somatotrophin: cortisone inhibits the activity of fibroblasts, the very sources of connective tissue. Prolonged application of cortisone to the skin markedly reduces the number of fibroblasts, and the ones remaining are smaller than normal¦(Snyder, G.E., Fascia Applied Anatomy and Physiology, in The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association, 68:675-685, March 1969, p.72)¦This hormone also acts as an anti-inflammatory substance, and as such has been applied to inflammations of all kinds to reduce the swelling and discomforts they create. However, the negative effects of continued exposure to cortisone have revealed themselves to be substantially greater than the positive effects in the long run¦ Anything that depresses fibroblast activity obviously interferes with the normal healing of wounds, bruises, fractures, and the like, no matter how effectively it reduces the swelling associated with these injuries. Nor has cortisone proved to be as useful in the treatment of infections and inflammatory allergic reactions as was once hoped; it simply removes discomforting symptoms, without affecting either the basic mechanism or the course of the infection. In fact, since it weakens the connective tissue, it has been shown to actually facilitate the spread of infection from previously localized areas. Animals who have been given large amounts of cortisone develop spontaneous and rapidly fatal infections.(Snyder as prev.)(Job's Body A Handbook for Bodywork by Deane Juhan, Station Hill Press, New York, 1987, pp.85-86.)
21. I have found, over the years of witnessing people's healing crises and processes, that injuries and conditions treated with cortisone and other anti-inflammatory drugs and painkillers will resurface again years later during healing processes. This appears to indicate that the body's original attempt at healing the tissue was incomplete. This observation is supported by the above.
22. The German Olympic team used proteolytic enzymes (from pancreas) for prophylaxis. According to Cichoke, they found that if an athlete had an injury then healing time was half if these enzymes were taken after the injury occurred. If the athlete was already taking them when the injury occurred, the injury would heal even faster, perhaps from one third to one quarter the normal recovery time.( Cichoke, Anthony J., Enzymes and Enzyme Therapy: How to Jump Start Your Way to Lifelong Good Health, Keats Publishing, New Canaan, 1994)
23. Vitamin D is not really a vitamin at all, but is in fact a natural steroid compound. It is very useful, and easily sourced from about 1 tsp per day of Cod Liver Oil. It may be possible to overdose on the fat-soluble vitamins in Cod Liver Oil. The research of Krispin Sullivan is very enlightening in this regard, and can be sourced from the Weston A. Price Foundation (www.westonaprice.org.) journal, Wise Traditions.
24. It is also important to consider the balance of Essential Fatty Acids (see article by Doug Morrison 12 points on EFA's). Most westerners have excess Omega 6 and deficient Omega 3. Traditional cultures had a ratio of 1:1. Ours is more like 20:1. We all need a lot more Omega 3. This can be obtained from Cod Liver Oil, Fish Oils, and cold-pressed or expeller-pressed flax/linseed oil. (Melrose is a good brand available in health stores.) These fatty acids determine the balance in the body of leukotrienes and prostaglandins, which have great regulatory influences on many body functions, including mineral loss in sweat, blood pressure, bronchoconstriction, inflammation, and blood clotting.
25. For quicker injury recovery, it is necessary to supply all nutrients required for proper tissue reconstruction. For bone, joint, connective tissue, and muscle, the following nutrient sources could be considered:
Broad-spectrum minerals and naturally-sourced vitamins
Natural Vitamin C (NOT synthetic) Rose Hip Vital is recommended as the only product known to be completely natural at time of writing, fresh fruits and veges
Bone and Joint Broth (from fish frames, veal joints, etc.)
Raw Protein see Eat Raw Protein Daily article
Vegetal Silica (from springtime Horsetail herb) contains a Vitamin B1 inhibitor that should be considered if used at high dosage for a long time.
25. The Schweitzer Formula (see 2 articles, 1933 pathology tests and Amazing Schweitzer Formula Story by Dr John Ray) has been used in the event of scar tissue problems (both prophylactically and long-term), as well as bruising, disinfection, varicose and other ulcers, and healing of burns and wounds generally. This can be obtained from Enzymes International as Schweitzer Fluid Crystals. The following effects are claimed in the above 1933 article:
Increase of capillary growth and capillary network in injured areas to help distribute nutrients to tissues to aid healing and restoration of normal activity.
Increase fibroblastic and lymphocytic activity, with increased epithelial cell growth, resulting in rapid healing of injured tissue.
Reduce scar tissue when applied topically and internally.
A superior stimulant to healing and an aid to tissue regeneration and growth.
26. Ice massage can be used to tone tissue, and increase blood flow in certain instances, like lumbar disc sprain.
27. Lumbar discs can shrink to one quarter of cushioning ability if they dehydrate, predisposing to lower back pain. See water articles by this author summarizing Batmanghelidj's excellent book, Your Body's Many Cries for Water.
28. Once the required water and nutrients (including salt) are supplied, the nerve supply, lymphatic drainage, venous drainage, arterial supply, cerebrospinal fluid supply, and myofascial respiratory motion of the area must be efficient for proper reconstruction of tissue to occur.