Autoimmune / Neurological Conditions and Enzymes
last updated 8.25.05
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 (click the links for specific resources):
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.
see Sports Medicine
see Serrapetidase - an enzyme focused on inflammation
see more Serrapetidase
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 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.
Fibronectin content in the urine of patients with chronic glomerulonephritis as a test for the efficiency of treatment
Mukhin IV. Klin Lab Diagn. 2001 Apr;(4):53-5. PMID: 11393035
Renal fibronectin synthesis is impaired in patients with chronic glomerulonephritis. We measured urinary fibronectin for evaluating the efficiency of various methods of treatment. Traditional therapy of patients with the nephrotic syndrome at the stage of renal failure leads to decrease of fibronectinuria, which can be indicative of the progress of nephrosclerotic process in the renal parenchyma; monotherapy with wobenzyme during the azothemic stage of disease in patients with the urinary and nephrotic syndrome does not cause statistically significant changes in the level of urinary fibronectin, which can be regarded as inhibition of nephrosclerosis process. Hence, wobenzyme is the drug of choice, decreasing the velocity of nephrosclerotic processes, when pathogenetic therapy is largely limited or precluded. Combination of wobenzyme with pathogenetic drugs in patients with the nephrotic syndrome and intact renal function suppresses fibronectinuria due to mutual potentiation of the antiinflammatory effect. Decrease of fibronectin concentration in the urine after wobenzyme monotherapy in patients with the urinary syndrome without signs of chronic renal insufficiency confirms the antiinflammatory effect of the drug.
Basic studies on enzyme therapy of immune complex diseases. Shows enzymes cleave complexes.
Steffen C, Menzel J.
Wien Klin Wochenschr. 1985 Apr 12;97(8):376-85.PMID: 3158122
Several in vitro investigations and animal experiments are described which may be used as experimental basis for the enzymatic treatment of rheumatoid arthritis and, possibly, also other immune complex diseases. Demonstration of absorption of unaltered orally-administered radiolabelled enzymes is shown in guinea pigs and rabbits. In vitro experiments with 4 types of soluble immune complexes which were incubated with gradually increasing amounts of enzymes showed dose-dependent cleavage of complexes. Antigen-induced experimental arthritis of rabbits, fed different amounts of a therapeutically used mixture of enzymes at different times, could be inhibited by this treatment, in dependence of dosage and time of feeding. With respect to the therapeutic applications of this study, the results favour the use of a high dosage repeated daily administration, since duration of effect seems limited.
Orally administered proteases in aesthetic surgery.
Duskova M, Wald M. Klinika plasticke chirurgie, Prague, Czech Republic.
Aesthetic Plast Surg. 1999 Jan-Feb;23(1):41-4. PMID: 10022937
Increasing demand for shortening the sequel period after aesthetic surgery has led to comparative testing of optional approaches. Systemic enzyme therapy with its pharmacological effects represents a preventive and curative option for inflammatory process including healing. Excellent results were presented, namely, in the treatment of secondary lymphoedema. The incidence of hematoma, edema, and pain was followed, and the results were compared in a randomized group of 20 patients with upper eyelid blepharoplasty treated with proteases (Wobenzym drg) and in a similar group treated with systemic antiedema and hemostyptic therapy (Dicynone drg and Reparil drg). No undesirable side effects were observed. In addition, proteases apparently have no limitation for patients with the risk of concurrent cardiovascular, hepatic, or renal diseases.
Intestinal resorption with 3H labeled enzyme mixture (Wobenzyme)
Steffen C, Menzel J, Smolen J.
Acta Med Austriaca. 1979;6(1):13-8. PMID: 506656
0.2 g of an enzyme mixture (Wobenzym) labelled with 3H-acetic anhydride, were given orally to guinea pigs, which were arranged in 4 groups of 5 animals. The animals of each group were sacrificed at intervals of 30 minutes, 2, 4 and 24 hours after application. Radioactivity of the small and large intestine, plasma, urine, liver, heart, kidney, and skeletal muscle were determined. It could be shown that the labelled mixture of enzymes was absorbed from the intestine and was demonstrable in significant amounts in plasma, urine, heart, kidney, liver and skeletal muscle.
Effect of phlogenzym in long-term treatment of patients with multiple sclerosis
Lik Sprava. 2003 Apr-Jun;(3-4):109-13. PMID: 12889375
An assessment was carried out of clinical effectiveness of the drug phlogenzym in 74 patients with remitting, remitting-progressive, and secondary progressive course of multiple sclerosis. Phlogenzym intake for up to one to three years resulted in decline in the incidence of complications, with their degree having come to be lower, duration of remissions longer, progression of the illness slowed down. The data secured suggest to us that phlogenzym is a safe agent. It can, we believe used in a therapeutic regimen for those patients presenting with remitting and remitting-progressive types of the course of the disease.
Reducing pain by oral enzyme therapy in rheumatic diseases
Klein G, Kullich W. Sonderkrankenanstalt fur rheumatische Erkrankungen und Herz-Kreislaufkrankheiten der PVArb, Saalfelden.
Wien Med Wochenschr. 1999;149(21-22):577-80. PMID: 10666820
Proteolytic enzymes have analgesic, effects, besides the wellknown antiinflammatory and edema-reducing properties. These analgesic effects are based on the inhibition of inflammation and in addition to that on direct influences on the nociceptors. All that explains the therapeutical effects of such enzymes in degenerative-rheumatic and soft tissue rheumatic diseases in which inflammatory or immunologic processes are not in the forefront. In recent years a significant reduction of pain in various rheumatic diseases, concerning these aspects, was shown in several clinical studies. The clinical trial in patients with periarthritis of shoulder showed statistical equivalence of pain reduction, whether they were treated with phlogenzym or diclofenac. Likewise in the trial of patients suffering from painful osteoarthritis of the knee, there was a statistical equivalence of the pain-scores, comparing diclofenac and enzymes. The study of painful vertebral syndromes again resulted in equivalence of the treatment with NSAIDs compared to therapy with enzymes.
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