Millions of Americans deal with digestive issues every day. Most people are simply unable to digest certain types of food, but others suffer from serious autoimmune conditions which wreak havoc on the gastrointestinal tract.
An estimated 23.5 million adults in the United States are currently diagnosed with autoimmune conditions such as Crohn’s or Celiac, according to the National Institute of Health (NIH), and the numbers are rising.
Living with an autoimmune condition such as Crohn’s and Celiac can place a great burden on you and your loved ones, affect workplace performance and make daily activities unnecessarily painful and difficult. To effectively manage the symptoms of autoimmune conditions, it’s important to understand their root cause: inflammation.
Inflammation is the body’s first line of defense against injury and infection. You may not know the science behind inflammation, but you’ve certainly seen it. When you have scraped your knees or cut your finger, you likely observed: the area around the wound immediately became red, swollen or pain, and later, pus and clots began to form. This was inflammation at work.
During an inflammatory response, two important substances are released: cytokines and fibrin. Cytokines promote inflammation, while fibrin aids in blood clotting and scarring. Without cytokines, your immune system would not know where the damage or problem exists in order to start the healing process. If it weren’t for fibrin, a scab would not replace your open wound, and your skin could not begin to repair itself underneath.
Normally, inflammation subsides when an injury is fully healed or the source of an infection goes away. However, sometimes it persists and leads to chronic inflammation.
Chronic inflammation is a long-term, low-level inflammatory response. The constant stimulation of the immune system during chronic inflammation not only exhausts the body, but also produces excessive amounts of cytokines and fibrin, which cause pain, swelling and scarring.
In autoimmune conditions, the body’s immune system fails to recognize its own tissues and mistakenly attacks healthy cells, producing chronic inflammation and hindering proper cellular function. Overproduction of cytokines and fibrin leads to pain, redness, swelling and tissue scarring, which could damage organs and inhibit their functions.
In some autoimmune disorders, chronic inflammation affects the gastrointestinal tract, inhibiting its absorptive function and causing mal-absorption. In others, chronic inflammation causes pain in joints and muscles, leading to difficulty in movement. Insufficient nutrients for cells can lead to problems in other body systems, such as the liver, lungs and kidneys.
Celiac or celiac sprue is a condition in which the lining of the small intestine is damaged from exposure to gluten. Gluten is found in sources such as wheat, barley and rye. In people with Celiac, the immune system attacks the protein gluten, resulting in severe inflammation, interfering with the ability of the small intestine to properly absorb food and depriving the body of essential nutrients. The most common treatment for individuals with Celiac is a strict gluten-free diet.
Crohn’s is a type of inflammatory bowel disorder and usually affects the terminal small intestine, but can occur anywhere along the gastrointestinal tract. The cause of Crohn’s is unknown, but the risk of developing this condition appears to increase if one smokes or has a family history of it. Inflammation of the small intestine not only impedes proper absorption of nutrients and leads to weight loss, but also can manifest in symptoms such as cramps, fevers, fatigue and loss of appetite.
Crohn’s, Celiac & Systemic Enzymes
Systemic enzyme therapy is a safe and natural alternative to support the management of symptoms related to autoimmune health conditions and improve quality of life. The safety and efficacy of systemic enzymes are well-supported by numerous independent studies.
Serrapeptase, an enzyme originally extracted from silkworms, and nattokinase, an enzyme derived from the fermented soybean food natto, have exhibited potent fibrinolytic (fibrin-degrading) and immune response properties in several studies. Research shows these enzymes promote the break-up of fibrin and support the body’s natural anti-inflammatory process.
Systemic enzymes are to be taken orally and on an empty stomach, and absorbed from the small intestine into the bloodstream. Enzymes can then circulate throughout the body, acting upon complexes in the blood, as well as in tissues and organs. It’s important to follow systemic enzyme therapy daily, without missing doses.
As recognition of the benefits of systemic enzymes grows, more and more people with respiratory conditions are integrating systemic enzyme therapy into their daily regimens.