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Enzyme therapy

Related Terms

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Background

  • Enzyme therapy is the use of enzymes to treat deficiencies and other medical conditions in the body. An enzyme is a macromolecule that catalyzes (speeds up) processes in the body. Enzymes help to digest food, break down toxins, cleanse the blood, strengthen the immune system, build protein into muscle, contract muscles, eliminate carbon dioxide from the lungs and reduce stress on the pancreas and other vital organs. Enzyme therapy has a wide variety of proposed medical uses, ranging from the treatment of cystic fibrosis and pancreatic insufficiency, to certain cancers or tumors. The therapy may be systemic or non-systemic, and may be administered via multiple routes of administration, most often orally, topically or intravenously.
  • Enzyme replacement therapy, a subdivision of enzyme therapy, is a medical treatment replacing an enzyme in patients in whom that particular enzyme is deficient or absent. Enzyme replacement therapy is usually administered through intravenous (IV) infusion. It is currently available for lysosomal diseases, such as Gaucher disease and Fabry disease.
  • Non-specific enzyme therapy, another subtype of the general category of enzyme therapy, does not intend the catalysis(speeding up) of definite steps of metabolism, but claims to stimulate regenerative processes in the body. Initially, non-specific enzyme therapy was considered a promising approach. The growing knowledge in basic research and the lack of evidence for clinical effectiveness rendered the predominantly oral application of enzyme preparations for non-specific treatment outdated by the 1960s. In Germany, however, the absence of strict legal regulations prevented the deregulation of drugs designed for non-specific enzyme therapy, resulting in the continued usage of these therapies.
  • Bromelain is one of the most popular enzymes used in enzyme therapy. Bromelain is classified as an herb and contains a photolytic digestive enzyme that comes from the stem and the fruit of the pineapple plant. When taken with meals, bromelain may aid in the digestion of proteins. When taken on an empty stomach, it may act as an anti-inflammatory agent.
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Technique

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Theory/Evidence

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Dosing/Interactions

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Safety

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Author Information

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References

Natural Standard developed the above evidence-based information based on a thorough systematic review of the available scientific articles. For comprehensive information about alternative and complementary therapies on the professional level, go to www.naturalstandard.com. Selected references are listed below.

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The information in this monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. Information is based on review of scientific research data, historical practice patterns, and clinical experience. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions.