Enzymes and Detoxification
last updated 6.3.05
The following is a discussion on to what extent digestive enzymes may help with reducing the total body burden of unwanted 'toxins' of various sorts in the body. Enzymes may help greatly with internal sources. In addition, eliminating external sources as much as possible is also helpful.
Inquiry: We are thinking of beginning chelation soon with my son, but frankly, I am really very afraid of it!!
Comment: This is wise as 'chelation' is one thing that can apparently make someone much worse. You have the weigh potential benefits against the risk the child might get worse and set back his recovery a year or so. There are many different methods for doing chelation. Many. And the chelation advocates for each method tend to be at each other throats a lot saying the other guy's approach is dangerous and to be avoided. So it doesn't make decision making clear. And with all politics surrounding the various chelation meausures, it can get very very complicated.
When talking about detoxification, this means to get things regarded as unwanted out of the body. Chelation is a form of detoxification that means something (called a chelator or chelating agent) actively grabs the unwanted something (here it is a heavy metal of some kind) binds it on two side in a claw-like fashion and either inactivates it or helps remove it from the body.
Inquiry: Also, my son has been improving so much with the use of vitamins, minerals, and other supplements, PLUS therapuetic enzymes with each snack and meal--could these things alone be chelating him enough to make a difference? Doesn't the use of enzymes really help the body to heal and can it then start to chelate itself on its own? Or, is it nearly impossible to get the metals out just by helping his gut to heal?
Comment: This is a very good question. I don't see chelation as necessary for all with a spectrum condition or non-spectrum condition. However it may be beneficial to some or in certain situations. So it isn't like you *have* to do chelation as the only route to your child or yourself improving at all. There are lots of stories and cases of many children improving and recovering or loosing their diagnosis without any formal chelation therapy. And there are several risks to weigh. But it is an option some do and some see benefit from.
Inquiry: Can enzymes and good nutrition remove metals or effect the same result as 'chelation'? Possibly. The thing is, since enzymes and nutrition are not considered 'chelation', people don't test along the way as they do for other measures. But if they did, they may very well find out that taking enzymes and good nutrition do a great job or at least equivalent results as some chelation protocols.
Comment: In the past when this came up a few parents did say that they did enzymes and good nutrition only and without an official chelation program and their heavy metal tests (whatever the commonly used ones are) showed metals coming out or being excreted. So some cases have shown this happens. I think this happens much much more than stated
if only people tested for it.
And also in support of this is the fact that several of the commonly used chelation or metal removal programs revolve around using nutritional supplements and enhanced nutrition. So it is consistent that improved nutrition could do the same thing. Digestive enzymes increase absorption and use of nutrition whether from food or supplements so they are at the crux of having this work whether the improvement of nutrition into the body can from food sources or supplement sources.
One person may say, "I gave some enzymes and good supplements and my child improved by good nutrition alone." Someone else may give the same nutritional supplements and say, "I am doing chelation." From the body's point of view, all it sees is that the chemical compounds it needed was supplied. The nutrients to improve the detoxification of metals appeared in the proper place in the body, the body's pathways acted accordingly, and the metals were removed.
The more 'safer' chelation programs involve lower dosing and frequent dosing supplement schedule usually involving many antioxidants. Well, antioxidants are known for enhanced detoxification across the board and have received a bit of press over the past couple decades. The low and frequent dosing with lots of antioxidants is similar to eating well and giving supplements several times a day (3 meals and 3 snacks a day parellels some of the chelation programs. If you give supplements in divided doses each day...).
It is interesting to find out that many of the 'chelating agents' and chelating program either are strong antioxidants or include lots of them. Also consider the studies showing 'consuming antioxidants' or 'a diet high in antioxidants' is very good for health and gives
all these great improvements is consistent with people giving lots of antioxidants and seeing various health improvements. Antioxidants include selenium, ALA, vitamin A, C, E, CoQ10, the carotenoids (such as beta-carotene) and flavonoids (anthocyanidins, polyphenols, quercetin). These last two groups are naturally found in the colored
fruits and vegetables that we are supposed to eat so much of for good health. Glutathione is an antioxidant too in the body. So again, there is consistency in 'recommended chelation' supplements and items recommended for 'good nutrition.'
A fun note here: No-Fenol enzyme product was developed because of kids having a problem tolerating highly phenolic fruits and vegetables. This was a problem even after kids were doing great with Peptizyde and Zyme Prime (or any other enzyme) and able to eat all other foods. The colored fruits and vegetables contains the natural sources of effective antioxidants needed: the caretenoids and flavenoids. For some reason, the kids' bodies were not processing these elements properly.
Now, No-Fenol TOTALLY ROCKS. Many kids could immediately start to eat fruits and vegetables and thus get the benefits of the antioxidant compounds in these foods. The kids improved in new ways. Maybe the No- Fenol allowed the body to process the antioxidants from whole-food sources properly, and now the antioxidants whipped into their jobs of
detoxing and removing metals along the way. This is what the body is supposed to be doing anyway. It is consistent with other patterns and other information.
There are also cautions associated with high doses of individual antioxidants when given for extended periods. You always need to be careful when high dosing any single nutrients because biology nutrition works on a whole-food basis. Nutrition just isn't known or
understood enough yet. Mega-dosing in one thing can cause deficiencies or problems somewhere else. Taking the antioxidants as a whole-food source avoids this.
I was interested in finding out if someone uses a detoxification program in general, including improving nutrition or added antioxidants, wouldn't metals be removed too in the process? I've asked this over the years to several 'experts' in various chelation
protocols and no one has been able to say why it wouldn't happen. There is a lot of guesstimation in many areas of 'chelation' anyway. So it is possible that it can happen this way. Or it happenes at a pace that is good enough. Or gentle enough for the person without
causing harm. Some of the sauna advocates say sauna promotes metal removal. Other detoxification methods claim they remove metals as well.
The other thing I asked is, if you do a 'chelation program' which often involves heavy loads of antioxidants for years, how do you know the metal removal is only and specifically due to the chelator and not all the other antioxidants in the program? And how do you know
that it is the use of a chelator over a long period instead of just improved nutrition from the antioxidants? And most chelation programs also tell you to start cleaning up the diet and eat well. So could the good diet and antioxidants over time be causing the improvements?
My interest was in being able to tell what was doing what. Again, there wasn't an answer.
The collective body of information and experiences seems to be that you can reduce the body's burden of heavy metals and other unwanted elements without having to use something specifically defined as a chelator or something labeled a chelation protocol. When you ask if chelation is necessary, consider if you want a chelator specifically
and only, or if you are talking about reducing the total load of metals out of the body. And then if you say you want a chelator, consider if you mean one chelating agent in particular or if you mean a chelation program (which might be a collection of antioxidants and
detox measures...or not). You might be able to achieve the same results with several different methods. Or one measure may get rid of metals in your child/self more effectively than another measure which works well for someone else's child/self.
Inquiry: A lot of chelation programs require constant monitoring of nutrient levels and body functions to make sure things are not going wrong. It is so traumatic for my child to go through this!
Comment: Stress can have as negative an impact on health as anything else, particularly digestion and the immune system. So if your child is really stressing over something on a regular basis, consider how this is affecting the net gain in health. I would not (will not) do the antioxidant program that calls for waking the kids up to dose them during the night because they need to sleep well. I and my sons are strongly affected by sleep routine (as my neurologist said most people with neuro problems are). If it was for a few days or only
very sporadically, that is one thing. But not for days on end for years. It is not wrong if someone does the night wakeup schedule, it is just for my family the negatives far outweigh the potential gains and we end up with a net loss.
Inquiry: My point is, do you all feel that chelation is absolutely necessary for complete recovery, or have you achieved recovery (or on your way to it) just by using supps and enzymes/diet? Thanks for any input . . .
It is not absolutely necessary for every child because there are so many that 'recover' without it. And some have 'recovered' by enzymes/improved nutrition/supps plus other total program efforts (behavioral, educational, sensory therapy, meds, etc...such as mine).
But it isn't possible to say if it is something that will definitely be quite helpful for your particular child (like everything else). It is a decision that requires a lot of thought.
You could do the safer and gentle enzymes plus good nutrition plus antioxidants plus reduction in all harmful chemicals as much as possible first and see how far that goes. Don't overlook the benefits of education, sensory, behavioral and other therapies. Then if you
still need more, consider 'harsher' methods.
Each person has a different situation. Different programs will work best for different individuals.