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The Enzymatic Storm

Create and govern the perfect anabolic environment with this little-known supplement

  At Labrada Nutrition, we feel that these systemic enzymes offer bodybuilders a real quantum leap for greater muscular development. They reduce inflammation and soreness after training, and they increase your recovery so that you can grow muscle faster and bigger.

—Lee Labrada, IFBB Bodybuilding Hall Of Famer and author of  Winning With the Enzymatic Edge


PQ: “Researchers discovered that supplementing enzymes along with branched-chain amino acids post-workout not only improved recovery, but also heightened rates of protein synthesis for up to 48 hours.”

Once considered to be of little use to resistance-training individuals, enzymes have emerged from the shadows as anabolic forces of nature. This emerging notoriety has occurred due to all of the accumulated data concerning the healing and restorative capabilities of these unique proteins. When you take a closer look at these guys, you quickly realize there isn’t a metabolic or anabolic process that enzymes aren’t involved with, up to and including determining how well all those power supplements you take—like creatine, glutamine, and whey protein—work. In fact, Lita Lee, PhD, the well-known medical researcher and author of The Enzyme Cure, adamantly reminds us that without the presence of enzymes, many vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients, as well as hormones, are all powerless to elicit their intended response. Overall, enzymes accomplish this by jump-starting and regulating over 4,000 known metabolic and anabolic processes.

Quite Please: Anabolic Intelligence At Work

The unique aspect of enzymes could be compared to locks attached to various metabolic and anabolic pathways throughout the body. However, within the communication system of 5,000 enzymes or so, they piece together and interlock, essentially forming the right biological keys that jump-start various chemical reactions. The fact is, without enzymes, the human physiological system would exist as a jumbled mass of powerless chemicals, and many of these reactions would never occur. This notion is also expressed in the comments by Hall Of Fame bodybuilder Lee Labrada, which suggest that without enzymes, the potential for enhanced growth and repair is severely compromised.

Safeguarding The Anabolic Environment

As you are well aware, the initial period right after a workout is a very crucial time period. It is here where sports-medicine researchers contend that bodybuilders can greatly benefit from oral supplementation of enzymes. Because of their universal impact, meaning their ability to promote healing everywhere, researchers discovered that contrary to an enzyme’s first responsibility to digest and break down foods, when taken on an empty stomach, they become systemic. In practical terms, enzymes change their general biological mentality and begin traveling around the body looking for and devouring inflammatory miscreants. Conversely, proteases (the enzymes that breakdown protein) such as bromelain (derived from pineapples) and papain (derived from the papaya plant) also block inflammatory signals, preventing muscle soreness and speeding muscle recovery. In fact, in a recent study appearing in the Journal Of Strength And Conditioning Research, investigators reported that subjects administered 5.83 grams of a supplement composed of bromelain and papain for 21 days recovered significantly faster after performing isokinetic extension and flexion of quadriceps, followed by a 45-minute downhill run. These investigators noted that protease supplementation accomplished this by rapidly reviving muscle power following workouts by decreasing leukocyte (white blood cell) activity paralleled by reductions of various inflammatory chemicals.

Correlated studies also indicate that proteolytic enzymes breaks down fibrin, a network of fibrous protein in which blood cells become trapped. When fibrin accumulates at the site of injured tissues, it prevents proper drainage of muscle-wasting chemicals and healing. This mishap also prevents the proper circulation of clean, fresh blood and oxygen to working muscles. Other recovery processes mediated by protease enzymes include blood coagulation, strengthening immune function, maturation of prohormones, bone formation, digesting dead and damaged cells, recycling cellular proteins that are no longer needed, and reducing stress in the pancreas and regulating insulin secretion, one of your most anabolic hormones. Protease enzymes also increase circulation, dissolve blood clots, as well as build muscle proteins.

Enzymes: Making Protein To Make Muscle                

Protein synthesis is the process in which cells build new proteins. This process of synthesizing a protein chemically from a messenger RNA (mRNA) template or blueprint is referred to by biochemist as “translation.” For clarification here, mRNA is a large family of ribonucleic acid molecules that transfer and transmit genetic information from DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) to the ribosomes. Ribosomes are the place where the construction sequence of various proteins and amino acids based on their gene expression takes place. (Gene expression is the process by which a gene’s coded information is converted into the various structures operating within a cell.) Interestingly, in a recent study appearing in Microbiology And Molecular Biology Reviews, researchers summarize the process of protein synthesize as being ignited by 20 enzymes, referred to as aminoacyl tRNA synthetase. Chemist liken this ignition switch that jump-starts protein synthesis as charging or loading the tRNA with amino acids. For instance, once the tRNA is charged, a ribosome transfers the amino acid from the tRNA onto a growing peptide or connecting bond of amino acids. This action essentially accelerates the production of new protein, as instructed by your own inborn biological blueprint or genetic code.

Enzymes Make It Rain

Forget the scientific jargon above, but  remember that this interaction of enzymes with the ribosomes is what has given enzymes the reputation as the body’s natural steroids by forward-thinking sports nutritional researchers. Not only do these people initiate and monitor the anabolic work, they carry the intelligence that allows you to make all the muscle protein you need, as well as supplying the impetus that allows other nutrients to do their metabolic job. To further clarify this point, researchers at the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden discovered that supplementing enzymes along with branched-chain amino acids post-workout not only improved recovery, but also heightened rates of protein synthesis for up to 48 hours. Moreover, in a study appearing in Fundamental & Clinical Pharmacology, researchers found that when enzymes delayed the expression of intestinal proteins labeled CYP3A4 and P-glycoprotein that accelerate oxidation of nutrients, increased nutrient concentrations in the blood and surrounding muscle tissues occurred.

 Enzymes Enhance Fat Metabolism

While not publicized enough in weight loss, obesity, and bodybuilding circles, enzymes play a critical role in fat metabolism. For example, the enzyme lipase regulates lipolysis, the chemical breakdown of body fat. Comparably, Dr. David Galton of Tufts University School of Medicine recently presented compelling evidence that staying lean begins and ends with increased enzyme activity. He discovered that fully undigested fats leave a film on foodstuffs and other nutrient compounds, hindering proper breakdown and metabolism. This mishap is exacerbated as triglycerides (fat droplets) accumulate in muscle cells resulting in insulin resistance and is biochemically referred to by researchers as “repartitioning of skeletal muscle lipid content.” Sports-medicine researchers ironically refer to this physiological adversity as “the athlete’s paradox.” Unfortunately, without adequate enzymes within fat and muscle tissue, fat stagnates and is only partially disposed. This aspect of floating fat fragments was also recently confirmed by researchers at the American Diabetes Association, who likewise found that the toxic effects of additional fat fragments severely inflamed surrounding tissue, resulting in increased bouts of insulin resistance. This abnormality was further clarified by researchers at the Division of Preventive Medicine at Columbia University who tested this assumption by administering high-fat diets to study subjects. They discovered that an enzyme referred to as DGAT1 inhibited insulin sensitivity, specifically in slow-twitch muscle fibers, when exposed to high-fat diets.

As you know, anaerobic short-burst resistance engages the fast-twitch muscle fibers. Slow-twitch fibers, on the other hand, contain substantially more mitochondria (cells that make energy) and myoglobin (the iron- and oxygen-binding protein found in muscle tissue), which extends muscle power and energy.

The Athletes Paradox And The Enzyme Connection

When you work out, enormous amounts of circulating free fatty acids are driven into muscle cells for energy. However, during rest, incoming fatty acids are stored in the muscle cell as triglycerides for burning at a later time. As stated above, this action causes insulin resistance and contributes to decreased metabolism of fats and a reduced flow of nutrients into muscle cells. The paradox is that the body is trying to help supply your muscles with an extra energy source, namely fat; however, this buildup results in reduced burning of those fats, even when you are engaged in routine workout protocols. Regrettably, many resistance-training individuals experience this Catch-22, but don’t quite make the connection. Accordingly, the researchers in the study above at Columbia University state that this anomaly can be countered by increased metabolic enzyme activity. Subjects in their trial saw significant improvement in their metabolic profile (reduced insulin resistance and fat deposition), via increased activity of metabolic enzymes. Other studies of this phenomenon show that the inclusion of supplemental enzymes also enhances substrate (a substance acted upon by an enzyme) delivery to muscle tissues, as well as an increase in the nutrient storage capacity of muscle tissue.

Your Anabolic-Enzyme Potential

Anthony J. Cichoke, DC, author of The Complete Book of Enzyme Therapy reminds us that once an enzyme is manufactured, its power last for only about 20 minutes. However, as an enzyme’s power dissipates, the body quickly dissolves it and makes another power-packed one to replace it. This renewal cycle is referred to by enzyme researchers as the Law of Adaptive Secretion of Enzymes, a theory formulated by Dr. Edward Howell, MD of Northwest University who initially introduced enzyme-therapy treatments to the US in the 1920s. Today researchers know that this potential to produce enzymes isn’t unlimited. In fact, current data indicates that as the body ages and because of stress (physical and psychological), overconsumption of enzyme-less foods (processed foods, sweets), and common over-the counter and prescribed drugs, the enzymes created by the body aren’t quite as plentiful and or potent. Unfortunately, the cited foods and mishaps force the body to shift from an enzyme-based metabolic mode (enzymes that run the body) to a digestive one (enzymes that break down foods).

 Recommendation: Current data conclusively shows that when the need for digestive enzyme production decreases, the production and activity of metabolic/anabolic enzymes increases, and so does your full anabolic potential. Take a plant-based multiple enzyme/protease formula before and after a workout. Take a separate multiple-digestive formula with your largest meals daily. Increase your consumption of raw fruits and vegetables. The four basic enzymatic categories and the nutrients enzymes break down or extract energy from are amylases (carbohydrates), cellulases (fibers/cellulose), lipases (fats), and proteases (proteins).  IM


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