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on November 27, 1997
This book takes the view that the human body is totally dependant on Enzymes for health and longevity. Whilst not rejecting orthodox nutritional principles it concludes that the body utilises food enzymes for digestion and converts spare enzymes for the 1001 other metabolic processes our body undergoes each day. Dr Howell establishes through copious(!) references tot he literature that our body has a limited capacity to store and produce enzymes and that cooking food effectively destroys the enzyme content of foods. He reaches the conclusion that the Western Diet of cooked and processed food substains us for only so long and begins to poison us from a fairly early age. Being a non-medical person I couldn't challenge any part of this book and would recommend it unreservedly to anyone looking to research the area of natural nutritition and medicine.
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on February 8, 2010
The book Enzyme Nutrition was referenced from Ron Schmidt's book, The Untold Story of Milk. It was also recommended in Sally Fallon's book: Nourishing Traditions. When I saw a 2nd edition was also available, I thought it would be good to get both.

At first, this book seems easy to read: Our modern diet of processed and cooked foods destroys all of the enzymes in all of our foods. Since our food is missing all of the enzymes, our pancreas needs to work overtime, producing lots of extra digestive enzymes, to digest all this cooked food. This puts a lot of wear and tear on the pancreas. Since the pancreas is so busy producing digestive enzymes, it never gets a chance to produce thousands of important metabolic enzymes that maintain our body tissues and keep our body in good health. This contributes to our modern degenerative diseases we see today.

However, after the interview, the rest of this book becomes very difficult to read. It is much more difficult to read and understand than Howell's Enzyme Nutrition, (c) 1985. After reading both books carefully, I finally realized this "2nd Edition - Revised and Enlarged" is actually the rough draft to Howell's Enzyme Nutrition, (c) 1985.

If you don't believe me, just read the preface on page 2, where Dr. Howell Himself describes this book as:

"a mere preamble to a more matured and extended compilation. I seek the help of those qualified to judge in pointing out to me by correspondence any errors of fact or logic that may appear in this work."

If you carefully read the Editor's note on Page 1, of this book and P. 165 of Howell's other book "Enzyme Nutrition, The Food Enzyme Concept," (in a short article titled "about Dr. Howell" - just before the index) The progression of this book becomes clear.

In 1946 Howell completed this rough draft, under the title "Status of Food Enzymes in Digestion and Metabolism." Then, he spent the next 20 years expanding on it. He completed "Enzyme Nutrition" a 700 page book, and then in 1985, he finally completed an abridged version, called "Enzyme nutrition, the food enzyme concept," which is his other book available on Amazon today.

This "revised edition" is actually a reprint of the Howell's 1946 rough draft, "Status of Food Enzymes in Digestion and Metabolism," with additional interviews and glossary.

This rough draft is missing a lot of useful information that is in Enzyme Nutrition (c) 1985. Missing information includes the 4-page long warning about refined sugar, linking sugar to obesity and coronary heart disease is missing. The useful information about enzyme activity in seeds is missing - explaining why it is important to soak or sprout seeds is missing. Most of the useful information about the importance of raw milk and raw meat is more difficult to understand. It is also missing a lot of information about how enzyme supplements are properly made. I could go on and on, but I think you get the gist.

Howell's Final draft (Enzyme Nutrition (c) 1984), Is also much better organized, and much easier to understand. The final draft contains 9 simple chapters, explaining what enzymes are, why they are important, how cooked food destroys enzymes, and how to change the diet accordingly. The Introduction gives an excellent overview of all this. Howell even uses clever metaphors throughout the book to help the reader understand how enzymes are made and work in the body.

This book, on the other hand is a rough draft, and is not well organized.
Even though the Interview is easy to read, it only covers the basics. The rest of the book is difficult to follow

This is because it is written in advanced medical terminology, and so reading this may be very difficult, unless you have a degree in Biology. A glossary was provided to aid the "lay person" like myself for a "more thorough comprehension." This, however did not help me very much, as many terms I did not know were missing. For example, I looked at chapter 22, and noticed it was titled "Hypoglycemic and hypoglycosuric action of enzymes" I forgot the difference between hypoglycemic and hypoglycosuric was, so I looked them up in the glossary. Hypoglycemic was in the glossary, but Hypoglycosuric was not! Also, Chapter 22 does not explain Hypoglycosuric anywhere. The entire chapter 22 is a collection of notes from a bunch of medical journals and is very difficult to understand. There is no chapter introduction explaining how this action of enzymes affects health and longevity. Towards the end of the chapter, Howell summarizes 4 studies where diabetic patients are given raw pancreas extract or raw pancreases to eat. He concludes: "The literature contains many reports relating to an improvement in the blood sugar level and a decreased excretion of sugar in the urine in diabetes mellitus after ingestion of raw beef pancreas." -- then I finally understood what this chapter is about! He is quoting about 25 studies that show how eating raw foods, or consuming enzymes or injecting enzymes into the bloodstream improves blood sugar levels in both humans and in lab animals. While this may be obvious if you have medical training, it is very difficult for the layman like myself to understand.

Here is a quotation from chapter 2 of this book (Intestinal absorbability of Enzymes):

"What I believe is one of the most outstanding researches so far recorded on the fate of enzymes when taken orally was undertaken by Masumiz, Medical Clinic, Tohoku Imperial University, Japan. Masumizu's work is remarkable in several ways. The experiments were conducted, not upon isolated specimens of urine, but upon the complete 24 hour excretion, thereby insuring the presence of all enzymes excreted, instead of only a portion. The experimental animals, 10 rabbits, were given by os [mouth], 5 grams of pancreatin or 5 grams of fungus amylase for each rabbit per day. Since this dosage is comparatively enormus for small animals, the experiments prove beyond doubt that even large quantities of enzymes can be a absorbed and find their way into the urine. Although Masumizu proved that urinary excretion of amylase was approximately doubled when the enzymes were given, he was unable to secure any increase in the serum amylase concentration at all. He remarks that in all his experiments the level of amylase in the serum always remained constant and his figures bear out this contention. This confirms the observation of Oelgoetz who likewise found the serum amylase level uninfluenced by ingested enzymes..."

To me, this is very difficult to follow, but to Nicholas Gonzalez, MD, on the other hand, understands the above text clearly. He quotes the above quote directly in his book "The Trophoblast and the Origins of Cancer" as a supporting detail. (see ch 10 - oral versus injectable preparations) He also uses additional material from chapter 2 entitled "intestinal Absorbability of Enzymes." He does this because there are physiologists today who discredit enzyme therapy in treating cancer patients because they say that when enzymes are taken orally, they are destroyed by the digestive system. He uses this with additional material to show that digestive enzymes actually survive the digestive system, and prove the psychologists wrong. He chooses this reference to show that this was known to the scientific community as far back as 1946!

So my conclusion is this: First read "Enzyme Nutrition, the food enzyme concept." (c) 1985. Get this book only if you are looking for serious research on enzymes or enzyme therapy. To the layman like myself, who just wants to learn the basics of how to prepare and eat enzyme - rich food, this "revised edition" is not very helpful, and much more difficult to read.
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on October 14, 1999
This book has a lot of good information, but it reads like a research paper (which it was origionally, I think). Unless you're doing a research paper, there might me more helpful books to buy.
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on March 22, 2005
Unfortunately, these amazing books are not the easiest to find. I believe this is another book in my list of the most important books of today. Two others I believe in are Natural Cures by Kevin Trudeau and Why Stomach Acid Is Good For You. These books changed my family, literally. If you care about yourself, you owe it to yourself to read these books.
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on February 2, 2012
I agree with this book when it says that digestive enzyme supplements improve digestive health, improve food intolerance and support the pancreas and the heart (by saving them the significant efforts needed to digest food) which improves general well being and physical functioning. Having lots of digestive enzymes available leaves your body with more energy and bodily resources free to do other jobs, such as healing the body from disease.

But I don't agree that the evidence (or simple logic) supports some of the other claims and recommendations in this book.

For example, this book talks about the importance of an enzyme rich diet. It then points out that foods which have a higher caloric value have a lot more enzymes in them; so foods such as meat, milk and eggs eaten raw (or lightly cooked in the case of meat and eggs) are high in enzymes and foods such as raw vegetables and fruits are very very low in enzymes.

Yet the book then goes on to talk about a diet very high in raw fruits and vegetables (75% is the figure quoted I think) being the most important thing for enzyme levels. How does that make any sense at all?

Wouldn't one wanting to follow this guideline do best making sure to eat the high enzyme foods raw such as meat, milk, honey and eggs eaten raw (or lightly cooked in the case of meat and eggs) and to make sure that intake of these high enzyme foods is adequate - as well as adding some extra high enzyme fermented foods to the diet too? Foods like fermented fish, kefir, yogurt, sauerkraut and so on. Eating lots of fruit and vegetables is important to health of course but these other foods are far more important when it comes to taking in enzymes, and should at the very least be given equal billing as the fruits and vegetables, surely.

A diet that is 75% or more made up of raw fruits and vegetables is in fact a low enzyme diet, compared to a diet made up of lots of high enzyme foods like raw milk, kefir, and so on, as well as just cooked or raw vegetables. The book also says that the enzymes in enzyme capsules are far stronger than food enzymes. This is yet another reason a 75% raw fruit and vegetable diet without enzyme capsules is in fact a very low enzyme diet.

This book says that pigs that eat cooked potatoes fatten faster than those fed raw potatoes and that this must be because the lack of enzymes in the cooked potato. But surely the fact that starchy foods are well known to have more of an impact on blood sugar levels etc. when they are cooked would be a far more likely explanation? Pasta cooked al dente has less of an impact on blood sugar levels than pasta that is cooked until it is really soft, for example. Perhaps this fact wasn't known in 1946, I am not sure. The book advocates a diet high in carbohydrates, despite the fact that so many of us do very poorly on such a diet.

The book points to a study that showed that rats lived longer where they ate raw foods as compared to a processed 'chow' and claims that the only reason for this must be the lack of enzymes in the non-raw diet. But again, of course a diet with real food in it will be far healthier than a diet of highly processed food with a few added synthetic vitamins and minerals. It doesn't at all follow that this must be due to lack of enzymes. Again, there are other far bigger variables at play here. It is also a bit weird comparing the effects of cooked foods on animals and then on humans when only in humans was this something done by them for a long time, starting a long time ago. Rats are not well known for enjoying barbecues and cooking.

The book points to a study that showed that raw food was superior to tinned food. It is claimed that this can't possibly be due to a lack of vitamins in the tinned food, which is ridiculous as tinned foods are well known to have far lower vitamin levels and also to contain toxic compounds which act as anti-nutrients and so further deplete our nutrient stores. Again, there are other far bigger variables at play here. The author seems to know nothing at all of the mountains research done on nutrition and the role of vitamins and minerals in preventing and treating diseases. He writes off this whole topic fairly superficially. Of course foods with synthetic vitamins and minerals added will not have the same effect as real food, we don't even know all the different helpful compounds that make up each food and all the cofactors of each vitamin and so on, but this doesn't mean some supplements aren't immensely helpful and necessary.

One part of the book talks about a study that compared cooked food to raw food and found that raw food is superior. The raw food was a sprouted food of some sort and the cooked food was ....bread! Of course sprouts - one of the healthiest and most high-nutrient foods there is and entirely unprocessed - is going to be healthier than a highly processed and low-nutrient food like bread. There are so many more variables at play in this study than just raw versus cooked foods.

This book claims that because Eskimos eating a traditional diet doesn't get scurvy, and those eating tinned foods and other highly processed foods do, that this must be primarily due to lack of enzymes in processed foods. But it could be just as easily to do with a lack of vitamin C. The traditional Eskimo diet is high in vitamin C (from eating the adrenal glands and some other high vitamin C parts of animals) and the more carbohydrate you eat, the more vitamin C you need. So of course eating a diet high in carbohydrates and low in vitamin C would give you scurvy.

This book seems to be confusing the raw food issue with issues about unprocessed foods being healthier. Of course whole real foods are better for you than anything highly processed, but it doesn't follow that the sole or even main reason for this is lack of enzymes. There are many reasons why this is so.

I also disagree that raw vegetables are easier to digest than cooked ones. Some groups claim that the more foods we eat raw the healthier we will be, while other dispute this, and explain that humans have been heating for a very long time and that in fact cooking food makes many of the vitamins etc. more available to the body, lets us eat far more vegetables as cooking makes vegetables more compact and take less time to chew and so all vegetables we eat should be cooked. Healing expert Dr Lawrence Wilson writes:

"Many people advocate eating raw foods to obtain the "food enzymes" they contain. My experience is that this is not important. It is true that all foods contain certain enzymes that are damaged or destroyed by most cooking. Gentle steaming preserves a few of them. However, food enzymes are not the same as the digestive enzymes that are required to digest your food. It is not true that foods contain the enzymes needed to digest the food. Your body, not the food, must supply the bulk of the enzymes needed to digest the food. This is the important point. The only foods that I suggest people eat raw is certified or good quality raw dairy products and some other oils such as olive, flaxseed, and hempseed oils."

This tallies with my own experience. It is also backed up by books on gut health and digestion such as the GAPS diet and others. The book 'Catching Fire: How Cooking Made Us Human' also has some good evidence on cooked vegetables being easier to digest than raw ones in the healthy stomach.

For me and for many other ill friends, eating raw vegetables is agony. They don't digest and just sit in the stomach like a rock, while cooked vegetables digest very easily. The idea that vegetables eaten raw are easier to digest is a myth that seems to never die. For many of us with severe digestion problems the difference between raw and cooked foods is like night and day.

Raw vegetables will often be very difficult for ill people to digest and may need to be avoided completely or almost completely until and unless digestion improves. Juices are usually an exception and easy to digest in a raw form due to the lack of fibre. Sometimes just lightly steaming vegetables will be enough, while others may need more moderate cooking to be digested well. Fruit may also be better tolerated if it is lightly cooked or even stewed first. Eating foods that you can digest easily, as opposed to foods that your stomach has problems with, means that your body has to expend less energy digesting your meals. Cooked foods may be digested more easily than raw foods, soaked and dried nuts and seeds are digested more easily than raw nuts, meats that are not overcooked are easier to digest than overcooked meats that have become tough, and so on.

I persevered for ages trying to eat a few of my vegetables raw, because I kept reading that the enzymes in these foods were important. When I started reading about how this information was wrong and switching almost entirely to cooked vegetables and even fruit...I felt such a big difference right away! So I really want to let others know about this if I can. The idea of raw vegetables being easier to digest is sadly written about as if it is a set in stone fact in dozens of otherwise very good health books I have been reading lately.

Eating cooked vegetables is also much more pleasant! They are easier to eat and taste far better too. Cooked strawberries are delicious and cooking stone fruit makes them taste amazing, even if the fruit wasn't the tastiest to begin with. Adding enzyme capsules and delicious homemade fermented foods such as sauerkraut made my stomach feel so much better too! Sauerkraut is easier to digest than a salad any day! You can feel the difference.

I agree with the author that cooking at very high heats isn't the best way to cook vegetables though, or anything else. Primitive man cooked food far less rigorously than we often do today.

Part of this book was written in 1946 I think, and parts of it perhaps in the 80s and 90s. So critiquing it in 2012 may be unfair. It is quite technical in parts, and not really aimed at a reader who just wants some simple tips to improve their health. It was interesting to read in parts though I thought.

Taking proteolytic enzymes systemically is something worth considering for every illness. Taken on an empty stomach these enzymes free up bodily energy and enzyme making ability for other healing related tasks. Taken with meals they can aid digestion too. There is good information on enzymes and dosages in book by Dr Sherry Rogers and books on the Gerson program, and many others.

Jodi Bassett, The Hummingbirds' Foundation for M.E. (HFME) and Health, Healing & Hummingbirds (HHH)
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on November 30, 2012
This book was written decades ago. It posed some interesting ideas that have been researched and documented since then, and some of his theories have proven correct. It documents his experiments (not for the faint of heart or for animal lovers. There wasn't a movement against animal testing when this book was written!) ad infinitum, in great detail, as well as the experiments of others in the mechanics of digestion, and was the basis for a lot of research since then. A good foundational read, to be followed by more up-to-date info.
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on May 12, 2013
This is actually the original re-print of the 1946 edition "The Status of Food Enzymes in Digestion and Metabolism" as you can read at the library. All pages are the same but the introduction of the president of the food enzyme company in the original text, and in this version as an introduction by Viktoras Kulvinskas and an interview with Howell done by V. Kulvinskas.

1 Role of food enzymes in nutrition
2 intestinal absorbability of enzymes
3 comparative normal enzyme value of body fluids
4 effect of nature of food on enzyme secretion
5 efficacy of food enzymes in digestion
6 pancreas hypertrophy and heat-treated diet
7 enzyme content of body fluids in disease
8 nutritional role of exogenous enzymes
9 enzymes of blood serum and urine in animals
10 PH of endogenous and exogenous enzymes
11 vital component of enzyme complex
12 lymphatic adsorption and distribution of enzymes
13 body fluid enzymes in health and disease
14 subordinate role of enzymes in health and disease
15 comparative mortality of biliary and pancreatic fistulae
16 relation of enzyme potential to resistance and longevity
17 incidence to disease in animals
18 effects of raw or pasteurized milk
19 thermo-labile supplementary factors in meat
20 diet and health of primitive and modernized eskimos
21 therapeutic value of raw food diets
22 hypoglycemic and hypoglocosuric action of enzymes
23 therapeutic activity of enzymes extracts
Summary and Conclusions
condensed summary conclusions

well worth a read, you can find both free on the net, but be careful as it is very convincing and you might start thinking you have to say goodbye to cooked food! The Research of Kouchakoff also are very interesting only available in french so far at the BNF for free and discussing the benefits of raw food vs cooked food (1937). I don't understand some of the critism of this book which is probably valid but...indeed it is a shame we can't have an updated version with true references, the theory i think is still worth a read, it is not because it is old that it is worthless as many people now realised theories from 1850s to 1950s are well very up to date and forward thinking. the good point is that at the end you have the conclusions otherwise it is indeed a list of many researches. certainly not a waste of time for me, but indeed....who can we trust in the scientific world that is getting more and more confusin!
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on October 25, 2008
This is a truly great book about real food and the advantages of raw foods. It's easily written and loaded with information.
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on August 12, 2012
This book was very helpful, great to apply in the area of nutrition which I specialize in. Enzymes are the life force. Good book please read if you want to help people with health.
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on May 14, 2014
The information was straight forward and practical. It was also presented in an informative, educational format so that you can understand the reasoning behind the advice.
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