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"When we eat cooked, enzyme-free food, the body is forced to produce enzymes needed for digestion... This 'stealing' of enzymes from other parts of the body sets up a competition for enzymes among the various organ systems and tissues of the body. ,The resulting metabolic dislocations may be the direct cause of cancer, coronary heart disease, diabetes and many chronic incurable diseases."
Dr. Edward Howell
A slight man, supremely dedicated, peers through a microscope. He studies, with intense concentration, the movements of a tiny cousin to the water flea the Daphnia Magna. Occasionally, he adds food to the Daphnia's water to observe the digestive process through its transparent skin. Over the years he has studied the birth and death of hundreds of six-week generations of Daphnia, comparing the effects of raw and cooked food. The man is Dr. Edward Howell, outstanding biochemist and pioneer in the food enzyme field.
Dr. Howell was dedicated to proving, irrefutably, that many degenerative diseases Americans suffer and die from, are caused mainly by eating cooked food whose enzymes have been destroyed, instead of a balanced diet with plenty of enzyme rich raw foods!
Dr. Howell was born in Chicago in 1898. He held a limited Illinois medical license (the same as a medical doctor with the exception of surgery, obstetrics and materia medica). In 1930, he founded a private sanitarium for treating long-lasting diseases with physical and nutritional procedures. His research into food enzymes represented the first study that recognized their significance to human nutrition.
The way Dr. Howell liked to put it: "When we eat cooked, enzyme-free food, the body is forced to produce enzymes needed for digestion. This depletes the body's limited enzyme capacity. This 'stealing' of enzymes from other parts of the body sets up a competition for enzymes among the various organ systems and tissues of the body. The resulting metabolic dislocations may be the direct cause of cancer, coronary heart disease, diabetes, and many other chronic incurable diseases."
One might conclude from these words that enzymes are life itself. In fact, they cannot be synthesized as vitamins can, but they are all around us working silently. They cause fruit to ripen and spoil, beer to ferment. eyes to see. Without them we would die. Cancer specialists are discovering certain enzymes are completely lacking in the blood and urine of cancer victims.
But Dr. Howell insisted enzymes are not catalysts as has been stated often. Catalysts are inert substances. They possess none of the life energy we find in enzymes. For instance, enzymes give off a kind of radiation when they work. This is not true of catalysts. The proteins in enzymes serve only as carriers of the activity factor.
From the dawn of history, man has known and made use of enzymes in various fermentation processes. However, it was not until 1783 that Lazzar Spallanzani noted that meat could be liquefied by the gastric juice of hawks. It wasn't long before Philip Synag Physick of Philadelphia used this knowledge when he treated malignant ulcers in humans with gastric juice.
In more recent years, Armour and Company began using the enzyme papain on meat, eliminating the expensive process of fattening cattle on corn. Though those steaks may be delicious, their long range effects on the body are suspect, at least from Dr. Howell's viewpoint.
As for cooked food in general, Dr. Howell confirmed the findings of Professor Schaefer of the Mayo Foundation who made a study of Filipinos and Malays whose diet relies on rice three times daily. Their pancreas, which is forced to work hard to produce digestive enzymes. is both relatively and absolutely heavier (from 25 to 50 percent) than that of occidentals. This extra activity seems to have a wearing-out effect for in many case studies, their pancreas has been found to be in a state of atrophy.
Also, according to Dr. Howell, there is incriminating evidence that cooked food contributes to a pathological over enlargement of the pituitary gland, which regulates the other glands. One hundred percent of people over 50, who died from accidental causes, were found to have defective pituitary glands.
Enzymes in raw food normally allow for self digestion. But it seems that cooked food, with its fibers broken down and enzymes destroyed passes through the digestive system more slowly than raw food. It tends to ferment, throw poisons back into the body, cause gas, heartburn, headaches and colon problems. In America, colon cancer has become the number 2 ranking cancer killer.
Colon therapists estimate the middle-aged American meat eater may be carrying around from eight to fifty pounds of collected fecal matter on the walls of his intestines. Colonic irrigations and intestinal cleansers invariably reveal cord like mucous and black, hard debris.
Many studies on remote tribes confirm large, soft stools passed soon after each meal and unimpacted intestines. Their diets: raw nuts, fruit, vegetables, grains, goat's milk and small portions of meat.
Is it wise to eat a totally raw diet? No, according to many researchers. ...some vitamins and minerals, as in potatoes, are more easily assimilated when vegetables are cooked. In Dr. Howell's words, "...some raw foods cannot supply nourishment because their calories are enclosed by tough fibrous cell walls, requiring considerable time for the digestive fluids to break through." Dr. Howell found evidence which showed a substantial difference between cooked and raw calories. Eating mostly cooked food can be linked to obesity.
That people need to take in enzymes either by eating raw food, or supplementing, is evidenced by the many tests Dr. Howell made. In one laboratory, rats fed totally cooked foods lived two years, while rats fed a partial diet of raw food lived three years, or 30 percent longer. 'Though there isn't hard evidence to support it, humans might conceivably increase their life spans just by maintaining proper enzyme levels.
While many people feel fasting is beneficial, few understand why. Dr. Howell explained: "When a person fasts, there is an immediate halt to the production of digestive enzymes. The body's enzymes are free to work on repairing and removing diseased tissues. Civilized people eat such large quantities of cooked foods, the body lacks the enzymes needed to maintain good health. Most people who fast go through a healing crisis. Nausea, vomiting, dizziness may result, caused by enzymes attacking pathological tissue discarded through elimination.
When Dr. Howell first became aware of the importance of raw food in the diet, he was troubled, knowing most Americans would be unwilling to change their eating habits. An alternative was an enzyme supplement that could be taken with each meal. Since he knew digestion actually began in the stomach, logic dictates an enzyme that would be effective there.
After much experimenting Howell discovered plant or fungal enzymes were effective. His final choice was certain strains of the Aspergillus plant containing enzymes man uses in digestion protease for protein, amylase for carbohydrates, lipase for fats.
Experiments confirmed that better digestion in humans resulted. Reports began to come in of improvements in ailments like arthritis and psoriasis. One woman, whose husband was arthritic, wrote: . . after spending many thousands of dollars on doctor bills with no results, my husband took enzymes for several months. At the end of that time, he got rid of his crutches, and now is able to work every day and feels just wonderful."
Dr. Howell's contribution to our understanding of enzymes and their relation to ,disease is incalculable. He was a man with a message for a generation dying, at an alarming rate, from degenerative diseases.
Reprinted from Bestways, May 1979
Edit. Note: Dr. Howell's book, Enzyme Nutrition is available on the FACT Book List, page 15.