On the synergistic effects of enzymes in food with enzymes in the human body. A literature survey and analytical report

Med Hypotheses. 1994 Jun;42(6):355-62. doi: 10.1016/0306-9877(94)90152-x.


Recently, a theory has been postulated that suggests that vital enzymes in ingested food interact synergistically with enzymes within the human body and more specifically with enzymes in the digestive tract. Alterations in food enzymes induced by bulk processing including heating and irradiation and also the addition of chemical additives have been proposed to create a decrease in metabolic availability of nutrients, with the long-term consequence being disease. This review of the medical literature provides evidence that enzymes in food do in fact survive during digestion and can indeed, add significantly to the nutritive value of ingested foodstuffs. Examples of enzyme synergy in human nutrition are provided in whole grains, milk and dairy products, beans and seeds, and meat products. A bibliography on this interesting finding is included as well as concluding remarks on enzyme synergy and its putative interaction with cell metabolism. Finally, the interaction of enzyme synergy with disease is discussed.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Dairy Products / analysis
  • Dietary Proteins / pharmacology*
  • Digestion
  • Disease / etiology
  • Drug Synergism
  • Enzymes / pharmacology
  • Enzymes / physiology*
  • Food Analysis*
  • Food Handling
  • Humans
  • Intestine, Small / physiology
  • Meat / analysis
  • Models, Biological*
  • Plant Proteins / chemistry
  • Plant Proteins / pharmacology
  • Vitamins / chemistry


  • Dietary Proteins
  • Enzymes
  • Plant Proteins
  • Vitamins