Calling out more misleading information

What is it about conspiracy of circumstance that may engender vulnerability to the perceived charisma of charlatans? That might increase susceptibility to assimilation of the bogus teachings of some self-proclaimed health guru? I don’t know (exactly). Though I do know that such querying is likely to be met with offence, and responded to with logical fallacies and familiar quackery apologetics: ‘Each to their own’; ‘Keep an open mind’; ‘If well meant and there’s no harm in it, then what’s the problem?’, and so on… blah, blah, blah… But when the cult-brainwashed make public statements in disregard of modern clinical science, promoting their beliefs to the gullible and marketing related products to the duped, I’m afraid such lazy tropes do not hold water.

Besides, I’m confused. In awareness that my enzyme biochemistry is somewhat rusty, my attention may be grabbed by statements – aggressively presented as BOLD fact – which fly in the face of what I recollect being taught, or which purport to offer up knowledge I don’t recollect ever being taught. Scientific knowledge does evolve over time with accumulating evidence, such that we can never be certain of the ‘truth’ of anything. (Indeed, this is why science exists and persists: if we knew everything absolutely, scientists would be redundant.) Certainly, I cannot keep up with everything and am happy to ‘fess up my ignorance whenever. So, help me out here with this:

FACT: WE ARE ONLY BORN WITH A FINITE SUPPLY OF ENZYMES: WE NEED TO TOP THEM UP ON A DAILY BASIS TO STAY FIT AND WELL’

You see my concern? This would, if correct, render obsolete many paragraphs of many a biochemistry text. And it is just one sentence of a blog post, delivered in a punchy, tabloid-esque style (most paragraphs comprising a single sentence, such is the regard for the reader’s intellect; reminiscent of a Farage-esque approach to politics), by a former journalist now returned from an enforced sojourn described in a separate quackery spree. Though previous form predicted any attempt by me to post critical comment would be ignored remain ‘awaiting moderation’, I hardly made receptivity more likely by angrily attempting to comment thus:

‘‘FACT: WE ARE ONLY BORN WITH A FINITE SUPPLY OF ENZYMES: WE NEED TO TOP THEM UP ON A DAILY BASIS TO STAY FIT AND WELL’

Utter bollocks! Perhaps ‘Miss West’ (or your biology teacher) didn’t tell you that (most) enzymes are proteins (hence, digestible in the gut), encoded by genes, and replenished by our own cells – excepting hereditary (genetic) diseases affecting production of specific enzyme(s) . Or you’ve (conveniently) forgot.’

Forgive my exasperation. And before judging the facticity of the above ‘FACT’, lets look at the context that is its parent blog post. Because it accords with the irrationalistic viewpoint of a proselytising vegan who has apparently been taught, and unquestionably accepted, that the enzymes with which we digest our food are obtained in that food itself.

Aside from the obligatory big-up for the Hippocrates Health Institute, where ‘EVERYONE is told to start taking enzymes from day one. And to continue doing so long after they’ve arrived home. It’s a life thing, not a fad.’ (Aye, and likely lucrative for the HHI, I wouldn’t wonder), the only reference cited for this and other bizarre statements in this post is a book: Enzyme Nutrition by Dr Edward Howell (which, handily, is available for sale here). I haven’t read it (I’m always wary of books with the author’s title on the cover; and am unable to find any reference to his enzyme nutrition research in PubMed), so I don’t know whether Howell therein advocated ingestion of raw meat and raw milk (as is suggested elsewhere, including at sites one might predict our host would gravitate towards) – which I would have thought would be of concern to a vegan.

Because there is a seeming paradox here.

‘So you can well imagine how much enzymatic debt your body is in if you eat meat regularly. Or dairy, for that matter.

And then, to add insult to injury, most of us eat a majority-cooked diet. And if this involves temperatures above 105 degrees, you can be sure that all the enzymes present in this food have been systematically destroyed.’

We’re required to believe that eating meat diminishes our congenital enzyme stock because it requires far more enzymes to digest than it provides. And, moreover, that cooking food destroys the enzymes in it, exacerbating this depletion of our finite reserve. Thus, according to our vegan host, eating raw, plant-based food prevents drawing on one’s own dwindling supply. But, didn’t Howell advocate eating raw meat and milk as a source of these enzymes (which, being proteinaceous, would be digested and not function in our body, anyway)? Surely anathema to a vegan, who apparently cannot be trusted to have actually read the book cited. And who then concedes the limitations of the lifestyle diet being promoted through the suggestion that we need to continually back up this enzyme reserve to ensure we tick along nicely. Cue promotion for pill-popped enzyme supplementation.

But let’s not over-complicate what is already (to me) a very confusing read. And ignore, for now, this random, non-sequitur-ly deposited pseudoscientific nonsense:

Enzymes generally increase our body’s electro-magnetic frequency in and around our cells.’

(What the hell is being talked about here? I’d hazard a guess at some vitalism thing.) Instead, notice how things inevitably end up being linked with cancer. And it is suggested here that eating meat – because it requires so much of our limited enzyme reserve to digest it – depletes our store to the point where we have insufficient to be able to digest the protein that coats cancer cells, and thus expose them to our immune system.

How is it that virtually every quackery adherent always wants you to believe they are possessed of some privileged insight into i) what causes, and ii) how to prevent/cure cancer, that most complicated of biological conundrums? How is it that the mere nine weeks it takes to become a ‘Hippocrates Health Educator’ somehow qualifies those so ‘certified’ to make pronouncements which disregard the years of university education and training necessary to acquiring the requisite scientific and clinical knowledge and expertise? It is apparently inconsequential. Just bang the fear drum:

‘… you need to ensure that your body’s store of protein, fat and starch digesting enzymes are through the roof.

So, how exactly can this be achieved?

Stay tuned, and I’ll give you the low-down next time.’

I predict this will be invitation to fork out for some useless supplements, available… guess where?

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Update, Apr 8, ’15: Yup!

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