When we eat plants, we take in a large amount of plant cells surrounded by a fibrous complex called a cell wall. A major component of this cell wall is cellulose. Humans do not manufacture the cellulase enzyme needed to digest this type of fiber and must rely on fermentation by the flora in the large intestine.
This process allows us to break down a small portion of these plant fibers, but the rest act as bulking agents that are eliminated in the stool. Of course some creatures are much more efficient than we are at this type of cellulose digestion: the cow, for example, has a ruminary stomach that is divided into four chambers and can hold massive amounts of cellulose-digesting microbes to break down the grass and hay that make up such a large part of its diet. This is why they can get big and strong from eating grass.
Similarly, if we eat lots of juicy, healthy greens, sprouts and herbs, we want to make sure that we can digest them by having enough cellulase available. It would be a shame to waste the money we spend on fresh fruits and veggies.
Cellulase is produced naturally by different symbiotic fungi, protozoa, and bacteria that have the ability to catalyse cellulolysis (the breakdown of cellulose). In reality there are different types of cellulases whose activity is pH-dependent: some are more active in an alkaline environment while others are more active in an acidic or neutral one.
Cellulase breaks down cellulose into beta-glucose. But what exactly is cellulose? It is a carbohydrate and a key part of the outer cellular structure of vascular plants. It could be considered one of the most abundant compounds in the world, as it is the basic building block for much of the plant kingdom, and is a primary food for much of the world’s living organisms.
The Health Benefits of Cellulase
I mentioned that cellulase turns cellulose into beta-glucose. This is important to understand when speaking about blood sugar in the human body. Glucose, or blood sugar, is the body’s key source of energy. It can be a problem, though, when we eat simple sugars that quickly elevate our blood sugar levels because the excess is converted into triglycerides and stored as body fat.
Glucose from cellulose is released slowly and should not dramatically increase blood sugar but rather provide a more stable fuel for the body. In addition, the fiber that is not digested by the cellulase can also slow down or decrease the absorption of fats including cholesterol.
How May Cellulase Enzymes Help?
- Aiding in the hydrolysis of cellulose into energy-sustaining blood sugar that may help maintain optimal blood sugar levels
- Helps keep cholesterol in the blood stream at optimal levels
- Supporting cell membranes to keep them healthy from free radicals, toxic chemicals, and other entities that are harmful to cell membranes.
- Aid in mediation of biofilm formation from cellulose produced by many types of pathogens.
- Breaking down the polysaccharides of microbial biofilms.
In vitro studies show that the cellulase enzymes can stop the growth and increase the breakdown of biofilms produced by the bacteria Pseudomonas. This helps detoxify the intestinal tract, as well as the body’s major organ systems.
One study of nursing home patients taking a multi-enzyme formula containing cellulase found that they favorably increased markers of protein absorption. This indicates an improvement in digestion of a nutritional formula also given to the study participants, which would lead to an overall better nutritional status. Other tests also indicated an improvement in immune function for the patients. What is more, when the enzyme supplement was withdrawn, the positive benefits ended.
How to Read the Units of Measurement for Cellulase
Cellulase is measured in CUs, (Cellulase Unit). This FCC assay is based on the enzymatic hydrolysis of the interior β-1,4-Glucosidic bonds of a defined carboxymethyl cellulose substrate at pH 4.5 and 40°C, measured by a reduction in viscosity. The Federal Chemical Codex (FCC) is a division of USP (United States Pharmacopeia). It sets standards for ingredients. In the case of enzymes, FCC is a standard assay used to accurately determine the activity of enzymes. The current compendium is FCC VI.
Where Can I Find The Best Source of Cellulase?
The product VeganZyme™ contains a 100% vegan form of Celluslase produced by the natural fermentation process of Trichoderma reesei and Bacillus licheniformis. It comes from all vegetarian, non-GMO sources, is kosher certified, gluten free, made in the USA, contains no animal product and is completely suitable for vegetarians and vegans.
VeganZyme™ is the most advanced full-spectrum systemic and digestive enzyme formula in the world and is free from fillers and toxic compounds. This formula contains digestive enzymes, which help digest fats (lipids), sugars, proteins, carbohydrates, gluten, fruits and vegetables, cereals, legumes, bran, nuts and seeds, soy, dairy, and all other food sources.
VeganZyme™ may also be used as a systemic enzyme blend to break down excess mucus, fibrin, various toxins, allergens, as well as excess clotting factors throughout your body.
-Dr. Edward F. Group III, DC, ND, DACBN, DABFM
- Loiselle M, Anderson KW. The use of cellulase in inhibiting biofilm formation from organisms commonly found on medical implants. Biofouling. 2003 Apr;19(2):77-85.
- Dale Kiefer. Promoting optimal nutrition with digestive enzymes. Life Extension Magazine. 2008 January.
- Glade MJ, Kendra D, Kaminski MV Jr. Improvement in protein utilization in nursing-home patients on tube feeding supplemented with an enzyme product derived from Aspergillus niger and bromelain. Nutrition. 2001 Apr;17(4):348-50.
- Iwasaki T, Hayashi K, Funatsu M. Purification and characterization of two types of cellulase from trichoderma koningi. J Biochem. 1965 Apr;57:467-77.Title
- G. Canevascini, D. Fracheboud, H. Meier. Fractionation and identification of cellulases and other extracellular enzymes produced by Sporotrichum (Chrysosporium) thermophile during growth on cellulose or cellobiose. Canadian Journal of Microbiology. 1983. 29(9): 1071-1080, 10.1139/m83-165.