NEC Background


Dr. Edward Howell…Revisited

Dr. Edward Howell…RevisitedLast updated the 16th of July 2013

Dr. Edward Howell received his medical degree in 1924. He worked at the Lindlahr Sanitarium where individuals suffering from exhaustion were treated with a regimen of exercise, hydrotherapy, manipulation, outdoor exposure and a raw vegetarian diet. It was during this time that the medical community was beginning to recognize the impact of canning and processing on human health and wellness. The processes significantly reduced the vitamin and mineral content of fruits and vegetables creating a need for supplementation. Dr. Lindlahr created a vitamin supplement that his patients could use when they ate cooked, canned or processed foods. Young Dr. Howell observed that patients who ate the raw foods had greater vitality and wellness than those who consumed cooked foods even with the vitamin supplement. He concluded that something present in the raw food other than vitamins and minerals played a vital role in maintaining human health. His passionate search for this vital force led him to discover the presence of food enzymes and their role in human health and longevity.

Dr. Howell spent the rest of his life researching food enzymes and their impact on our health. He amassed reams of studies that supported his theories and prompted him to expand his Food Enzyme Concept. He published several pamphlets, booklets and books expounding his theories and the evidence to support them. Enzyme Nutrition, Dr. Howell’s last publication in 1985, reviews the scientific literature through 1973. Dr. Howell passed away in 1988 leaving his legacy for others to build upon. Before his passing, Dr. Howell spent many hours mentoring and teaching Anthony Collier, who is now President of National Enzyme Company. Mr. Collier made a personal promise to Dr. Howell that he would continue to build on Dr. Howell’s foundation and complete his mission to education the world about the necessity of supplemental digestive enzymes.

Dr. Howell outlined the theory of the Food Enzyme Concept in his books Food Enzymes for Health and Longevity and Enzyme Nutrition as well as other publications. The basic tenets are outlined below:

Enzymes are a natural component of raw foods and play a vital role in digestion. These enzymes have been termed “food enzymes”.

• Food enzymes digest foods in the upper stomach prior to inactivation by gastric acid secretion. This is often termed “pre-digestion”.

• Food enzymes are destroyed by the heat associated with cooking, canning, pasteurization and other food processing techniques.

• In the absence of dietary food enzymes, the body is forced to secrete more enzymes, acid & bile to deal with the increased digestive burden. The ability of the body to modulate the secretion of enzymes based upon its digestive needs has been termed “adaptive secretion”.

• The increased digestive burden robs the body unnecessarily of energy and resources which contributes to degenerative disease.

• Supplemental enzymes replace the enzymes lost in cooking and processing.

• Fungal and plant enzymes work in the upper stomach in the process of pre-digestion.

• Neither enteric coated enzymes nor pancreatic supplements are able to work under those conditions and do not contribute to pre-digestion.

• The consumption of food enzymes as well as supplemental enzymes, prevent/reduce the occurrence of Digestive Leukocytosis (inflammation that occurs after the consumption of cooked foods).

• Food enzymes and supplemental enzymes may be absorbed and may elicit systemic effects.

This new blog series will seek to pick up where Dr. Howell left off and build upon his foundation. It is time to bring Dr. Howell’s work into the light of modern research, to re-evaluate his premises and place them in the context of current biological and physiological knowledge.

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