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Debunking Enzyme Replacement

05/18/2001

Question:

I have heard of this new treatment called "enzyme replacement, which is being offered by a New York Chiroprator. The glossary of Chiropractic terms says it is a "nonsensical approach", but doesn`t explain say why. Can you tell me what it is? Thank you

Answer:

Enzyme replacement therapy is used to treat disorders that occur as a result of an enzyme being absent or deficient in the body. Enzymes are types of proteins that act as catalysts to make chemical changes happen in other substances in the cells. For example, digestion occurs by having digestive enzymes or pancreatic enzymes help drive chemical processes to break down food into energy. Some enzymes can be made synthetically and given to patients to treat some disorders. This may be the type of enzyme replacement therapy mentioned in your question - having to do with digestion. In the past few years, researchers have been able to make some enzymes that are deficient in certain genetic disorders. For example, Gaucher disease - a genetic disorder where the patient does not have the enzyme beta-glucocerebrosidase to break down lysosomes - can now be treated with a synthetic enzyme. There are a number of other genetic disorders of metabolism that are currently being studied or in clinical trials to see if enzyme replacement will be helpful in decreasing or taking away the effects of the disease.

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Response by:

Anne   Matthews, RN, PhD Anne Matthews, RN, PhD
Associate Professor of Genetics
School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University