Technology has changed the world — yet our diets are behind the times, especially when it comes to efficiency. We base our diets on calories, not nutrients, and our food conversion leaves a lot of unhelpful material inside the body and a lot of waste.
But improving nutrition efficiency is possible. We can improve the amount of nutrients we extract from our food by introducing supplementary enzymes.
Supplemental Enzymes: Proven Benefits
Our body naturally produces enzymes designed to break down the components of the foods we eat into molecules our body requires to survive, repair, and protect itself. As one ages, and as one eats a narrower variety of foods, these enzymes become less effective, preventing optimal uptake of nutrients from foods and increasing the volume of waste products produced from digestion and metabolism. The same process occurs in livestock, and it is through research and development in the agricultural sector that the industry has discovered the effects of feed and supplemental enzymes on animal health and digestion.
The results of feed and feed combinations on cows have been exhaustively studied, documented, and applied in the agribusiness industry for years. Cattle on a grass-fed diet, the optimal calorie source for their digestive systems, have been shown to be healthier and produce better quality yields than those on corn- or soy-based feed. However, when supplemental enzymes were added to the latter diet, those cows produced around 30 percent less greenhouse gas emissions (in the form of methane through flatulence) and delivered increased protein weight versus unsupplemented corn- or soy-based feed. Because cows are not naturally disposed to consuming these feeds, their digestive systems lack the enzymes to properly extract nutrients from them. Cattle producers discovered that the innovation of enzyme supplementation allowed livestock to adapt to a diet their systems were not necessarily designed for. Nutrient efficiency isn’t just a matter of good livestock health – it’s also good business, as animals that can better digest their food produce more milk, more meat, and less waste per kilogram of feed. They require less pasture land and water as well.
These innovations in enzyme supplementation can be applied in other sectors too. Farmed tilapia, the new darling of the aquaculture industry, suffers from a significant drop in protein quality and beneficial omega-3 fatty acids, not to mention bland flavor, as a result of switching from their natural insect- and fish-based protein sources to the commonly used soy- and grain-based feed many fish farms rely on to keep costs down and profits up. Supplemental enzymes provided along with the feed of these new “chickens of the sea” may be the key to maximizing the nutrient quality of farmed fish, which continues to be dwarfed by that of wild varieties.
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