The Effects of Enzymes on Mental Health by Lita Lee, Ph.D. Author of the best-selling The Enzyme Cure


The Enzyme Cure: How Plant Enzymes Can Help You Relieve 36 Health Problems
A large percentage of my clients tell me their doctors have said they had emotional and/or mental problems because there was nothing physically wrong with them. They are told to go to psychologists or psychiatrists. Many are diagnosed with mental illness and placed on toxic drugs. Some are recommended to have electroshock therapy.

I have never believed that people “just go nuts.” I have always believed that abnormal brain chemistry leading to mental problems is a direct result of abnormal body chemistry, poor nutrition and hormonal imbalances.

One of the most critical aspects of body chemistry is the activity of enzymes. Enzymes are substances that speed up chemical reactions in all plants and animals. Without enzymes, these reactions would occur too slowly or not at all. The names of enzymes commonly end in “-ase.”

Much of the pioneering work in enzyme research was done by Howard Loomis, D.C. He developed many of the enzyme formulas I and other enzyme therapists use as well as objective tests to determine enzyme deficiencies. In this article I will be referring to these formulas used in the Chirozyme line of enzyme products.
Enzymes and Brain Function

There are at least four nutritional causes of mental problems. These include: protease deficiency (difficulty digesting protein), sugar intolerance – the inability to digest disaccharides (common sugars like sucrose) to simple sugars, hypothyroidism and a junk-food diet laced with sugar.

Protease Deficiency: People who are deficient in protease cannot digest protein. Many of them become vegetarians but they still have trouble digesting plant protein. Here I will emphasize the mental/emotional symptoms arising from severe protease deficiency.

Protease deficiency leads to a buildup of excess alkaline reserves because there is inadequate digested protein to supply enough acidity. When this happens the person becomes anxious and sighs in an attempt to restore the acid-base balance. Anxiety is usually treated with drugs such as Xanax, Halcion, and so on. It is much safer to treat the nutritional cause of the problem, namely the protease deficiency, with protease Chirozyme TRMA.

Another anti-anxiety enzyme-herbal formula – Chirozyme Circ – contains enzymes plus collinsonia root and hawthorne berries which stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system. People who are overly alkaline and anxious benefit greatly from this formula.

Sugar Intolerance: Loomis says that everyone is sugar intolerant to some degree. Why? Because we eat “tons” of sugar – far exceeding the capacity of the jejunum (part of the small intestine) to make disaccharidases, sugar-digesting enzymes. These include lactase (digests lactose), sucrase (digests sucrose) and maltase (digests maltose). However, there are some people who just don’t make enough disaccharidases, so they’re in trouble whether or not they eat sugarl You can tell how bad the situation is by doing an indican test on a 24-hour urine sample. Indican is a toxic substance which can be found in the urine and causes a multitude of symptoms. Severe sugar intolerance produces a zero indican because it causes interference with the indican test.

Sucrase intolerance can lead to mental and emotional problems, such as panic attacks, depression, insomnia, mood swings that can progress to a bipolar disorder, and a tendency towards irritable, aggressive or violent behavior. Loomis developed three enzymes for sugar intolerance. One is Chirozyme Pan, a digestive formula containing not only protease, amylase (for carbohydrates), lipase (for fats) and cellulase (for fiber), but also sucrase, lactase and maltase. Another formula called Chirozyme Adr, with the B-complex plus enzymes and high levels of sucrase, was developed for symptoms such as those in the woman I will describe shortly – panic attacks, depression, insomnia and so on. This is a very common problem in our modern society, among both adults and young children. The third enzyme, Chirozyme SvG, combines food sources of vitamins C and E plus disaccharldases.

Hypothyroidism: I am classifying this as a nutritional problem because it can be remedied with a simple substance in the food chain – thyroid glandular. Also, there are herbs which have a stimulating effect on thyroid function. Hypothyroidism has a myriad of physical symptoms. Some patients, however, have no physical symptoms but manifest mental symptoms, sometimes diagnosed as schizophrenia and other mental illnesses. This was described in Dr. Broda Barnes’ pioneering book, Hypothyroldlsm, The Unsuspected Illness.

The following cases illustrate these nutritional problems.

The Woman Who Was Too Depressed to Work

This 50-year old woman had all nutritional causes of mental problems to a severe degree. She was diagnosed with bipolar disorder (manic depression), panic disorder and obsessive personality following a several-year period during which she became increasingly confused, disoriented, depressed and deteriorated physically, emotionally and mentally. During this time she gained 100 pounds and developed breast cancer.

The doctor prescribed a wide range of psychiatric drugs, none of which improved her condition but did cause terrible side effects such as nausea, vomiting, loss of bowel control and an additional weight gain of 50 pounds. Then her psychiatrist, a long-time colleague of mine, referred her to me for an evaluation of her nutritional needs. He was very open to the idea that some of her mental problems were caused by inadequate nutrition and a hormonal imbalance.

At the time I met her, she was taking Imipramine (50-75 mg), Xanax (1-2 mg) and Tegretol (800 mg -1 gram). Her diet consisted of junk foods, fast foods, soda pop, coffee and sweets. She appeared almost catatonic and could barely climb onto the therapy table due to her large size and severe arthritis.

Although I talked to her extensively, I could not tell whether she heard or understood what I said. It shocked me to see what she had become. Her therapist told me that she was a former vice-president of Wells Fargo Bank, an artist, well-read, articulate, brilliant and creative.

This woman had both mental and physical symptoms. Her axillary (armpit) temperature was only 95 degrees Fahrenheit. I had never seen one so low. An interesting observation was that it spiked to 104 degrees after she took Imipramine. This concerned me because of the recent reports of children suddenly collapsing and dying after taking Imipramine without any apparent symptoms.

Urinalysis plus other tests indicated the following treatment:

  1. Digestive formula for sugar-intolerant people (Chirozyme Pan).
  2. Sugar digesting formula for panic attacks, insomnia and depression (Chirozyme Adr).
  3. Protease (Chirozyme TRMA) for the immune system, soft tissue inflammation and anxiety due to lack of digested protein leading to excess alkaline reserves.
  4. Protease (Chirozyme TRMA) for the immune system, soft tissue inflammation and anxiety due to lack of digested protein leading to excess alkaline reserves.
  5. A thyroid glandular.

What happened was amazing, especially because this patient was not particularly compliant! Within a few weeks, I noticed a gradual but profound change in her behavior. Her speech was faster and more articulate with normal emotional expression. Her wonderful sense of humor re-emerged and she had me cracking up on the phone. And she started to lose weight. To date, she still goes up and down depending on whether she is taking her enzyme. But she has improved enough to become a student at a local college.

I have always believed that the body is self-healing, given the proper nutrition plus digestive enzymes to ensure digestion, absorption and assimilation. This case aptly illustrates my belief.

The Boy Who Wanted to Die

This is the story of a 16-year-old boy with cerebral palsy who was diagnosed with mental illness: uni-polar disorder and thought disorder. He also complained of anger, anxiety, nightmares and hearing voices. He had become addicted to cigarettes and beer and had attempted suicide twice. He came to see me after having been released from a psychiatric hospital following a suicide attempt.

He was agitated, had involuntary body movements and his whole face looked puffy – side effects from the six drugs he had been given to control his behavior. These drugs were not helping him plus he now had to deal with additional symptoms due to their side effects.

His 24-hour urinalysis was normal except for very low calcium and poor kidney concentration (that is, insufficient filtration of toxins/allergens) causing severe kidney pain and the need for a kidney formula (Chirozyme Kdy). I believe that the drugs had a masking effect on the urinalysis. Further testing revealed multiple enzyme deficiencies, respiratory problems (Chirozyme Rsp), a toxic colon, and the need for an enzymatic formula which is for extreme sugar intolerance (Chirozyme Adr).

Sugar intolerance can lead to severe mental and emotional problems. Patients may have panic attacks, horrible nightmares, mood swings, violent behavior and be diagnosed as schizophrenic, bipolar or manic and so on. So I was not surprised to find this need. This was his area of greatest pain. The second was the kidneys.

A sluggish thyroid can also lead to depression and mental problems. He presented many symptoms of hypothyroidism including a low axillary temperature and a low pulse. Here is what I gave him:

  1. A digestive enzyme for fat intolerance (Chirozyme Bil).
  2. A B-vitamin-sucrase formula (Chirozyme Adr) for sugar intolerance symptomized by his nightmares, anger, mood swings, and depression.
  3. A lung remedy (Chirozyme Rsp), previously described.
  4. A colon cleanse powder made from five different seeds.
  5. Thyroid glandular.

His mother started cutting down the dosage of the drugs slowly. In just a few days he showed noticeable improvement. His edema disappeared, the involuntary movements ceased, his insomnia and depression lessened. His mother then took him to a new psychiatrist and told him about her wish to reduce the dosages of his drugs so she could wean him from them. The psychiatrist was very understanding and agreed with her. The young boy continues to improve and is at present off all of his drugs thanks to the supervision of his new psychiatrist.


Enzymes play a vital role in mental health. And they can be used to put someone on the road to recovery from mental problems. The best results of enzyme treatment would be obtained from enzyme therapy practitioners – specialists trained in testing for and finding the exact deficiencies that need remedying.

A list of enzyme treatment practitioners can be found in Appendix C of my book The Enzyme Cure, which covers in great depth enzymes and their role in 36 health problems.

Practitioners may also be found by contacting 21st Century Nutrition at 6421 Enterprise Lane, Madison, WI 53719. Telephone: (800) 662-2630 or (608) 273-8111.

Dr. Lita Lee may be contacted at

P.O Box 516
Lowell, OR 97452

(541) 937-1123

More information about Dr. Lita Lee and her practice may be obtained from her listing in the Alternative Mental Health Directory