Enzymes are the worker bees in our bodies. These protein molecules act as catalysts to all chemical reactions in the body. This simply means that without enzymes, our bodies wouldn’t function. Enzymes are essential for digestion, generating energy, and DNA copying.
3 Uses of Enzymes
The food you consume has to be broken down into smaller components that can be easily absorbed and utilized by the body. Digestive enzymes trigger a hydrolysis reaction which helps in the breakdown of large molecules into small units. Your body contains several different digestive enzymes that help break down different foods. For example, pepsin and trypsin enzymes digest dietary proteins. Supplemental enzymes help break down the food you eat and help you absorb more nutrients from your diet.
Your body requires a significant amount of energy to carry out all its functions. While glucose (blood sugar) is often the most preferred fuel, your body can also make use of fats and proteins. Through complex processes referred to as cellular respiration, the enzymes help generate ATP (adenosine triphosphate) that help power your cells.
Each chromosome in your body carries an array of genes that encode your genetic makeup in the form of a molecule called deoxyribonucleic acid. After the division of body cells, the new cells must contain the exact copy of your DNA. This replication relies heavily on specific enzymes.
Why Does your Body Need Enzymes?
Your body contains several biochemical digesters that have the power to break apart carbohydrates, fats, minerals, proteins, and vitamins, and make them more absorbable. Without enzymes, minerals and vitamins are useless to your body. Apart from facilitating digestion, enzymes also help maintain healthy cholesterol levels, strengthen the immune system, and maintain the colon. Additionally, when your immune system is attacked, enzymes come to the rescue. A simple deficiency can affect the health of your entire body.
Types of Enzymes
Your body contains three types of enzymes. Digestive and metabolic enzymes are produced by your body while food enzymes are produced by the food you consume.
Digestive enzymes: These enzymes assist your body in the digestion of food and transportation of nutrients to different areas of the body. These enzymes are secreted into the stomach by the pancreas and small intestines. There are three types of digestive enzymes, including amylase, lipase, and protease. Amylase helps in the digestion of carbohydrates, lipase assists in the digestion of fats, and protease digests proteins.
Metabolic enzymes: These are the enzymes that are responsible for maintaining your vital organs, blood levels and tissues running properly. These enzymes transform carbohydrates, fats, and proteins into the needed balance in tissues and cells.
Food enzymes: Your body doesn’t produce these enzymes. They come from fruits, vegetables, and supplements. These enzymes are necessary for the breaking down of different nutrients in the food you eat such as carbohydrates, proteins, minerals, and vitamins, and make it easier for the body to absorb them.
Enzymes work well under certain conditions. Most of them work best at body temperatures and more slowly at low temperatures. Enzymes are also sensitive to temperature, and overcooking food destroys them. Too acidic or alkaline environments alter the shape of the enzyme thus denaturing them.
All metabolic processes in your body depend on enzymes for neurotransmission, digestion, detoxification, and nutrient delivery. However, because our modern diet and the way most foods are prepared, the digestive enzymes can become depleted to a point where our bodies are not able to full process and absorb important nutrients. For this reason it is wise to supplement with digestive enzymes and help your body utilize the nutrients you put into it.