Enzymes are required for life, so their benefit is to your health.
Enzymes are protein molecules that act as catalysts in your body. Catalysts are substances that start and accelerate the rate of chemical reactions without being affected themselves. In the absence of any one of them, the reaction it catalyzes would be way to slow for a healthy existence.
Generally, an enzyme possess a binding site for a particular molecule. The specific molecule an enzyme acts on is known as that enzyme’s substrate. Most enzymes react with only one substrate or a small group of closely related chemicals. Enzyme substrates bind to an enzyme’s active site just before the reaction catalyzed by the enzyme takes place.
Enzymes speed up your body’s chemical reactions substantially, but typically only function within a narrow temperature and pH range. And some enzymes require co-enzymes, which are not proteins, for efficient substrate catalytic reaction.
Enzymes are involved in health promoting processes such as:
- joining nucleotides into strands of DNA
- breaking down protein, starch & fat during digestion
- adding phosphate to ADP to form ATP during metabolism
Digestive enzymes are a necessary component of your digestion. They participate in breaking down food into smaller and smaller parts for its absorption through your intestinal wall. Your pancreas secretes a plethora of digestive enzymes which have the broad capability of reducing food stuff down to a penetrable size.
There are certain digestive enzymes that digest certain foods, for instance:
- protease breaks protein into a single amino acid
- lipase digests fats into free fatty acids and glycerol
- amylase reduces polysaccharides into disaccharides
Tight control of enzyme activity is essential for homeostasis and any overproduction, deficiencies, malfunction or lack of a single critical enzyme can lead to a genetic or metabolic disease. Some examples of this are phenylketonuria, galactosemia and glycogen storage disease.
And all the enzymes you’ll ever need are made by your own body, provided no health situation affecting enzymes is in play. Your part is providing it with the building blocks for production. That starts by you consuming a healthy diet.