Catalysts and inhibitors are essential to your health. Without them, biological reactions for sustaining life would be way too slow or overreact.
A catalyst is any substance that causes an increase in the rate of a chemical reaction. While an inhibitor decrease a reaction’s speed, and in some cases even stops it.
A unique aspect of a catalyst and inhibitor is that neither are consumed in the reaction itself. Therefore, they are free to go on and do their job over and over. This means less of the substance is required.
How catalysts and inhibitors work is by changing the activation energy required for a reaction to occur. How this is done is by proffering a different path through which a reaction can be carried out.
If the process requires a lower activation energy, then it is catalyzed. When higher, then inhibited. In fact, when a catalyst is involved in a biological reaction, it’s takes mere milliseconds to get it the work done.
In relation to health, enzymes perform just about all of your catalyzing needs. Enzymes are proteins that may be involved in either the breaking down or building up of molecules.
All reactions that take place within your cells depend on the benefit of enzymes, this is why they are essential to your health. Without them, metabolism would be to slow and insufficient.Even a malfunction of a single enzyme can lead to severe disease, as is the case with phenylketonuria.
Generally, enzymes catalyze a single reaction of a particular reactant, known as a substrate. This catalyzed reaction takes place in only a small part of the enzyme called the active site.
Whenever some other molecule blocks catalyst’s active site, they are said to be inhibitors. An inhibitor can be beneficial or detrimental. In the regulation of metabolism some advantageous inhibitors are naturally at work to maintain cellular homeostasis.
Some other drugs offering a health benefit in a similar manner are:
- ACE inhibitors
- some diuretics
- COX-2 inhibitors
- SSRI antidepressants
- proton pump inhibitors
- NSAIDs ~ aspirin, ibuprofen
- aromatase inhibitors ~ blocks estrogen production for treating breast cancer & endometriosis
Temperature, pH and other factors can affect a catalyzed reaction too.
Your body produces enzymes that are catalysts for digesting the food you eat. And food naturally contains enzyme catalysts that help with this task as well.
However, enzymes are only found in food that is uncooked or not heat processed because their temperature sensitivity causes them to become inactive. So, be sure you eat some food raw to naturally boost your digestive catalyst numbers.