Enzymes and Digestion

By Holly Honderich

2021-11-07

Overview

An enzyme is a type of protein found within a cell. Enzymes create chemical reactions in the body. They actually speed up the rate of a chemical reaction to help support life.

The enzymes in your body help to perform very important tasks. These include building muscle, destroying toxins, and breaking down food particles during digestion.

An enzyme’s shape is tied to its function. Heat, disease, or harsh chemical conditions can damage enzymes and change their shape. When this happens, an enzyme doesn’t work anymore. This affects the body processes the enzyme helped support.

Enzymes are produced naturally in the body.

For example, enzymes are required for proper digestive system function. Digestive enzymes are mostly produced in the pancreas, stomach, and small intestine. But even your salivary glands produce digestive enzymes to start breaking down food molecules while you’re still chewing. You can also take enzymes in pill form if you’re having certain digestive problems.

What do enzymes do?

One of the most important roles of enzymes is to aid in digestion. Digestion is the process of turning the food we eat into energy. For example, there are enzymes in our saliva, pancreas, intestines and stomach. They break down fats, proteins and carbohydrates. Enzymes use these nutrients for growth and cell repair.

Enzymes also help with:

  • Breathing.
  • Building muscle.
  • Nerve function.
  • Ridding our bodies of toxins.
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