Tag : digestive-enzymes
Tag : digestive-enzymes
In today’s world, there seems to be a widespread belief that carbohydrates (more commonly referred as “carbs”) are bad for you. This couldn’t be farther from the truth.
Along with proteins and fats, carbohydrates are one of the 3 main macro-nutrients essential to the human body. Amylase is the digestive enzyme responsible for digesting carbohydrates and converting them into glucose and other forms of sugar. In this article, we will be taking a closer look at what exactly amylase is — and why it plays such a major role in your body.
So without further ado, let us begin!
What is amylase?
As we mentioned above, amylase is a digestive enzyme found in the human body. It is more specifically found in the pancreas and the salivary gland where it breaks down sugar and starch and converts them into more simple forms of sugar that can later be used for energy. While amylase is mainly found in humans, it is also found in other animals as well as plants.
Why is amylase important?
Amylase plays a key role in your body’s overall ability to digest foods. Without amylase, your body would be unable to digest carbohydrates and use them as fuel — just like your body would not be able to digest proteins without protease and fats without lipase. But here’s a little known fact: Amylase doesn’t only digest carbohydrates. It also digests dead white blood cells, or pus, and is also involved in your body’s anti-inflammatory reactions.
Remember: Amylase deficiency (or any other enzyme deficiency for that matter), is never a good thing… which brings us to our next question.
What about amylase supplements?
People who are unable to produce high levels of amylase or who wish to experience other benefits associated with this enzyme sometimes end up supplementing with amylase supplements. Amylase can be found in several digestive enzyme supplements and is often combined with other digestive enzymes such as protease and lipase for better results.
And now to answer the question that you’ve probably been dying to ask all along: Yes, amylase supplements are safe to use and are completely natural. Aside from mild stomach discomfort that may arise as a result of taking too much amylase at one time, no other side effects are currently associated with taking amylase supplements. A good thing because amylase is definitely one of our favorite enzymes!
Like most people, you probably have a vague idea of what enzymes are. When you hear this word, memories of high school science class pop up in your head. You remember your teacher talking about them. Maybe you even remember acing a test or two about them. But by now chances are that you’ve forgotten most of what you learned about enzymes—and this is why you are here.
Before going any further, it is crucial that you understand what enzymes are and how important a role they play in keeping you alive. This article will aims to refresh your memory and perhaps teach you a thing or two about them. (So it’s like science class but with no homework!)
What Are Enzymes?
In scientific jargon, enzymes are biological catalysts. In simple words, enzymes are molecules of proteins that initiate change in your body. All living organism produce enzymes, but for the purpose of keeping this article simple we’ll only be focusing on enzymes that are produced by the human body (or that can be supplemented).
What Do Enzymes Do?
Like your science teacher probably said, enzymes are involved in every function of your body. They catalyze (or accelerate) biochemical reactions that, quite literally, keep you alive. Without enzymes, you would die. Here are just a few things that enzymes help with:
What Are The Different Kinds of Enzymes?
Enzymes are everywhere in your body. Because of their importance, it comes as no surprise that there would be different kinds of enzymes working on different biological functions within your body. If you remember hearing your science teacher say that enzymes are very specific, it’s because they are. Here are 4 types of enzymes:
Food enzymes: Those enzymes primarily come from plants. In other words, your body can’t produce those enzymes—they have to come from foods that you eat. Quite simply, food enzymes (also known as plant enzymes) help your body digest food and deliver nutrients to the blood. Food enzymes are destroyed when cooked and can be supplemented by eating more raw vegetables and fruits.
Digestive enzymes: As the name entails, digestive enzymes help break down food into basic components so that your body can absorb the nutrients. Those nutrients are then used to build cells, maintain organs and repair tissues. Digestive enzymes, unlike food enzymes, are present in your body. You can find them in the digestive juices that your body produces.
Metabolic enzymes: Metabolic enzymes are also found within your body. They enhance metabolic processes and are the driving forces behind chemical reactions in cells. Think of them as the building blocks of your biological system.
Supplemental enzymes: Lastly, supplemental enzymes are (obviously) not found within your body. Instead, they are supplemented by means of tablets, capsules and powders. Digestive and systemic enzymes are the most common types of supplemented enzymes. The former replace naturally occurring digestive enzymes that are lost during the cooking process while the latter help maintain a healthy overall body. We’ll be covering systemic enzymes a lot more in the next few articles, so make sure to stay tuned!
Of course, enzymes are much more complicated than this. Thousands of them can be found within the human body, so narrowing them all down into a few categories is nearly impossible. Regardless, knowing a bit more about the enzymes described above is still an excellent stepping stone if you wish to learn more about enzymes in general and how they benefit you.
Categories: Systemic Enzymes
After having read our previous articles, we hope that you are now familiar with enzymes and their basic functions. Yet some people, when they hear the term “systemic enzymes” somehow still manage to confuse them with digestive enzymes. In this article we aim to make the difference between those two types of enzymes as clear as possible so that any misconceptions that you might have on both systemic enzymes and digestive enzymes can be dispelled at last.
But before this can happen, we first need to refresh your memory a little bit and define systemic and digestive enzymes in simple terms. Digestive enzymes are usually the ones that people are more familiar with, so let’s start with that one.
What Are Digestive Enzymes?
Before going further, it is important to note that both digestive and systemic enzymes can be supplemented—but digestive enzymes are the only ones that can be found in your body. This will become very important in later articles.
You eat food, but your body doesn’t absorb food—it absorbs nutrients (think proteins, carbohydrates, etc.) However, before those nutrients can be absorbed, they first have to be broken down by—you guessed it—digestive enzymes. Of course, we are grossly oversimplifying the entire process, but at this point it’s pretty much all that you need to know.
Digestive enzymes break down food into nutrients. But what about those mysterious systemic enzymes? What are they? And more importantly—what are they used for?
What Are Systemic Enzymes?
Systemic enzymes are a totally different kind of beast. Unlike digestive enzymes, they are supplemented orally, which means that they are produced outside of the body. Following in the footsteps of digestive enzymes, there exist many different kinds of systemic enzymes out there—each with their own function and each derived from different living organisms.
One of the most common type of systemic enzyme (which also happens to be a proteolytic enzyme) is known as serrapeptase. The latter is derived from silkworms. (Don’t worry if the name doesn’t a ring a bell right now—we’ll cover serrapeptase in more details later.)
Now that you know what systemic enzymes are, you probably are wondering what they are used for. The answer to that question, however, is not as straightforward as some people think it is… and let’s be honest: That’s what makes systemic enzymes so amazing.
Many people consume systemic enzyme supplements to improve their overall health. Others consume them to target a specific health issue. Systemic enzymes are known to alleviate a number of health issues that plague millions of people worldwide—think allergies, inflammation, heart diseases, etc. Once again, we will be covering the benefits of systemic enzymes in more details later down the road.
In the world of enzyme supplements, there seems to be a recurring question:
Should I take systemic enzyme or digestive enzyme supplements?
By now, we can probably assume that you are well acquainted with systemic enzymes as well as their benefits and potential side effects. But what about digestive enzymes? Let’s take a quick look at how they work before going any further.
Quite simply, digestive enzymes do exactly what their name entails: They help your body digest food while at the same time work with it to alleviate a number of digestive issues. (Think heartburn, bloating and reflux among others. You know — the nasty ones nobody likes to talk about.)
Unlike systemic enzymes which should be taken on an empty stomach, digestive enzymes need to be taken with meals. This is to ensure that they end up where they should be — namely, in your stomach, alongside undigested foods so that they can support their complete digestion.
To go back to the original question, here’s our answer (and it seems to be prevalent in the health community): Take both. After all, why would you only take one and give up on the benefits that the other could have provided you? Systemic enzymes and digestive enzymes are completely safe and free from serious side effects. Further to that, they can work in tandem with a healthy lifestyle and diet to enhance your overall health and help alleviate a condition (or two!) that you might be suffering from.
Of course, if you suffer from a health condition that could potentially be worsened by the consummation of either systemic enzymes or digestive enzymes, then we recommend that you talk to your doctor before incorporating either of these supplements into your diet. And as usual, remember that those supplements should never be taken to replace a healthy lifestyle and diet.