Types Of Enzymes

Functions Of The Different Types Of Enzymes

There are three major different types of enzymes at work in the human body. Within these three types are nearly 3,000 different kinds of enzymes. Each kind has certain specific tasks to carry out, and we need most all of them just to survive. Without certain enzymes we couldn't even exist. An enzyme has a somewhat complicated structure, though most cells in the body may contain up to 1,000 of them. Enzymes exist at the molecular level however, so plenty of them can fit into a very tiny space.

Enzymes are protein molecules, and each of the different kinds is made up of a string of amino acids. There may a chain be several hundred amino acids strung together to form an enzyme, with the structure or the way the amino acids are strung together, unique for that particular kind of enzyme. The structure of amino acids determines the function, the carrying out of a specific chemical reaction, each enzyme is to perform. If we are lacking certain enzymes, it means there are chemical reactions that should be taking place in our body that are not taking place, and we can become very ill as a consequence. All the work that is done inside of each cell in our body, plus the building of new cells, is done by enzymes. Enzymes are also the reason we're able to digest the foods we eat. Without enzymes, food could not be digested, and we would get no energy for the food as a result. Certain digestive disorders can be traced to a lack of one or more, usually more, different kinds of enzymes.

Three Types Of Enzymes - There are three basic types of enzymes needed to sustain life. Two of these are produced within the body, the third is not, and must be provided in the foods we eat. The three types of enzymes are metabolic enzymes, digestive enzymes, and food enzymes. Metabolic and digestive enzymes perform a host of functions while food enzymes have a more limited purpose. Food enzymes are needed in the digestive process, but generally only serve to help digest the particular type of food they are present in.

Metabolic Enzymes - The metabolic enzymes are devoted to energy production in the cells of our body, and at the same time act as detoxifying agents. Metabolic enzymes, produced within the body make up our total being, in that without this type of enzyme we could not hear, see, feel, move, or even think. The metabolic enzymes are produced within the walls of each cell, though several of our vital organs play a role in their production.

Digestive Enzymes - Digestive enzymes, the second of the types of enzymes produced within our body, enable food to be broken down into its constituent nutrients. The nutrients can then be passed into the bloodstream and what is not used is passed on as waste. Different enzymes help in the digestion of different types of foods. One of the digestive enzymes, cellulase, necessary to process cellulose, is not produced in our body, which is why we get little nutrition from eating grass. We have to rely on the enzymes from the grass itself, which are generally not sufficient for our needs.

Food Enzymes - This is of course where the third of the types of enzymes comes in, the food enzymes. Enzymes contained in raw food help us to digest that particular kind of food, but in general do not help in the digestion of any other foods. Cooking destroys the food enzymes, which is one reason why raw food is generally better for us than cooked food. Digestive enzymes produced in our body will allow cooked food to be digested, but not to the degree possible once the food enzymes have been destroyed. When food enzymes are destroyed, it is harder for our digestive system to break down fats, protein, and carbohydrates.

Supplements - At times it may be necessary to ingest enzyme supplements, usually plant-based enzymes, when suffering from certain digestive disorders. Pepsin, for example is often prescribed for individuals who have problems digesting protein. Propain and bromelain are two plant-based enzyme supplements often prescribed when the metabolic enzymes produced within the body require help in fighting inflammation. Other enzyme supplements are prescribed for other conditions.