Unlocking the Power of Enzymes

    Enzymes are fundamental to life, driving biochemical processes that sustain our existence. With over 5 000 identified, these biocatalysts are ubiquitous in nature, facilitating reactions critical for energy production, toxin removal, digestion, wound healing, and more.

    ‘Enzymes are substances that make life possible. They are needed for every chemical reaction that takes place in the human body. No mineral, vitamin, or hormone can do any work without enzymes. Our bodies, all our organs, tissues, and cells are run by metabolic enzymes.' Dr Edward Howell, Enzyme Nutrition and Food Enzymes for Health and Longevity 

    Our bodies, all our organs, tissues, and cells are run by metabolic enzymes – the fundamental drivers of our health and vitality. Enzymes are like the superheroes of the body, working behind the scenes to keep everything running smoothly. Think of them as tiny powerhouses that make life possible. From helping us digest our food to healing wounds, they're the unsung heroes we often overlook.

    Factors Influencing Enzyme Function

    Each enzyme requires very specific conditions to function optimally. Stomach enzymes require an acidic environment and pancreatic enzymes function optimally in an alkaline environment. Slight shifts in pH anywhere in the body can decrease the efficiency of the enzymes, which in turn leads to a slower and poorer function of many metabolic processes.

    Increasing body heat often activates enzymes. This occurs during fevers or exercise. Extreme heat, such as when food is cooked or microwaved, kills off most enzyme action irreversibly.

    Enzyme action can also be inhibited by endogenous (the body’s own) inhibitors, poisons (such as organophosphate poisons, cyanide), drugs and many natural inhibitors present in foods. In the body, and also in nature, these natural inhibitors do serve a function. They prevent early ripening of fruit and sprouting of seeds before the conditions are right. Many drugs work by blocking enzymes.

    Lack of certain minerals such as zinc may also influence enzyme action. Many nutrients are referred to as co-factors and are also essential to the function and production of these enzymes. They include the B group of vitamins and certain metal ions.

    Enzymes and Reproduction

    Even the head of the sperm releases an enzyme that dissolves its path through the outer covering of the ovum to reach and penetrate it; and another enzyme is involved in closing the door, preventing other sperm from entering. The development of the embryo is dependent on enzymes. Enzymes are present in the pheromones that cause attraction, sexual excitement, and arousal.

    CONCLUSION

    Without enzymes, there would be no breathing, digestion, growth, blood coagulation, sensory perception, or reproduction. The enzymes are artists in their own unique way, dismantling, reassembling, destroying, eliminating, protecting, and performing myriad functions to keep everything flowing fast and efficiently.

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