Enzymes are molecules that are mostly protein, and which alter the speed of chemical reactions in living things.
There are thousands of enzymes inside your body — it would not be able to function without them.
Some enzymes need an extra substance, called a coenzyme, to work. Many coenzymes are vitamins.
After you eat a meal, a complex series of enzymes names ending in case, gets to work, breaking the food down into the simple such as lygase, protease molecules that can be absorbed into your blood. and lipase.
Pacemaker enzymes play a vital role in controlling your metabolism — the rate at which your body uses energy.
One of the most important enzyme groups is that of the messenger RNAs, which are used as communicators by the nuclei of body cells (see cells).
Many enzymes are essential for the digestion of food, including lipase, protease, amylase, and the peptidases. Many of these enzymes are made in the pancreas. From the moment you take your first bite of food, enzymes in your saliva begin to break carbohydrates down into glucose, preparing the food for digestion.
Lipase is released mainly from the pancreas into the alimentary canal (gut) to help break down fat.
Amylase breaks down starches such as those in bread and fruit into simple sugars (see carbohydrates). There is amylase in saliva and in the stomach.
In the gut, the sugars maltose, sucrose and lactose are broken down by maltase, sucrase and lactase.