What Do Enzymes Do?

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Enzymes are present in every phase of digestion. They are what make your digestive system work. Without them you can’t digest your food adequately. We mainly consume carbohydrates, proteins and fats; thus the three enzyme groups are amylolytic, proteolytic and lipolytic.

Organs of the Digestive Tract
Organs of the Digestive Tract

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Amylolytic enzymes or amylases break down carbohydrates. The simplest carbohydrate is the monosaccharide because it can’t be broken down to smaller carbohydrates. Glucose and fructose are examples of a monosaccharide. When two monosaccharides are joined they are called a disaccharide and is the simplest polysaccharide. Sucrose and lactose are examples of a disaccharide.

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The most complex carbohydrates are oligosaccharides and polysaccharides because they are composed of longerchains of monosaccharide units that are bound together by glycosidic bonds. Oligosaccharides contain between two and nine monosaccharide units and polysaccharides contain more than ten monosaccharides. Examples of polysaccharides are starch and glycogen.

The carbohydrate cellulose functions as fiber in our diet because we don’t have any of the enzyme cellulase present in our digestive tract.

Proteolytic enzymes or proteases break down proteins into small units called amino acids. Each protease works on a specific amino acid. Amino acids that can’t be synthesized by the body are called essential amino acids. The essential amino acids are:

• Histadine

• Isoleucine

• Leucine

• Lycine

• Methionine

• Phenylalanine

• Threonine

• Tryptophan

• Valine

Amino acids that can be synthesized by the body are called non-essential amino acids. The non-essential amino acids are:

• Alanine

• Arginine

• Asparagine

• Aspartic acid

• Cysteine

• Glutamic acid

• Glutamine

• Glycine

• Froline

• Serine

• Tyrosine

Lipolytic enzymes or lipases break down lipids. Lipids include fats or triglycerides, oils, cholesterol, sterols, monoglycerides, diglycerides, and phosolipids. Lipids are divided into eight categories:

• Fatty acyls

• Glycerolipids

• Glycerophospholipids

• Sphingolipids

• Saccharolipids

• Polyketides

• Sterol lipids

• Prenol lipids

Cholesterol Acetate
Cholesterol Acetate

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The information on enzyme-facts.com is not offered for the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of any disease or disorder nor have any statements herein been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). We strongly encourage you to discuss topics of concern with your health care provider.

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