Digestive Enzymes - Benefits of Digestive Enzymes
Digestive Enzyme Health Benefits
Digestive enzymes are required by the body for the proper digestion, absorption, and elimination of food products. Digestion, the break down of complex molecules as food products to simpler molecules, is not possible without the presence of digestive enzymes. Digestive enzymes function to catalyze (accelerate in speed) reactions necessary for this break down. Once the food products have been properly digested, the simple molecules can be absorbed and utilized by the body through cellular metabolism. Cellular metabolism contains all the mechanisms necessary for life; growth, repair, structure maintenance, reproduction, and even response to environmental stimuli. The left over products that can not be utilized for metabolic functions by the body are then eliminated by excretion.
Cellular Metabolism: An Introduction
Metabolism in general, is a set of reactions performed daily by the biological systems for the maintenance of life. Metabolism in general is broken down into two subcategories: catabolism and anabolism. Catabolism is necessary for the break down of large and complex molecules, typically for the purpose of energy production. Anabolism uses this energy for the formation of necessary cellular components, primarily amino acids, which form nucleic acids (RNA and DNA) and proteins. There are typically three complex molecules that are described in cellular metabolism; fat, protein, and carbohydrate metabolism.
Digestive Enzymes: Fat Metabolism
Fat metabolism is primarily accomplished by the liver, which serves a variety of biological functions important to the body. Metabolism of fats is usually associated with the production of energy. This energy production is caused by an oxidation reaction, breaking down fatty acids. Lipoproteins are commonly synthesized by the liver. Lipoproteins, made up of lipids and proteins, are commonly enzymes.
Digestive Enzymes: Protein Metabolism
Protein metabolism is also important to the body. Protein metabolism is necessary for the production of non-essential amino acids (essential amino acids cannot be produced by the body, but must be taken in by some method, typically ingestion). Protein metabolism is also responsible for the maintenance and removal of ammonia through the processing of urea, and synthesizes the majority of plasma proteins including albumin. Ammonia is toxic to the body, and must be properly removed to prevent these toxic effects. Plasma albumin levels are critical for the blood, particularly blood clotting (coagulation).
Metabolism and Energy
Energy is produced via cellular metabolism. Energy is usually stored by the body in the form of potential energy. This potential energy is stored in molecular bonds that are easily broken for release of this energy, most commonly in the form of ATP. The metabolic pathways function to release this potential energy from reactions termed "downhill", typically from catabolic reactions, to fuel "uphill" reactions, typically anabolic reactions. This transfer of energy between the types of metabolism is known as energy coupling.