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Digestive Enzymes & Weight Control: The Hidden Factor — an article on the Smart Living Network
April 7, 2010 at 5:03 AMComments: 0 Faves: 0

Digestive Enzymes & Weight Control: The Hidden Factor

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Enzymes: An Introduction

Enzymes are proteins that are used by the body as catalysts to accelerate the speed of reactions. This is possible due to the fact that enzymes effectively lower the activation energy (the energy required for a reaction) without permanently changing these mediated reactions. When the enzyme is no longer present, the activation energy returns to normal levels, decreasing the speed of the overall reaction. Without the presence of enzymes, certain reactions would not occur at all, while others would only occur at slow rates. It should also be noted that enzymes are specific to the reactions in which they catalyze and typically have a suffix of -ase.

Enzymes: How are they Specific?

Enzymes are specific to the reactions they catalyze. Every enzyme within the body is designed for the catalysis of specific reactions by the presence of one particular compound known as a substrate. This is possible due to the creation of the enzyme substrate complex. The most common example is that of the lock and key model. Each enzyme has a unique and distinct 3D shape, similar to that of a key. The substrate is the lock to which the key (enzyme) is specific for. Only certain keys will fit certain locks. There does not exist a universal key (universal enzyme) that is capable of accelerating all chemical reactions.

Digestive Enzymes: What are they?

Digestive enzymes are particular enzymes that are located within the digestive system (alimentary tract). Digestive enzymes are present throughout the entire digestion process, from ingestion through the mouth to the large intestine. Saliva contains the digestive enzyme, known as amylase, breaks down large sugars (starches) into smaller sugars. From here, the stomach contains further enzymes and acid to degrade food products. The pancreas produces and secretes certain enzymes to the small intestine, in addition to enzymes naturally produced by the small intestine. The majority of digestion occurs within the small intestine, partially due to the presence of these enzymes. When foods are properly digested, they are readily absorbed and utilized by the body.

Digestive Enzymes and Weight Loss: The Connections

Adequate amounts of digestive enzymes are crucial to the healthy function of all individuals. However, the presence of digestive enzymes is especially critical for the support and maintenance of healthy weight loss. It is easier to understand if you consider your body as a large processing unit. If one piece of this processing unit is not functioning properly, the entire processing unit is no longer able to function properly. This is how the digestive enzymes are so important to weight loss . If you are deficient in digestive enzymes, the food you ingest is not properly broken down, which means that nutrients are not being readily absorbed. When your body is deficient in nutrients, it signals for the need to eat more and store nutrients as fat for later use. This can be the result of a vicious cycle of eating but still feeling hungry.

Sources:

http://biochemistry.suite101.com/article.cfm/what_is_an_enzyme

http://www.webmd.com/digestive-disorders/digestive-system

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