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The Eight Digestive Enzymes for Optimum Health — an article on the Smart Living Network
April 9, 2010 at 2:05 AMComments: 0 Faves: 0

The Eight Digestive Enzymes for Optimum Health


Enzymes are proteins necessary for the catalysis of a particular chemical reaction in a specific chemical environmental condition.In particular, digestive enzymes are responsible for the facilitation and acceleration of the breakdown of food particles into substances that can be absorbed and used by the body.

It is normal for the production and secretion of enzymes to naturally and gradually decline as an individual ages, which could possibly lead to an enzyme deficiency.Enzymes are critical for proper function of systems within the body.There exist eight main enzymes responsible for maintaining the optimum balance of the overall digestive system by promoting proper food digestion.


Protease is a precursor proteolytic enzyme for the production of many other necessary digestive enzymes.All proteases are responsible for the start of protein degradation.

Digestive breakdown of proteins is typically achieved by a process called catabolism.Catabolism, for the process of digestion, is defined as the break down of molecules in an attempt to release energy.

This energy is required for all process in the body, but is characteristically used for the maintenance and growth of cells.In digestion, it is common standard for the breakdown of peptide bonds to be achieved by hydrolysis, breakdown of chemical bonds through the addition of water.

There are currently six classes of proteases, all having slightly different properties that individualize their designated objective of the breakdown of proteins.


Nuclease is an enzyme responsible for the cleaving of phosphodiester bonds.Phosphodiester bonds are the bonds located between nucleic acid subunits.

There are four nucleic acid subunits, A: adenine, T: thymine, C: cytosine, and G: guanine.These four subunits are the building blocks for everything within the body.


Lipase, secreted by the pancreas,is subclass of esterase.Lipase is another precursor enzyme that is necessary to catalyze reactions for the hydrolysis of ester bonds in water insoluble lipid substrates.For the digestive system, pancreatic lipase is located in the digestive juices secreted by the pancreas and is utilized by the body specifically for the breakdown of lipid substrates by degradation of restricted sites on the glycerol backbone.


Collagenase is an enzyme responsible for the cleaving of peptide bonds in collagen.Collagen is the principal protein of connective tissue in all mammals and hence is necessary to the digestive system for the breakdown of food products.


Elastase is responsible for the breakdown of peptide bonds as well, typically after neutral amino acid residues, located in Elastin.Elastin is another connective tissue protein and also aids in the digestion process of food products.


Amylase is responsible for the breakdown of starches and is a precursor enzyme necessary for the production of gastric amylase and pancreatic amylase.Gastric amylase dissolutes starch products.Pancreatic amylase breaks down carbohydrates except starches, cellulose, and glycogen.Amylase is particular to glycosidic bonds and fundamentally exist in the digestive system for the break down of complex sugars into simple sugars.


Trypsin a serine protease, is responsible for the breakdown of peptides in the small intestine.Trypsin cleaves peptide bonds through the hydrolysis of peptide bonds, typically after positively charged residues.Peptides can then be broken down further into amino acids.


Chymotrypsin is another proteolytic enzyme.It is responsible for the cleaving of peptide bonds through hydrolysis, typically near a hydrophobic bulky amino acid residue and is specific to substrates.

Enzymes play a critical role in the breakdown of proteins necessary for the digestion and absorption of the foods we ingest on a daily basis. An improper balance of enzymes may lead to specific deficiencies, causing digestive difficulties. There currently exist supplements that provide these necessary enzymes.


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