3 Role of Enzymes in the Digestive Process
Windowofworld.com – After you eat, have you ever thought about how food is digested in the body? The process of digestion of food is controlled by digestive enzymes. This enzyme plays an important role in breaking down food particles into the smallest parts, so that the nutrients are easily absorbed by the body.
Enzyme itself is a type of protein that functions to accelerate the rate of biochemical reactions in the body. Most digestive enzyme are produced naturally in the digestive tract, such as the mouth, stomach, pancreas, and small intestine. Certain medical conditions can affect the production of enzymes that ultimately cause digestive problems. If digestive disorders occur due to lack of enzymes, then additional enzymes that are derived from outside the body are needed.
The Role of Enzymes in the Digestive Process
Every food that enters your body must be broken down into basic nutrients, namely amino acids from protein, fatty acids and glycerol from fat, and glucose from carbohydrates. This process occurs so that nutrients are easily absorbed and flowed throughout the body to support metabolism. The process of breaking down nutrients is largely aided by digestive enzymes.
Digestive enzymes are produced by the body, and each has a specific function to break down certain types of nutrients contained in food. Here are three main digestive enzyme and their functions:
1. Lipase enzyme
This is an enzyme that is useful for breaking down fats and oils, then turning it into glycerol and fatty acids. Lipase enzymes are produced in the pancreas and small intestine. In addition, this enzyme can also be found in breast milk.
2. Protase enzymes
This is an enzyme that functions to break down proteins into amino acids. This enzyme is produced in the stomach, pancreas, and small intestine. That is why, most of the process of protein breakdown occurs in the stomach and small intestine.
3. Amylase enzymes
This enzyme is needed by the body to break down carbohydrates into glucose, which is the body’s main energy source. This enzyme is produced in the salivary glands, pancreas, and small intestine.
Digestive Enzymes Obtained from Outside the Body
Digestive disorders related to enzymes can occur due to certain medical conditions. It could also be due to poor lifestyle, such as irregular eating patterns, rarely moving or exercising, smoking habits, consuming alcoholic beverages or coffee, and stress that is not handled properly. Problems with digestive enzyme generally cause symptoms such as nausea, flatulence, and decreased appetite.
To help the digestive process in these conditions, additional digestive enzymes can be given in supplement form. However, you should consult with your doctor about your health condition along with supplements to be consumed, to avoid the risk of side effects.
Apart from supplements, there are natural food ingredients that are known to contain enzymes that are similar to digestive enzymes. The following are some of these natural foods:
Honey is a natural ingredient that is believed to have several digestive enzymes, one of which is the amylase enzyme. This enzyme helps the body break down carbohydrates into glucose.
Pineapple is known to have a very high bromelain content. Bromelain itself is a natural enzyme that helps break down proteins into amino acids and prevent flatulence. This substance is also known to have anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and anticancer effects.
Ginger is also believed to have a high digestive enzyme content, such as amylase and lipase enzymes. Research shows that ginger extract can relieve symptoms of digestive disorders, such as nausea, bloating, and discomfort after eating. Even so, the efficacy of this ginger medically still needs to be investigated more deeply.
Kitchen ingredients are also believed to help overcome digestive disorders, including the benefits of turmeric in reducing gas production. Turmeric is also believed to have the property to reduce inflammation.
Keep in mind, before taking enzyme supplements or food ingredients that contain digestive enzymes, always consult with your doctor first. It is intended that the cause of the disorder can be known and overcome, also to avoid various health risks that may arise after consuming additional digestive enzymes.