Enzymes are the sparks that start the essential chemical reactions our bodies need to live. They are necessary for digesting food, for stimulating the brain, for providing cellular energy, and for repairing all tissues, organs, and cells.
There are three types of enzymes: metabolic enzymes, digestive enzymes, and food enzymes.
Metabolic enzymes catalyse, or spark, the reactions within the cells. The body’s organs, tissues and cells are run by metabolic enzymes. Without them our bodies would not work. Among their chores are helping to turn phosphorus into bone, attaching iron to our red blood cells, healing wounds, thinking, and making a heart beat.
Digestive enzymes break down foods, allowing their nutrients to be absorbed into the bloodstream and used in body functions. Digestive enzymes ensure that we get the greatest possible nutritional value from foods.
Food enzymes are enzymes supplied to us through the foods we eat. Nature has placed them there to aid in our digestion of foods. This way, we do not use as many of the body’s “in-house” enzymes in the digestive process.
A present theory is that humans are given a limited supply of enzyme energy at birth, and that it is up to us to replenish our supply of enzymes to ensure that their vital jobs get done. If we don’t replenish our supply, we run the risk of ill health.
There is a that theory mentions that the length of life is inversely proportional to the rate of exhaustion of the enzyme potential of an organism. The increased use of food enzymes promotes a decreased rate of exhaustion of the enzyme potential.”
In other words, the more food enzymes you get, the longer, and healthier, you live.
As food enzymes are destroyed at temperatures above 118 F processed foods contain few, if any enzymes, and that the typical diet is enzyme-deficient. When we eat this type of diet, we could well be eating for a shorter and less-than-healthy life.
This shows the importance of eating raw fruits and vegetables because they are “live foods”; that is, foods in which the enzymes are active. The more enzymes you get, the healthier you are. And the more raw foods you eat, the more enzymes you get.
Enzymes carry out the role of detoxification — breaking down toxic substances so that they are excreted and cannot build up to possibly cause harm. Although this is done by metabolic enzymes, research shows that enzymes found in the foods that we eat, although not food enzymes — may help our bodies do this.
Recently enzymes have been found that can neutralise chemical warfare agents. The enzymes can be used to rapidly decontaminate facilities, equipment, and vehicles.
At present a project is studying enzymes that catalyse the detoxification of organophosphate insecticides.
The project is showing that green barley extract may accelerate the body’s breakdown of malathion, an organophosphate insecticide used heavily throughout the world.
Six different experiments measured the ability of barley leaf extract to “detoxify” this insecticide. All revealed positive results.
Interestingly enough, one more test was run after subjecting the green barley extract to high heat. This, the researchers believe, denatured and removed the proteins. Detoxification ability was again measured, and this time, did not take place. This indicates that the detoxifying agent in green barley is an enzyme, and when heated, the enzymes are destroyed. It also points out that green barley extract is “alive” — that is, that the enzymes are intact.
As enzymes are specific, this is due to the “shape” of their receptor sites, this means that one enzyme would be able to react with only one substance, the diagram (left) shows the enzyme fitting exactly in to the substance just like a lock and key.
This can be extremely useful to commercial scientists because it is possible to increase the rate of forming particular substances, while leaving the rate of other rections unchanged.
The rate in which enzymes work can be dictated by certain processes, such as activation energy, activation energy is the kinetic energy that particles must possess so that when there is a collision there is enough energy to spark a reaction, thus the particle posses kinetic energy, it would be fair to say that an increase in kinetic energy of the particles would lead to an increase in rate, and so directly proportionate.
Heat can also affect the rate as heat gives the enzyme particles more energy as this can effect the rate at which enzymes work, most enzymes will work most efficiently at around 41°c however at greater temperatures the rate at which the enzymes will slow and eventually stop completely, this is because the enzymes denature.