By Dr. Mercola
You’ve probably heard of enzymes, and you probably already know they are important for your digestion. But you may not be aware of just how necessary enzymes are to every cell in your body—not just for digestion but for ALL your physiological processes.
Enzymes are composed of amino acids and are secreted by your body to help catalyze functions that would normally not occur at physiological temperatures. They literally make magic happen and are absolutely vital to your life.
More than 3,000 different enzymes have been identified, and some experts believe there may be another 50,000 we have yet to discover. Each enzyme has a different function—like 3,000 specialized keys cut to fit 3,000 different locks. In this analogy, the locks are biochemical reactions.
Enzymes drive biological processes necessary for your body to build raw materials, circulate nutrients, eliminate unwanted chemicals, and the myriad of other biochemical processes that go on without your even thinking about it.
For starters, here are just some of the activities in your body requiring enzymes:
•Absorption of oxygen
•Fighting infections and healing wounds
•Getting nutrients into your cells
•Carrying away toxic wastes
•Breaking down fats in your blood, regulating cholesterol and triglyceride levels
•Dissolving blood clots
•Proper hormone regulation
•Slowing the aging process
And small amounts of enzymes can affect profound changes! Enzymes are the catalysts that cause many essential biochemical reactions to happen—but they are not “used up” IN the reaction. They merely assist—meaning, they accelerate reactions—sometimes to a mind-boggling several million reactions per second!
Enzymes lower the amount of energy needed for a reaction to occur. Without them, some reactions simply would not function in your body.
But enzymes don’t work alone.
Enzymes rely on other elements to accomplish their tasks, such as certain vitamins and minerals. These elements are called “coenzymes.”
You are probably already familiar with one of these—coenzyme Q10. CoQ10 is found in the mitochondria (power centers) of your cells where it is involved in making ATP, every cell’s principal energy source. Another example is magnesium, which participates in over 300 enzyme reactions.