Types Of Enzymes

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Many types of enzymes are available as supplements. Enzymes, including the types in supplements and foods, are the normal and necessary basis for human metabolism.

There are thousands of different enzymes at work in the human body and in all living things. More information: What are enzymes?

In the human body, there are 3,000 known enzymes but there are certainly many more, perhaps tens of thousands more, still unidentified. Most of our genes exist to code for the production of enzymes; most of the protein we eat goes toward building our enzymes.

An enzyme is a biocatalyst; that is, it triggers and speeds up chemical reactions within an organic substance. That substance might be something in an animal or a plant, alive or dead, in a food or in a consumer.

Usually a specific enzyme facilitates only one biochemical reaction, that takes place in only one kind of substance. Thus many, many different kinds of enzymes are needed to carry out human metabolism.

To achieve complex activities, different enzymes operate in sequence. Enzymes work at great speeds and are in great numbers in the body.


In General: Types of Enzymes

There are six general types of enzymes—covering all enzymes in all organic material--classified by the way the chemical reaction works. These are: oxidoreductases; transferases; hydrolases; lysases; isomerases; and ligases.

Two of these types are important in enzyme supplements:

Hydrolases include digestive and immune-supporting enzymes, such as proteases, amylases, and lipases.

  • Proteases digest proteins
  • Amylases digest carbohydrates
  • Lipases digest fats

More information: What are digestive enzymes?

Oxidoreductases include antioxidant enzymes, such as superoxide dismutase, catalase, and glutathione peroxidase. Antioxidant enzymes prevent damage from free radicals and enable the body to repair itself. (Free radicals are byproducts of inflammation, infection, toxins, and normal metabolism.)

Notice that many names of enzymes end in "ase." Most enzymes break apart, or digest, the substance they affect. (Other enzymes build up substances.) Many enzymes are named for the substance that they break apart, adapted with the ending "ase" to indicate the action. "Proteases" break apart or digest proteins; "lactase" breaks apart or digests the milk sugar lactose.


Supplements: Types of Enzymes

The following are the names of enzymes commonly found in oral enzyme supplements or foods.

  • Many are normally produced by the digestive system.
  • Others are normally eaten in food.
  • Antioxidant enzymes prevent damage by free radicals.

Some high-quality brands of enzymes supplements are discussed in Best Digestive Enzymes.


That Break Down / Digest Proteins

Bromelain
Carboxypeptidase
Chymopapain
Chymotrypsin
Elastase
Enterokinase
Ficin
Kallikrein
Papain
Pepsin
Protease
Rennin
Serratiopeptidase
Sfericase
Trypsin


That Break Down / Digest Carbohydrates and Vegetable Matter

Alpha-galactosidase
Amylase
Beta-gluconase
Beta-glucosidase
Cellulase
Diastase
Glucoamylase
Hemicellulase
Invertase
Lactase
Lysozyme (also antibiotic and antiviral)
Maltase
Pectinase
Phytase
Sucrase
Xylanase


That Break Down / Digest Fats

Esterase
Lipase


From Animal Pancreas - Digest Proteins, Carbohydrates, and Fats

Pancreatin
Pancrelipase


Antioxidant Enzymes

Catalase
Glutathione peroxidase
Peroxidase
Superoxide dismutase


More Information

Here are articles identifying the enzymes that digest various types of foods and meals:

Enzymestuff.com: Enzymes That Work On Specific Food Types Or Compounds

Houston Enzymes: Tips For Matching Enzymes and Foods






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