increased demand for the nutrients and essential supplies required by cells.Without very special helpers and at normal body temperature, it would beimpossible for the cells and tissues to perform all the essential biochemicalreactions required fast enough to meet the basic needs of the body. Fortunately,very specific and remarkable helpers initiate, accelerate and terminate thesebiochemical reactions. The helpers are highly specific organic substances whichhave evolved in living organisms and developed the capacity of performing theseaccelerated tasks to perfection via remarkable and specific catalytic actions. Theseremarkable substances are called enzymes.
Enzymes are catalysts. They make things work faster. For example, thechemistry of the body is all about utilizing one substance to produce another. Letus call it turning chemical A into chemical B. The biochemical reaction to do thismay require energy or release energy, depending on whether molecules A or Bcontain their own energy.
Regardless of whether energy is required or released, the reaction time isshortened by its specific enzyme, without the enzyme being used up. The reactionis accelerated through the use of enzymes. This acceleration without consumptionis the nature of a catalyst. For practical purposes, most biochemical reactionsrequire enzymes since the reaction A to B might take hundreds of years withoutthem.
It seems that enzymes are the fountain of life. Enzymes serve as the laborforce to perform every single function required for our daily activities and arerequired to keep us alive. Digestive enzymes are only a part of the total amount of enzymes in the body. There are about 3000 known enzymes. They are responsiblefor all the functions of every organ system in our bodies. At the same time theyare most important in supporting our body defenses and immune system toprotect us from harmful forces and specific dangers to our health. The immunesystem depends heavily on enzymes to conduct its protective function. In additionwe require enzymes not only to eat, digest and absorb our nutrients, but also tosee, hear, smell, taste, breathe and move. Enzymes are required for our blood andcoagulation system, cardiovascular functions, kidneys, liver, elimination of toxicproducts, excretion, reproduction, etc. They are required even to think, dream orfor sexual excitement. When enzyme activity stops, life stops and the person ororganism dies!
There are two major enzyme systems in the human body. One is digestive andthe other is metabolic. The digestive enzymes help break down all of the food thatwe eat so that it can be absorbed by the body. The metabolic enzymes help to runall of the systems of the body from respiratory system to the nervous system.