What Do Enzymes Do? Know Types And Their Functions

Enzymes and important for digestion, know what are they types and functions of these enzymes.

Puru Bansal
Written by: Puru BansalPublished at: Jun 04, 2021
What Do Enzymes Do? Know Types And Their Functions

Our body is made up of many different substances having their own functions. One of them in protein which is also divided into many sub-categories depending on the function it performs. Enzymes are also type of protein that is found inside a cell. They help in chemical reaction in the body. Enzymes are important factors to boost our health because they help to increase the rate of chemical reactions happening in the body over time. Let us know from an expert about why enzymes are so important for us and what functions do they perform. To help us we have Dr. Supreet Nigam, General Physician catering in Sahara Hospital, Lucknow.

What Do Enzymes Do?

Enzymes that are found inside the cells are responsible for various tasks. They are building blocks of muscles; destroy toxins and breaks down food into particles for proper digestion. Shape of an enzyme is linked to what kind of function it performs. They are produced naturally in the body. But disease, heat and chemical reactions tend to change the shape of the enzyme and damage it. If this happens then the various systems in the body are also affected. 


Digestive enzymes are produced in pancreas for proper digestion. Apart from that it is also produced in salivary glands where it helps to break down food into enzymes and help digesting them. Like this there are many other systems in which enzymes help the body function. Even if we have a certain disease, then the medical pills also contain enzymes to help your body recover faster.

Types of Enzymes in the Body

Enzymes can be of different types but they are categorized into three major categories. This is based on the reactions with their catalysts.

Amylase- These are produced in salivary glands, pancreas and small intestine. Ptyalin which is a type of amylase is helpful in acting on starch while food is still there in your mouth. It remains there even after you swallow the food. These types of enzymes are made in salivary glands and breaks down starch and carbohydrates in the food.

Another type of amylase that is pancreatic amylase is responsible for breaking down starch molecules into sugar. They help in digestion and production of glucose in the body. As the name suggests it is made in pancreas and absorbed in the blood circulation through the walls of small intestine. 


Protease- This enzyme is produces in pancreas, stomach and small intestine. Most of the chemical reactions occur in stomach and small intestine therefore it is natural to have maximum enzymes there. Pepsin is the main digestive enzymes which is used in the stomach, it works after the protein molecule reaches the small intestine. 

Lipase- It is produced in the pancreas and small intestine in the body. Lipase is also found in breast milk that helps the infant to digest fat molecules in initial stages. Lipids are also responsible in storing energy to the body and helping the cellular health. Lipase is comparatively less produced as compared to the other two because its main function lies more towards fat molecules only. 

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What Are The Factors Affecting Enzymes?

Enzymes need a particular body temperature to function smoothly. An average person’s body temperature is 37oC which is considered ideal for enzymes too. They can function best between the temperatures 36.0oC to 37.2oC. Above or below this, the enzymes are unable to function properly and the structure of it breaks down. Certain health conditions also affect the enzymes production and functioning. Pancreatitis can lead to enzyme damage, it is an inflammation which is caused in pancreas and reduces the effectiveness of digestive enzymes. 

Other conditions include-

PH levels of your stomach or intestines can affect the activity of enzyme.

PH of the body is related to acidity, if the pH is high then it is known as alkaline. Enzymes on the other hand work better in low pH levels. If the environment around the enzymes becomes acidic or too basic then there are chances of functional disorder of enzymes.


Inhibitors interfere in the enzymes ability to cause chemical reaction.

Enzymes support the chemical reactions and help the body perform the functions at greater rate. Inhibitors occur naturally or because of some medications. These prevent enzymes from helping bacteria growth. Antibiotics normally contain inhibitors which perform these tasks.

Your diet can influence body enzymes

The food you eat and the nutritional supplements you take are also account for production and functional activity of enzymes. This happens because different food items have different nutritional qualities, some help in digestion whereas some don’t.  Some diet can also support the activity of enzymes and help them perform better. For example- Bananas, they are packed with carbs so it helps amylase to function and help digestion in a better way.

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Enzymes are the helping blocks which activate the digestive systems to function well. Enzymes are produces in different parts of the body for different functions.  Main motive of enzymes is to ensure proper digestion of food from mouth to pancreas and small intestine. There are three major categories into which the enzymes are divided depending on their activity. However some diseases, diet plans and inhibitors can also influence and affect the function of enzymes. It is best to regulate your diet and have food in proper balance for healthy digestion.

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