Enzymes Frequently Asked Questions
What are enzymes, and why are they important?
Enzymes are almost always a protein and are in all living things including people. We have discovered about 75,000 enzymes but know only a few of them in detail. Inside our body, there are about 1,300 different enzymes and they work hard to break down foods so that we can sustain our body. We can say the metabolic function of our body is enzymes. There are many other reasons why enzymes are important:
Fight with Bacteria and diseases – Did you know bacteria and viruses that make us sick are made of protein? Enzymes are proteins themselves that break down other proteins. When viruses come into our bodies, enzymes destroy them.
Assist brain function – You might have heard that our brain needs a lot of energy. A part of our brain, the hypothalamus, regulates emotional reactions and harmony. It needs glucose (a type of sugar) supplied from the liver. Enzymes support glucose production in the liver.
Control weight – Don’t be confused. Enzymes are not weight loss products. But they can help control overweight by efficiently digesting foods.
Digestive enzymes supplements
So, if enzymes are important for our body and help digest foods, should you take more enzymes from supplements? Generally speaking, you don’t need extra enzymes unless you have issues with your stomach or have a small intestine. You can find out if you have an enzyme deficiency or not by having your poop tested. The better solution to digestive issues is to remove any foods from your diet that cause digestive distress in the first place. Try cutting off sugars, liquid dairy, highly refined grains, and oils. Taking more enzymes than your body needs will not improve your health or reduce body weight.
There are 5 main digestive enzymes in our body, and each has a different role. Amylase breaks down carbs in the mouth, Lipase breaks fats in the pancreas, Protease breaks proteins in the pancreas, Lactase breaks lactose in the small intestine, and Sucrase breaks sugar in the small intestine. If you decide to try supplements, read the label carefully and make sure you get the right one for your body. Also, check the ingredients list and make sure it doesn’t contain anything you are allergic to.
Digestive enzyme supplements could help treat gut irritation, heartburn, or diarrheal if your body has enzyme deficiency. But be aware of possible side effects. They could trigger the symptoms that you are trying to avoid.
Enzymes in skincare
Enzymes are made in living bodies in the natural world. But they can be produced by fermentation in industrial environments as well. Think about beer, wine, or cheese. Since some enzymes can break down protein, we can use them to exfoliate the skin, can’t we?
Most enzymes used in skincare products are sourced from plants. You might have heard of papaya enzyme, pumpkin enzyme, or pineapple enzyme. What are good about enzyme exfoliants compared to other skin exfoliants such as AHA and BHA? Physical exfoliants such as coffee scrub and body brush can give you instant results, but they can be damaging to the skin if you use hard and rough particle exfoliants. Chemical exfoliants can work at deeper layers in the skin, but they can be irritating, and you need to be patient to see the result. Enzymes are different from physical and chemical exfoliants. They work specifically on the surface of your skin, and will not penetrate the skin surface to reach deeper layers. Unlike chemical exfoliants, they can work at skin-friendly pH and no scrubbing efforts needed. If your skin is sensitive to physical exfoliations or acid-based chemical products, enzymes can be your new tool. There are enzyme-cleansing products as well. Enzymes are generally safe for sensitive skin and help break down the upper layer of the skin, but some may have allergic reactions. Always start with caution and use once a week, then increase the frequency as you confirm their efficacy.
Enzymes for house cleaning
Many of us are becoming more cautious about toxic chemicals in house cleaning products. The impact on our health and the environment is a concern. Enzymes bring significant advantages to cleaning products:
- Readily biodegradable and environmentally friendly.
- Work at low temperatures. For example, you can wash your laundry with cold water and still get a good result.
- Work at moderate pH and is gentler on the skin
Enzymes are especially great for washing laundry, dishes, drains, stained carpets, cat urine, and restrooms.
Other things to know about enzymes
Enzymes are not so stable – Enzymes contained in plants are efficient and eating fresh fruit and vegetables will ensure you have enough in your body. Remember, enzymes are sensitive to heat, and cooking will destroy them. Highly processed foods also contain no enzymes.
Decrease with the aging process – The production of enzymes in our body declines as we get older. This is why metabolism tends to drop as we age.
Variety of food for a variety of enzymes – Basic nutrients for our body are proteins, fats, and carbohydrates. From these, our body makes protease, lipase, and amylase enzymes. It is important to have a balanced diet.
Enzymes are a tool for a better environment – Not only enzymes can replace some toxic chemicals, but they are also used to keep the environment clean. For example, enzymes from bacteria are used to break down organic pollutants such as pesticides and explosives before and after they enter the environment.
Enzymes have been everywhere in our life, but we started to see their benefits of them more and more. Because they can be produced in an industrial environment, are readily biodegradable, and work in natural conditions, they provide a significantly more sustainable solution to many areas. It is interesting to see how we can innovate new ways to use them.
If you want smoother skin but acids are too irritation, try this ingredient instead - https://www.byrdie.com/what-are-enzymes-in-skincare-4693687
Topical proteolytic enzymes affect epidermal and dermal properties - https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18489307/
Enzymes in cleaning products: An overview of toxicological properties and risk assessment/management - https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0273230012001274
The top five uses for enzyme cleaners in the home - https://www.normi.org/iaq-training/the-top-five-uses-for-enzyme-cleaners-in-the-home/