Enzymes


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Our digestive system is a very sophisticated sequence of interlinking organs that act to break down the food we eat into small particles that can be absorbed into our blood and used for various purposes. For example, the complex carbohydrates we eat in foods such as pasta or potatoes are broken down from long chains into their small parts such as glucose or fructose to provide us with energy. This process of breaking down big molecules into smaller ones is done by special proteins called enzymes, which make the whole process run much faster than it normally would.

Enzymes are present in virtually every cell throughout our body, not just the digestive tract, however it is there where they are able to help us absorb the raw materials we get from our food. There are enzymes that fulfil a large number of tasks, such as proteases, which break down proteins into amino acids, yet there are also very specific ones which only act on one single molecule.

The main digestive enzyme producing organ in our body is the pancreas, which is located just below the stomach. It releases its enzymes when food is in the small intestine, after having been partially digested by the enzymes in the stomach. This allows food to be further digested and absorbed along the entire length of the small intestine.