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Amylase: The Importance of Carbohydrates
Carbohydrates are one of the three major food groups needed for proper nutrition. Amylase is the digestive enzyme needed to digest carbohydrates.
Carbohydrates in food are an important and immediate source of energy for the body. Starch refers to carbohydrates found in plants (grains). Vegetables and fruits are a source of starch and are broken down to sugar or glucose. Carbohydrates are present in at least small quantities in most food, but the chief sources are the sugars and the starches.
Carbohydrates may be stored in the body as glycogen for future use. If they are eaten in excessive amounts, however, the body changes them into fats and stores them in that form. If carbohydrates are not properly broken down before they are absorbed, then adverse health consequences may occur.
The Importance of Amylase
Amylase refers to a group of enzymes whose catalytic function is to hydrolyze (breakdown) sugar and starch.
Amylase digests carbohydrates (polysaccharides) into smaller disaccharide units, eventually converting them into monosaccharides such as glucose. People who are fat intolerant (can't digest fats) often eat sugar and carbohydrates to make up for the lack of fat in their diet. If their diet is excessive in carbohydrates, they may develop an amylase deficiency.
Amylase digests not only carbohydrates but also dead white blood cells (pus). For example, when you are low in amylase you are a candidate for abscesses (inflamed areas with pus but not bacteria). If you have a toothache and are being treated with antibiotics, but it doesn't go away, chances are you have an abscess.
Amylase is involved in anti-inflammatory reactions such as those caused by the release of histamine and similar substances. The inflammatory response usually occurs in organs which are in contact with the outside world, i.e., the lungs and skin. These include skin problems such as psoriasis, eczema, hives, insect bites, allergic bee and bug stings, atopic dermatitis, and all types of herpes. Some lung problems including asthma and emphysema may require amylase plus other enzyme formulas depending on the particular condition.
For information on how proteins are digested, see Protease.
For information on how fats (lipids) are digested, see Lipase.
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Enzyme Essentials products containing AMYLASE: