Do you ever wonder how your body manages to develop and change so swiftly and efficiently? And how does it keep running like a well-oiled machine?
Enzymes are responsible for the human body's wonder. What exactly are enzymes, and why are they important? Let us investigate.
What exactly are enzymes?
Enzymes are a kind of protein found in all living things, both inside and outside of cells. And, like any other protein, they contribute to the body's growth and function. There are many different types of enzymes, and each one performs a unique purpose, such as breaking down food or producing muscular tissue.
Enzymes are referred to as 'catalysts,' or entities that accelerate a chemical reaction. They play an important role in activities such as digestion, cell growth, and healing. Without enzymes, these chemical reactions and activities would still occur, but at a considerably slower rate, making human existence extremely challenging. As a result, they're also known as the building blocks of our bodies.
How enzymes function
As previously said, enzymes are very specialized, with each performing only one job by interacting with the specified chemical. This also guarantees that an enzyme does its activity correctly and without errors.
Enzymes function by interacting with a substance known as a substrate. A substrate is a molecule that, like a jigsaw piece, fits neatly into an enzyme. Every enzyme has a groove termed an 'active site' where the substrate fits precisely. The enzyme reacts with the substrate in the same way as it would with food. When the reaction is completed, the enzyme produces its product. For example, in the process of digestion, one of the types of enzymes that is activated is termed 'lactase'. Its only purpose is to aid in the breakdown of lactose, a kind of sugar present in dairy products. Lactase utilizes lactose as a substrate and reacts with it when it comes into contact with it. The enzyme produces energy as a byproduct.
What influences enzymes?
While enzymes accelerate chemical reactions and processes in our bodies, it is also crucial that they do not do so too rapidly so that too much energy is released at once. Some causes can cause enzyme activity to halt or even cease entirely.
Temperature is critical for enzyme action. The faster the enzyme activity and hence the chemical reaction, the higher the temperature. However, really high temperatures (such as when you have a fever) can also entirely cease enzyme function. Similarly, the response rate can be affected by a greater or lower pH level, which is the amount of acidity. When there is an excess of substrate or even inhibitors (molecules that hinder enzyme function), processes might come to a halt.
Enzymes are spontaneously produced by our bodies and do not cease operating after one reaction. Enzymes are utilized in the production of pharmaceuticals as well as industrial activities such as paper manufacturing and food processing due to their particularly helpful nature.