Enzymes and Amino Acids are the masters of our biological functions. We all know that protein is the "building block" of the body. Protein is made up of specific chains of Amino Acids. Amino Acids supply the structure and energy supply of our cells.

We break down protein into Amino Acids during digestion, and then restructure them into new proteins. Each type of protein serves a specific function or process in the body.

One of those types of proteins is Enzymes. Enzymes carry out all of the chemical reactions, the work, within our cells. They serve as a catalyst to speed up cell function.

There are two types of enzymes within the body: digestive and metabolic. There are also enzymes that are naturally occurring in food such as Betaine, Bromelain, and Cellulase. Metabolic Enzymes play a large role in energy production, toxin removal, metabolism, thyroid and hormone function, and brain and nervous system function. Without them, we don't function.

Digestive Enzymes

Digestive Enzymes break down the food we eat into nutrients or waste. The nutrients pass into our blood stream and are used or stored by our body. The waste is filtered and removed or excreted. Without digestive enzymes we would have no way of assimilating the food we eat.

In fact, we would not be able to break down the protein into the amino acids that would then create enzymes for digestion.
See the pattern? One relies on the other in order to keep our own cycle of life going. Breakdown and Rebuild.

Deficiencies of Digestive enzymes
are usually gastrointestinal in nature: gas, bloating, and general digestive dysfunction.

Found in: saliva, stomach, pancreas
Basic Function: Breakdown of carbohydrates.

Found in: Small Intestine
Basic Function: Converts lactose to glucose and galactose.

Found in: Stomach
Basic Function: Breakdown of fats and oils.

Found in: Small Intestine
Basic Function: Converts maltose to glucose.

Found in: Pancreas
Basic Function: Converts nucleic acids into nucleotides.

Found in: Stomach
Basic Function: Breakdown of Protein.

Found in: Stomach
Basic Function: Breakdown of Protein.

Found in: Small Intestine
Basic Function: Breakdown of sucrose into monosaccharaides

Found in: Pancreas
Basic Function: Breakdown of peptides into amino acids.

Amino Acids

Protein is made up of different chains of Amino Acids. It is literally the chemical composition of meat and proteins. If the animal source is fed genetically modified food, antibiotics, hormones, or otherwise, the composition of these amino acids changes. Often to our detriment.

Protein is broken down into amino acids during digestion and used to repair and rebuild protein in our bodies. We literally are what we eat. Deficiencies in amino acids can cause serious health problems. Too much protein results in too much nitrogen and stresses the kidneys.

So what do Amino Acids do in our bodies? They serve several functions such as providing an energy source. Branch Chain Amino Acids (BCAA) make up the majority of the rebuilding and structure of our bodies. Probably the most important role of Amino Acids is in the creation of enzymes and hormones.

There is much debate about whether there are 20 or 22 Amino Acids.
Two have not been "identified" yet. Within those, there is debate as to how many are essential and how many are non-essential. I find they are most commonly split down the middle. It's pretty simple.

Essential= Cannot be synthesized by humans. Must come from food.

Non-Essential= Can be synthesized in the presence of specific Essential Amino Acids.

Deficiencies in Amino Acids usually affect thyroid function and the production of serotonin creating problems with sleep, mood, depression, insomnia, sensitivity to pain, and aggressive behavior.

Essential Amino Acids

Basic Function: Builds bone tissue, produces collagen, reduces blood pressure, regulates energy and endurance, and hormone and enzyme functions.

Family: Histidine
Basic Function: Repairs and builds new tissue and protects nerve cells. Removes toxins and heavy metals.

Branch Chain Amino Acid (BCAA)
Family: Pyruvate
Basic Function: promotes tissue repair after trauma, regulates blood sugar, plays a role in endurance and energy.

Branch Chain Amino Acid (BCAA)
Family: Pyruvate
Basic Function: Produces energy. Stimulates growth and repair or healing of muscle tissue, bones, and skin. Prevents the breakdown of muscle tissue. Regulates cell growth and blood sugar levels.

Family: Aspartate
Basic Function: Basic building block, growth and bone development. Helps with calcium absorption. Regulates Serotonin levels. Needed to produce hormones, enzymes, and antibodies. Helps repair injuries.

Family: Aspartate
Basic Function: Antioxidant, breaks down fat, regulates estrogen production, maintains hair, nails, and skin, lead role in metabolism and growth.

Family: Aromatic
Basic Function: Releases endorphins to reduce pain.

Family: Aspartate
Basic Function: Regulates protein production, tooth enamel, and antibodies, stabilizes blood sugar, increases wound healing.

Family: Aromatic
Basic Function: Produces serotonin, decreases appetite, required for Vitamin B3 (Niacin) production.

Branch Chain Amino Acid (BCAA)
Family: Pyruvate
Basic Function: Plays a role in glycogen storage (see the Carbohydrates page). Necessary for tissue repair. Plays a role in sleep.

Non-Essential Amino Acids

Family: Pyruvate
Basic Function: Prevents breakdown of protein and muscle tissue. Improves muscle mass and endurance. Regulates blood sugar levels, produces antibodies and neurotransmitters.

Basic Function: Converts amino acids into other aminos that are deficient. maintains brain and nervous system function.

Aspartate (Aspartic Acid)
Basic Function: Maintains pH balance and metabolism. Produces antibodies.

Basic Function: White blood cell production, Antioxidant, removes heavy metals and toxins, promotes healing and growth, increases iron absorption.

Glutamate (Glutamic Acid)
Basic Function: Neurotransmitter, brain function, assimilates glucose. Necessary for digestive function.

Basic Function: Maintains muscles and prevents atrophy, protein syntheses, balances pH levels, anti-inflammatory, white blood cell production.

Basic Function: Forms DNA and RNA strands. Brain neurotransmitter.

Basic Function: Collagen production, prevents breakdown of tissue, promotes healing and immune function.

Basic Function: Produces antibodies, muscle growth, cell functioning, and metabolism.

Basic Function: Thyroid and hormone function.

Back to Top
Resources & Links:

Types of Enzymes

Functions of Digestive Enzymes

Digestive Enzyme Deficiencies

Power Point: Amino Acid Biosynthesis

Essential and Non-Essential Amino Acids

Proteins are Essential to Life


Amino Acids and Enzymes

Essential Amino Acids

Non-Essential Amino Acids

Deficiency Common Symptoms

Signs & Symptoms of Too Much Protein

Excess Protein Consumption


Foods to Avoid

Foods to Eat With Caution

Good Foods You Can Eat

Daily Log

The Many Names of Sugar

Hidden Sources of MSG
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