How do enzymes help digestion?

1 Answer

Enzymes are protein molecules which serve as catalysts for chemical reactions.

A catalyst is a substance which will decrease the activation energy for a reaction.

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So why is this important? Enzymes will make reactions occur much more easily, quickly and more efficiently than they ever would without the enzyme.

Here is a video of an enzyme demonstration I like to share with my students. The video shows how an enzyme present in our saliva (spit) can aid in the process of digestion by acting on starches present in the foods we eat.

video from: Noel Pauller

There are other enzymes which help to break apart other organic molecules that are present in the foods we eat.

Hope this was helpful!