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The functions of digestive enzymes

The functions of digestive enzymes are vital to a healthy body without which we would be in a bad way.

There are many enzymes which help digest your food and every single enzyme has its own job to do.

There is not one enzyme more important than another, they all work together without interfering with one another - in fact they are the perfect team.

Below we explain the best known enzymes but there are many more than we have described and the ones we have named do so much more than we have said.

This article is just to give you a very simple understanding. Without you even knowing it, digestion starts in your mouth, chewing food, with the breakdown of starch into sugar. The enzyme responsible for this is called Amylase.

The functions of digestive enzymes


The enzyme amylase is mixed into your food as you chew. It breaks down starch into sugar. Occasionally you might be aware if you are eating rice that it has a slightly sweet taste. A lack of the enzyme can indicate that there is a problem with your pancreas as that is where it is manufactured.


Lipase is also made by the pancreas: it is used to break down fats into glycerol and fatty acids so that the intestines can easily absorb them. Too many fats are bad for us but there are some which are not only important but vital for good health.


Found in the stomach, pepsin is the enzyme which helps to break down protein into smaller molecules which are then processed by other enzymes.


Lactase breaks down milk and sugar into glucose. A lactose intolerance is the inability of this enzme to do its job properly.

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