How Enzymes Turn a Cow or an Apple Into You An enzyme is a catalyst — a chemical that causes a reaction to happen, or happen faster. Enzymes are a type of protein. Both enzymes and proteins are made up of the same building blocks: amino acids. Scientists have identified at least 3000 enzymes in the human body, but when it comes to therapy, were mostly concerned with digestive enzymes. Digestive enzymes literally take food apart, piece by piece. They reduce it to the smallest, most basic elements of life. Your body can then use these fundamental parts to build your own bone and tissue or to burn for energy. Imagine that you have a brick barn and you want to use the bricks in the barn to build a house. You can take the barn apart brick by brick and use the bricks to build a house. A lot of work! If you do that, youre acting as a catalyst. Youre doing what enzymes do in your digestive system. They take a piece of meat, for example, and dismantle it down to the individual amino acids — the bricks. Then other enzymes reassemble those amino acids into the cells of your body. By the magic of enzymes, a cow is turned into you. As you can well imagine, this is a complicated process. It involves multiple steps with many enzymes, starting from the moment you take a bite and going all the way through your stomach and intestines. There are many places where things can go wrong. And they do. Enzyme deficiencies are the main cause or a secondary cause of a long list of illnesses.

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