The presence of amylase in our body is extremely important, although most people don’t understand the full range of its potential health benefits.
What is Amylase?
Amylase is a very important starch-metabolizing enzyme that is produced in both the saliva and in the pancreas to speed the digestive process. There are various types of this enzyme, but all are digestive enzymes – alpha-amylase, beta-amylase, and y-amylase. In our digestive system, this enzyme begins the entire digestive process in the mouth, breaking down some of the molecules even before they reach the small intestine. Once the food reaches the acidic environment of the stomach, different amylase enzymes (produced in the pancreas) break down the food more fully. Without this enzyme in our saliva beginning the process of breaking down complex carbohydrates, our stomach would have to work much harder when metabolizing all of our food.
If the levels of this enzyme are high, it could mean that your pancreas is inflamed, which means you should see a doctor immediately, as it could be a sign of pancreatitis. As we age, our bodies produce less of this enzyme, so it becomes important to consume amylase-rich foods, such as raw fruits and vegetables, nuts, legumes, and whole grains.
Health Benefits of Amylase
When you are absorbing all of your food and not letting those nutrients go to waste, you are at the most efficient level of energy production in the body, which means fewer hunger pangs.
The main purpose of this enzyme is the smooth digestion of nutrients and carbohydrates in the gut; when these processes are running cleanly, you will be able to avoid symptoms of constipation and other gastrointestinal issues.
Although most healthy foods boost the immune system, and can, therefore, be dangerous for those with autoimmune diseases, this enzyme can cut down on inflammatory molecules in the body, which trigger the immune response.
Whether you consume supplements or food that is rich in this enzyme, your body is more able to control swelling, redness, irritation, and inflammation throughout the body, including symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis and other common inflammatory conditions.
Some studies have found that increased levels of this enzyme are able to slow down the aging process; in men, who tend to produce more of this enzyme as they age, amylase is shown to prevent oxidative stress in numerous cases.