Encyclopedia.com says “An enzyme is a biological catalyst. A catalyst is a chemical compound that speeds up the rate of some chemical reaction. When that chemical reaction occurs in a living organism, the catalyst is known as an enzyme”.
I like the way Howard Loomis, Jr in his book, Enzymes, The Key to Health–describes them…much easier for me to understand. He calls them the construction workers of the body. They use vitamins and minerals as building materials to build our amazing bodies! If we eat a balanced diet with plenty of raw or slightly cooked vegetables, there is an adequate supply of building materials. If our diet is lacking due to too many processed and man made foods, then it is like ordering construction materials and having no one show up at the job site to do the work. You may have material, but no one to initiate the energy to do the work. The building materials will remain unused until the workers show up.
All living things contain enzymes. It is enzymes that are responsible for the vast majority of all the biochemical reactions that bring foods to maturity or ripeness. When conditions are right, enzymes will digest the food in which they are contained. When an apple is bruised, that brown spot that appears is the enzymes at work. Cell walls were broken when the apple was bruised and the enzymes within the cells were freed and started doing their job—breaking down the apple. The same the same thing happens when we bite an apple, as we chew, the enzymes are released and digestion starts to take place.
Enzymes are energy. They have the ability to perform the biochemical & physiological reactions that occur in all living things, (like what the encyclopedia says about them being a catalyst)
Protein, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, and minerals are our food supply…the building blocks or construction materials, they do not perform work. Enzymes are really amazing!
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References: Enclycopedia.com Enzymes, the Key to Health by Howard F. Loomis, Jr.