Until recently we knew very little about the action of enzymes. They speed up chemical reactions in cells to unprecedented speeds, as has long been known, but how they did it long remained a mystery. Not too long ago scientists discovered that they use an ingenious trick.

Hundreds of thousands of biochemical reactions at once

Enzymes are molecules that perform loads and loads of work in our body. They are involved in the creation of any biomolecule in every cell of our body and are essential for our survival. Enzymes speed up biochemical reactions in cells up to a trillion times. Processes that would otherwise take thousands of years, now take place in only a few seconds. This is quite difficult to fully appreciate!

The quantum mechanical phenomenon

The trick enzymes make use of is called the tunnel effect, or tunneling. This involves a particle passing through a barrier (a potential) which, according to classical mechanics, would not be possible due to lack of energy. The particle actually makes use of quantum mechanics, a complicated set of theories in advanced physics.

Try imagining it this way: a particle that does not have enough energy to overcome a high mountain, may be teleported through it by means of a tunnel. It disappears on one side of the mountain (or biomolecule), only to appear (rematerialize) at the same time on the other side. You can imagine that this is a lot faster than the scenario of the particle needing to travel over the mountain. Without quantum tunneling enzymes would never be able to accelerate chemical reactions as we know them doing.

Subatomic science fiction

Quantum teleportation may sound like science fiction and indeed you will not find this fundamental principle discussed in biochemistry textbooks. No wonder, as this biophysical side of the functioning of the body does not fall within the scope of biochemistry per se.

The quantum tunnel effect, however, is a familiar process in the part of physics tuning in on the subatomic world of electrons, protons and neutrons. Physicists know, for example, that this effect is also responsible for the breakdown of radioactive materials; it is even the reason why the sun shines.

Digestive enzymes: Essential for digesting food

Enzymes have different functions, one of the key tasks being to digest our food. Without enzymes, the nutrients could not be taken up into our blood and we could also not nourish our bodies. There are three kinds of digestive enzymes which, moreover, make use of the quantum tunnel effect:

- Proteases: these are protein-digesting enzymes created by the pancreas.
- Lipases: these fat-digesting enzymes are also produced by the pancreas.
- Amylases: these starch-digesting enzymes are produced not only in the pancreas, but also by the oral saliva glands.

Optimize your digestion

Want to give your digestive enzymes a helping hand? There are nutritional supplements that optimize food uptake. Doctor's Best, for example, offers a carefully designed digestive enzyme product that works both effectively and comprehensively.

Other uses for enzyme products include those attributed to Inter Phase Plus and Serrapeptase. Interphase Plus was developed specifically for the dismantling and disrupting of undesirable biofilm.

This is a natural substance which microorganisms inhabit. A familiar example of a biofilm is dental plaque.

Serrapeptase is an enzyme derived from silkworms. Like Interphase Plus this enzyme works systemically, that is, not by breaking down food, and is considered helpful, rather, in breaking down protein structures in the body and in balancing out cellular chaos.

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