What Is Amylase? An Essential Digestive Enzyme and Why You Need It | 1MD Nutrition™

What Is Amylase? An Essential Digestive Enzyme and Why You Need It

Amylase is one of the numerous digestive enzymes you need to get the nutrients your body needs. The many benefits of amylase are discussed here, as well as the best sources for it, including using the best digestive enzyme supplements.

7 minute read

Last Updated November 29, 2021

What Is Amylase? An Essential Digestive Enzyme and Why You Need It | 1MD

When it comes to your health, specifically digestive health, we tend to look at what we eat for a solution. What you eat can support your digestive system, but many people are unaware of an internal component that may be missing from their diet. 

Digestive enzymes, like amylase, are naturally produced by your body and play an important role in nutrient absorption and overall digestive function.

Amylase 101

Amylase is naturally produced in humans by the salivary glands and pancreas. It can also be naturally found in plants and animals. 

Like most things, amylase production slows as we age, which reduces the ability of the digestive system to properly absorb nutrients. It is therefore important to keep levels up, and this can be easily done through digestive enzyme supplements as well as eating a variety of foods, including:

♦ Raw vegetables

♦ Fruits, like bananas and mango

♦ Nuts and sprouted seeds

♦ Fermented foods, such as sauerkraut and kefir

♦ Whole grains, like quinoa and rice

♦ Legumes, like chickpeas and soybeans

Amylase is responsible for breaking down and processing carbohydrates into simple sugars that your body can utilize. Despite the bad reputation that carbohydrates get, they are essential for health and energy production.

Since there are refined carbohydrates that contain processed ingredients, it is important to understand which carbohydrates have nutrients you need and which you should avoid. The bottom line is that you need carbohydrates, which means you need amylase enzymes too.

The effects of amylase can be seen much quicker than those of lipase (for the digestion of fats) and protease (for the digestion of proteins). The reason for this is that amylase comes from two locations in your body—the pancreas and the salivary glands. 

The breakdown of carbohydrates begins in the mouth with your saliva, but when it reaches the stomach, the amylase is neutralized by stomach acid, and the breakdown of carbohydrates ceases. Once carbohydrates get to the intestines, digestion resumes, as amylase produced by the pancreas is now available and creates glucose.

Any disruptions to this carbohydrate breakdown can result in health complications. For example, low glucose levels in the blood can cause occasional fatigue and muscle weakness. The brain and nervous system both favor glucose-supplied energy, so adequate levels are important for proper cognitive and neurological function.

When it comes to choosing which carbohydrates to eat for energy, it is best to choose complex carbohydrates, like nuts, seeds, whole grains, and most vegetables, to provide consistent energy. Without amylase, normal energy levels may not be attainable at all.

Digestive Aid and Beyond

Without glucose for energy, many of the systems in your body cannot function, including your brain. While you want to maintain healthy blood sugar levels for proper metabolic function, it is important to make sure you get enough energy from food to keep your body working properly. 

The appropriate complex carbohydrates give you the glucose you need, but only if amylase is available to break them down properly. A simple amylase supplement may be all you need to support everyday energy and promote optimal digestion. 

The role amylase plays in the digestive system is clear, but most people are unaware that this enzyme has benefits outside the digestive tract too.  

Because of its role in producing glucose, there is an important link between amylase and metabolic health. By properly breaking down carbohydrates for energy, amylase can help maintain healthy blood sugar levels as part of a balanced diet. 

Amylase also provides support for healthy cell growth and activity. Maintaining normal blood glucose supports pancreatic cell health, which is responsible for producing important digestive enzymes and fluids.

It is important to note that everyday stress can affect amylase production and your digestive health. Stress management is important to support your body’s natural enzyme production as well as to reduce everyday worries that can be associated with occasional oxidative stress to cells.

The Bottom Line

Adequate amylase levels are important in ensuring that the food you eat is successfully broken down into useful components. Without it, carbohydrates travel through the digestive system, are partially digested, and are excreted without providing the energy your body needs. 

With digestive enzymes to help maintain healthy amylase levels and a nutrient-rich diet that includes complex carbohydrates, you can support healthy digestion, nutrient absorption, and everyday energy levels.