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

Amylase is one 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 June 30, 2020

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

When it comes to health problems, specifically those that are digestion related, we tend to look at what we eat for a solution. It is true that what you eat can support or impair your digestive system, but many do not realize there is an internal component that may also be missing.

Organic digestive enzymes, like amylase, are naturally produced by your body and play a critical role in nutrient absorption. Without them, malnutrition and poor health can result.

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 get older, which increases our risk for digestive troubles, malnutrition, and poor health. It is therefore important to keep levels up as we get older, and this can be easily done through plant-based 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 you body can utilize. Despite the bad reputation that carbohydrates get, they are essential for health and energy production.

Since there are refined carbohydrates that are not beneficial for you, it is important to understand which are necessary and which you should avoid. Because you need carbohydrates, you also need amylase enzymes.

The effects of amylase can be seen much quicker than those of lipase digestive enzymes (helps digest fats) and protease (helps digest proteins). The reason for this is because 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 they get to 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 fatigue and muscle weakness. The brain and nervous system both favor glucose-supplied energy, so without adequate levels in the blood, the function of these systems can also become impaired.

When it comes to choosing which carbohydrates to eat for energy, it is best to choose those that supply consistent levels. Refined carbohydrates (simple sugars) supply energy bursts, but these are often followed by crashes and fatigue.

Complex carbohydrates, like nuts, seeds, whole-grains, and most vegetables, offer sustained levels of energy and no spikes or crashes in blood glucose levels. However, without amylase, the 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 avoid high blood glucose levels and diabetes, it is important to make sure you get enough 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 efficiently. A simple amylase supplement may be all you need to boost energy and promote healthier 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 diabetes. Diabetes is a condition characterized by high blood glucose levels, and amylase supplements may be able to help.

Studies have found that an amylase serum significantly lowers glucose levels in diabetics. This is especially useful for those that may have impaired pancreas function, and therefore lower natural amylase production.

Amylase can also help lower the risk of metabolic syndrome. This dangerous condition, which can lead to heart attack, stroke, and premature death, is characterized by high blood pressure, excess fat, abnormal cholesterol levels, and high blood glucose levels.

Metabolic syndrome is especially a risk for diabetics, but this risk can be lowered with amylase. By maintaining healthy glucose levels, amylase helps to prevent the conditions that characterize the metabolic syndrome.

Amylase has also been incorporated into holistic approaches to treating cancer. The idea is to balance blood glucose and correct nervous system imbalances that weaken the immune function. Amylase is the best choice as it also has unique anticancer properties. While many of the approaches to cancer are controversial, amylase serums and supplements have proven useful in creating balance in the body and supporting a stronger immune system.

Studies have shown that pancreatic enzymes are used by the body to fight cancer. By issuing supplements, a defense system is created similar to the one your body already has in place, and an essential component to this system is the enzymes, like amylase, that are produced by the pancreas.

Because certain cancers interfere with digestion and nutrient absorption, it is also beneficial to have enzyme levels high enough to maintain strength and health.

It is important to address stress early because of the physical toll chronic stress can take on your health and well-being, and amylase levels can help do this. Amylase produced by the salivary glands is sensitive to psychosocial stress, which makes it a good indicator of stress levels in humans. Physicians can use these levels to evaluate the stress a person’s body is under so as to appropriately diagnose stress management protocol.

The Bottom Line

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

With healthy amylase levels and a healthy diet with complex carbohydrates, you can maintain efficient digestion, nutrient absorption, and sufficient and sustained energy levels.

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