Amylase is a digestive or systemic enzyme that is somewhat unique in that it is produced at two points in your body. It first activates as a component of saliva, where it begins the breakdown of starches into smaller, more easily digested components. Further on in the digestive process, it is created again in the pancreas. At this point, it is referred to as pancreatic amylase and it works to complete the process of digesting carbohydrates and producing glucose.
Why We Need Digestive Enzymes
With the overall poor dietary habits in the US, this enzyme plays a critical role in our current dietary needs. If this enzyme did not exist, our bodies would have a difficult time breaking down the sugars and starches we eat. In fact, many common symptoms may actually be a sign of amylase deficiency. Some signs include:
- skin rashes
- gas and constipation
- mood swings
- carbohydrate and sugar cravings
- type II diabetes
- blood sugar imbalances
So what happens once the carbohydrates are broken down? Well, a key function of amylase is to break down the carbs into available forms of energy (glucose) for your body. This gives the energy needed for physical activity and exercise. In addition, glucose is key for cognitive function as it is a main source of fuel for your brain. It helps you stay alert and increases your ability to learn, retain and recall information.
In addition to aiding in the digestive process and overall energy production, some studies show that amylase also offers these additional health benefits:
May Reduce Swelling
Some European studies have shown that enzymes such as amylase may be effective in reducing swelling in some conditions such as rheumatic diseases. In fact, these studies show that these treatments may be just as effective as current drug remedies, without some of the harmful side effects.
Boost Immunomodulatory Activity
Scientists are currently exploring the strong possibility that enzymes such as amylase can help slow the molecules that trigger immune responses and in addition, slow the tissue damage created from these responses.
Potential Cancer Remedy
In Switzerland, amylase is being studied for its potential as a cancer therapy. Some studies have shown that the enzyme has the ability to inhibit the growth of tumor cells with metastatic capacities. In fact, the Swiss research team came to the following conclusions, “Enzyme therapy can reduce the adverse effects caused by radiotherapy and chemotherapy. There is also evidence that, in some types of tumors, survival may be prolonged. The beneficial effect of systemic enzyme therapy seems to be based on its potential to reduce redness.”
Amylase For Sugar Balancing
Most people know that diabetes impairs the metabolism of sugars, but they don’t realize the impact on the metabolism of fats and proteins. Although three key enzymes — lipase, protease and amylase — are important in managing diabetes because they will help digest proteins, fats and sugars, research is showing amylase as the key enzyme for managing diabetes. A 2013 study published in the Journal of Clinical and Diagnostic Research found that in type 2 diabetes, whenever the blood glucose level was higher, the serum amylase activity was found to be “significantly” lower—reflecting dysfunction in the pancreas.
Amylase is a Proteolytic Enzyme Formula
Amylase can typically be found in many enzyme supplements, most specifically digestive enzyme formulas. However, only a few specialized supplement companies understand its powerful use in a (systemic) proteolytic enzyme formula, such as its use in Jon Barron’s pHi-Zymes formula, where amylase complements the action of the proteolytics by working on leftover carbohydrates both in the intestinal tract and the bloodstream–cleaning up what digestive enzymes fail to touch.
Remember, digestive enzyme formulas are taken with your meal to break down the food in your stomach. When you take a proteolytic enzyme formula between meals, the enzymes do not get stuck working in your stomach or wrapped up with your food and passed out through the colon. Instead, they quickly enter your bloodstream. Once in the bloodstream, they help optimize your blood, plus they make their way to all of the tissues throughout your body, where they assist with intelligent, adaptive healing. As for amylase, it cleans up the carbohydrates in the bloodstream that can lead to sugar imbalances.
Do not take any type of proteolytic enzyme: if nursing or pregnant, if you have history of an ulcer, or if taking blood thinners. Do not take days before having elective surgery.
More about the health benefits of proteolytic enzymes.