Most of us have a passing knowledge of vitamins and minerals, but enzymes — the microscopic elements that are essential for breaking down our food components so that nutrients are available for energy, cell production and cell repair — are still a fairly foggy area. When vitamin or mineral deficiencies occur, too often many of us think the answer is simply taking more supplements, but the problem may be inadequate enzymatic activity.
How much do you know? Take the Enzyme Test and find out. A score of 15-17 is very impressive; 12-14 is pretty good; 9-11 is fair; 8 or below means you’ve got some studying to do! (For extra credit, check out the supplementary quiz and suggested reading!)
- Without enzymes, we could not breathe, digest food or move the various parts of our bodies: a) True; b) False.
- About how many different kinds of enzymes are in the human body?
a) 24; b) 58; c) 1,000; d) 4,000.
- Most of the names of enzymes can be identified by words ending in:
a) ose; b) ase; c) gos; d) mas.
- Enzymes are a class of:
a) Fats; b) Carbohydrates; c) Vitamins; d) Proteins.
- The heat used in cooling destroys all enzymes:
a) True; b) False.
- Saliva and pancreatic juice do not contain any enzymes:
a) True; b) False.
- Trypsin and chymotrypsin, which are proteases, are necessary for breaking down:
a) Carbohydrates; b) Fats; c) Protein; d) Starch.
- Lactase, which is found in the intestines, digests the sugar in:
a) Apples; b) Catsup; c) Milk; d) Meat.
- Lipase, secreted by the pancreas, moves to the small intestine to break down:
a) Minerals; b) Fats; c) White blood cells; d) Sugars.
- Enzymes are so small they cannot be seen by the most powerful light microscope:
a) True; b) False.
- Phenylketonuria, a congenital disorder, develops when an infant is unable to metabolize:
a) Vitamin K; b) Fructose; c) Phenylalanine; d) Peanuts.
- Although enzymes are generally attached to proteins, others are often attached to:
a) Trace minerals; b) Lipoproteins; c) Complex carbohydrates; d) Macrophages.
- Physicians use enzyme-containing medicines to:
a) Clean wounds; b) Dissolve blood clots; c) Check allergic reactions; d) Diagnose certain diseases; e) All of the above.
- Fresh fruits and vegetables are not suitable sources of useful enzymes:
a) True; b) False.
- Digestive enzymes consist of stomach acids and:
a) Pepsin; b) Amylase; c) Bile; d) Trypsin; ‘e) All of the above.
- Many coenzymes react with:
a) Blood plasma; b) Hair follicles; c) Vitamins; d) Prescription drugs.
- Digestive enzymes might help how many Americans who have digestive complaints?
a) 20 million; b) 150,000; c) 2,500; d) 3 million.
- a) True, 2. c) 1,000, 3. b) –ase as in lactase, 4. d) Proteins, 5. a) True, 6. b) False, 7. c) Proteins, 8. c) milk, 9. b) Fats, 10. a) True, 11. c) Phenylalanine, 12. a) Trace minerals, 13. e) All of the above, 14. b) False, 15. e) All of the above, 16. c) Vitamins, 17. a) 20 million
- Enzymes work on any molecules they come into contact with. True or False?
False. Enzymes are very specific. Some have developed to complete one chemical change and then they are not useful any more. Simple biological cycles or processes can require many enzymes to finish. Without the specific enzymes, the cycle would not work. Inhibitors can often inactivate only one enzyme. That action could lead to the breakdown of many metabolic pathways.
- The acidity of the environment can activate an enzyme. True or False?
True. Some enzymes are inactive until the environment changes. It could be something like temperature, but acidity can also activate an enzyme. The change in pH for the system can cause the enzyme to change shape and start its job.
- Where do you find enzymes? A) digestive system, B) blood clots, C) liver, D) all of the above.
All of the above. Enzymes are found all over your body. In fact, they are found in all cells. Enzymes make it possible for us to be alive. Even the smallest of microorganisms have some enzymes. They have been found in viruses too.
- Which of these can destroy or permanently deactivate an enzyme? A) poison, B) extreme temperatures, C) high acidity, D) all of the above.
All of the above. All of those factors can destroy enzyme function. A poison such as cyanide can deactivate specific enzymes. A rise in temperature can heat up and denature many many different enzymes at one time. Changes in pH (acidity) can also denature enzymes to a point where they cannot recover.
- Enzymes are always very small molecules attaching to and working to break down very large molecules. True or false?
False. Since most enzymes are proteins, that means they have some size to them. You can’t have an enzyme that is made of three amino acids. Many times, you will find a large enzyme breaking apart smaller molecules. One example is maltase. Maltase attaches to a small maltose molecule (2 sugars) and snaps it apart into two glucose molecules.
- While enzymes are important, you can live your life just fine without them. True or false?
While you can live your life without some enzymes, there are some that you desperately need to stay alive. Some people are lactose intolerant. They have problems with their lactase enzymes and don’t break down the sugars properly. However, they are able to live just fine. Unfortunately, if you are missing an enzyme such as cytochrome c oxidase, you cannot survive.
Suggested Reading Material:
“The Nature of Enzymes, Vitamins and Minerals” — FACT Cancer Forum magazine
“Facts on Enzymes” — FACT Cancer Forum magazine
Enzyme Nutrition by Dr. Edward Howell