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What is the function of amylase?

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Quick Answer

Amylase is a digestive enzyme that aids in the breakdown of carbohydrates in the human body. Approximately 50 to 60 percent of an individual's diet is comprised of carbohydrates that must be broken down into smaller compounds to be digested and absorbed properly.

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Full Answer

Amylase is actually a group of enzymes that all hydrolyze sugars and starches that are found in carbohydrates. These enzymes can digest polysaccharides into disaccharides and monosaccharides that the human body can absorb and utilize for energy. Glucose is the body's main source of energy, and it is a monosaccharide that is obtained from the polysaccharide rich foods that humans eat. Amylase also digests dead white blood cells. These cells comprise the majority of pus in the human body, and amylase digests the pus to remove it from the body.

This enzyme is also involved in many anti-inflammatory reactions. Allergens and many irritants can catalyze inflammatory reactions such as hives, eczema, insect bites and atopic dermatitis. These reactions often release histamine into the bloodstream, which leads to inflammation in the body. Amylase helps mediate the anti-inflammatory reactions and helps the human body heal itself from these reactions. People who have amylase deficiencies may experience poor carbohydrate digestion, poor anti-inflammatory mediation, and an increased risk of infections.

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