amylase enzyme explained

Digestion is the breakdown of large and insoluble food molecules(carbohydrates, proteins and fats) into small and soluble substances to be absorbed into the blood.

There are three main types of digestive enzymes:


 Break down protein into small peptides and amino acids


 Break down fat into three fatty acids plus a glycerol molecule.

Amylases and Maltase

 Break down carbs into simple sugars.


first found in the early 18 century and now is considered one of the first enzymes in history to be scientifically investigated. first it was termed as “distaste” but later was renamed “amylase”.
Amylase is a digestive enzyme mainly is secreted by the pancreas(organ located behind your stomach that plays an important role in digestion and in regulating blood sugar) and salivary glands but can also be found in other tissues in very small levels.
It is mainly released from pancreas into the digestive tract to help digest starch in our food. It is also present in the blood in small quantities. When cells in the pancreas are injured or if the pancreatic duct is blocked (by a gallstone or a tumour) increased amounts of amylase find their way into the blood vessels.
Amylase catalyzes starchy food molecules that are combined with water(called hydrolysis) into smaller carbohydrate molecules like as maltose (a molecule composed of two glucose molecules) and eventually glucose itself.
as food goes through our small intestine, a part of it called the duodenum(pancreatic juices are released in this section) takes the remaining of the starch molecules and catalyzes most of them to maltose by pancreatic amylase. The by-products of amylase hydrolysis are ultimately broken down by other enzymes into molecules of glucose, which are rapidly absorbed through the intestinal wall.

amylase and fitness connection

even if you are on a ketogenic diet and are consuming low amount of carbs, your body still needs to have a good balance of amylase. it is essential for thyroid function(L-Thyroxine) and metabolism overall and it also has an effect on cortisol levels as well(and low L-Thyroxine and low cortisol can also cause low amylase levels).
although the real reason behind this fact is still under debate by scientists, low amylase levels can impact PH levels as well which could wreck havoc on a lot of other body processes by itself.

it also has negative effect on insulin production, while also affecting melatonin levels and probiotics(healthy live bacteria and yeasts in body) health inside our body.

types of amylase

there are 3 types of amylases. alpha, beta, and gamma. the difference between them is the way they react to the bonds of the starch molecules. Alpha-amylase can be found in humans, animals, plants, and microbes. Beta-amylase is found in microbes and plants. Gamma-amylase is found in animals and plants.


is widespread among living organisms. In the digestive systems of humans and many other mammals, an alpha-amylase called ptyalin is produced by the salivary glands, whereas pancreatic amylase is secreted by the pancreas into the small intestine. The optimum pH of alpha-amylase is 6.7–7.0.


 is present in yeasts, molds, bacteria, and plants, particularly in the seeds. They are the principal components of a mixture called diastase that is used in the removal of starchy sizing agents from textiles and in the conversion of cereal grains to fermentable sugars. Beta-amylase has an optimum pH of 4.0–5.0.


is known for its efficiency in cleaving certain types of glycosidic linkages in acidic environments. The optimum pH of gamma-amylase is 3.0.

what should we consider about amylase?

some medications such as opiates(such as codeine, meperidine, and morphine, aspirin, birth control pills, cholinergic medications, asparaginase, ethacrynic acid, methyldopa and thiazide diuretics(such as chlorothiazide, indapamide, and metolazone) can affect amylase levels inside body.
The pancreas can sometimes become damaged or inflamed, which causes it to produce too much or too little amylase. An abnormal amount of amylase in your body may be a sign of a pancreatic disorder.
Although elevated amylase or hyperamylasemia, is primarily seen in salivary and pancreatic disease, it may also be seen in different diseases including gastrointestinal diseases, malignancy, and gynecological diseases
Elevated amylase can be seen in a variety of conditions including pancreatic disease, salivary disease, decreased metabolic clearance, intestinal disease, and macroamylasemia.