Enzymes, referred to as “magic chemicals” by doctors, are proteins that act as catalysts, which means they speed up chemical reactions. They are found everywhere — from the bottom of the ocean to your backyard, and even inside our own bodies. Enzymes are crucial to making cheese, brewing beer, baking bread, extracting fruit juice, tanning leather, and much more. They have a plethora of applications. Below, we take a look at ten uses of enzymes in healthcare and medicine:
1). Used To Treat Disorders:
In some disorders like low blood pressure, or head or spinal injuries, there are chances of formation of blood clots. These clots lead to obstruction of blood flow to the target organ. This can be life-threatening if it is in the brain or heart which require a constant supply of oxygen and energy. The only way out then is to dissolve the clots. These clots are usually removed by dissolution by enzymes that can break them.For wound healing, the swelling formed might be painful and tend to form pus. Enzymes such as trypsin, chymotrypsin, serratiopeptidase are used to dissolve the swelling.
2). Used To Assist Metabolism:
In geriatric patients, the digestive capacity is low due to insufficient secretion of digestive enzymes. Hence their gastrointestinal system cannot digest food materials with efficiency. In such cases, they can experience malnutrition, constipation, bloating, etc. To aid digestion, enzymes like Papain are administered orally after food for easier digestion. Enzymes are also responsible for numerous other functions, which include the storage and release of energy, the course of reproduction, the processes of respiration, and vision. They are indispensable to life.
3). Used In Medical Device Cleaning:
Enzymatic detergents designed specifically for cleaning reusable medical devices have been around for decades. In fact, studies have demonstrated their improved performance over non-enzymatic detergents in this application. The two main enzymes used to clean medical devices today are protease and lipase. Proteases are designed to break down protein-rich soils like blood, while lipases target fatty soils like adipose tissue. Other enzymes traditionally used in this application are amylases and cellulases, which break down starch and cellulosic polymers to facilitate their removal. These target soils may be found in human waste such as faeces.
4). Used In The Manufacture Of Medicines:
Immobilised enzymes are used in the manufacture of many drugs and antibiotics. This is attainable as enzymes convert the pro-drug molecules to medication or beginning material to medication. Also, steroidal drugs are manufactured by enzyme action on plant steroids. Microorganisms are a major source of pharmaceutically important enzymes, but several enzymes are also obtained from animal and renewable plant sources. Enzymes which are used for pharmaceutical applications include cysteine proteinases, asparaginase, streptokinase, urokinase, deoxyribonuclease I, hyaluronidase, pegademase, and glucocerebrosidase.
5). Used In Toothpaste:
Enzymes of papaya and pineapple are used in the dentifrice. They are found to remove the stain on teeth to give white and sparkling teeth. Many toothpastes have been formulated over recent years to contain antimicrobial compounds with the aim of preventing or reducing plaque, calculus, gingival inflammation or dental caries.
6). Used in digestion:
Enzymes are essential for healthy digestion and a healthy body. They work with other chemicals in the body, such as stomach acid and bile, to help break down food into molecules for a wide range of bodily functions. Carbohydrates, for instance, are needed for energy, while protein is necessary to build and repair muscle, among other functions. But they must be converted into forms that can be absorbed and utilized by your body. Amylase, Protease and Lipase are the chief enzymes used during the digestion of food.
7). Used in detection of diseases:
Rapid and accurate diagnosis of critical and infectious diseases and their appropriate treatment are the primary factors that promote optimal clinical outcomes and general public health. Enzymes have remarkable biocatalytic properties. Many enzymes are preferred markers for the detection of various diseases such as jaundice, myocardial infarction, neurodegenerative disorders, cancer, and so forth. Enzymes provide insights into various diseases by diagnosis, prognosis, and assessment of response therapy. Enzyme biosensors can also be used as an analytical tool for the diagnosis of widespread diseases.
8). Used for addressing food quality:
It is estimated that the world population is predicted to grow from 6.9 billion to 9.1 billion and food demand is expected to increase by 70 % by 2050. Quality food supply issues can be addressed by the application of enzymes in the food industry. These biomolecules are efficiently involved in improving food production and components, such as flavor, aroma, color, texture, appearance and nutritive value.
9). Used for treating heart diseases:
If your doctor suspects that you’re having a heart attack or that you may have had one recently, you may be given a cardiac enzyme test. This test measures the level of certain proteins circulating in your bloodstream.Higher levels of these chemicals , known as biomarkers, are released when the heart muscle is damaged. The protein troponin T is the key biomarker measured in a cardiac enzyme test. This biomarker helps let your doctor know when your heart has been under stress. It can also reveal if your heart muscle isn’t getting enough oxygen.
10). Used for monitoring the health of foetus during pregnancy:
During pregnancy the mother organism has to secure a proper environment for the growth and development of the child, which is accompanied by the constant increase in oxytocinase and isoxytocinase. These enzymes are closely connected with the regulation of ovulation as well as with the development of early pregnancy. Both enzymes are very important indicators of the life and health of the foetus. The values of oxytocinasaemia makes it possible for predicting the date and course of delivery. Also, they are highly positively correlated with the weight, length and maturity of the newborn, as well as the size of the placenta. In multifetal pregnancies, levels of both enzymes are higher than in single ones.