Enzymes as biocatalysts
All processes in our body, whether physical or mental, are influenced or made possible in the first place by biochemical reactions of our metabolism. Enzymes are at the centre of these reactions.
Enzymes, mostly proteins, are found in all body cells. Like a spark, they activate and accelerate the biochemical reactions in our body by lowering or raising their activation energy. Enzymes are therefore also called biocatalysts.
Enzymes thus make it possible for many biochemical reactions in our organism to take place at all – and many millions of times faster and more energy-efficient than would be the case without their support. This mechanism shows us once again how intelligently our body is constructed: without enzymes, our organism would need much more energy to initiate all vital biochemical reactions. As biocatalysts, enzymes offer an alternative way of obtaining energy, so to speak, because with their help our organism requires less activation energy for a reaction. And that’s really a great thing!
Enzymes are quite sensitive. Thus, their activity is influenced by certain factors such as body temperature, oxygen content, pH, body electricity or inhibitors such as heavy metals, certain drugs or toxins. Moreover, many enzymes can only unfold their effect when they are activated by one or more so-called cofactors. Cofactors are often vitamins or trace elements.
In your cells right now, an enzyme is making
a copy of your dna in less than two hours, right in the nucleus