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Alpha-amylase, or α-Amylase, is an enzyme that helps the body to turn food into energy. An enzyme is a protein that increases the speed or amount of a chemical reaction in the body.
Alpha-amylase helps the body to turn starches into usable sugars. Those sugars are converted into or maltose to be used by the body for energy. Alpha-amylase is found in many health supplements that improve digestion, speed up the metabolism and to treat indigestion.
There are two different types of alpha-amylase. One is produced by the salivary glands and is found in the saliva. It is called ptyalin, and is responsible for beginning the digestive process while food is still in the mouth.
The second alpha-amylase is manufactured by the pancreas where it aids in digestion in the stomach and intestines. Researchers believe that the body secretes more alpha-amylase when subjected to mental or physical stress, making it a biomarker of stress levels.
Alpha-Amylase is used to replace the enzymes that should be present in the digestive tract but are not due to a medical condition. Those suffering from chronic pancreatitis, cancer of the pancreas, cystic fibrosis or surgery of the abdomen region might be prescribed Alpha-Amylase enzymes.
Alpha-amylase is found in seeds and grains as it is used as a source of food for a seed to use in order to start growing. It is also found in some mushrooms and fungi, egg yolks and wheat kernels.
Alpha-amylase is used in the manufacturing of bread instead of sugar; it releases the natural sugars present in the flour to allow the yeast in the dough to become active. However, it does require more flour to produce bread with alpha-amylase, and the cost of the bread is higher.
Alpha-amylase is added to pet food to aid in the digestion of other vitamins and nutrients. Dog, cat and horse food use alpha-amylase as an aid to digestion.
Alpha-amylase is also used in the process for making high-fructose corn syrup. It is used in making ethanol, almost in the same way that it is used to make bread. Alpha-amylase is also found in some laundry and dishwashing detergents.
Web MD reports that if the pancreas is damaged or not functioning properly, higher levels of alpha-amylase will be detected in the blood and urine. High levels of the enzyme in the blood or saliva can be indicators of acute pancreatitis, mumps, intestinal problems and renal failure.
A 2010 study was conducted between researchers at the University of Oxford and the National Institute of Health. This study found a direct correlation between high levels of alpha-amylase and reduced chances of becoming pregnant in women with no prior history of reproductive issues.
The study was published in the medical journal “Fertility and Sterility.” Researchers believe that it shows a connection between high stress levels and the inability to conceive.
Most people do not experience side effects from alpha-amylase. Possible side effects of taking alpha-amylase include diarrhea, nausea or stomach pain.
Serious side effects could be painful or frequent urination, severe stomach and abdominal pain or discomfort, and joint pain. Speak with a medical professional before beginning any supplements, and if you experience any side effects.
Keeping a non-chewable pill in your mouth for a long time will cause irritation to the inside of the mouth because the pill contains digestive enzymes. For that same reason, inhaling the powder form of alpha-amylase will cause irritation to the lining of the nose, throat and lungs.
Since alpha-amylase is commonly mixed with other enzymes, any side effects could be from another ingredient in the supplement. Web MD states that there have been reports of some supplements containing impurities or harmful additives. If you experience any severe allergic reactions, such as painful or difficulty breathing, rash, swelling or dizziness, seek immediate medical help.
You should speak with a doctor or nurse practitioner before adding any new supplements, vitamins or medications to your daily regimen. Discuss taking alpha-amylase if you take iron supplements.
Do not take alpha-amylase if you are allergic to pork proteins as some sources of the enzyme are derived from the pancreas of pigs. Alpha-amylase may cause interactions with some Type II diabetes medication.
Those with pancreatitis or other gastrointestinal diseases should not take alpha-amylase due to the fact that the pancreas will not be able to handle the overload, unless instructed to do so by a medical professional.
Women who are pregnant or nursing should not take alpha-amylase. If you are attempting to get pregnant, check with your doctor before taking alpha-amylase.
To locate and compare different products which contain alpha-amylase, use the supplement finder now!