Vim & Vitality Blog

Bi-monthly blog posts on a variety of health topics from a biblical & wholistic perspective.

Under the Hood: The Mechanics of the Human Machine

 Part 2B: The “Key” in Your “Ignition”

The Exocrine System (continued)

Enzymes & Co-EnzymesAdditional non-digestive enzymes, or metabolic enzymes, and hormones are required to complete this conversion process. Enzymes are simply proteins that act as catalysts for chemical reactions within the body; they are chemicals that facilitate other chemical reactions. The human machine manufactures over 22 enzymes for digestion alone in addition to hundreds of other metabolic enzymes. We cannot utilize nutrients from our foods without enzymes to transport them throughout the body and “unlock” the benefits from vitamins, minerals, proteins and hormones. (1) In a general sense, enzymes can even be viewed as the key in the ignition of our human machines.

The exocrine system includes any organ or gland that uses a duct to excrete its vital chemicals vs. endocrine glands which excrete directly into the bloodstream. Many exocrine glands excrete digestive hormones. Refer to the following chart for a summary exocrine system function:

Organ or Gland

Enzyme/ Excretion


Salivary Glands


Digests starch

Sweat Glands


Cools & detoxes the body

Sebaceous Glands


Moisturizes & protects the skin

Mammary Glands


Nutritive for babies


HCl (hydrochloric or gastric acid)

Digests protein (in cooperation with pepsin)




  • Trypsin

  • Chromotrypsin

  • Carboxypeptidase


Digests starch

Digests protein

Combats intestinal parasites, yeast & bacteria

Digests fats



Emulsifies fats & oils

Combats parasites in small intestine


Additionally, sometimes particular enzymes need specific vitamins and minerals in order to function. These additional elements, such as magnesium, are called co-enzymes, and may give the enzyme the three-dimensional structure it needs to create the ‘active site’ necessary to perform its catalytic function. Without the necessary co-enzyme, the enzyme will not function.(2)

Magnesium is a co-enzyme that participates in over 300 enzyme reactions. In addition to regulatingthe flow of sodium and potassium in and out of cells, “magnesium flows from one compartment of the cell to another which causes a change in electrical charge which leads to the activation or deactivation of enzymes. The flow of magnesium onward to the next compartment will either stop or start the reaction that magnesium catalyzes. The presence of magnesium makes it possible for the body to make many compounds that otherwise would require a much more acidic environment than is healthy for the cell. Magnesium can 'hand off' water to a chemical reaction or it can help amino acids form chains of proteins. Every enzyme involved in the storage of energy as ATP (adenosine triphosphate) requires magnesium, and magnesium is critical for stabilizing DNA and RNA.”(3)

Magnesium is just one example of a co-enzyme, without which it is impossible to “unlock” the door for other enzyme reactions within the human machine. Being the fourth most abundant mineral within the body, a deficiency or excess of magnesium can lead to a host of health issues, including issues with memory and brain function, nervousness and nerve malfunction, sleep-related issues, aches and pains (including headaches and muscle aches), mood swings, and a short-temper. Other co-enzymes that require an optimal balance in the human machine include: CoQ10, Vitamins B2 and C, and ATP.(4)

So, what about you? Do you have the right key in your ignition? Do you have the proper balance of enzymes and co-enzymes to run your human machine? It may be time to get a new “key” made if you experience any of the following symptoms:

  • Sleep Issues
  • Heartburn/ Acid Reflux
  • Blood Sugar Issues
  • Gas, belching, bloating
  • Digestive Issues
  • Lack of Energy
  • Weight Issues
  • Poor Memory/ Concentration
  • Hormonal Imbalances (PMS, hot flashes, motion sickness, etc.)


 I can help you find which “key” is right for you. Book your Holistic Health Assessment today!

L'chaim-- To Life!




2 http://www.etap.org/demo/biology/lesson9/instruction3tutor.html

3 http://juicingtherainbow.com/1032/minerals/magnesium/

4 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Coenzymes


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Under the Hood: The Mechanics of the Human Machine
Under the Hood: The Mechanics of the Human Machine


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