The amylase secreted by the salivary glands kicks off the the enzymatic digestion of starches in the mouth as food is chewed and mixed with saliva. It might be surprising, but it’s true that the breakdown of larger, more complex starches into simpler sugars actually starts in your mouth with simple chewing. This is why chewing food thoroughly is truly key to good digestion and optimal overall health.
A 2013 study published in the Journal of Clinical & Diagnostic Research was designed to determine the serum amylase, blood glucose and the serum lipid profile in 110 type 2 diabetes patients compared to healthy individuals of the same age and sex. The research showed that for the diabetic subjects wherever blood sugar levels were higher, serum amylase activity was found to be significantly lower. This finding was reflective of pancreas malfunction and speaks to the importance of a healthy pancreas producing healthy amounts of amylase.
Stress is by far one of the worst things in the world for your health, particularly stress. Research is showing that amylase can be a very helpful and accurate marker of stress levels.
One study looked at the whether or not the salivary enzyme alpha-amylase could indicate stress-reactive bodily changes. Researchers repeatedly measured salivary alpha-amylase and salivary cortisol as well as plasma catecholamines and cardiovascular activity before, during and after 30 young men underwent the Trier Social Stress Test (TSST). Results indicated that salivary alpha-amylase is sensitive to psychosocial stress andmay be a very helpful additional parameter for the measurement of stress in humans.
Your mouth is the place where both the mechanical and chemical breakdown of your food occurs through the combined use of your teeth, jaws and saliva. Amylases are vital to your digestive process because they’re needed to process any starches in your diet, which are a main source from which people derive glucose, the primary sugar molecule the body uses for energy.
It’s key that you combine your body’s natural amylase-producing ability with your natural ability to chew. Why is this important? Because if food is not properly broken down in the mouth, then your body has more
work to do in order to digest and extract nutrients and energy from whatever you eat. By chewing thoroughly, you give the amylase more time to process any carbs that you have consumed, and the more time amylase has to work the better and quicker your overall digestion will be.
In addition, cells in your pancreas make another form of amylase called pancreatic amylase, which passes through a duct to reach your small intestine. Pancreatic amylase completes the digestion of carbohydrates.