What is Amylase?
The enzyme amylase speeds up the process of breaking starches into sugars that can be then used by the body for energy. Food first comes in contact with amylase in the mouth, where digestion begins. The breakdown from starch to sugar starts immediately, which is why some starchy foods that contain very little sugar taste sweet in the mouth. Amylase can be measured in urine, blood and peritoneal fluid. If levels are too high, it could be a sign of an inflamed pancreas, peptic ulcer or ovarian cyst. Humans have up to eight times the amount of amylase in the body as chimpanzees, the closest human relative. This is thought to be associated with high starch intake in the Western diet.
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