Digestive Health Support
Pectinase Background and Benefits
Pectinase is a collective term for enzymes that break down pectin and are as pectic enzymes. Polygalacturonase is one of the most well-known pectinase, and other common examples of this enzyme class include pectolyase and pectozyme. Pectin is a polysaccharide with a jelly-like consistency that is used to bind plant cells together.
The general biochemical effect of pectinase is to break down plant material, which makes it particularly useful for fungi that feed on plants. The middle lamellar layer in plants is especially high in pectin, allowing these fungal species to easily insert hyphae into this layer. The fungus can then extract nutrients from the plant.
Pectinase is a useful digestive aid because pectin is a significant component in the human diet. In addition to natural dietary sources such as fruits and vegetables, pectin is used as a thickener and gelling agent in many prepared foods such as jellies and jams. Additional enzymes that are useful for breaking down plant-based foods include cellulase and hemicellulase. Together, these enzymes help to increase the nutritional value of these foods.
Pectinase also has many commercial applications. It is routinely used to extract juice from fruit more easily, especially apples. Pectinase is used extensively in winemaking, primarily to separate the juice from the mash. It also helps to clear wine, which pectin can make cloudy.
Like other enzymes, pectinase has a relatively narrow temperature and pH range in which it is effective. Boiling pectinase will cause the molecules to unfold in a process known as denaturing the enzyme. This structural change makes it more difficult for the active site on a pectinase molecule to bind to a pectin molecule, which is essential for breaking the pectin down.
Enzidase® P50 is a pectinase derived from a fungus known scientifically as Aspergillus niger. This species produces pectinase to break pectin down into simple sugar, which the fungus then consumes and converts into chemical energy. This process is known as fermentation. Enzidase® P50 is commonly used in health supplements to aid the digestion of pectinase in the stomach.
A. niger is a common species of fungus that is best known as a source of black mold on some fruits and vegetables, especially apricots, grapes, onions and peanuts. The World Health Organization (WHO) considers specific strains of A. niger to be acceptable for daily intake. The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has also assessed the fermentation products of A. niger as "generally recognized as safe" (GRAS) under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act.
In addition to pectinase, the fermentation of A. niger is used for the commercial production of many other organic chemicals, including citric acid and gluconic acid, glucoamylase and galactosidase. Glucoamylase is commonly used to make high fructose corn syrup, and alpha-galactosidase is the active ingredient in many supplements that reduce flatulence. A. niger also produces compounds that are used in nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) imaging.
Uses of Pectinase
Pectinase’s ability to break down pectin provides it with many specific benefits. These benefits primarily affect the digestive system, including the support of intestinal bacteria, colon function and support with seasonal conditions.
Season conditions support
Pectinase may help to reduce the intestinal absorption of some materials in food that could be due to seasonal conditions.
Pectinase can help to support a healthy level of bacteria in the intestines by maintain the ideal pH range for their growth. These bacteria are essential for the efficient digestion of food.
Pectinase helps to increase the bioavailability of sugar in food.
Pectinase can help to provide the energy needed for the proper function of the colon. The breakdown of pectin produces fatty acids such as butyrate that are needed to maintain a healthy level of intestinal motility.
Signs You May Need Pectinase
Digestive problems are the most significant signs that you may need pectinase, especially poor absorption of nutrients. This condition may have several causes, including low levels of intestinal bacteria and the inadequate digestion of carbohydrates. Colon problems such as poor mucosal blood flow, gut permeability and intestinal motility may also indicate that you could benefit from pectinase. Chronic food sensitivities may also mean that pectinase supplements could help you.