Ptyalin is a salivary enzyme which helps in digestion. Infants who do not have teeth do not produce enough ptyalin. Ptyalin is an extremely important enzyme, as it helps in speeding up the chemical reactions and breaking down the food. It is to be noted that food starts to break down before entering the stomach; the various digestive glands help in this process. Ptyalin, also known as salivary amylase, helps in breaking down the starch in food into dextrin and maltose. The enzymes break down insoluble molecules of starch into ones that are soluble and speeds up the digestion process.
1. Breaks down starch
The starch present in the food cannot be used by the body readily; the molecules of the starch need to be broken down into smaller compounds of glucose and glycogen. These smaller compounds are later utilized by the body.
2. Helps the body in consuming starch
Ptyalin is only present in the mouth; as soon as it enters the stomach it is destroyed by the acids present there. If the food is not broken down in the mouth, the stomach enzymes have difficulty forming smaller molecules of the starch. Therefore, it is important to chew the food well. This helps in the digestion process.
3. Initiates the digestion process
Ptyalin is one of the first few enzymes which help breaking down starch into glucose sugar. So if there is any absence of ptyalin, the sugar molecules will be fermented in the stomach. This in turn will give rise to digestive disorders.
4. Helps in supplying energy
Since Ptyalin breaks down the food faster, it helps in creating energy in the body. Glucose and glycogen are converted into smaller molecules of sugar. This sugar is stored in the body, and is released as energy whenever required.
Infants usually do not produce adequate amount of ptyalin. It is because of this that parents are suggested to not feed starch to infants till they have grown all their teeth.