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Enzymes and co-factors - Ethnoscience Glossary Terms and Abbreviations

An enzyme is an organic substance (most often a protein) that catalyzes (increases the rate) at which a chemical reaction takes place. There are hundreds of different enzymes. Enzymes are involved in many types of bodily functions including converting and storing energy, and building and breaking down various substances. Most enzymes only catalyze a single reaction or a few very similar types of reactions. Most commercial enzyme products are different types of digestive enzymes from plants and animals.
Co-enzymes or co-factors are substances that play an essential helper role in chemical reactions. Each co-factor has a specific role - for example, acting as a carrier molecule, providing energy or lending an electron to a reaction. There are many different co-factors found in the body. Many of these substances are made from vitamins and/or minerals.

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