What is Diastase Enzyme?


Diastase enzyme, also known as amylase or diastase, is a type of enzyme that plays a crucial role in the breakdown and digestion of complex carbohydrates. It is produced naturally by various organisms, including humans, animals, and plants. Diastase enzymes are responsible for converting starches into simpler sugars, such as maltose and glucose, which can be easily absorbed and utilized by the body.

1. Types of Diastase Enzymes

1.1 Alpha-Amylase

Alpha-amylase is one of the most common types of diastase enzymes found in nature. It is produced by both humans and animals, as well as certain microorganisms. This enzyme acts on the internal bonds of starch molecules, breaking them down into smaller fragments known as dextrins.

1.2 Beta-Amylase

Beta-amylase, on the other hand, is mainly found in plants, including cereals, grains, and legumes. It specifically acts on the non-reducing end of starch molecules, releasing maltose units. Beta-amylase is essential in the production of malt used in brewing and distilling industries.

2. Sources of Diastase Enzymes

2.1 Human and Animal Sources

The human body produces diastase enzymes in various organs, including the salivary glands, pancreas, and small intestine. These enzymes aid in the digestion of carbohydrates consumed through the diet. Similarly, animals, such as cows, pigs, and chickens, also produce diastase enzymes to digest starches present in their feed.

2.2 Plant Sources

Several plants naturally contain diastase enzymes. For example, sprouted grains, such as barley and wheat, are rich sources of diastase enzymes. These enzymes help the plants break down their stored starches into sugars required for growth and development.

3. Diastase Enzyme Applications

3.1 Food Industry

The food industry extensively utilizes diastase enzymes for various purposes. Alpha-amylase, for instance, is used in the production of bread, pastries, and other baked goods to break down starches and improve dough texture. It is also employed in the brewing industry to convert starches into fermentable sugars during the mashing process.

3.2 Pharmaceutical Industry

In the pharmaceutical industry, diastase enzymes are utilized in the formulation of digestive enzyme supplements. These supplements help individuals with pancreatic insufficiency or other digestive disorders to improve their ability to break down and absorb carbohydrates properly.

3.3 Textile Industry

Diastase enzymes find applications in the textile industry as well. They are used in the desizing process, which involves the removal of starch-based sizing agents from fabrics. This process helps improve the dyeing and finishing of textiles.

4. Factors Affecting Diastase Enzyme Activity

4.1 pH

The activity of diastase enzymes is highly influenced by the pH of the environment. Alpha-amylase, for example, exhibits optimal activity in the slightly acidic to neutral pH range. On the other hand, beta-amylase functions optimally in a slightly acidic pH.

4.2 Temperature

Temperature also plays a crucial role in diastase enzyme activity. Most diastase enzymes have an optimal temperature range at which they exhibit maximum activity. For example, human salivary amylase functions optimally at around 37°C (98.6°F).

5. Benefits of Diastase Enzyme Supplements

Diastase enzyme supplements offer several potential benefits, especially for individuals with certain health conditions. These supplements can aid in improving digestion, reducing bloating and gas, and enhancing nutrient absorption. They may also help individuals with gluten intolerance or sensitivity to better tolerate gluten-containing foods.

6. Safety and Side Effects

Diastase enzyme supplements are generally considered safe when used as directed. However, excessive intake may lead to digestive discomfort, including diarrhea and stomach cramps. It is always recommended to consult a healthcare professional before starting any new dietary supplement.

7. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  1. What foods contain diastase enzymes?

    Diastase enzymes can be found in various foods, including sprouted grains, barley malt, and certain fruits and vegetables.

  2. Can diastase enzyme supplements help with weight loss?

    While diastase enzyme supplements may aid in digestion and nutrient absorption, they are not specifically designed for weight loss. A balanced diet and regular exercise are key factors for achieving and maintaining a healthy weight.

  3. Are diastase enzymes suitable for vegetarians and vegans?

    Yes, diastase enzymes derived from plant sources are suitable for vegetarians and vegans.

  4. Can diastase enzymes be harmful?

    When taken as directed, diastase enzymes are generally safe. However, excessive intake may lead to digestive discomfort.

  5. Can diastase enzymes help with lactose intolerance?

    No, diastase enzymes specifically target the breakdown of starches and complex carbohydrates, not lactose. Individuals with lactose intolerance may benefit from lactase enzyme supplements.

  6. Are diastase enzymes used in skincare products?

    Yes, diastase enzymes are sometimes used in skincare products for their exfoliating properties. They help remove dead skin cells and promote a smoother complexion.

  7. Can diastase enzymes be used in brewing beer at home?

    Yes, diastase enzymes, particularly beta-amylase, are commonly used in home brewing to convert starches into fermentable sugars during the mashing process.

  8. Are there any natural sources of diastase enzymes?

    Yes, sprouted grains, such as barley and wheat, are natural sources of diastase enzymes.

  9. Is it safe to consume diastase enzyme supplements during pregnancy?

    It is always advisable to consult a healthcare professional before taking any dietary supplements during pregnancy or while breastfeeding.

  10. Can diastase enzymes be used in the production of ethanol?

    Yes, diastase enzymes, particularly alpha-amylase, are commonly used in the production of ethanol from starch-based feedstocks.


Diastase enzymes, such as alpha-amylase and beta-amylase, are essential for the breakdown of complex carbohydrates into simpler sugars. They have numerous applications in various industries, including food, pharmaceutical, and textile. Diastase enzyme supplements offer potential benefits for digestion and nutrient absorption. However, it is important to use them as directed and consult a healthcare professional if needed. Understanding the sources, types, and factors affecting diastase enzyme activity can provide valuable insights into their role in our daily lives.

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