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How Coenzymes Aid in Metabolism

  • Enzymes are proteins that are needed by your body to perform normal functions and processes.Coenzymes are organic substances that normally include a mineral or vitamin.
  • Coenzymes are critical for your metabolism. Without these substances, many of the catalysts that your body needs to function properly cannot happen.


What are coenzymes and what part do they play in your metabolism and health?

Enzymes are proteins that are needed by your body to perform normal functions and processes. An enzyme has a unique three-dimensional shape, which is needed for the enzyme to function properly.

Enzymes also have a site that is active and will recognize and associate with certain substrate molecules. The enzyme forms with the substrate in the same way that your hand fits in a glove or a key fits into a lock. Every enzyme has only one specific substrate that it will attach to, and the shape of the enzyme is critical to this process. If the shape of the enzyme changes, it will no longer attach with the associated substrate. This can be a problem because enzymes are responsible for catalyzing needed reactions in the body. The molecules of enzymes can be used repeatedly, and the molecules stay unchanged through the catalyst so that they can be used again.

Coenzymes are organic substances that normally include a mineral or vitamin. These substances bind with a specific protein to build an enzyme system that is active. Coenzymes, also called cofactors, give the added help an enzyme needs to catalyze a reaction. Coenzymes assist in starting catalytic reactions because the enzyme cannot do it by itself.

The enzymes in your body are proteins created with chains of the 20 available amino acids that are built up. Coenzymes are responsible for filling in any gaps that are present in proteins. Molecules will be filled into the gaps so that the catalytic reaction can be released.

Without coenzymes, many enzymes could not create these catalytic reactions because there are gaps that prevent the enzyme from bonding completely. Cofactor is a common name for coenzyme, but the actual meaning is a metallic ion that the enzyme requires for the catalytic reaction to take place. Coenzymes, unlike enzymes, may be changed depending on the coenzyme and the produced reaction. Adenosine triphosphate, a multifunctional nucleotide important for intracellular energy transfer, is one that is changed. After the reaction, this compound becomes adenosine diphosphate, another nucleotide important for energy transfer.

Coenzymes are recycled and other metabolic reactions turn the changed coenzyme back into the compound that it started as.

Some coenzymes may bind to an enzyme when needed, on a temporary basis, while others attach permanently. The type of attachment formed will depend on the enzyme and the coenzyme. If the coenzyme is permanently bonded with the enzyme, it is called a holoenzyme. Any enzyme that needs the help of a coenzyme for metabolism but does not permanently attach with it is called an apoenzyme.

Coenzymes are critical for your metabolism. Without these substances, many of the metabolic catalysts that your body needs to function properly cannot happen. The end result would be the death of all the cells in your body and therefore the death of your body as well. Coenzymes are needed for all phases of metabolism, both anabolism and catabolism, to help assist enzymes in forming catalytic reactions, which are necessary for life.

The information supplied in this article is not to be considered as medical advice and is for educational purposes only.