What is the role of vitamins in enzyme activity?

Researchers are still looking to fully understand the structural and functional details of enzymes, but these complex organic molecules are very important for the most important biological reactions. Enzymes catalyze, or accelerate, chemical reactions.

The biological processes that sustain an organism depend on many chemical reactions, and enzymes ensure that these reactions occur fast enough to sustain life. Many enzymes, in turn, depend on vitamin-derived substances known as coenzymes.

Activation reaction

A certain amount of energy, known as activation energy, is needed to start any chemical reaction. The basic purpose of the enzyme is to facilitate the reaction by reducing this activation energy. Enzymes achieve this by binding to reactants of molecules and allowing them to interact in ways that are more energy efficient. Reactant molecules bind to enzymes in structured complicated locations known as active sites, and the molecules involved in this binding process are called substrates. Coenzymes, some of which are vitamins and some synthesized directly from vitamins, activate enzymes by helping the enzyme to bind to its substrate.

Enzyme Assistant

Coenzymes activate enzymes mainly by assisting in the transfer of certain particles or compounds involved in chemical reactions. For example, some coenzymes facilitate enzymatic reactions by carrying electrons and hydrogen ions from one atom to another, while others are involved in transporting whole atoms or larger molecules. In another explanation, enzymes may not match the intended substrate unless the active site is modified by the addition of coenzymes.

Required vitamins for enzymes

The term "vitamin" refers to 13 organic compounds that are important for human health. In most cases, vitamins must be supplied through food because the body cannot synthesize them. Vitamins fall into two general categories: water soluble and fat soluble. Water-soluble vitamins are found mainly in watery or flour foods such as grains and vegetables, while fat-soluble vitamins are found mainly in fatty foods such as butter, seafood and organ meats. Only water-soluble vitamins act as coenzymes.

Coenzyme deficiency

Lack of vitamins can cause serious health problems because biological processes are important when the lack of coenzymes prevents enzymes from catalyzing important chemical reactions. Two famous coenzyme vitamins are thiamine and niacin. Thiamine compounds function as coenzymes for various reactions involving cell energy production, protein synthesis and brain function. Thiamine deficiency causes a disorder known as beriberi, with symptoms such as irritability, weakness and even heart failure. Niacin is needed for various reactions related to energy production and fatty acid synthesis. Deficiency causes pellagra, which leads to dementia, skin problems, weight loss and finally death.