The American Journal of Gastroenterology
Volume 84 Issue 5, Pages 514 - 516
Published Online: 28 Jun 2008
© 2008 American College of Gastroenterology/Blackwell Publishing
Official publication of the American College of Gastroenterology
Kose Segawa, M.D. 1 , Saburo Nakazawa, M.D.*, 1 Kenji Yamao, M.D. 1 , Hidemi Goto, M.D. 1 , Kazuo Inui, M.D. 1 , Junji Yoshino, M.D.*, 1 Tomiyasu Arisawa, M.D. 1
1 Department of Gastroenterology, Aichi Prefectural Center for Health Care; and Second Department of Internal Medicine, Nagoya University School of Medicine, Nagoya, Japan
Correspondence to Reprint requests: Kose Segawa, M.D., Department of Gastroenterology, Aichi Prefectural Center for Health Care, 3-2-1, San-no-maru, Naka-ku, Nagoya 460, Japan.
SN and JY are affiliated with the Nagoya University School of Medicine.
In order to determine whether changes in serum amylase are age- or sex-dependent, we evaluated age-and sex-stratified serum amylase values in subjects who were proven to be healthy by a precise preventive health examination.
Results showed that serum amylase increased as age progressed, except in the 0- to 29-yr-old female group. Mean serum amylase was higher in females than in males. A previous study indicated that the etiology of the increase in amylase in elderly persons is due to a progressive decline in renal function with aging. The etiology of the sex difference, especially in the younger generation, requires further investigation. We should pay attention to the factor of age when we evaluate serum amylase.
Amylase is an enzyme that breaks starch down into sugar. Amylase is present in human saliva, where it begins the chemical process of digestion. Foods that contain much starch but little sugar, such as rice and potato, taste slightly sweet as they are chewed because amylase turns some of their starch into sugar in the mouth. The pancreas also makes amylase (alpha amylase) to hydrolyse dietary starch into disaccharides and trisaccharides which are converted by other enzymes to glucose to supply the body with energy. Plants and some bacteria also produce amylase. As diastase, amylase was the first enzyme to be discovered and isolated (by Anselme Payen in 1833)