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Amylase

Amylase is an enzyme that changes complex sugars (starches) into simple sugars during digestion. Levels of amylase in the blood can be used to help diagnose and monitor diseases, such as diseases of the pancreas and salivary glands, or to determine whether the intestines have been damaged.

There are two kinds of amylase enzymes:

  • Alpha-amylase (ptyalin), which is produced by the salivary glands. This enzyme begins starch digestion in the mouth and continues to work in the stomach.
  • Pancreatic amylase, which is secreted by the pancreas into the small intestine. This enzyme continues the starch digestion process.

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Jerome B. Simon, MD, FRCPC, FACP - Gastroenterology
Current as of March 8, 2013

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: March 08, 2013
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.