Difference Between Enzymes and Hormones

To maintain, control, manage, and direct every physiological and anatomical function of the body, it requires the action of certain chemicals. From digesting the food eaten to helping in deep sleep, these chemicals called hormones and enzymes have a significant part in a human’s day-to-day- life. 

We are about to look at the 2 important categories of these bodily chemicals, namely enzymes and hormones, with examples. We will also understand the difference between hormone and enzyme, along with its features.

Enzymes vs Hormones

Enzymes are a type of catalyst that helps in processing a bodily reaction. This means enzymes do not change in their form or function but instead helps to increase the rate of a particular reaction. Enzymes are produced in the Exocrine glands such as sweat and saliva. Trypsin, amylase, maltase are some of the other examples of enzymes. 

On the other hand, hormones are chemical messengers that trigger the reaction to occur. Hormones are varied in their form, and some of the prominent ones include steroids, amino acids, and even a few protein structures. Body hormones process the pituitary and thyroid glands from the endocrine glands. 

Hormones and enzymes are also present in plants and animals, but the secretion and purpose vary in both. One of the key features that differentiate hormones from enzymes lies in their chemical composition. Some of the other contrasting features in a hormone vs enzyme include the following. 

The Difference Between Enzymes and Hormones

  • As stated above, enzymes are biological catalysts, and they do change in their composition. They will help in increasing the pace of a reaction or function. Whereas, hormones are molecules or majorly protein contents that trigger a function to happen inside the body. 

  • Hormones can diffuse inside a cell membrane, but enzymes cannot.  

  • Enzymes are created and act only on 1 particular site. However, hormones are flexible and can possibly be formed in more than 1 site. 

  • Enzymes act based on their vitamin compounds and other inorganic prosthetic groups, without which they cannot function. Yet, hormones do not require any prosthetic groups. 

  • Puberty (physical maturity in males and females) is the main influencing factor that affects hormones, causing changes and alterations in the person. Yet, enzymes are not linked to age factors and do not change or get affected.

  • Since enzymes are macromolecules, they possess high molecular weight as compared to a hormone. 

  • Morphogenesis (growth of certain body parts) is not facilitated through enzymes but hormones can regulate the same (for example - secondary sex characteristics of a human being). 

  • The blood carries hormones to a specific target organ. In the case of enzymes, they reach their site either through the support of ducts or through intracellular movements. 

  • The reaction time of enzymes is usually quick. But hormones are both slow (lag time) and fast depending on their purpose, target, and composition.

  • The chemical order of enzymes is not altered and hence reusable for other purposes. But the chemical make-up of hormones modified after single-use and cannot be reused. 

  • External factors such as pH levels, temperature, air pressure, activators, substrate concentration, all affect enzymes, and their regulation. But hormones are rigid to these factors and remain constant to changes in the environment. 

  • Enzymes attack a substrate, and hormones attack the tissues or cells of the body. 

Conclusion

The rate of processing and the way a function is controlled are both important. Hormones and enzymes play their roles in the same and are equally significant to the proper development and functioning of the body. From triggering and processing to correctly handling and sending messages for a chemical reaction, enzymes and hormones are critical to human living and existence. 

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. What are Enzymes?

Biological catalysts that do not change itself but act as a catalyst to a bodily reaction are called enzymes. Lipase is an example of the same.

2. What are Hormones?

Hormones are protein or amino acid molecules that trigger a specific reaction and send genetic messages to begin. Example of a hormone is Melatonin that is regulated in circadian sleep rhythm. 

3. What is the Difference Between Enzymes and Hormones?

Enzymes and hormones majorly differ in their chemical composition. This chemical make-up changes after use in hormones but remains the same in enzymes. 

4. What are the Sources of the Protease Enzyme?

Protease enzymes can be derived from food products such as meat, eggs, fish, poultry, nuts and cheese. 

5. Are there External Factors that Affect Hormones Other than Age?

Yes. apart from age, hormones are affected by external factors such as pregnancy (gestation), radiative environment, certain medical conditions, herbal supplements, prescribed drugs and so on.