What Are Coenzymes?

Coenzymes do what their name implies—they are co-workers (cofactors) in helping enzymes do their jobs. Enzymes are necessary for unlocking the energy in nutrients and rearranging molecules so they can be used effectively. Enzymes are specific in their functions ie: digestive enzymes are essential for bodily processes. A lot of coenzymes are derived from vitamins. For example, the coenzyme derived from vitamin B1 is a long scientific sounding word or TPP. TPP is responsible for the cellular process that separates oxygen from carbon dioxide during respiration.

Coenzymes are smaller than their protein enzyme counterparts but essential for many chemical reactions in the body. Without a coenzyme, most enzymes would not function.

Coenzymes actually make up part of the “active site” of an enzyme. Basically, when enzymes attach to a molecules to “unlock” their energy potential they need a good fit to do their jobs properly. Coenyzmes help with this fit on the active site and facilitate molecule attachment.