Enzymes are long-chain proteins held together in very specific shapes by hydrogen bonds, like a ball of string which is held in a very particular shape by tiny strips of Velcro. If anything happens to the Velcro-like bonds, the enzyme protein unravels, losing its shape. Without the shape, the key can no longer fit the lock. Then it’s no longer an enzyme – just another foreign protein.
What do foreign proteins cause in our body? Right – inflammation. Immune response. And that’s exactly the meaning of auto-immune. The body now attacks itself because it senses there’s an alien on board. Self confronted with not-self.
If the bonds are broken, the enzyme collapses, and can no longer do its specific job. Such a collapsed enzyme is said to be denatured. Several events cause an enzyme to become denatured:
– heating above 118 F (cooking)