How Does Pepsin Break down Carbohydrates, Proteins, And Lipids (fat)?

old message How Does Pepsin Break down Carbohydrates, Proteins, And Lipids (fat)? Darrell Miller 09/29/11

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Date: September 29, 2011 11:44 AM
Subject: How Does Pepsin Break down Carbohydrates, Proteins, And Lipids (fat)?

The body needs nutrients for its growth, development and repair. Nutrients are important to the body because these serve as food for the cells and as a structural component of tissues and organs. Nutrients are classified into macro and micronutrients. Macronutrients include carbohydrates, fats and proteins while micronutrients are vitamins and minerals. In this article, we will be discussing on how these macronutrients are digested, broken down and absorbed by the body. Each macronutrient has different enzymes responsible for its digestion and varying areas in the intestine on which it is absorbed.

Protein is digested by the enzyme called pepsin. This enzyme is naturally produced by the cells of the stomach. Pepsin is considered as a digestive protease that break s down dietary protein into simpler forms called peptides. Together with chymotrypsin and trypsin, pepsin is the main protein – digesting enzyme. Specifically, pepsin is most effective in breaking down the bonds of certain simple protein molecules like phenylalanine, tryptophan and tyrosine. This enzyme works best in acidic environments, specifically those areas with the pH of 1.5 to 2. Pepsin is degraded if the pH is alkaline such that in the intestines.

Pepsin is synthesized from its precursor known as pepsinogen. This digestive chemical is produced and stored in the mucus membrane of the linings of the stomach. Once pepsinogen is released into the stomach with the aid of the digestive hormones Gastrin and Secretin, it is then mixed with the stomach’s hydrochloric acid (HCl). After it is combined with HCl acid, it is converted into pepsin. However, with the innovation of modern technology, pepsin is now available in supplement which is commercially formulated from swine stomachs.

Pepsin is a digestive enzyme which can only break down protein like that in meat, eggs and dairy products. Other enzymes are needed for the digestion of carbohydrates and fats. Digestion of carbohydrates is started in the mouth with the use of the enzyme in the salvia known as ptyalin or amylase and continues in the stomach then small intestine. Carbohydrates leave the stomach first because its final digestion and absorption area is in the small intestines.

Moreover, fats leave the stomach last because this is the area in which fat molecules are broken down into its simpler form known as fatty acids. Aside from the fact that fats have larger molecules, fats travel the slowest so that more fat molecules are broken into fatty acids. Fats are digested through emulsification process with the use of bile acids. Bile is produced by the liver and stored in the gall bladder. Another enzyme which aids in the break down of fats is called pancreatic lipase. The fat – splitting effect of lipase still functions even if fat molecules are already in the intestine.

It is important that these macronutrients are consumed everyday. This is for the reason that a balance between the three must be maintained so that overall health will be maintained. Together with vitamins and minerals, these macronutrients can improve your total well – being.

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