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What Is the Connection between Amylase Lipase and Protease?

Marlene de Wilde
Marlene de Wilde

Amylase lipase and protease are proteins needed by the body to assist in the breaking down and digesting of food and are mainly secreted by the pancreas and other organs in the gastrointestinal tract. Amylase is also produced by the same glands that produce saliva in the mouth. The enzymes travel from the pancreas to the small intestine where they become active. The connection between amylase lipase and protease is such that each of the digestive enzymes aids in the digestion of different foods.

Protease aids in the digestion of proteins as is instrumental in breaking proteins down into amino acids. These are then more easily absorbed through the intestinal wall. The inadequate breakdown of protein can lead to conditions such as a weakened immunity system, hypoglycemia, calcium deficiencies and anxiety. Amylase breaks starch down into sugar. The process which begins in the mouth as amylase is present in saliva and then is finished off in the small intestine with pancreatic amylase. Lipase helps digest fats by breaking them down into fatty acids which can then be more easily absorbed into the surface of the intestine.

Woman holding a book
Woman holding a book

Taking amylase lipase and protease as a medicine replaces digestive enzymes which the body is unable to produce in the case of certain conditions such as cystic fibrosis or pancreatitis. It may also be used for indigestion or as a supplement. Before taking the enzymes, the doctor or pharmacist must be aware of any existing allergies, particularly to pork protein, pregnancy and if the patient is breast-feeding.

Some people choose to take amylase lipase and protease as a supplement to strengthen the digestive process and ensure that food is completely broken down and all the goodness from the food made available to the body. Conditions such as constipation, gas, stomach bloat and fatigue may be due to the improper digestion of foods and the production of bacteria and toxins in the undigested food mass. In a healthy body, there is no need for such supplementation, but weak digestion is a problem for many especially if they do not follow a healthy diet, drink too much alcohol or suffer from certain medical conditions.

Enzyme production also decreases with age so supplementation may be advisable to older people suffering from digestion-related problems. Some common side effects include gastrointestinal problems, nausea and vomiting so consideration should be given as to whether the taking of the enzymes is necessary. There are also interactions with other medications which could be severe.

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