Can lipids and carbohydrates be enzymes?

Fat digestion by lipases

Enzymes, such as the lipases produced by the pancreas, are central to metabolism and digestion. The better our food is broken down by enzymes, the more we can benefit from its healthy ingredients. Incomplete digestion, on the other hand, is often associated with gastrointestinal complaints and deficiency symptoms.

This is how fat digestion works

So-called neutral fats (triglycerides) are mainly found in food. These relatively large molecules consist of the alcohol glycerol and three chains of fatty acids. They cannot be absorbed directly by the human body; they must first be broken down into small building blocks - i.e. digested.

The digestion of these dietary fats takes place predominantly in the upper small intestine: bile - formed by the liver, stored in the gallbladder and released into the duodenum when required - emulsifies the fats in the pulp there: small fat droplets are formed, which are a suitable target for the digestive enzymes to attack Offer.

The actual digestive activity is then carried out by the lipases from the pancreatic juice. These enzymes, formed in the acinus cells of the pancreas, attach to the fat droplets and break down the triglyceride molecules into smaller units: into fatty acids, glycerol, mono- or diacylglycerols.

Only in this form can our body absorb and utilize the split dietary fat through the intestinal mucosa - for example, the healthy, polyunsaturated fatty acids. In addition, the small fat units channel vital fat-soluble vitamins into the body.

Abdominal pain, gas, bloating ...

Too little of these lipases means inadequate fat digestion. Then a lot of undigested fats get into the large intestine and can lead to considerable digestive problems: Severe abdominal pain, gas, bloating, voluminous diarrhea and, in the worst case, foul smelling, shiny stools (steatorrhea) are possible - in this case you should definitely consult a doctor.

In the long term, there is a risk of weight loss, nutrient and vitamin deficiencies, and delayed growth and underweight in children. Above all, the body cannot properly absorb the essential fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K as well as important amino acids when fat digestion is disturbed.

Simply substitute lipases

So if you don't tolerate fat well, it could be that your pancreas is weakening in the production of digestive enzymes - such as lipases. Possible causes for such a weak pancreas (med. Pancreatic insufficiency) include declining digestive function in old age, inflammation (med. Pancreatitis), diabetes, excessive alcohol consumption or serious diseases such as cystic fibrosis.

Missing lipases can be found in the active ingredient pancreatin, for example in Pancreatan® (without a prescription in the pharmacy). It contains digestive enzymes such as lipases, amylases and proteases. In addition to improving fat digestion, taking it also leads to a regulation of the digestion of proteins and carbohydrates - and thus overall to a better supply of nutrients to the body.

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