The pancreas supplies the major digestive enzymes that catalyze the breakdown of starches (carbohydrates),
proteins, and fats, so that the breakdown products can be absorbed in the upper small intestine.
Some carbohydrate digestion takes place in the mouth by salivary amylase, but pancreatic amylase is the
major carbohydrate-digesting enzyme. Amylases break down starches to maltose and maltotriose, which are
further hydrolyzed into glucose by the disaccharidases of the mucosal cells, and then absorbed. Although
cellulose is indigestible by pancreatic and intestinal enzymes, the microflora within the large intestine may
degrade it and produce uncomfortable symptoms in the process. Although fat digestion starts in the mouth with
the action of salivary lipase, the great majority of fat triglycerides are digested by pancreatic lipase secreted by
the exocrine pancreas into the duodenum. Lipases break down triglycerides into monoglycerides and free fatty
acids, which are efficiently absorbed in the upper small intestine. Protein digestion is initiated in the stomach
by pepsin and hydrochloric acid, which denature and break large proteins down to smaller polypeptides. In the
small intestine, proteases break down these polypeptides into free amino acids, and di- and tripeptides, which
are directly absorbed by the intestinal mucosa. Papain is a protease enzyme derived from papaya and is an
enzyme that breaks peptide bonds. Bile is normally secreted by the gallbladder to digest fat. Ox bile is very
similar to human bile to help aid in digestion and assimilation of lipids in the small intestine.
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