We all know that our bodies need amino acids to function properly. But then, there is no class of food that amino acids belong to. The essential nutrients include fat, carbohydrates, protein, vitamins, minerals, fiber, and water. If our bodies cannot function without amino acids, then where do we get them from? We get them from proteins. The only reason why we eat proteins is to extract the amino acids in them. To get these amino acids, the protein food would first be broken down into peptides. The peptides would, in turn, be broken down into amino acids. In this article, we would talk about what breaks down peptides into amino acids.
Until proteins have been broken down into amino acids, they are not useful to our bodies. This breakdown involves a series of enzymatic processes. Enzymes are responsible for the breakdown of proteins through all the stages until it finally breaks down into amino acids. This breakdown starts in the stomach and ends in the small intestine. Proteins are broken down into peptides in the stomach and small intestines. Still, in the small intestine, the peptides are broken down into amino acids by a group of enzymes known as peptidases.
What Breaks Down Peptides into Amino Acids?
First, let’s start with how the body breaks down proteins. Unlike carbs, the digestion of protein does not start in the mouth. It starts in the stomach, the enzyme, pepsin is the first enzyme that begins to break protein down into smaller molecules. These smaller molecules are called peptides. Pepsin is a product of chief cells in the stomach. But then, it does not act on all proteins.
After pepsin has acted on some proteins to yield peptides, the peptides alongside the remaining undigested proteins would be passed into the small intestine. This is where the remaining proteins would be broken down into peptides by two pancreatic enzymes. They are trypsin and chymotrypsin.
Still, in the small intestine, all peptides would be broken down into amino acids. This process involves three enzymes, known as peptidases. They are as follows:
- Carboxypeptidase: produced by the pancreas
- Aminopeptidase: produced by the lining of the small intestine
- Dipeptidase: also produced by the lining of the small intestine
These enzymes, called peptidases, are responsible for the breakdown of peptides into amino acids. As such, they are very vital hydrolysis for the hydrolysis of protein.
The three peptidases above are the ones you can find in the human body. However, peptidases are not only present in humans, but they are also present in animals, bacteria, and plants.
Peptidases are very vital enzymes for the survival of any organism. More so, studies have shown that peptidases can help combat conditions that center on inflammation, oncology, immunity, and blood rheology.
Peptidases can even get rid of viruses from our bodies or at least put them out of action. This is possible because viruses usually have a protective covering of protein film. As soon as peptidases hydrolyze these protein films, the viruses are no longer a threat to the body.
When some foreign infectious organisms gain entrance into our bodies through our mouth, peptidases are most times potent enough to get rid of them. They digest the organism by breaking down (hydrolyzing) its proteolytic bonds.
By so doing, peptidases play a vital role in supporting our immune systems. Because they take care of the “little pieces of stuff”, they allow the immune system to focus on parasitic and bacterial invasions.
What Would Happen If Peptidases Are Absent or Dysfunctional?
Peptidases are so important that if they are not present or fully functional, we would break down with many deficiencies and illnesses. It’s even very hard to think of.
Remember that the value of eating protein is in the amino acids in it. What if we don’t have peptidases to break them down into amino acids? That would be fatal, isn’t it? We would suffer all the illnesses associated with protein deficiency.
All the health benefits of peptidase are connected in one way or the other to their role in the breakdown of peptides into amino acids. Their deficiency or dysfunction may lead to mood swings, irritability, neuropathy, etc.
But that’s not all. Calcium cannot be transported by the blood to different parts of the body. Unless it is bound to protein. That means that when peptidases are absent, all the conditions associated with calcium deficiency would crop up.
Calcium deficiency may cause conditions such as osteoporosis and arthritis, among many others. Truly calcium consumption may be adequate, but it would not get to where it is needed in the body if peptidases are absent or dysfunctional.
Peptidases also prevent insomnia and anxiety. This is because amino acids are needed to maintain a measure of acidity in the body that counterbalances the alkalinity of other substances.
If amino acids are not being made, the blood would be excessively alkaline. This could cause a lot of health disorders too.
Some amino acids are converted into glucose to make up for energy supply to the cells in the body. This means that peptidases are needed to prevent hypoglycemia and low energy levels.
Healthcare providers sometimes recommend peptidase supplements for those who have issues with their immune system. This therapy has a lot of positive effects on their condition.
Peptidases would not only digest unwanted invaders in the guts, but they also digest bacteria and viruses found in the blood. That way, the immune system can focus on more serious body intrusions.
Other Health Benefits of Peptidases
You can also use peptidases to treat inflammatory conditions. They may not get rid of the condition itself, but they are very helpful for reducing inflammation.
Peptidases can also halt the process of tumor formation, especially in the large intestine. This role is in line with its boosting effect on the immune system. Once peptidases have taken care of less serious matters, the immune system can concentrate on getting rid of malignant cells.
What’s more, peptidases can accelerate the healing process in damaged muscle and skin tissues. It is helpful for those with burns, sprains, fractures, and sport-related.
What breaks down peptides into amino acids? Enzymes are called peptidases. Their function may look simple, but when you look at how far-reaching it is, you know that they are very vital for optimum health and wellbeing.