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Pepsina - What It Is And It Serves

The foods we consume every day are made up of large molecules that need to be broken into smaller particles so that they can enter the cells, where several processes will occur metabolic diseases. Digestive enzymes are part of the group of substances that are responsible for breaking down the main nutrients that are carbohydrates, proteins and fats.

Let us know what pepsin is, know what this substance is for and understand its many functions and applications.

What is an enzyme?

There are complex substances within the cells of the body that act as catalysts for various reactions. These substances are called enzymes and can be defined as organic substances that are formed inside the cells, but can act in the external environments to them.

Enzymes were initially discovered in the 19th century, apparently by Louis Pasteur, who found that fermentation of sugar in alcohol by yeast was catalyzed by fermentations containing enzymes.

In the group of digestive enzymes are present the amylases, which digest the carbohydrates (carbohydrates), the lipases, which are responsible for the breakdown of fats during the digestion process, and the proteases, which are the enzymes responsible for proteins. These enzymes are found from the saliva to the intestine, being naturally produced by the human body. Some foods are also sources of natural digestive enzymes, helping to improve overall health.

Proteins are macronutrients and are the most abundant organic macromolecules of cells, possessing numerous functions in the formation of structure and cellular functions. Proteins are classified in two main groups, depending on their function in the organism, being able to be in the group of the dynamic proteins (that are related to the functions of organism defense, substance transport, metabolism control) or in the group of structural proteins (whose main function is the structuring of cells and tissues in the body human).

Proteins perform many functions in the body, helping to provide energy, cell structure, transport and storage of substances, in the regulation of biological processes, participating as a catalyst for biological functions, acting in the defense of the body, in the construction and repair of tissues, in the production of hormones and neurotransmitters, as well as many other functions.

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These proteins are formed by several amino acids linked together by peptide bonds which, totally or partially, undergo a hydrolysis process during gastric digestion and intestinal. This hydrolysis process consists in the disruption of these bonds, promoting the release of amino groups and carboxyl groups of the amino acids involved in the binding.

The catalytic hydrolysis reaction occurs in the human body through the action of enzymes, among them pepsin, which is present in gastric juice and erepsin, which is present in pancreatic juice.

  • See more:Digestive enzymes - What they are, types, which to buy and how to take.

What is pepsin and what is it for?

Pepsin is the main enzyme produced by the stomach, which is essential during the digestion process of proteins present in foods such as eggs, meats and vegetable proteins, among others.

It was first studied in 1836, after the removal of a stomach wall by the German physiologist Theodor Schwann. In 1929, the crystallization and protein nature of this enzyme were reported by the American biochemist John Howard Northrop, who received a few years later a part of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry of 1946 for his work of purifying enzymes.

Pepsin is produced by the walls of the stomach and its action is controlled by gastrin, a hormone also produced by the stomach. Initially, the glands in the lining of the stomach mucosa produce and store an inactive protein form called pepsinogen. Some nerve stimuli and hormonal secretions of gastrin and secretin stimulate the release of this inactive protein in the stomach. Only when it comes into contact with hydrochloric acid does it become an active form, being rapidly converted into the enzyme pepsin.

The digestive power of pepsin is higher in acid environments, in the presence of gastric juice with pH between, and. In the intestine, when gastric acids are neutralized, the pH may reach 7, leaving the environment neutral - and in this case, pepsin is no longer effective. In the digestive tract, this enzyme only affects the partial degradation of proteins that are then absorbed in the intestine and go into the bloodstream.

This enzyme can be extracted from the stomach of cattle and pigs and is subsequently used in the production of milk coagulants and meat softeners by the food industry. Pepsin can also be applied in the treatment of digestive problems that are related to deficiency of gastric secretion and, in the pharmaceutical industry, can be used in the production of antiulcerative.

Pepsin is important because it catalyzes the breakdown of peptide bonds in proteins by transforming large molecules into peptide chain proteins. The food can stay up to 4 hours in the stomach undergoing the action of both pepsin and amylase and lipase. After this process, the food bolus turns into chyme and will go into the small intestine.

What are the different applications of pepsin?

The importance of pepsin to the body is enormous. Over the years, hydrochloric secretion may be reduced, causing the reduction of natural levels of pepsin. When these levels are far below, the body will have difficulty performing the digestion completely and properly. This situation can cause innumerable stomach and intestinal problems, generating symptoms of heartburn, indigestion, gas, reflux, among many others.

In these cases, the doctor may recommend the use of pepsin, which can be bought in specialized pharmacies, sold as capsules or as an oral solution. The value of this product is around 30 reais, and may vary according to the company, presentation and quantity of product.

In general, it is recommended to use 1 to 2 capsules a day after main meals, or in the case of oral solution, it is recommended to dilute 30 to 40 drops with water after main meals.

The use of pepsin is indicated for the treatment of gastric insufficiency, gastritis and chronic gastroenteritis. It can also be used as an intestinal gas reducer and as an adjunct to dyspepsia. It is worth remembering that this product is a medicine and that it should only be used with the advice of a doctor.

  • See more:Gastritis has a cure? What it is, symptoms, remedy, what to eat, types and treatment.

Improper use of pepsin may cause some side effects such as tremors, constipation and dizziness. Its use is also contraindicated for patients with hypersensitivity to the active substance or to any component of the formula. In addition, pregnant women should not use this substance without the advice of a doctor.

In addition, pepsin may have some applications in the food industry. Many of these enzymes are used in products for meat softening, clarification of fruit juices, syrup production and production of alcohol and derivatives, starches and sugars, oils and fats, dairy products, baking, winemaking, fruit juices among many others. Pepsin is also used in the cheeses industry to effect the hydrolysis of casein.


In the group of digestive enzymes are the amylases, which digest the carbohydrates, the lipases, which are responsible for of the fats during the digestion process, and the proteases, which are the enzymes responsible for proteins.

Proteins are formed by several amino acids linked together that undergo a hydrolysis process during gastric and intestinal digestion. Pepsin is important because it catalyzes the breakdown of peptide bonds in proteins by transforming large molecules into peptide chain proteins.

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Have you ever heard of pepsin and what is it for in our body? Ever needed to take a supplement with this enzyme for some reason? Comment below!

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