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- What is Alpha-Chymotrypsin?
Alpha-Chymotrypsin is a specific digestive enzyme that performs proteolyisis, which is breaking down proteins from the small intestine. In its original form, it is a large molecule that’s inactive and that can be found inside the pancreas. When it gets inside the small intestine it is activated by trypsin that’s also a digestive enzyme.
Usually, digesting food means breaking down large molecules and converting them into small molecules. Thus, the blood can easily absorb them. Proteins are actually chains that contain amino acids. They are connected thanks to the peptide bonds. On the other hand, the enzymes are particular proteins that cause various reactions and break down the common ones. When it comes to digestion, there are different proteases that work for special types of proteins.
A special category of proteases is Alpha-Chymotrypsins. These are part of the serine proteases family, officially called serine endopeptidases. The serine amino acid in these enzymes gave the name of the family. As mentioned before, the Alpha-Chimotrypsins have a large and inactive form when they’re synthesized. Therefore, they can be transported in the body and not cause tissue damage. In their inactive form, these enzymes are called chymotrypsinogen. The trypsin’s proteolysis splits the chymotrypsinogen into a combination of 2 molecules and that’s how the Alpha-Chymotrypsin is usually formed. After this particular process ends, the 2 molecules begin to activate one another and break down proteins. The Alpha-Chymotrypsin activates only certain aromatic amino acids like tyrosine, tryptophan and phenylalanine.
Hydrolysis is part of the Alpha-Chymotrypsin process. This means that a water molecule is divided in 2 and each of the fragments is added to different parts in peptide bonds, resulting in the cleaving of the bond. Once this process takes place, various other peptidases and proteases degrade the protein and break it down into the amino acids. When the digestion mechanism is completed, different natural inhibitors called serpins, stop the serine protease, thus inactivating the Alpha-Chymotrypsins.
There are various plants that are inhibitors for chymotrypsin. The inhibitors for protease may be found in legume seeds and they usually defend the body against insects. Moreover, the bacteria from our intestines generate protease inhibitors that fight against the digestive enzymes and stop them from being digested. The Alpha-Chymotrypsin is beneficial for pancreatic insufficiency and cystic fibrosis.
- Health benefits
Sometimes, the body doesn’t have the ability to produce enough digestive enzymes, thus being unable to digest food properly. This leads to:
- Abdominal pain
All these ailments can be easily treated with Alpha-Chymotrypsin supplements. They are said to improve digestion and general health and they are also beneficial for many other conditions because they have anti-inflammatory properties.
The main use of Alpha-Chymotrypsin is for treating pancreatic insufficiency. This condition has many symptoms like abdominal discomfort, bloating, gas, nutrient deficiencies, malabsorption and impaired digestion. People who have cystic fibrosis or chronic pancreatitis can often develop a pancreatic deficiency. It also occurs in the elderly. Chronic stress, chemotherapy or physical injuries can also lead to Alpha-Chymotrypsin deficiency.
The fat and starch digestion could be done without the pancreatic enzymes, but proteases like the Alpha-Chymotrypsin, are needed for digesting proteins. If the proteins are not digested completely they can cause various allergies. Also, these indigested proteins can be broken down by bacteria, causing putrefaction and toxic substances in the organism. The intestinal secretions and the protease enzymes are also beneficial for the small intestine, because they eliminate: