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What is Peptidase?

By L. Roux
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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Peptidase, also called protease or proteinase, is a type of enzyme that helps to break down proteins in the body. This type of enzyme occurs naturally in the living things and forms part of many metabolic processes. They form part of the larger systems in the body, including the digestive, immune, and blood circulation systems. These enzymes are classified into five different groups: aspartic proteinases, cysteine proteinases, metalloproteinases, serine proteinases, and threonine proteases.

In the digestive system, peptidases break down proteins by destroying the chains between their amino acids, and many can usually be found in the digestive tract. When protein enters the body, it needs to be digested and broken down into smaller molecules so that it can be used. This type of enzyme is responsible for this catabolic process.

Aspartic proteinases can usually be found in an acidic environment like the stomach. They are responsible for the breakdown of food and are also called pepsins. Other places that aspartic proteinases can be found are in blood plasma and in the immune system.

Cysteine proteinases are involved in hormone production and can also be found in the immune system. They also play an important role in bone development. These enzymes may also be found in certain fruits, like kiwis and pineapples, and are usually consumed as part of an individual's normal diet.

Metalloproteinases are a group of enzymes that need various metals, like cobalt and zinc, for their catabolic processes. They are also one of the most important groups of enzymes present in the body and assist with various bodily functions.

Serine proteinases can be found in various organisms and may specifically found in the digestive system. They are mainly produced in the pancreas, and a shortage of these enzymes may cause cystic fibrosis. They may also be used to reduce inflammation and prevent the formation of blood clots.

Threonine proteases is largely responsible for maintaining the proteasome. The proteasome is a large component of most cells, and it breaks down unwanted or damaged proteins. This process is called proteolysis and is also essential for many processes in the body.

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Discussion Comments

By John57 — On Nov 28, 2012

What is the best way to add enzymes to my diet? Is it better to look for certain foods to eat or use a supplement? I have some digestion problems and would like to find a natural way to deal with this issue.

By SarahSon — On Nov 28, 2012

I find it interesting that eating fresh fruits like kiwi and pineapple can help with hormone regulation. I guess I never thought about the correlation between hormones and enzymes.

I also would have never thought about how important certain enzymes are in regards to metals like cobalt and zinc. When I think about the various types of food and nutrients I need, I never think about metals like this that are important for my body to function properly.

By golf07 — On Nov 27, 2012

@sunshined -- That must be why a medication like Pepcid AC sounds very similar to the pepsins that are in our body. The pepsins are responsible for breaking down food in our stomach, and if we eat a lot of greasy, fatty foods, we probably need more enzymes to break that down. I know I feel a lot better when I avoid eating foods that are heavy and greasy.

By sunshined — On Nov 27, 2012

I have recently learned how important enzymes are for our digestive process. With so many people eating on the run, and eating foods that aren't that nutritious, enzymes become even more important. Personally I think this is one reason so many people are on medications for acid reflux.

I didn't want to rely on medications for relief from these symptoms so started looking at other alternatives. Once I began adding enzymes to my diet I noticed I felt a lot better. Part of the reason may also be because I became more conscious of the types of food I was eating as well.

Enzymes help my body break down and absorb the nutrients in the food I am eating. I don't get the heartburn and indigestion problems I had before I started taking the enzymes.

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