Pancreatic Enzymes| List and their Function in the digestion

The pancreas is one of the important glands in our body. The pancreatic enzymes include

  1. Amylase
  2. Trypsin
  3. Chymotrypsin
  4. Carboxypolypeptidases
  5. Lipase
  6. Phospholipase A2
  7. Lysophospholipase or phospholipase B
  8. Cholesterol esterase.
  9. Nucleases.

Pancreas is a left-side organ located just below the stomach, opening into the duodenum.

Its secretion directly enters the duodenum of the intestine.

The endocrine gland part of the pancreas secretes hormones like insulin, glucagon, etc.

While the exocrine part of it secretes enzymes through the pancreatic duct.

It is a dual-type of the gland, i.e., unlike other glands, it has both exocrine and endocrine functions.

See the difference between enzymes and hormones.

Pancreatic enzymes

Pancreatic secretion contains enzymes and also large amounts of bicarbonates.

The bicarbonates help neutralize the acid chyme coming from the stomach into the duodenum.


This is the enzyme that breaks down carbohydrates like sucrose, fructose, and starch. The end product of this breakdown is glucose which is easily absorbed by the gut.

Trypsin & Chymotrypsin

Both these enzymes are inactive as such. But are activated by enterokinase from microvilli.

They help in breaking down proteins from food into polypeptides, tripeptides, etc.


The peptides formed due to trypsin and chymotrypsin are digested by this enzyme.

These carboxypolypeptidases convert peptides into individual amino acids. These amino acids are easily absorbed into the blood from the gut.


Helps in the breakdown of lipids and fats into fatty acids and glycerols for easy absorption.


They help in the breakdown of cell membranes into arachidonic acids.

Phospholipase B: This enzyme cleaves acyl portions of the phospholipids.

Cholesterol esterase: This enzyme catalyzes the cholesterol esters to unesterified cholesterol and free fatty acids.

Nucleases: These enzymes, as the name indicates, are meant for the digestion of nucleotide molecules of DNA and RNA.

Trypsin inhibitor

This is the pancreatic secretion that inhibits the activation of the enzyme trypsin inside the pancreas. If trypsin is activated before it is secreted, it will lead to digestion of the pancreas itself. Hence, this trypsin inhibitor saves the pancreas from the digestive action of these proteolytic enzymes.

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  1. I have an intolerance to all types of sweet, examples: refined sugar, artificial sweeteners, natural sugars – honey, etc., all fruit, sweet potatoes, carrots.
    My body attacks these foods with acid and I will have bowel sepage. What enzymes do I need to take to correct this? This started 25 years ago and has steadily gotten worse.

  2. What is the normal amount of enzymes for the pancreas to have and what is you have almost 5 times that in your pancreas?

    • Hi shirley smith, due to insulin deficiency one develops diabetes. Somatostatin deficiency leads to hormonal imbalance.


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