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Official Full Name
Pancreatin is a mixture of several digestive enzymes produced by the exocrine cells of the pancreas. It is composed of amylase, lipase and protease. This mixture is used to treat conditions in which pancreatic secretions are deficient, such as surgical pancreatectomy, pancreatitis and cystic fibrosis. It has been claimed to help with food allergies, celiac disease, autoimmune disease, cancer and weight loss. Pancreatin is sometimes called "pancreatic acid", although it is neither a single chemical substance nor an acid.
Pancreatin; 8049-47-6; pancreatic acid

Product Name
EC No.
EC No.
CAS No.8049-47-6
SourceBovine Pancreas
EC No.
CAS No.8049-47-6
SourcePorcine pancrea...
Related Reading

Pancreatin (systemic pancreatin) is a digestive enzyme supplement that contains a mixture of several different types of enzymes. These enzymes are usually produced in the pancreas. The main function of pancreatin is to help break down food and convert it into energy. The supplement consists of a commercial mixture of amylase (digesting starch), protease (digesting protein) and lipase (digesting fat).

Protein structure of pancreatin. Figure 1. Protein structure of pancreatin.

Source of pancreatin

Pancreatin can be derived from plant or animal sources. The main enzymes containing pancreatin include amylase, lipase and protease. Pancreatin or pancreatin is usually made from cattle or pigs, but can also be derived from plants.


  • Pancreatic enzymes can help break down a variety of nutrients, including protein, fat, and carbohydrate (which converts it into body energy).
  • Promote healthy weight gain and maintain healthy weight.
  • Promote the absorption of essential vitamins and minerals.
  • Pancreatin can be used to treat various diseases that can cause the pancreas to fail to produce or release pancreatic enzymes. These diseases include:
  • Cystic fibrosis.
  • Chronic (long-term) pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas).
  • Pancreatic cancer.
  • Pancreatic cancer. Figure 2. Pancreatic cancer.

  • Post-operative (post-operative) conditions, such as pancreatic or intestinal surgery.
  • Steatorrhea (a disease involving loose, defecating stools).

Although some people use enzymes (such as pancreatin) for digestive problems, such as heartburn or other digestive diseases, according to Harvard Health Research, clinical research lacks evidence to support the effectiveness of digestive enzymes for indigestion and other digestive diseases.

Disorders of the Pancreas

Pancreatin is contained in pancreatin supplement capsules to help the body digest food. It is especially used to treat diseases of the digestive system with insufficiency of the pancreas (the pancreas cannot produce enough digestive enzymes, such as amylase, lipase or protease), One disease that causes pancreatic insufficiency is cystic fibrosis. In cystic fibrosis, thick mucus is released, which can block the pancreas (and other parts of the body, such as the lungs). This mucus prevents the effective secretion of pancreatic enzymes. Therefore, it has been shown in some clinical studies that taking pancreatin supplements helps to promote the effective digestion of nutrients, thereby achieving proper absorption.

Pancreatic enzyme activation mechanism

It is generally believed that there are three main mechanisms for the activation of pancreatin: (1) activation of trypsinogen caused by the intestinal kinase of the duodenal mucosa; (2) autoactivation mediated by trypsinogen, trypsinogen and substrate, and false bottom to form a complex containing the trypsin inhibitor. The binding site of trypsinogen and substrate is its activation site; (3) lysosomal cysteine prolease (cysteine prolease) and entanglein B (cathepsin B) mediate trypsinogen activation. Under normal circumstances, the pancreas has a variety of protective mechanisms to protect it from damage, such as: synthesizing inactive zymogen precursors, concentrating the zymogen in the membrane-phase secretory particles, and synthesizing the trypsin inhibitor and zymogen to prevent its activation during migration and storage.


Vagus nerve has the effect of regulating pancreatic enzyme secretion. A large number of experimental data prove that indirect or direct stimulation of the vagus nerve, or the use of choline drugs, can stimulate the large release of pancreatic enzymes, and cut off the vagus nerve, causing denervated pancreas or using choline receptors to block Discontinuation can inhibit pancreatic enzyme secretion. The vagus nerve regulates pancreatic enzyme secretion, including basal secretion, cephalic secretion caused by eating, gastric secretion and intestinal secretion. Regarding the mechanism of basal pancreatic enzyme secretion, atropine can significantly reduce human basal pancreatic enzyme secretion, suggesting that vagal stress is the main factor that causes basal pancreatic enzyme secretion.


  1. Whitehead, A. M, et al. Study to compare the enzyme activity, acid resistance and dissolution characteristics of currently available pancreatic enzyme preparations. Pharmaceutisch Weekblad Scientific Edition. 1998, 10 (1): 12–16.

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