Pancreas is both endocrine and exocrine gland in the human organism. As an endocrine gland, the certain cells (known as Islets of Langerhans) secrete insulin and glucagon, and some other pancreas cells secrete pancreatic polypeptide and Somatostatin. Exocrine pancreas secretes alkaline fluid and digestive enzymes, such as: trypsin, chymotrypsin and pancreatic amylase and lipase.
Pancreas enzymes aid digestion of the food we eat. These enzymes are necessary to supplement if people suffer from the pancreas insufficiency or pancreatitis (inflammation of pancreas). Patients suffering from several different diseases might also need pancreas enzyme supplements. Some of these conditions are: cystic fibrosis, pancreas cancer or tumor, duodenal tumor, pancreatic or biliary duct blockage or narrowing, post-pancreatectomy and post-gastrointestinal bypass surgery.
About Pancreatin Tablets
Pancreatin supplements are usually found as coated tablets or capsules, and can be both prescription and non-prescription medications. These tablets may be produced from animal or plant sources, such as beef, pork, pineapple and papaya. Every brand of pancreatin tablets is different, since it contains different amount of enzymes. When you find the brand that works for you – use it, and do not substitute those tablets with some other brand, because it may not work. Always consult your doctor in order to establish the appropriate dose and type of pancreatin supplements for you.
It is recommended to take these tablets with plenty of fluids at mealtimes. Do not crush or chew the tablet, simply swallow it, because otherwise it could not work properly. If it’s difficult to swallow the capsule, try mixing the content with some pureed banana, sweet potatoes or applesauce and swallowing it.
Enzymes should be taken at the beginning of each meal or snack to function properly. Multiple enzymes should be taken at the beginning, in the middle and in the end of the meal. Always use pancreatin supplements when eating meat, dairy products, bred, desserts and snacks.
The most common unwanted effect of these supplements is constipation. In some cases, patients reported nausea, diarrhea and abdominalcramps.
Some people might be allergic to ingredients that are used to make pancreatin enzymes (beef, pork, pineapple, papaya). These patients should not use pancreatin supplements.
If kept in the mouth, pancreatin tablet (or capsule) might start to decompose and release enzymes in the mouth, causing irritation and ulcerations.
Do not use pancreatin supplements in children suffering from cystic fibrosis. It may lead to a severe condition of the large intestine, known as fibrosing colonopathy.
Be aware that you should use the appropriate dose of these supplements. Start with smaller doses and then gradually increase it if necessary. Improper dosage of pancreatin supplements could lead to unwanted weight loss.
Avoid using magnesium and Calcium antacids with these supplements, since enzymes could decrease the efficacy of antacids drugs.
Avoid mixing open capsule of pancreatin enzymes with dairy products (milk, ice cream, custard, etc.), because this way enzymes might be destroyed before they get into the stomach.