Dietary proteins are made of amino acids. The body can use dietary protein for energy, muscle incorporation, or incorporation into nitrogen-containing compounds.
Digestion of protein begins in the stomach with an enzyme called pepsin and continues in the small intestine, where enzymes from the pancreas and intestinal lining break the protein into smaller peptides. These peptides are then broken down into tripeptides and dipeptides that can cross the intestinal lining.
Disorders of protein digestion can occur when any of these processes is altered or abnormal.
At The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, children with disorders of protein digestion are managed by doctors in the Division of Gastroenterology (GI), Hepatology and Nutrition.