Nutritional Aspects of Peptides

A fairly large part of digested protein is absorbed from the intestinal mucosa not as free amino acids but as dipeptides and tripeptides. A carrier-mediated transport system for dipeptides and tripeptides in the intestinal mucosa is operated by a proton gradient (14). For example, absorption rate of Gly-Gly is higher than that of Gly. Furthermore, Gly-Gly-Gly is absorbed more quickly than Gly-Gly (15). In a patient with Hartnup disease, whose ability to absorb free aromatic amino acid is defective, Phe-Phe could be absorbed well (16). Solubility of hardly soluble amino acids is improved by incorporation into peptides. The taste of oligopeptide mixtures is milder than that of free amino acids. The osmotic pressure of peptides in solution is lower than that of an equal amount of free amino acids. For these reasons an oligopeptide mixture is better than an amino acid mixture for an enteral diet. A low phenylalanine peptide (LPP) mixture for phenylketonuremic patients is prepared by the digestion of the protein by protease followed by the removal of phenylalanine by the absorption to Seph-adex or charcoal (17).

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