The process of carbohydrate digestion is inititated in the mouth itself and is completed in the small intestine. In the buccal cavity the salivary glands secret the enzymes salivary amylase or ptyalin which breaks starch, glycogen and other carbohydrates into disaccharides. There is not digestion of carbohydrates in the pharynx of the oesophages.
The hydrochloric present in the gastric juice partly digestes the carbohydrates. In the intestine two juices – pancreatic juice and intestinal juice act on the carbohydrates. In pancreas the main enzymes is amylase. The intestinal juice has six carbohydrases.
1. Intestinal amylase which digests the remaining starchy material to disaccharides.
2. Maltase. This splits the disaccharides maltose to monosaccharide, glucose.
3. Isomaltase breaks isomaltose to glucose.
4. Sucrase breaks sucrose into glucose and fructose.
5. Limit dextrinase breaks up dextrines into glucose.
6. Lactase hydrolyses lactose into glucose and galactose.