Lipase: Digestive Enzyme that Fights Disease

The digestive enzyme lipase is usually found in the stomach. This makes it a promising contender for drug development, and pharmaceutical companies are currently working on drugs to block or inhibit this specific enzyme. Inhibitory medications could be used to treat diseases like obesity, chronic diarrhea, cancer, heart disease, and even Alzheimer’s.

Enzymes are protein-based molecules that aid in the stimulation of chemical processes. Lipase is one of these vital enzymes for human health. What precisely is lipase? Lipase is a digestive enzyme produced mostly by the pancreas and released into the small intestine to aid in the digestion and absorption of lipids.

It does so much more for the body than you may think by breaking down and helping the body absorb fat – it can naturally assist significant digestive issues like celiac disease and critical health diseases like cystic fibrosis.

Lipase is often taken alongside protease and amylase, two other important enzymes. This is because lipase degrades lipids, protease degrades proteins, and amylase degrades carbohydrates. When all of these enzymes in your body are functioning properly, your digestion and general health may be at their best.

It is possible to do testing to determine where your enzyme levels should be. A lipase shortage might be to fault if you have digestive problems after eating fatty meals. Continue reading to understand how your body uses lipase and how it may help you or someone you care about overcome some major health issues.

What Is Lipase and How Does It Work?

Lipase is an enzyme that breaks down lipids so that the intestines may absorb them. Lipase breaks down lipids such as triglycerides into fatty acid and glycerol molecules. Blood, stomach juices, pancreatic secretions, intestinal juices, and adipose tissues all contain it.

Triglycerides provide energy to your body, and you certainly need some for healthy health. On the other hand, high triglyceride levels may increase your risk of heart disease and be an indication of metabolic syndrome. That is only one of the many reasons why lipase must function properly! The definition of a healthy lipase level varies a lot. Some laboratories recommend a lipase level of up to 85 U/L, while others recommend a level of up to 160 U/L.

Is there anything that may lower your lipase levels? Studies have indicated that fluorinated water is to blame for the reduced pancreatic lipase and protease activities. Despite the fact that the research was conducted on pigs, it has far-reaching ramifications in terms of increased free radical damage and mitochondrial production loss.

This is an excellent reason to consider the quality of the water you drink daily since you don’t want your water consumption to reduce the activity of important digestive enzymes.

Health Advantages

Lipase is essential for appropriate fat digestion, which impacts a variety of biological activities and health issues. The majority of individuals do not need extra lipase. However, if you have any of the illnesses listed below, having more of this enzyme may be beneficial.

1. IBS Support

Lipase and other pancreatic enzyme supplements may help decrease bloating, gas, and fullness after a meal, particularly one that is heavy in fat. These signs and symptoms are often linked to digestive issues such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Exocrine pancreatic insufficiency, or the inability to effectively digest food owing to a shortage of digestive enzymes produced by the pancreas, has also been discovered in certain people with irritable bowel syndrome.

Exocrine pancreatic insufficiency was discovered in at least 6.1 percent of individuals investigated in a 2010 research of diarrhea-predominant IBS patients. The research suggests that pancreatic enzyme treatment might help IBS patients with underlying pancreatic insufficiency lessen unpleasant symptoms like diarrhea and abdominal discomfort.

Cystic fibrosis is a disease that affects people of all ages.

Cystic fibrosis (CF) is a genetic illness that affects the proper function of epithelial cells, which line the passageways of many of our body’s most vital organs, including the lungs, liver, kidneys, skin, and reproductive system.

Because mucus prevents pancreatic enzymes from reaching the intestines, people with cystic fibrosis create excessively thick, sticky mucus and often have nutritional deficits. Taking pancreatic enzymes, such as lipase, may help a CF patient’s body absorb more nourishment and energy from their diet.

3. Gluten Intolerance

Celiac illness is a kind of celiac disease that is an autoimmune disorder characterized by an inflammatory reaction to gluten that destroys small intestinal tissue. The small intestine is a tube-shaped organ located between the stomach and the large intestine that normally absorbs many nutrients; however, this process is disrupted in persons with celiac disease. Abdominal discomfort, bloating, weight loss and exhaustion are all symptoms of celiac disease.

First and foremost, a gluten-free diet must be followed by avoiding any goods containing wheat, barley, or rye. Furthermore, pancreatic enzymes, such as lipase, have been demonstrated to aid in treating celiac disease. In a double-blind, randomized research, children with celiac disease who got pancreatic enzyme treatment (including lipase) gained weight more slowly than those who received placebo. According to the research, the weight increase occurred in the first month, and pancreatic enzymes seem to be most beneficial in the first 30 days following diagnosis.

This result is important since the celiac disease causes diarrhea, weight loss, stomach discomfort and bloating exhaustion, and severe skin rashes in children and adults. In fact, celiac disease causes weight loss in almost half of those afflicted.

4. Gallbladder Insufficiency and Malfunction

The gallbladder is a little pear-shaped pouch nestled between the liver lobes. Its primary function is to retain cholesterol-rich bile generated by the liver, which, coupled with lipase, aids in the digestion of fatty meals. A supplement containing lipase may be quite beneficial if you have gallbladder problems or don’t have one at all.

Lipase plays a critical role in fat digestion and absorption. If your gallbladder has already been removed, you may have difficulty digesting certain meals, particularly fatty ones. Lipase enzymes may also aid increase fat digestion and bile usage, making them a great natural gallbladder cure.

You may assume it’s better not to eat or digest fats, but if you don’t include high-quality, healthy fats in your diet, such as omega-3s, your health will suffer since these fats are necessary for optimal health when you have a gallbladder malfunction or no gallbladder at all, lipase and bile guarantee that these good fats are correctly used.

5. Cardiovascular Health and Healthy Cholesterol Levels

Because lipase aids in the digestion of fats, a lack may result in increased, harmful levels of cholesterol and triglycerides, which can lead to cardiovascular problems. Lipase deficiency is associated with elevated cholesterol and fat levels in the blood.

Individuals may get pancreatitis (a dangerous pancreas inflammation) and heart problems when their triglyceride levels reach 1,000 mg/dL. Obesity, type 2 diabetes, and metabolic syndrome are all connected to high triglyceride levels.

6. Increase the Absorption of Nutrients

Lipase levels that are adequate assist your body in absorbing vitamins and minerals from the meals you consume. So, not only is it critical to consume the appropriate meals, but it’s also critical to have the right enzyme balance to digest these nutritious foods! The most common treatment for nutritional malabsorption is pancreatic enzyme replacement therapy.

7. Weight Loss 

Lipase, which breaks down fat in the body, has been demonstrated to be beneficial to weight reduction in studies. By turning on a molecular “switch” that switches the enzyme on and off, scientists were able to regulate lipase and treble its strength a few years ago. They were able to make lipase enzymes work three times harder, resulting in fat digestion rising from 15% to 45% of the time.

This scientific breakthrough, which was published in the Journal of the American Chemical Society, might be very beneficial to persons suffering from obesity and other significant health issues such as heart disease and diabetes. Furthermore, it seems that understanding and manipulating this enzymatic “ignition switch” will work for all enzymes. If scientists can find out how to switch enzymes on and off, they may be able to assist or perhaps cure a variety of health problems that involve enzymatic activity.


You will need to get a blood test to determine your lipase level. Fast for at least eight hours before the exam. Your doctor may also urge you to stop taking certain medications, such as pain relievers like codeine, morphine, and indomethacin, birth control pills, thiazide diuretics, cholinergic drugs, and others that might disrupt the test.

Lipase testing, like amylase testing, is often used to screen for pancreatic illnesses, the most prevalent of which is acute pancreatitis. Lipase testing may assist detect pancreatic problems because it shows up in the blood when the pancreas is injured. A test for familial lipoprotein lipase impairment may also be performed.

The term “normal” might mean different things in different labs. On the other hand, normal values range from 0 to 160 units per liter. In most cases, test results are available within 12 hours.

It’s possible that you have increased lipase levels as a result of:

  • Obstruction of the bowels
  • Pancreatic cancer is a kind of cancer that affects the pancreas.
  • Celiac disease
  • Ulcer in the duodenum
  • Pancreatitis (pancreatitis) is an infection or swelling of the pancreas.

Lipase levels are usually quite high in acute pancreatitis, generally 5 to 10 times higher than the top limit of normal. Lipase levels normally increase within 4 to 8 hours of an acute pancreatitis incident and stay high for 7 to 14 days.

Facts to Ponder

  • Lipases are the second most studied category of enzymes and the most straightforward to comprehend.
  • The pancreatic lipase, which is a lipase released by the pancreas, performs the majority of fat digestion in adults in the upper loop of the small intestine.
  • As we grow older, our bodies generate less protease, lipase, and amylase, which means protein, fat, and carbohydrate digestion might be hampered.
  • The lipase test is more accurate than the amylase test for detecting pancreatitis.
  • Even if you don’t have any pancreatic issues, you might have a high lipase level.

Supplements and Foods

Avocado, walnuts, pine nuts, coconuts, lupini beans, lentils, chickpeas, mung beans, oats, and eggplant have all been shown to contain lipase in studies. Before eating them, it’s preferable to soak and sprout raw nuts, seeds, and beans since they naturally contain enzyme inhibitors that may prevent enzyme action.

Lipase supplements may be found at your local health food shop or online. A full-spectrum enzyme combination is what I suggest. They may come from both animal and plant sources. Lipase and other enzymes like protease and amylase are often accessible as a supplement. Enzyme supplements for vegans are also widely accessible. The lipase in these products is usually produced from Aspergillus niger. Instead of ox or hog bile, which is the most common extract used for lipase supplements, this is a fungus-based, fermented product.

Depending on the supplement you chose, you may need to adjust your dosage. Consult your doctor about the appropriate dose for your particular health issue. Adults should take 6,000 LU (Lipase Activity Units) or 1–2 capsules three times a day on an empty stomach 30 minutes before meals.

A common dosage for an adult with cystic fibrosis is 4,500 units per kilogram of lipase per day for digestive issues caused by a pancreatic dysfunction (pancreatic insufficiency). It’s advisable to start with a modest dosage and gradually increase until you see a difference but never exceed the suggested amount without consulting your healthcare practitioner first.

Children under the age of 12 should not be given enzymes except under the supervision of a doctor.

Drug Interactions and Side Effects

Lipase is a relatively safe supplement for the majority of individuals. Nausea, cramps, and diarrhea are examples of minor side effects. Before using any enzyme supplement, consult your doctor if you are pregnant or nursing. High dosages of lipase may exacerbate some of the symptoms of cystic fibrosis.

If you’re presently on Orlistat or digestive enzymes, you shouldn’t utilize lipase without first seeing your doctor. Orlistat (Xenical or Alli) is an obesity drug that inhibits lipase’s capacity to break down fats. As a result, taking Orlistat interferes with the function of lipase supplements.

Lipase enzymes may be destroyed by other digestive enzymes such as papain, pepsin, betaine HCL, and hydrochloric acid. To avoid this, search for enteric-coated lipase enzymes, which are shielded from stomach acid degradation.

If you have any ongoing health issues or are using any other drugs or supplements, consult your doctor before taking any enzyme supplement.

Last Thoughts

  • Lipase not only aids in the appropriate breakdown of both good and bad fats, but it also aids in the absorption of critical nutrients from the meals you consume.
  • You may eat all the nutritious meals you want, but having enough amounts of important enzymes like lipase will guarantee that your wise decisions benefit your health in the long run.
  • You don’t want to have too much lipase, but neither do you want too little. So if you suspect your levels aren’t where they should be, a simple blood test might confirm your suspicions.
  • Lipase has been demonstrated to be beneficial for a variety of common and major health issues, including indigestion, cystic fibrosis, celiac disease, and irritable bowel syndrome, to name a few.
  • It may also help to improve the condition of your gallbladder and heart.

Frequently Asked Questions

What does the digestive enzyme lipase do?

A: Lipase is a digestive enzyme found in the pancreas that breaks down fat molecules into fatty acids and glycerol. This process provides energy for cells to use as fuel.

How are enzymes used to treat digestive system disorders?

A: Enzymes are used in the digestive system to break down food and help it pass through the body. Without them, digestion would be impossible. They also create a lot of heat as they do their job so that your body can stay warm while digesting food.

When should I take lipase?

A: Lipase is best taken after a meal. This will allow the enzymes to work fully and most efficiently on food that has already been broken down by your body’s digestive juices in order for it to be absorbed into the bloodstream.

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