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Lipase

Also indexed as: Fat-Digesting Enzyme

Illustration

Lipase is an enzyme that is used by the body to break down dietary fats into an absorbable form.

Where is it found?

Most of the body’s lipase is manufactured in the pancreas, although some of it is secreted in the saliva, as well. Pancreatin contains lipase along with two other groups of enzymes: proteases and amylase.

Lipase has been used in connection with the following conditions (refer to the individual health concern for complete information):

Science Ratings Health Concerns
3Stars

Cystic fibrosis

2Stars

Indigestion (for pancreatic insufficiency only)

1Star

Celiac disease

Crohn’s disease

3Stars Reliable and relatively consistent scientific data showing a substantial health benefit.
2Stars Contradictory, insufficient, or preliminary studies suggesting a health benefit or minimal health benefit.
1Star For an herb, supported by traditional use but minimal or no scientific evidence. For a supplement, little scientific support and/or minimal health benefit.

Who is likely to be deficient?

People with pancreatic insufficiency and cystic fibrosis frequently require supplemental lipase and other enzymes. In addition, those with celiac disease1 or Crohn’s disease2 and perhaps some people suffering from indigestion3 may be deficient in pancreatic enzymes including lipase.

How much is usually taken?

Products that contain lipase also usually contain other enzymes that help digest carbohydrates and protein. In the U.S., pancreatin, which contains lipase, amylase, and proteases, is rated against a government standard. For example, “9X pancreatin” is nine times stronger than the government standard. Each “X” contains 25 USP units of amylase, 2 USP units of lipase, and 25 USP units of proteolytic enzymes. Taking 1.5 grams of 9X pancreatin (or a higher amount at lower potencies) with each meal can help people with pancreatic insufficiency digest food.

Are there any side effects or interactions?

Lipase does not generally cause any side effects at the amounts listed above.

At the time of writing, there were no well-known drug interactions with lipase.

References:

1. Patel RS, Johlin FC Jr, Murray JA. Celiac disease and recurrent pancreatitis. Gastrointest Endosc 1999;50:823–7.

2. Hegnhoj J, Hansen CP, Rannem T, et al. Pancreatic function in Crohn’s disease. Gut 1990;31:1076–9.

3. Suarez F, Levitt MD, Adshead J, Barkin JS. Pancreatic supplements reduce symptomatic response of healthy subjects to a high fat meal. Dig Dis Sci 1999;44:1317–21.

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