Lipase is an essential enzyme in the pancreas for the digestion of fatty (lipid) substances either in the diet or as a part of normal human metabolism. It is responsible for breaking down (hydrolyzing) fats into smaller components that can readily be absorbed through the intestines. In addition, the common effects of indigestion, which include bloating, abdominal discomfort and gas, can result from inefficiently digesting fat as a result of inadequate amounts of lipase in the body. Here we’ll describe those and other contributions made by this essential enzyme.
6 Lipase Health Benefits
1. Supports Normal Pancreatic Enzyme Levels
Research from France shows that our bodies produce lower amounts of digestive enzymes like lipase as we age. These studies found that the enzymes lipase, phospholipase, and chymotrypsin decrease in concentration and output with age. This provides in favor of lipase supplementation, particularly in older adults.
2. May Help With Symptoms of Gluten Sensitivity
Celiac disease is a digestive condition in which an affected person cannot digest gluten, a protein found in wheat and other grains. Approximately 1% of the U.S. population has Celiac disease, although more have gluten intolerance. Pancreatic enzymes such as lipase have been studied as a potential aid. One study done on children with celiac disease found that supplemental lipase helped them better gain weight and keep nutrients in the body in the first 30 days after diagnosis.
3. Encourages Normal Digestion
According to several studies, supplementing with lipase along with other enzymes reduces the symptoms of indigestion including the sensation of being overly full, flatulence and bloating following a meal of high-fat food.[4, 5] As these are the symptoms typically connected to irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), scientists believe that the lipase enzyme may also help this condition.
Some people report that taking lipase enzyme supplements with meals helps reduce symptoms of digestive upset. A review of anecdotal reports and product reviews shows a trend that gastrointestinal symptoms improve with this enzyme. Symptoms mentioned include abdominal discomfort, bloating, nausea, indigestion, gas, and loss of appetite.
4. Supports Nutrient Absorption
Cystic fibrosis causes the digestive system to produce excess mucus, and this prevents pancreatic enzymes from reaching the intestines, causing nutritional deficiencies. Many doctors report that supplementing with lipase can help reduce symptoms, and most importantly, help people absorb nutrients from the food they are eating. Enzyme therapy has been called a “backbone” of the nutritional treatment of this condition.
Research shows that the lipase enzyme can help patients with pancreatic insufficiency avoid something known as excessive fecal fat loss (steatorrhea). Pancreatic insufficiency impairs nutrient absorption from fats, this produces fat cravings and may eventually actually lead to weight gain. With adequate levels of this enzyme in the body, essential fatty acids and fat-soluble nutrients can be digested and used in the body. Similarly, lipase helps us utilize vitamins A, D, E and K. For example, vitamin A requires both bile and lipase to be released from food.
5. Boosts Immune Function
Animal and human studies have shown that the lipase produced by the body plays a role in immune function. By increasing enzyme secretions or supplementing, we may experience an overall boost to our immune function.
6. Aids in Fat Digestion and Weight Control
Studies confirm that the lipase enzyme is critically important for our ability to digest fat. One study compared fungal-derived lipase with animal-derived lipase in people with pancreatic disease, some who had recently recovered from surgery and some who had not. The study not only found that large servings of lipase helped stabilize fat digestion but also found that lower doses of fungal-derived lipase were needed compared with animal-derived lipase. An animal study found the enzyme also helped reverse some forms of pancreatic disease in dogs. A recent review of lipase therapy showed that supplementation could help reduce lipid malabsorption and return fat digestion to optimal levels.
How to Read the Units of Measurement for Lipase
Lipase (FCC LU/g) measures the hydrolysis of lipids into glycerol and fatty acids. The FCC LU (Lipase Units) assay is based on the potentiometric measurement of the rate at which the preparations will catalyze the hydrolysis of tributyrin. The FCC notation stands for Foods Chemical Codex and is a division of USP (United States Pharmacopeia). It sets standards for ingredients. In the case of enzymes, FCC is a standard test used to accurately determine enzyme activity level. The higher the LU number, the more active it is.
Where Can I Find the Best Source of Lipase?
VeganZyme® contains a 100% vegan form of lipase extracted from the fermentation of the fungus Aspergillus niger. It comes from all non-GMO sources, it’s kosher certified, gluten-free, and suitable for vegetarians and vegans.
VeganZyme is the most advanced full-spectrum systemic and digestive enzyme formula in the world and is free from fillers and toxic compounds. This formula contains digestive enzymes, which help digest fat, sugar, protein, carbohydrates, gluten, fruits and vegetables, cereals, legumes, bran, nuts and seeds, soy, dairy, and all other food sources.
What’s prompting your interest in lipase? Digestion? General wellness? Something else? Leave a comment below and share your insight with us.
- Laugier R, et al. “Changes in pancreatic exocrine secretion with age: pancreatic exocrine secretion does decrease in the elderly.” Digestion. 1991;50(3-4),202-11.
- Rubio-Tapia A, et al. “The prevalence of celiac disease in the United States.” Am J Gastroenterol. 2012;107(10),1538-44;
- Carroccio A, et al. “Pancreatic enzyme therapy in childhood celiac disease. A double-blind prospective randomized study.” Dig Dis Sci. 1995;40(12),2555-60.
- Suarez F, et al. “Pancreatic supplements reduce symptomatic response of healthy subjects to a high fat meal.” Dig Dis Sci. 1999;44(7),1317-1321.
- Levine ME, et al. “Lipase supplementation before a high-fat meal reduces perceptions of fullness in healthy subjects.” Gut Liver. 2015;9(4),464-469.
- Calvo-Lerma J, et al. “Pancreatic enzyme replacement therapy in cystic fibrosis: dose, variability and coefficient of fat absorption.” Rev Esp Enferm Dig. 2017;109(10),684-689.
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- Radovic B, et al. “Adipose triglyceride lipase in immune response, inflammation, and atherosclerosis.” Biol Chem. 2012;393(9),1005-1011.
- Schneider MU, et al. “Pancreatic enzyme replacement therapy: comparative effects of conventional and enteric-coated microspheric pancreatin and acid-stable fungal enzyme preparations on steatorrhoea in chronic pancreatitis.” Hepatogastroenterology 1985;32(2),97-102.
- Meyer JH. “Factors that affect the performance of lipase on fat digestion and absorption in a canine model of pancreatic insufficiency.” Pancreas. 1994;9(5),613-23.
- Waljee AK, et al. “Systematic Review: Pancreatic enzyme treatment of chronic pancreatitis.” Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2009;29(3),235-246.