Lipase is an enzyme. Enzymes are special protein compounds that help in the initiation and stimulation of chemical processes in the body. Different enzymes stimulate different chemical reactions for different food items. Lipase is one of the many digestive enzymes that help in the breakdown of foods to a level where they can be absorbed in the body.
Lipase helps in the breakdown of fats (lipids). The common types of lipids include:
- The main examples of these are the dietary fats and oils that we use.
- An example of these are the different types of cholesterol
- These include lecithin and cephalin
The breakdown of fat makes it a ready source of energy for the body to use. This enzyme also helps in the storage of broken down fats for later use.
Production of lipase in the body
This enzyme is produced mainly in the pancreas. It is also produced in several other sites in the body, though in smaller amounts. These include:
- The liver
- The tongue
- The intestines
Interestingly, lipase can be found in plant and animal-based enzyme supplements. If you are concerned about animal-based dietary supplements, it is important to read the label carefully. This is of importance to vegan consumers. An example of an assured source of vegan compliant lipase are the supplements Essential and Enzymes, both from Belisan. In this product, lipase is one of the many ingredients that include vitamins, minerals, herbals and other enzymes that together offer a well-rounded set of health benefits.
Overt lipase deficiency is not common. The most obvious manifestation of such a deficiency is seen in a rare hereditary condition that affects about one in a million people. This condition is usually diagnosed through clinical examination and laboratory investigations. Some of the signs symptoms of this deficiency include:
- Abdominal pains – colicky in nature
- Epigastric pains
- Poor growth and development in children
- Skin disorders
- Eye problems
- Recurrent inflammation of the pancreas
A possible complication of chronic lipase deficiency is the development of life threatening inflammation of the pancreas and diabetes.
Effects of poor fat metabolism
Since lipase is needed for the effective breakdown of fats, what happens when this process is not working as it should? A whole range of issues could occur. These include:
- Increased risk of obesity
- Uncontrolled (high) cholesterol levels
- Increased levels of triglycerides
- Increased risk of heart disease and stroke
- Poor hormone synthesis
- Poor absorption of fat-soluble vitamins. These are vitamins A, D, E, and K. This in turn will lead to deficiency signs and symptoms of the vitamins.
- Skin disorders such as eczema and psoriasis
Lipase levels and age
Many adults will agree that as they grow older, they realize that they can no longer enjoy the amount and variety of foods they used to when they were much younger. One of the causes of this scenario is a declining level of necessary digestive enzymes that include lipase. According to a study published in the journal Nutrition of 1991, the authors concluded that pancreatic secretions decrease with age. This was noted to be true of lipase and other pancreatic enzymes.
This decrease in amount and rate of flow for lipase and other digestive enzymes from the pancreas will lead to digestive issues such as bloating, flatulence, food sensitivities, and various bowel inflammatory disorders. Since this decline is a gradual process, supplementation with lipase products may be a wise decision as we age.
Other factors that may lead to low levels of lipase include use of medications such as quinine and calcium ions based drugs. Heavy metals such lead and mercury toxicity can also lead to decreased levels of the enzyme. Due to these possibilities, it is important to identify the underlying cause of suspected lipase deficiency.
10 health benefits of lipase supplementation
The benefits of lipase as a vital digestive enzyme can be realized in at least three ways. These are:
- By removing the underlying cause of its deficiency
- By increasing the rate of production and flow of the enzyme for those with inadequate amounts and
- Direct supplementation with a lipase-containing product such as Daily Multivitamin Essential that contains scientifically balanced ingredients for your overall health. Enzymes is another product that contains lipase and other digestive enzymes to promote better gut health and optimal wellbeing.
Health benefits of lipase
A healthy digestive system is the beginning of good health. By keeping your lipase levels healthy, you can enjoy many health benefits. These include:
- Helps to maintain healthy levels of pancreatic juices secretion and flow even as you age
- Supports normal digestion so that you can enjoy meals that may ordinarily cause you discomfort and other digestive issues such as gas. It may also help in preventing or reducing the severity of irritable bowel disease.
- Helps with better absorption of fatty foods.
- Helps with the maintenance of a healthy weight and may help in weight loss efforts
- Supports the immune system
- Can reduce the risk of diabetes
- May help to reduce the incidence of food-related allergies such as gluten intolerance
- It supports the absorption and utilization of the fat soluble vitamins that include vitamins A, D, E, and K
- Can help to reduce the severity of the symptoms of cystic fibrosis.
- Supports the cardiovascular health by promoting better blood vessels health and blood circulation.
Lipase is usually supplemented together with amylase and protease. You can get all these in one convenient product from Belisan. You can go either for the multi-ingredient Essential or the enzymes based Enzymes nutritional products. In both you are assured of getting healthy lipase for improved digestive system and overall health. You can get them from here or here
Laugier R, Bernard J, -P, Berthezene P, Dupuy P, Changes in Pancreatic Exocrine Secretion with Age: Pancreatic Exocrine Secretion Does Decrease in the Elderly. Digestion 1991;50:202-211
Williamson MA, Synder LM, Wallach JB. Wallach’s interpretation of diagnostic tests. 9th ed. Philadelphia: Wolters Kluwer/Lippincott Williams & Wilkins Health; 2011
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.
Abrams, C. K., Hamosh, M., Hubbard, V. S., Dutta, S. K., & Hamosh, P. (1984). Lingual lipase in cystic fibrosis. Quantitation of enzyme activity in the upper small intestine of patients with exocrine pancreatic insufficiency. The Journal of clinical investigation, 73(2), 374-382.