Lipase is an essential enzyme 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.
This process occurs as lipase acts as catalyst during hydrolysis in which solid fats and oils are disassembled into their components, yielding monoglycerides, diglycerides, glycerol, and free fatty acids.
Basically this means that it can take a triglyceride molecule, the basic fatty unit found in food, and strip off the fatty acids, leaving either none, one, or two fatty acids attached to the glycerol backbone. This enzyme is produced mainly in the pancreas except in the case of disease and digestive imbalance as discussed below. While excess amounts of poor quality fat in the diet can be a precursor to health conditions like heart disease, diabetes and cancer, we do need some good forms of fat for the functioning of every cell and organ system in the body.
In fact, all of our cells are actually using lipids (fats) to create their structure and protection. And so, just as we must concern ourselves with getting proper amounts of healthy fats, we must also make sure that we have the good pancreatic enzymes that can absorb this fat along with many fat-soluble nutrients including vitamins A, D, E, and K. This is the role of lipase. And, without this enzyme, we are left with some of the typical types of digestive upset such as indigestion and heart burn.
Lipase not only helps us break down fat, preventing excess weight gain and possibly even obesity, but it also has the ability to streamline the entire digestion process and increase the nutritional value of the natural fats we are getting from good, healthy foods. This is particularly important in light of the fact that many people consume less-than-optimal amounts of essential fatty acids and fat-soluble nutrients, meaning that it is more important than ever to digest and absorb these as efficiently as possible. In addition, the common effects of indigestion, bloating, abdominal discomfort and gas resulting from eating high-fat foods can be greatly alleviated.
The Health Benefits of Lipase
1. Helps keep pancreatic enzymes at optimal levels as we age
Research from France shows that concentrations of digestive enzymes like lipase are lowered as we age. These studies found that the enzymes lipase, phospholipase and chymotrypsin decreased with age in concentration as well as in output. This is a confirmation that ageing alters pancreatic secretions and supports evidence for lipase supplementation.
2. May improve symptoms of Celiac disease
Celiac disease is a fairly common digestive condition in which we cannot digest the proteins found in gluten Pancreatic enzymes such as lipase have been studied as a potential aid for this disease. One study done on children with celiac disease found that supplemental lipase helped them better gain weight and keep nutrients in the body.
3. May improve common symptoms of indigestion
According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, one clinical study found that supplementing with lipase and other enzymes reduced the overall symptoms of indigestion including the sensation of being overly full, flatulence and bloating following a meal of high-fat food. As these are the symptoms typically connected to irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), scientists believe that the lipase enzyme may also help this condition.
4. May improve overall nutritional status for those with cystic fibrosis
This condition causes the digestive system to produce excess mucus, and creates nutritional lack due to mucus stopping the pancreatic enzymes from reaching the intestines. Many doctors report that supplementing with enzymes such as lipase can help reduce symptoms, and most importantly, help people get the nutritional components from the food they are eating.
5. Helps boost immune function
By increasing enzyme secretions, we may experience an overall boost to our immune function. One double blind, placebo-controlled human trial found that lipase enzyme supplements, when taken with meals, could help reduce symptoms of digestive upset in hospital patients. After eight weeks of use, gastrointestinal symptoms were significantly improved in the patients taking lipase. This study confirmed a clear reduction in abdominal pain, bloating, vomiting, nausea, heartburn, gas, and loss of appetite.
6. Boosts absorption of vitamins and minerals from food
Research shows that the lipase enzyme can help us avoid something known as excessive fecal fat loss (steatorrhea). This occurs when we are not breaking down fats and extracting the vital nutrients we are taking in. Absorption is impaired, leading us to crave more and more fats, and may eventually actually promote weight gain. With good lipase levels in the body, fat-soluble nutrients like essential fatty acids can be digested and used in the body. Similarly, lipase helps us better biosynthesize the vitamins A, D, E and K.
7. Aids in fat digestion and weight control
Studies confirm that the lipase enzyme can drastically increase our ability to digest fat. A study on pancreatic enzyme supplementation found that large servings of lipase helped stabilize fat digestion in up to 63% of people suffering from pancreatic diseases. Another animal study found that lipase also helped reverse some forms of pancreatic disease in dogs. Another human trial using fungal-derived lipase also showed how the use of lipase helped reduce fecal fat and bettered fat absorption in people with cystic fibrosis. A recent review of lipase therapy showed that lipase supplementation could help reduce lipid malabsorption and return fat digestion to optimal levels.
How to Read the Units of Measurement for Lipase
Lipase (FCC ALU/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 assay used to accurately determine the activity of enzymes. The current compendium is FCC VI.
Where Can I Find The Best Source of Lipase?
The product VeganZyme™ contains a 100% vegan form of lipase extracted from the fermentation of Aspergillus niger. It comes from all vegetarian, non-GMO sources, is kosher certified, gluten free, contains no animal product and is completely 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 fats (lipids), sugars, proteins, carbohydrates, gluten, fruits and vegetables, cereals, legumes, bran, nuts and seeds, soy, dairy, and all other food sources.
VeganZyme™ may also be used as a systemic enzyme blend to break down excess mucus, fibrin, various toxins, allergens, as well as excess clotting factors throughout your body.
- Dr. Edward F. Group III, DC, ND, DACBN, DCBCN, DABFM
- Laugier R, Bernard JP, Berthezene P, Dupuy P. Changes in pancreatic exocrine secretion with age: pancreatic exocrine secretion does decrease in the elderly. Digestion. 1991;50(3-4):202-11.
- Karani S, Kataria MS, Barber AE. A double-blind clinical trial with a digestive enzyme product. Br J Clin Pract. 1971 Aug;25(8):375-7.
- Carroccio A, Iacono G, Montalto G, Cavataio F, Lorello D, Greco L, Soresi M, Notarbartolo A. Pancreatic enzyme therapy in childhood celiac disease. A double-blind prospective randomized study. Dig Dis Sci. 1995 Dec;40(12):2555-60.