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What is lipase? Why do we need it?
Lipase is one of three categories of enzymes manufactured
by the pancreas. In addition to pancreatic lipase, there is
also gastric lipase (produced by the stomach), pharyngeal
lipase (produced by the salivary glands) and hepatic lipase
(produced by the liver).
Each lipase has different properties. Gastric and pharyngeal
lipases, for instance, have lower molecular weights and greater
pH stability than pancreatic lipase. Gastric lipase metabolizes
food molecules within the stomach and intestine, while pharyngeal
lipase breaks down molecules in the mouth and esophagus.
Lipases are used by the body to aid in the digestion of fats
by breaking them down into free fatty acids and monoglycerides.
They can also be used to treat digestive problems and conditions
that may cause a person to have trouble absorbing nutrients.
Some practitioners believe pancreatic enzyme supplements can
treat autoimmune disorders, inflammations and some food allergies.
How much lipase should I take?
Most people already produce plenty of pancreatic lipase.
However, to aid in the digestion of fats, some practitioners
recommend taking 1-2 capsules of 6,000 LUs (lipase units)
What are some good sources of lipase?
Lipase is manufactured by the body and does not come from
ones diet. However, people can take lipase supplements
and other pancreatic enzymes, which are available in capsule
and tablet form. Before taking any supplements, however, be
sure to consult with a certified health professional.
What can happen if I don't get enough
Some people are unable to manufacture certain types of lipase,
which can hinder the absorption of some nutrients. Damage
to the pancreas or liver can also reduce the production of
certain lipases. In these situations, lipase and other enzyme
supplements are recommended.
What can happen if I take too much?
No side effects or toxicology have been reported in patients
taking lipase supplements and other pancreatic enzyme supplements.
Other Resources :
More You Know About Minerals
More You Know About Nutrition
- Berkow R (ed.) The Merck Manual of Medical
Information. Home Edition. Whitehouse Station, NJ: Merck
Research Laboratories, 1997.
- Heck AM, Yanovski JA, Calis KA. Orlistat,
a new lipase inhibitor for the management of obesity. Pharmacotherapy
- Mahan KL, Marian A. Krause's Food Nutrition
and Diet Therapy, 8th ed. Philadelphia, PA: WB Saunders
- Murray MT. Encyclopedia of Nutritional
Supplements. Rocklin, CA: Prima Publishing, 1986.
- Shils ME, Olson JA, Shike M (eds.) Modern
Nutrition in Health and Disease, 8th ed. Philadelphia,
PA: Lea and Febiger, 1994.