What is Lipase

What is Lipase

Lipase is a subclass of the enzyme esterase, that catalyzes the breakdown of fats to fatty acids and glycerol. The enzyme is water-soluble in nature and its hydrolysis is carried out at the ester bond. The substrates required for its action are lipids. The enzyme also plays a key role in the digestion and transportation of dietary lipids. The Human Pancreatic Lipase (HPL) acts at a specific position in the glycerol backbone of a lipid and transforms triglycerides to monoglycerides and free fatty acids. Apart from HPL, there are other types that play a crucial role in various metabolic activities. These include:Normal Range.

The Normal Range for this Enzyme is Between 7 and 60 U/L

Changes in its level could give rise to specific health problems. The factors responsible for elevated levels are inflammation of the pancreas or obstruction of the pancreatic duct. Kidney failure, gallbladder infection, and intestinal tumors are also responsible for its increased level in body.

Drugs Like Indomethacin, Morphine, and Codeine May Also Raise Its Level in the Body

Loss of appetite, sweating, weakness, throwing up, queasiness, chest pain, etc., are some of the symptoms of high levels of this enzyme in the body. People affected by high levels are usually prescribed with a diet that is low in fats, carbohydrates, and cholesterol.

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The deficiency of this enzyme directly affects the digestive system, hampering the digestion of fats. This results in elevation of cholesterol in the body. Build-up of triglycerides inside the body gives rise to issues associated with the cardiovascular system. Cholesterol deposition in the arteries can also increase the chances of a heart attack. People with the deficiency of this enzyme have a tendency to develop diabetes too. It also increases the sugar level in urine, a condition which is clinically called glycosuria. The enzyme is also needed for the metabolism of fat-soluble vitamins to prevent deficiency of vitamin A, vitamin D, and vitamin E. Decreased cell permeability and varicose vein problems are the indirect effects of its deficiency.

  • People affected by celiac disease, cystic fibrosis, and Crohn's disease could also develop the shortage of this enzyme.
  • The initial signs of its deficiency are weight gain and problems associated with the pancreas.
  • Due to the increase in fat levels, it causes the outburst of acne and pimples.
  • The weakening of the digestive system could also give rise to other disorders like gallstones, gallbladder stress, and cystitis.
  • An individual deficient in lipase can also develop prostate problem, hay fever, diarrhea, psorosis, or skin lipoma.
  • Muscle spasms, arthritis, and spastic colon are other symptoms of its deficiency.


The enzyme is manufactured in the mouth and pancreas, and is not found in food. However, the enzyme can be obtained from animal and plant enzymes. Initially, supplements were made from animal sources. However, the supplements with enteric coatings can give rise to side effects such as damage of the intestinal tract wall and malabsorption syndrome. Therefore, the supplements today are made from plant products such as sap of certain fruits, leaves, and twigs of plants. Papaya is extensively used for making supplements of this enzyme. These supplements are available either in the form of pills or powder. The dosage is figured out by physicians and it is effective in curing any health-related conditions caused due to its deficiency.

It's always advisable to balance your diet with the ideal ratio of fats, carbohydrates, and proteins in order to maintain a good gastrointestinal health. Likewise, it is suggested to consult your healthcare professional before taking any supplements of this enzyme to avoid any side effects.