What Is Lipase?

By Kelly Shetsky; Updated April 24, 2017
Where is Lipase Produced?

The pancreas releases lipase into the small intestine. Lipase is a protein that causes fat to break down into fatty acids. The digestion-aiding enzyme is found in the gastric juices, blood, intestinal juices, pancreatic secretions and tissues. Many people don't have enough lipase in their bodies and may need to take a supplement.

About

The body needs lipase because it works in the intestines to absorb and digest nutrients. It targets the break down of lipids or fats, especially triglycerides, which are substances derived from fatty foods. This allows the fats to be absorbed easily in the intestines.

Production

The pancreas is the main producer of lipase but your mouth and stomach can also make some. Most people have too little pancreatic lipase in their system.

Supplements

You can take lipase in supplement form to boost your body's ability to absorb food and keep nutrients at healthy levels. The supplements come from animal enzymes usually, but may also be derived from plant sources. They are available in capsule and tablet form.

Side effects

You may experience an upset stomach or nausea if you take lipase supplements.

Warning

Lipase should not be used in conjunction with other drugs unless you've spoken with your doctor first. Orlistat or Xenical, which is used to battle obesity, will limit lipase's ability to break down fats. Digestive enzymes including pepsin, papain, hydrochloric acid and betaine HCL, will kill the lipase enzymes.

About the Author

Based in New York State, Kelly Shetsky started writing in 1999. She is a broadcast journalist-turned Director of Marketing and Public Relations and has experience researching, writing, producing and reporting. She writes for several websites, specializing in gardening, medical, health and fitness, entertainment and travel. Shetsky has a Bachelor of Arts in communications from Marist College.