URL of this page: https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/natural/203.html


What is it?

Lipase is a compound involved in the break down of fats during digestion. It is found in many plants, animals, bacteria, and molds. Some people use lipase as a medicine.

Lipase is most commonly used for indigestion (dyspepsia), heartburn, and other gastrointestinal problems, but there is no good scientific evidence to support these uses.

Do not confuse lipase with pancreatic enzyme products. Pancreatic enzyme products contain multiple ingredients, including lipase. Some of these products are approved by the US FDA for digestion problems due to a disorder of the pancreas (pancreatic insufficiency).

How effective is it?

Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate.

The effectiveness ratings for LIPASE are as follows:

Insufficient evidence to rate effectiveness for...

  • Indigestion (dyspepsia). Some early evidence shows that taking lipase does not reduce stomach discomfort in people who have indigestion after eating a meal high in fat.
  • Growth and development in premature infants. Human breast milk contains lipase. But donated breast milk and infant formula do not contain lipase. Early research shows that adding lipase to these products does not help most premature infants grow faster. It might help to increase growth in the smallest infants. But side effects such as gas, colic, stomach pain, and bleeding might also be increased.
  • Celiac disease.
  • Crohn disease.
  • Heartburn.
  • Cystic fibrosis.
  • Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of lipase for these uses.

How does it work?

Lipase seems to work by breaking down fat into smaller pieces, making digestion easier.

Are there safety concerns?

When taken by mouth: There isn't enough reliable information to know if lipase is safe or what the side effects might be.

Special precautions & warnings:

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: There isn't enough reliable information to know if lipase is safe to use when pregnant or breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.

Children: A specific form of lipase, called bile salt-stimulated lipase, is POSSIBLY UNSAFE in premature infants when added to formula. It might increase side effects in the gut. There isn't enough reliable information to know if other forms of lipase are safe in infants or children or what the side effects might be.

Are there interactions with medications?

It is not known if this product interacts with any medicines.

Before taking this product, talk with your health professional if you take any medications.

Are there interactions with herbs and supplements?

There are no known interactions with herbs and supplements.

Are there interactions with foods?

There are no known interactions with foods.

What dose is used?

The appropriate dose of lipase depends on several factors such as the user's age, health, and several other conditions. At this time there is not enough scientific information to determine an appropriate range of doses for lipase. Keep in mind that natural products are not always necessarily safe and dosages can be important. Be sure to follow relevant directions on product labels and consult your pharmacist or physician or other healthcare professional before using.

Other names

Bile Salt-Dependent Lipase, Bile Salt-Stimulated Lipase, Carboxyl Ester Lipase, Lipasa, Recombinant Bile Salt-Dependent Lipase, Triacylglycerol Lipase, Triglyceride Lipase.


To learn more about how this article was written, please see the Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database methodology.


  1. Casper C, Hascoet JM, Ertl T, et al. Recombinant bile salt-stimulated lipase in preterm infant feeding: A randomized phase 3 study. PLoS One. 2016;11:e0156071. View abstract.
  2. Levine ME, Koch SY, Koch KL. Lipase supplementation before a high-fat meal reduces perceptions of fullness in healthy subjects. Gut Liver. 2015;9:464-9. View abstract.
  3. Stern RC, Eisenberg JD, Wagener JS, et al. A comparison of the efficacy and tolerance of pancrelipase and placebo in the treatment of steatorrhea in cystic fibrosis patients with clinical exocrine pancreatic insufficiency. Am J Gastroenterol 2000;95:1932-8. View abstract.
  4. Owen G, Peters TJ, Dawson S, Goodchild MC. Pancreatic enzyme supplement dosage in cystic fibrosis. Lancet 1991;338:1153.
  5. Thomson M, Clague A, Cleghorn GJ, Shepherd RW. Comparative in vitro and in vivo studies of enteric-coated pancrelipase preparations for pancreatic insufficiency. J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr 1993;17:407-13. View abstract.
  6. Tursi JM, Phair PG, Barnes GL. Plant sources of acid stable lipases: potential therapy for cystic fibrosis. J Paediatr Child Health 1994;30:539-43. View abstract.
Last reviewed - 06/10/2020