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Lipase

What is it?

Lipase is a digestive enzyme that is found in many plants, animals, bacteria, and molds. An enzyme is a protein that speeds up a particular biochemical reaction in the body. People use lipase as a medicine.

Lipase is used for indigestion, heartburn, allergy to gluten in wheat products (celiac disease), Crohn's disease, and cystic fibrosis.

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:

Effective for...

  • Digestion problems due to a disorder of the pancreas (pancreatic insufficiency) that is associated with cystic fibrosis.

Insufficient evidence to rate effectiveness for...

  • Allergy to gluten in wheat products (celiac disease).
  • Crohn's disease.
  • Indigestion.
  • Heartburn.
  • 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?

Lipase seems to be safe for most people. It can cause some side effects such as nausea, cramping, and diarrhea.

Special precautions & warnings:

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Not enough is known about the use of lipase during pregnancy and breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.

Cystic fibrosis: High doses of lipase seem to make some of the symptoms of cystic fibrosis worse.

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 following doses have been studied in scientific research:

BY MOUTH:
  • For digestion problems due to a disorder of the pancreas (pancreatic insufficiency) that is associated with cystic fibrosis: A typical dose for adults is 4500 units per kilogram of lipase per day. For children, a typical dose is 5100 units per kilogram per day. Start with a low dose and gradually increase until there is a benefit, but don't take more than the typical dose without checking with your healthcare provider.

Other names

Lipasa, Triacylglycerol Lipase.

Methodology

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

References

  1. 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.
  2. Owen G, Peters TJ, Dawson S, Goodchild MC. Pancreatic enzyme supplement dosage in cystic fibrosis. Lancet 1991;338:1153.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Smyth RL, van Velzen D, Smyth AR, et al. Strictures of ascending colon in cystic fibrosis and high-strength pancreatic enzymes. Lancet 1994;343:85-6. View abstract.
  6. Smyth RL, Ashby D, O'Hea U, et al. Fibrosing colonopathy in cystic fibrosis: results of a case-control study. Lancet 1995;346:1247-51. View abstract.
  7. Croft NM, Marshall TG, Ferguson A. Gut inflammation in children with cystic fibrosis on high-dose enzyme supplements. Lancet 1995;346:1265-7. View abstract.
  8. Lloyd-Still JD. Cystic fibrosis and colonic strictures. A new "iatrogenic" disease. J Clin Gastroenterol 1995;21:2-5. View abstract.
Last reviewed - 05/27/2015