Lipase is an enzyme concerned with the digestion of fats. It is a water-soluble enzyme that plays a crucial role in digestion, and the processing and transportation of lipids in the human body. There are several types of lipases, of which pancreatic lipase is the most common lipase found in the human digestive tract.
Lipases are also produced by the stomach and the liver, and they are known as gastric lipase and hepatic lipase respectively. Apart from these, some related enzymes can be found in the human body, such as lipoprotein lipase and endothelial lipase. A deficiency of lipase in the digestive tract can adversely affect the digestion of fats or lipids. People with some underlying health conditions, such as Crohn's disease, celiac disease, and cystic fibrosis are more likely to suffer from a deficiency of this enzyme.
Insufficient Lipase in the Body
Lipase is the enzyme responsible for breaking down fats into glycerol and fatty acids. Therefore, a deficiency of this enzyme can adversely affect the digestion of fats. This can increase the levels of cholesterol and triglycerides in the body. A high level of cholesterol and triglyceride can raise the risk of heart disease and cardiovascular diseases.
A deficiency of this enzyme can also cause glycosuria, a condition characterized by the presence of excess sugar in the urine, even when the blood sugar level is normal. On the other hand, conditions like pancreatitis can cause elevated lipase levels in the body. A deficiency of this enzyme may contribute towards the development of diabetes as well.
This enzyme is not only required for digesting fats, but for metabolizing fat-soluble vitamins as well. So, the insufficient production of this enzyme may cause a deficiency of fat-soluble vitamins, like vitamin A, D, and E. Apart from these, it has been observed that individuals with lipase deficiency can have decreased cell permeability. Decreased cell permeability refers to the condition, where nutrients cannot enter the cells easily, and waste materials cannot leave the cells promptly. Moreover, lipase deficient individuals can find it difficult to lose weight. They are more likely to develop varicose vein problems.
Lipase Deficiency Symptoms
The most common symptoms associated with this condition are, muscle spasms, acne, arthritis, formation of gallstones, bladder problems, and cystitis. This condition can raise the level of cholesterol and urine sugar. It can also cause heart problems, prostate problems, hay fever, spastic colon, psoriasis, constipation, diarrhea, varicose veins, and the development of lipoma under the skin.
This condition can be managed with the help of supplements. Individuals with extremely low levels of pancreatic lipase can benefit from the enzyme supplements. Improper or inadequate digestion of fats can lead to several health problems. Lipase plays a very important role in this regard by breaking down fats into fatty acids and glycerol. For this, emulsification of fats is essential, as this enzyme can work on emulsified fats. The emulsification of fats is done by bile secreted by the liver.
Both bile and lipase work together to break down fats, so that the end product can be transported through blood and lymph, in which fats are otherwise not soluble. But, a deficiency of this enzyme can impair the process of fat metabolism. Lipase supplements are usually made from animal enzymes, though plant enzymes are also being used for this purpose. These supplements are usually taken with some other pancreatic enzymes, like protease and amylase.
Disclaimer: This article is for informative purposes only, and should not be treated as a substitute for professional medical advice.