Food With Lipase

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Food With Lipase Lipase is a natural enzyme that is found in raw dairy products. It helps to break down fat molecules in food, which makes it easier for you to digest and assimilate.

Food With Lipase

Digestive enzymes play a key role in breaking down the food you eat. These proteins speed up chemical reactions that turn nutrients into substances that your digestive tract can absorb.

Your saliva has digestive enzymes in it. Some of your organs, including your pancreas, gallbladder, and liver, also release them. Cells on the surface of your intestines store them, too.

Different types of enzymes target different nutrients:

  • Amylase breaks down carbs and starches
  • Protease works on proteins
  • Lipase handles fats

Natural Sources of Digestive Enzymes

Fruits, vegetables, and other foods have natural digestive enzymes. Eating them can improve your digestion.

  • Honey, especially the raw kind, has amylase and protease.
  • Mangoes and bananas have amylase, which also helps the fruit to ripen.
  • Papaya has a type of protease called papain.
  • Avocados have the digestive enzyme lipase.
  • Sauerkraut, or fermented cabbage, picks up digestive enzymes during the fermentation process.

If your body doesn’t make enough digestive enzymes, it can’t digest food well. That can mean stomachaches, diarrhea, gas, or other painful symptoms.

Some digestive disorders prevent your body from making enough enzymes, such as:

Lactose intolerance. This is when your small intestine doesn’t make enough of the enzyme lactase, which breaks down the natural sugar in milk called lactose. With a shortage of lactase, lactose in dairy products that you eat travels straight to your colon instead of getting absorbed into your body. It then combines with bacteria and causes uncomfortable stomach symptoms.

There are three kinds of lactose intolerance:

Primary. You are born with a gene that makes you lactose intolerant. The gene is most common in people of African, Asian, or Hispanic background. Your lactase levels drop suddenly as a child. Then you’re no longer able to digest dairy as easily. This is the most common type of lactose intolerance.

Secondary. Your small intestine makes less lactase after an illness, injury, or surgery. It can also be a symptom of both celiac disease and Crohn’s disease.

Congenital or developmental. From the time you are born, your body doesn’t make lactase. This is rare. You have to inherit the gene for this from both your mother and father.

People with lactose intolerance need to move their bowels a lot and have gas and bloating after eating or drinking dairy products like milk and ice cream. Some people can manage symptoms by eating smaller amounts of dairy. Others avoid dairy completely or choose lactose-free foods and drinks.

Exocrine pancreatic insufficiency (EPI). This can happen when another condition damages the pancreas. Common causes of EPI include:

  • Pancreatitis, or inflammation of the pancreas
  • Pancreatic cancer, which starts in the tissues of your pancreas
  • Cystic fibrosis, a genetic condition that damages the lungs, digestive system, and other organs

To treat EPI, your doctor may suggest lifestyle changes, such as:

  • If you smoke, quit
  • Avoid drinking alcohol
  • Eat a low-fat diet
  • Take vitamin and mineral pills

Prescription medicine may also improve your symptoms.

Enzyme Supplements

You may have noticed digestive enzyme pills, powders, and liquids on the aisles of pharmacies or health and nutrition stores. These supplements may ease digestive disorder symptoms. Your age, weight, and other things determine the right dose. But remember, over-the-counter enzyme supplements are not regulated by the FDA the same way as prescription medicines. The makers of these products do not have to prove that they are effective.

Always talk to your doctor before trying any kind of supplement. More research is needed to study how safe they are and how well they work. But over-the-counter lactase supplements help many people with lactose intolerance, and there is a supplement that seems to help people digest the sugars that are in beans.

Experts do not recommend lactase supplements for children under age 4. Also, talk to your doctor about the pros and cons if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding.

Right now, most enzyme products are animal-based. Researchers predict that plant and bacteria-based products could be more common in the future.

Lipase Function

Like many other enzymes, lipase is produced naturally by the body, in this case, in the pancreas.  When you eat foods with fat content, the fat can’t be absorbed by the body in its original form.  Lipase has the crucial function of breaking fats down into fatty acids and glycerol.  These components are used throughout the body to provide energy.

Image result for gallbladder fatty foods

Gallbladder Support

There are some types of lipase with more specific roles.  For example, when food reaches the stomach, stomach cells create gastric lipase, specifically designed to target fat.  However, in order to break fat down into what your body uses for energy, lipase doesn’t act alone.

Bile, which is created in the liver and stored and concentrated in the gallbladder, is released through a duct and emptied into the duodenum once fat reaches the small intestine.*  Bile serves to emulsify fat molecules into much smaller molecules that lipase can act on.*

Eating fat actually stimulates the release of bile, so those with too little fat in their diets may develop gallbladder issues due to the bile becoming stagnant.  Those who have had their gallbladder removed may have difficulty digesting fats, supplementing with lipase can ensure maximum digestion and nutrient absorption.*

Getting the Most from Lipase

The primary function of lipase is to help the body process and absorb fat.  Science is now showing that there are other benefits that may come from this function.  One of the most essential is the role lipase plays in managing triglycerides. This is a form of fat that is needed for energy; maintaining levels of triglycerides in the body can promote heart health.*  Lipase helps keep triglycerides at a healthy level by breaking them down into smaller molecules, which the body then uses for energy.*

Studies have shown that some people with digestive issues may also benefit from supplemental lipase, especially if they have problems with their pancreas.  If the pancreas’ ability to produce enzymes is diminished, this may lead to digestive complaints.  Supplementing with enzymes, such as lipase, may be suggested as a way to help relieve occasional discomfort.*

Lipase Supplements

You don’t have to have problems in order to benefit from lipase supplementation.  Enzymes on the whole not only help us with a smoother digestive process, but they also support the absorption of fat-soluble nutrients.  Making sure you have the necessary lipase levels is one of the best complements you can have to a balanced diet for overall digestive health support.

In order to get the most out of your lipase supplement, it is important to get enough of it on a consistent basis.  Taking a high-potency plant-based lipase supplement is a good way to ensure that this happens.  This can help reduce discomfort associated with fatty food digestion, enable better nutrient absorption, and lower stress on the gallbladder, liver, and pancreas.

You Should Be Eating Digestive Enzymes—Here Are 9 Foods High in Them

These days, it seems like digestive drama has become the status quo—but it doesn’t have to be. Besides steering clear of foods that cause you distress and relieving discomfort with over-the-counter meds, you can also give your body a leg up in the digestion department by eating more foods that contain natural digestive enzymes.

“Digestive enzymes naturally occur in the body to help break down what we eat so that important nutrients get to all the right places for proper utilization,” says NYC-based registered dietitian Brittany Linn, RD. However, if the body doesn’t make enough of certain enzymes (say, the enzymes necessary to break down the lactose in dairy products), this can slow the digestion process and lead to GI symptoms like gas, bloating, and diarrhea.

Struggling to cook healthy? We’ll help you prep.

Fortunately, there are many foods that contain these important enzymes, the majority of which are best consumed raw to maximize the digestive benefits. “Many enzymes are very fragile and can be easily disrupted with chemical, pH, or temperature changes,” says Linn.

Below are nine foods that can help give your digestion a boost—plus, how to seamlessly add them to your diet:

1. Pineapple

Banana-Pineapple-Kale Smoothie

CREDIT: CAITLIN BENSEL

“Pineapples contain bromelain, a mixture of enzymes that help to digest protein,” says Connecticut-based registered dietitian Alyssa Lavy, RD. Since bromelain, like other digestive enzymes, are sensitive to heat, upping your raw pineapple quota is the best way to maximize your intake. Try blending pineapple into your smoothies, adding pineapple chunks to your salads, or using pineapple as a meat tenderizer.

2. Avocados

Avocado, Black Bean, and Charred Tomato Bowl

CREDIT: GREG DUPREE

If high-fat meals tend to give you trouble, consider avocados your new partner-in-crime. They contain lipase, an enzyme necessary for the metabolism and digestion of fat, says Kansas-based dietitian Cheryl Mussatto, RD, author of The Nourished Brain. Bonus: Avocados are super easy to incorporate into your diet—add to your morning smoothie, top your desk salad with avocado cubes, enjoy some guac, or bust out your favorite avocado toast recipes.

3. Bananas

Banana-Nut Muffins

CREDIT: ALISON MIKSCH

Best known as a go-to potassium source, bananas are also a source of enzymes like amylase and maltase, says Mussatto. Amylase helps to break down complex carbs, like those found in bread and cereals, while maltase helps to break down the malt sugar found in carbohydrate foods, like starchy grains and veggies. Top your cereal or oatmeal with bananas, blend one into a smoothie, or eat one straight-up the next time you’re in the mood for a snack.

4. Mangos

Tuna Poke with Mango and Avocado

CREDIT: GREG DUPREE

Like bananas, mangos also contain amylase, making it easier for your body to break down starches into smaller carb molecules and absorb them. Mussatto recommends sliced or chunked mango as a refreshing snack on its own or as a green salad topper for a healthy—and delish—splash of color.

5. Papaya

Papaya Breakfast Boats

The enzymes found in papaya are called papain, which help to break down protein, says Lavy. Heat can damage papain, so make sure to consume papaya raw for maximum digestive perks—for example, papaya wedges as a breakfast side, or cubed and added to salads and smoothies.

6. Raw Honey

Chicken Thighs with Ginger-Sesame Glaze

CREDIT: PHOTO: JENNIFER CAUSEY

Among others, honey contains digestive enzymes called diastases, invertases, and proteases. These help to break down starches, sugars, and proteins, respectively. “Eating honey in raw form allows your body to yield all of the digestive benefits,” says Linn. “If you buy processed honey, it’s often heated during treatment, which can destroy the beneficial enzymes.” Drizzle it on toast, mix it into yogurt, or use it to sweeten your oatmeal.

7. Kefir

Thai Kale-Mango Salad with Coconut Kefir Dressing

CREDIT: AARON KIRK

“Kefir is basically fermented milk with added yeast cultures, lactic acid bacteria, and acetic acid bacteria,” says Linn. It contains the digestive enzymes lipase (which breaks down fat), lactase (breaks down lactose), and proteases (protein). You can drink it straight up, add it to overnight oats, or blend it into your next smoothie bowl.

8. Sauerkraut

Savory Broccoli-and-Sauerkraut Salad

CREDIT: GREG DUPREE

Thanks to the fermentation process, sauerkraut is an excellent source of various digestive enzymes that can help your body break down proteins, fats, and starches. If going with store-bought, buy sauerkraut made with water and salt, not vinegar, says Mussatto. (This means that the sauerkraut was fermented and not pickled, leaving the digestion-friendly enzymes in tact.) Eat on its own, or as a side to any meal.

9. Ginger

Chicken Thighs with Ginger-Sesame Glaze

CREDIT: PHOTO: JENNIFER CAUSEY

Not only does ginger contain an enzyme called zingibain that helps the body digest protein, it may also help to increase digestive enzyme production in the body, says Linn. This is on top of the role it already plays in nausea relief. Enjoy ginger in tea form, add it to your next stir fry, or grate some into citrusy drinks for that extra zing.

Lipase: the Digestive Enzyme that Fights Major Diseases

Lipase - Dr. Axe

Enzymes are substances made of protein that help stimulate chemical reactions. One of these enzymes crucial to human health is called lipase. What is lipase exactly? Lipase is one of our most vital digestive enzymes released mainly by the pancreas into the small intestine to help the body process and absorb fats.

By breaking down and helping the body to absorb fat, it does so much more for the body than you would expect — it can naturally help major digestive disorders like celiac disease and serious health conditions like cystic fibrosis.

Lipase is often taken in combination with the two other vital enzymes: protease and amylase. While lipase breaks down fats, protease processes proteins and amylase takes care of carbohydrates. When all of these enzymes are at the proper level in your body, your digestion and overall health can really be optimal.

Testing can be done to figure out where your enzyme levels should be. If you suffer from digestive trouble when you consume fatty foods, then a lipase deficiency could be to blame. Keep reading to learn how lipase is utilized by your body and how it can help you or someone you love overcome some pretty serious health concerns.

What Is Lipase?

Lipase is an enzyme that splits fats so the intestines can absorb them. Lipase hydrolyzes fats like triglycerides into their component fatty acid and glycerol molecules. It is found in the blood, gastric juices, pancreatic secretions, intestinal juices and adipose tissues.

Your body uses triglycerides for energy, and you do need some triglycerides for good health. However, high triglyceride levels can raise your risk for heart disease and can also be a sign of metabolic syndrome. That’s just one of the reasons why it’s so important to have lipase doing its job! What is considered a healthy lipase level varies greatly. Some labs say up to 85 U/L is healthy while others believe up to 160 U/L is a healthy lipase level.

Lipase guide - Dr. Axe

Can anything decrease your lipase levels? Yes, research has suggested that fluorinated water may be responsible for the decreased activity of both pancreatic lipase and protease. The study, although carried out on pigs, has broad-ranging implications relative to increased free radical damage and loss of mitochondria production.

This is a good reason to think about the quality of the water you’re consuming each day because you certainly don’t want your water intake to be decreasing the activity of much needed digestive enzymes.

Health Benefits

Lipase is absolutely key to proper fat digestion, which affects so many bodily functions as well as health conditions. Most people do not need additional lipase. However, if you have any of the following health conditions. then having more of this enzyme might likely be helpful.

1. Help for IBS

Supplements containing lipase and other pancreatic enzymes can help reduce bloating, gas and fullness following a meal, especially one high in fat. These symptoms are commonly associated with digestive troubles like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Research has also shown that some patients with irritable bowel syndrome may have exocrine pancreatic insufficiency, which is the inability to properly digest food due to a lack of digestive enzymes made by the pancreas.

A 2010 study looked at the prevalence of exocrine pancreatic insufficiency in diarrhea-predominant IBS patients and found that insufficiency was detected in at least 6.1 percent of patients studied. The study points towards pancreatic enzyme therapy as a way to reduce unpleasant symptoms like diarrhea and abdominal pain for IBS sufferers that have underlying pancreatic insufficiency.

2. Cystic fibrosis

Cystic fibrosis (CF) is an inherited disorder that disrupts normal functions of epithelial cells, the cells that line the passageways of many of our most important organs — including the lungs and respiratory system, liver, kidneys, skin and reproductive system.

People with cystic fibrosis produce abnormally thick, sticky mucus and often have nutritional deficiencies because mucus blocks pancreatic enzymes from getting to the intestines. Taking pancreatic enzymes including lipase can help the body of a CF sufferer to better absorb much needed nutrition and energy from food.

3. Celiac Disease

Celiac disease is a type of autoimmune disease characterized by an inflammatory response to gluten that damages tissue within the small intestine. The small intestine is the tube-shaped organ between the stomach and large intestine, where a high percentage of nutrients are usually absorbed — however, in people with celiac disease, this process stops working right. Symptoms of celiac disease can include abdominal pain, bloating, weight loss and fatigue.

First and foremost, it’s crucial to follow a completely gluten-free diet by avoiding all products containing wheat, barley or rye.  In addition, pancreatic enzymes including lipase have been shown to help treat celiac disease. In a double-blind randomized study of children with celiac disease, the children who received pancreatic enzyme therapy (including lipase), had a modest weight gain compared to those who received placebo. The weight gain happened during the first month, and the study concludes that pancreatic enzymes seem to be especially helpful during the first 30 days after diagnosis.

This finding is helpful and significant since kids and adults with celiac disease often experience diarrhea, weight loss, abdominal pain and bloating, fatigue, or painful skin rashes. In fact, about half of all people diagnosed with celiac disease experience weight loss.

Lipase benefits - Dr. Axe

4. Lack of a Gallbladder and Gallbladder Malfunction

The gallbladder is a little pear-shaped pouch tucked behind the lobes of the liver. Its main job is to store up the cholesterol-rich bile that’s secreted by the liver and this bile along with lipase helps your body digest fatty foods. If you have gallbladder issues or don’t have a gallbladder at all, then a supplement containing lipase can be very helpful. 

Lipase is absolutely key to proper fat digestion and absorption. If you have had your gallbladder removed already then you might find that you have trouble digesting certain foods, especially fatty foods. Lipase enzymes can also be an excellent natural gallbladder remedy since it helps improve fat digestion and the use of bile.

You might think it’s good not to consume or properly digest fats, but without high-quality healthy fats in your diet, like omega-3s, your well-being will suffer because these fats are essential for good health. Lipase along with bile is what ensures these healthy fats get properly used when you have a gallbladder malfunction, or no gallbladder at all!

5. Healthy Cholesterol Levels and Cardiovascular Health

Since lipase helps the body to digest fats, a deficiency can lead to higher, unhealthy levels of cholesterol and triglycerides, which in turn can directly contribute to cardiovascular issues. People who are deficient in lipase tend to have high levels of cholesterol and fat in their blood.

When triglyceride levels near 1,000 mg/dL, individuals can develop pancreatitis (a serious inflammation of the pancreas) in addition to heart disease. High triglyceride levels are also linked with obesity, type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome.

6. Boost Nutrient Absorption

Having sufficient lipase levels helps your body to properly absorb vitamins and minerals from the foods you eat. So it’s not just important to eat the right foods, it’s also extremely important to have the right balance of enzymes to process these healthy foods! Pancreatic enzyme replacement therapy is currently the mainstay of treatment for nutrient malabsorption.

7. Weight Loss

Research has shown that lipase could be complimentary to weight loss since it breaks down fat that is in the body.  A few years ago, scientists were able to manipulate lipase and triple its power by flipping on a molecular “switch” that turns the enzyme on and off.  They actually succeeded in making lipase enzymes work three times harder, increasing fat digestion from 15 percent to 45 percent of the time.

This scientific discovery published in the Journal of the American Chemical Society could really help people struggling with obesity and serious related health problems like heart problems and diabetes. Additionally, knowing about and being able to manipulate this enzymatic “ignition switch” seems like it will work for all enzymes. If scientists are able to figure out how to turn enzymes on and off, then there could potentially be a way to help or even cure all kinds of health conditions involving enzymatic activity.

Testing

In order to find out your lipase level, you will need to have a blood test. Make sure to fast for eight hours prior to the test. Your health care provider may also ask you to stop taking medicines that may affect the test, including pain medications like codeine, morphine and indomethacin, birth control pills, thiazide diuretics, cholinergic drugs and others.

Similar to amylase testing, lipase testing is often conducted to check for diseases of the pancreas, most commonly acute pancreatitis. Lipase testing can help diagnose pancreas issues because it shows up in the blood when the pancreas is damaged. This test may also be done for familial lipoprotein lipase deficiency.

“Normal” levels can vary between laboratories. However, normal results are usually between 0 to 160 units per liter. Test results are usually available within 12 hours.

If you find out that you have elevated lipase levels, it could be due to :

  • Bowel obstruction
  • Cancer of the pancreas
  • Celiac disease
  • Duodenal ulcer
  • Infection or swelling of the pancreas

In acute pancreatitis, lipase levels are frequently very high, often 5 to 10 times higher than the upper limit of normal. Lipase concentrations typically rise within 4 to 8 hours of an acute pancreatic attack and remain elevated for up to 7 to 14 days.

Interesting Facts

  • Lipases are the second most researched group of enzymes and are the simplest to understand.
  • Most lipid digestion in adults occurs in the upper loop of the small intestine and is accomplished by a pancreatic lipase, which is the lipase secreted by the pancreas.
  • As we age, our bodies produce less protease, lipase and amylase, which means digestion of protein, fats and carbohydrates can be impaired as we get older.
  • The lipase test is more accurate than the amylase test for diagnosing pancreatitis.
  • You can have a high lipase level even if you don’t have any problems with your pancreas.

Foods and Supplements

Studies have shown there are foods that contain lipase including avocado, walnuts, pine nuts, coconuts, lupini beans, lentils, chickpeas, mung beans, oats and eggplant.  When it comes to raw nuts, seeds and beans, it’s best to soak and sprout them before consumption because they naturally contain enzyme inhibitors, which can block enzyme function.

Lipase supplements are available at your nearest health store or online. I recommend a full-spectrum enzyme blend. They can be derived from animal or plant sources. Lipase is often commonly available in supplement form along with other enzymes like protease and amylase. Vegan enzyme supplements are also readily available. In most cases, the lipase in these products are is derived from Aspergillus niger. This is a fungus-based, fermented product rather than ox or hog bile, which is the usual extract used for lipase supplements.

Dosing can vary depending on the supplement you choose. Speak with your doctor about the right dosage for your specific health concern. Standard lipase dosage for adults is 6,000 LU (Lipase Activity Units) or 1–2 capsules three times per day 30 minutes before meals on an empty stomach.

For digestion problems due to a disorder of the pancreas (pancreatic insufficiency) that is associated with cystic fibrosis, a typical dose for an adult is 4,500 units per kilogram of lipase per day. It’s best to start off with a low dose and gradually increase until there is a benefit, but do not take more than the recommended dose without checking with your healthcare provider.

You should not give enzymes to children under the age of 12 unless under a doctor’s supervision.

Side Effects and Drug Interactions

Lipase is a safe supplement for most people. Minor side effects can include nausea, cramping and diarrhea. If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, speak with your doctor before taking any enzyme supplement. If you have cystic fibrosis, high doses of lipase might make some of your symptoms worse.

If you are currently taking Orlistat or digestive enzymes, then you should not use lipase without first talking to your health care provider. Orlistat (Xenical or Alli) is a medication used to treat obesity that blocks the ability of lipase to break down fats so taking Orlistat interferes with the activity of lipase supplements.

If you are taking other digestive enzymes like papain, pepsin, betaine HCL and hydrochloric acid, they can destroy lipase enzymes. To prevent this from happening, you can look for enteric-coated lipase enzyme products, which are protected against destruction by stomach acid.

As always, talk with your health care provider before taking any enzyme supplement if you have any ongoing health concerns or are taking any other medications or supplements.

Final Thoughts

  • Lipase not only helps your body to properly break down both healthy and unhealthy fats, it also helps your body to absorb vital nutrients from the foods that you eat.
  • You can eat all of the healthy foods in the world, but having proper levels of vital enzymes like lipase will ensure those smart choices ultimately benefit your health.
  • You don’t want to have too little lipase, but you also don’t want to have too much. If you have a feeling that your levels are not where they should be, a simple blood test can give you the answer.
  • Lipase has been shown to be helpful for so many common as well as serious health concerns including but not limited to indigestion, cystic fibrosis, celiac disease and irritable bowel syndrome.
  • It can also make major positive contributions to the health of your gallbladder and heart.

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