Lipase

Lipase is an enzyme that helps digest fats. Its exact functions vary slightly depending on where in the body it is produced.

The three different types of lipase are:

  • Pharyngeal lipase, which is produced in the mouth and is most active in the stomach.
  • Hepatic lipase, which is produced by the liver and regulates the level of fats (lipids) in the blood.
  • Pancreatic lipase, which is produced by the pancreas and released into the beginning of the small intestine (duodenum) to continue the digestion of fats.

Levels of lipase in the blood can be used to diagnose and monitor diseases of the pancreas. High levels of lipase are also common in people who have cystic fibrosis, kidney failure, or intestinal obstruction.

Last Updated: April 29, 2009

Author: Bets Davis, MFA

Medical Review: Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & Jerome B. Simon, MD, FRCPC, FACP - Gastroenterology

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