What Does a Low Lipase Level Mean?

A low lipase level indicates that the pancreas is not producing enough of the enzyme lipase, states Healthline. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, low lipase levels might be found in people with medical conditions such as cystic fibrosis, celiac disease and Crohn’s disease.

Lipase works in the digestive system to break down fats so the body can absorb the nutrients, states the University of Maryland Medical Center. Doctors test for lipase levels by analyzing a blood sample, according to Healthline. Lipase levels under 160 units per liter are considered normal, but if the value drops below 110 units per liter, another health condition affecting the pancreas might be the cause.

Cystic fibrosis is one common cause of low lipase levels, according to Healthline. The abnormally thick mucus, caused by cystic fibrosis, prevents the pancreas from secreting lipase into the intestine.

According to MedlinePlus, individuals with a genetic disorder called familial lipoprotein lipase deficiency don’t produce lipase, resulting in low test levels. This rare disorder appears in infancy and childhood and causes cholesterol to build up in the body, fatty deposits to appear under the skin and an enlarged liver. Individuals with this disorder may be able to live into adulthood by following a low-fat diet of no more than 20 grams of fat per day.