Lingual lipase is an enzyme of digestive tract, which acts as a catalyst to breakdown saturated fatty acids and makes easy their digestion in the body.
Lipase is a water soluble enzyme that primarily breaks down fats and converts them to free fatty acids, monoglycerides and diglycerides. They play an important role in food digestion. You may be aware of the commonest lipase enzyme called pancreatic lipase used for the breakdown of fats we eat in the food.
Lipases also help in fermentation process; cheese and yogurt are examples of bacterial and fungal lipase activity.
Types Of Lipase Enzyme
Lipases are of two categories preduodenal and pancreatic lipase. Lingual lipase is preduodenal lipase, the other being gastric lipase.
Lingual lipase is secreted in the buccal cavity by the Ebner’s gland situated on the tongue. It is therefore called lingual lipase.
Function Of Lingual Lipase
Let us know what function lingual lipase does in our body:
- It breaks down short chain saturated fatty acid, for this it uses Aspartic acid, Histidine and Serine as catalysts.
- The most important function of lingual lipase in mouth of an infant is to digest milk fat. The lipase can breakdown the fats in the mother’s milk and makes digestion in newborn easy. Lingual lipase is present since 34th week of gestation in the baby.
- When the secretion of bile salts becomes less or if the secretion is absent, lingual lipase takes over the bile salt function temporarily.
- Function of lingual lipase during pancreatic insufficiency is very useful. Lingual lipase remains active even in low pH.
When there is absence of pancreatic lipase due to pancreatic disease, lingual lipase replaces it and fulfills its function of fat digestion.