Pancreatic Elastase-1

Optimal Result: 200 - 1000 mcg/g.

The pancreatic elastase 1 fecal test is used to diagnose insufficiencies of the pancreas that result in diseases such as:

- Cystic fibrosis

- Chronic pancreatitis

- Pancreatic cancer

- Inflammatory Bowel Disease

- Gallstones

- Diabetes, Type 1

- Shwachman-Diamond Syndrome

In many of these conditions, there is often diarrhea, weight loss, undigested food in the stool, and pain in the abdomen. If the condition continues for a longer period of time, then low bone density may be found.

This test is an excellent biomarker for how well the pancreas is working because the enzyme pancreatic elastase I is not broken down by what happens in the intestinal tract. The Elastase I protein is found concentrated in the stool, five times higher than what is found in pancreatic juice. 

Normal Ranges for Pancreatic Elastase in ug/gram fecal matter:

Normal: >200 ug elastase/gram fecal matter

Severe pancreatic insufficiency: <100 ug elastase/gram fecal matter

Moderate pancreatic insufficiency: 100-200 ug elastase/gram fecal matter


- Lam KW, Leeds J. How to manage: patient with a low faecal elastase. Frontline Gastroenterol. 2019 Nov 15;12(1):67-73. doi: 10.1136/flgastro-2018-101171. PMID: 33489070; PMCID: PMC7802491. [L]

What does it mean if your Pancreatic Elastase-1 result is too low?

The lower the level of Pancreatic Elastase I is in the stool, the worse the pancreatic insufficiency is. 

Doctors find that the following conditions are associated with low levels of pancreatic elastase I:

- Cystic fibrosis

- Chronic pancreatitis

- Pancreatic cancer

- Inflammatory Bowel Disease

- Gallstones

- Diabetes, Type 1

- Shwachman-Diamond Syndrome


If used routinely in gastrointestinal practice, an abnormal result will frequently occur but this cannot be assumed to mean that the person has PEI. This finding should prompt the clinician to arrange further investigations to identify whether there is evidence of primary PEI, secondary PEI or whether there is another reason why the Fel-1 level is low.

A low Pancreatic Elastase 1 may indicate that the cause of symptoms may be due to a pancreatic cause and should prompt further investigations to identify this rather than only treat with PERT.

Making a diagnosis of PEI requires more than a single abnormal Fel-1 level and includes assessment of the patients’ symptoms, nutritional status, risk factors for pancreatic disease, endocrine function and structural imaging. Early diagnosis is important as treatment with PERT alleviates symptoms, improves quality of life and helps prevent long-term complications related to fat malabsorption.


How to increase Pancreatic Elastase?

If you are diagnosed with chronic pancreatitis, there are treatments that can help manage your condition. Treatment usually includes dietary changes, medicines to manage pain, and/or pancreatic enzyme supplements you can take with each meal. Your provider may also recommend that you give up drinking alcohol and smoking.

Pancreatic Exocrine Insufficiency Management

It is important to treat the underlying cause of PEI, and these treatments will vary depending on the cause. However, there are options available that make it easier for the body to break down and absorb nutrients, which can help reduce the steatorrhea and nutritional deficiencies that PEI causes.

Lifestyle Changes

Eat multiple, small meals spaced throughout the day, rather than one or two large meals. It is easier for your small intestine to absorb nutrients when there isn’t as much food to digest at once. Fatty foods can worsen steatorrhea, but it is still important to consume enough fat for necessary bodily functions and because fats are required to absorb certain vitamins. Just ensure that it is primarily from either plant sources – such as nuts, seeds, or olives – or from fatty fish, rather than from processed foods or red meat. And while fibre is good for gut health, for many individuals with PEI it is better to keep fibre intake low, as this can make digestion easier. Underweight individuals will need to focus on high-calorie foods, to get enough energy for optimal health. If you have PEI, it is a good idea to consult with a registered dietitian, who can work with you to establish a meal plan tailored to your lifestyle, that maximizes the nutritional quality of what you eat, and reverses any nutritional deficiencies.

Blood tests allow your physician to analyze levels of different micronutrients in your blood and then recommend supplements to help bring these levels back to normal.

Avoid drinking alcohol and smoking cigarettes, as these products can be damaging to the pancreas, especially in those who have PEI from chronic pancreatitis or pancreatic cancer.

Enzyme Therapy

The most effective treatment for PEI is pancreatic enzyme replacement therapy (PERT), which involves taking a medication called pancrelipase to provide the body with enzymes that break down fats and proteins. Those with PEI must take PERT with each meal or snack that contains fat and/or protein. When you consume PERT with food, it duplicates the normal digestive process because the enzymes mix with the food and help you absorb more nutrition from the food and supplements that you consume.

You will need to work with your healthcare team to establish dosage for PERT. The amount of enzymes needed varies from person-to-person and meal-to-meal, with large, fatty meals requiring more enzymes than small, low-fat meals. PERT is a safe treatment, without any known serious side effects.

Pancreatic Exocrine Insufficiency Outlook

With pancreatic enzyme replacement therapy and some changes to dietary adjustments, you can manage symptoms of pancreatic exocrine insufficiency. However, it is most important to work with your healthcare team to treat the underlying cause of PEI.

What does it mean if your Pancreatic Elastase-1 result is too high?

There are no problems recorded in medical literature for high levels of Pancreatic Elastase I. 

10 000+ happy customers
100% satisfaction
★ ★ ★ ★ ★ customer support

Understand blood, stool, and urine medical results from all your laboratories.

Upload Your Personal Results

Upload Personal Results

For professional account plans go here

for professional account plans go here

Monthly plan

Annual plan

Own it for life

  • Subscription
  • Data entry service included

    Data entry service

    Our exclusive data entry service is a convenient way to get your results into your private dashboard. Simply attach an image or a file of your lab test results, and one of our qualified data entry team members will add the results for you. We support all sorts of files, whether PDFs, JPGs, or Excel. This service is excellent whether you have a lot of reports to upload or are too busy to do the data entry yourself.

  • Instant interpretation
  • Use free data entry form

    Free data entry form

    We strive to make the data entry process easy for you. Whether by offering dozens of templates to choose from that pre-populate the most popular laboratory panels or by giving you instant feedback on the entered values. Our data entry forms are an easy, fast, and convenient way to enter the reports yourself. There is no limit on how many lab reports you can upload.

  • 4000+ biomarkers explained
  • Nutrition recommendations
  • Cancel anytime


$15 /month

billed every month

  • monthly
  • $15 per report
  • ✓ Instant interpretations
  • ✓ 4000+ biomarkers explained
  • ✓ Nutrition recommendations
  • ✓ Free data entry form
  • ✓ Unlimited data
  • ✓ $15 data entry service
  • ✓ Cancel anytime

Most popular

Data entry included


$79 /year

$6.60/month billed annually

  • yearly
  • 5 reports free
  • ✓ Instant interpretations
  • ✓ 4000+ biomarkers explained
  • ✓ Nutrition recommendations
  • ✓ We enter 5 reports for you
  • ✓ Yearly subscription
  • ✓ Cancel anytime

Data entry included


$250 /once

own it for life

  • pay once
  • 10 reports free
  • ✓ Instant interpretations
  • ✓ 4000+ biomarkers explained
  • ✓ Nutrition recommendations
  • ✓ We enter 10 reports for you
  • ✓ No subscription
  • ✓ Dedicated support
  • ✓ Unlimited access

Are You a Health Professional?

Get started with our professional plan

Welcome to Healthmatters Pro.

Save time on interpreting lab results with the largest database of biomarkers online. In-depth research on any test at your fingertips, all stored and tracked in one place. Learn more

Pro Monthly Plus

for health professionals

  • ✓ Track multiple clients results
  • ✓ No setup fees
  • ✓ No hidden costs
  • ✓ Instant interpretations
  • ✓ 4000+ biomarkers explained
  • ✓ Includes data entry service
  • ✓ Personal training and support
  • ✓ Cancel anytime

$75 per month

Use promo code to save 10% off any plan.

We implement proven measures to keep your data safe.

At HealthMatters, we're committed to maintaining the security and confidentiality of your personal information. We've put industry-leading security standards in place to help protect against the loss, misuse, or alteration of the information under our control. We use procedural, physical, and electronic security methods designed to prevent unauthorized people from getting access to this information. Our internal code of conduct adds additional privacy protection. All data is backed up multiple times a day and encrypted using SSL certificates. See our Privacy Policy for more details.