An Introduction to Enzymes
Enzymes are an integral part of most metabolic processes, which are directly or indirectly essential to maintaining the body’s health and functioning. More concretely, enzymes control physiological functions such as digestion, metabolism, immunity, reproduction, respiration, and many others. While most people are familiar with digestive enzymes, majority of the enzymes found in the body are proteolytic enzymes that regulate protein function at a cellular level. Because of their unique structure and function, proteolytic enzymes (those that break down protein) are extensively used in clinical settings for the treatment and management of various diseases and disorders.
Serrapeptase is one such proteolytic enzyme. It was initially discovered in bacteria in silkworm larvae which enabled the silkworm to dissolve its silken cocoon and emerge as a moth after metamorphosis. Supplements today are derived from a controlled fermentation of a strain of healthy bacteria called Serratia marcescens sp. E-15 (not from silkworms).
Serrapeptase Clinical Uses
Serrapeptase has been shown to have a wide variety of potential applications thanks to numerous in vitro and in vivo studies and thanks to many observations that were made. Indeed, serrapeptase has scientifically demonstrated anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, analgesic, and antifibrinolytic (breaks down fibrin) properties. Below are some of the most well-known clinical uses for serrapeptase.
- A safer alternative to prescription and over-the-counter pain relievers (NSAIDS) without the harsh side-effects.
- Serrapeptase does NOT inhibit the inflammatory response (has no inhibitory effects on pro-inflammatory prostaglandins). Therefore, unlike conventional NSAIDs, does NOT prevent the normal healing process.
- Unlike NSAIDs, serrapeptase is devoid of gastrointestinal side effects.
- Relieves edema in tissues, especially post-surgery.
- Relieves pain and inflammation associated with conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, ulcerative colitis, injuries, wounds, and viral pneumonia.
. Helps break down fibrin(a complex polymer that forms clots and scabs):
- Accelerates and Improves wound healing.
- Helps prevent the buildup of scar tissue, thickening of the blood, fibromyalgia, fibrous breasts, and uterine fibroids.
- Dissolves fibrin and other dead or damaged tissue without harming living tissue.
- It may support neurological disorders by decreasing brain-derived neurotrophic factor and insulin-like growth factor-1.
- Some studies have shown serrapeptase can have a positive effect on brain tissueand neuron degeneration.
- Promotes healthy respiratory and sinus function.
- Increases the clearance of mucus and reduces inflammation in chronic respiratory diseases (CRD).
- Treatment of chronic upper respiratory concerns, including bronchitis, sinusitis, laryngitis, pharyngitis (sore throat), and others.
The potency of enzymes is not measured the same way as other nutritional supplements. Indeed, enzymes are not measured in mg, as their weight is not representative of potency. The true potency of an enzyme is its “activity”. “Activity units” identify how active an enzyme is. When it comes to serrapeptase supplements, they come in a range of potencies, the most common being 30,000, 60,000, 90,000, and 120,000 Serratiopeptidase Units (SU), with 10 mg equalling 20,000 SU.
The right dose of serrapeptase depends on the condition being treated, as well as a person’s medical history, body weight, age, etc. Most studies have safely used doses between 10 to 60 mg daily, or 20,000 SU to 120,000 SU; whereas more complex, chronic conditions may require far higher doses, as prescribed by your health care provider.
Getting the Most out of your Serrapeptase
Serrapeptase should be taken on an empty stomach or at least 30 mins before or two hours after finishing a meal. In addition, because serrapeptase is easily destroyed and deactivated by stomach acid before it has a chance to reach the gut to be absorbed, it’s crucial to select a serrapeptase supplement from a reputable brand that is enteric-coated to maximize efficacy, allowing the enzymes to survive the acidic conditions of the stomach and allowing for greater absorption.
Serrapeptase is generally well-tolerated; however, there have been a few reported cases of allergic reactions. If you experience difficulty breathing or skin rashes, discontinue use immediately and consult your health care provider. Other occasional side effects that have been reported include skin reactions, muscle, and joint pain, poor appetite, nausea, stomach ache, and coughing.
Serrapeptase should not be used by those who suffer from or have recently suffered from pneumonia. In addition, because Serrapeptase is a blood-thinning agent, it’s wise to consult your health care provider before use if you’re already taking anticoagulant medications such as Warfarin and aspirin, or other dietary supplements like garlic, fish oil, and turmeric, as the combination may increase your risk of bleeding or bruising.
Disclaimer: The information in this article is intended for educational and informational purposes only and should not be considered as a substitute for medical advice. Please consult your practitioner prior to taking herbs or nutritional supplements.