Serratia peptidase, also known as serrapeptase, is a natural enzyme produced from bacteria that is originally found in the intestines of the silkworm. Silkworms use the enzyme to break down and dissolve their cocoons. In the same way, this proteolytic enzyme works like a “pac-man” to seek out and break down or “digest” dead or damaged tissue made of protein in the body, without harming living tissues. It has been shown to reduce pain, mucous build-up, and symptoms of inflammation, including those from post-surgery swelling, arthritis, injury, sinusitis or disease. Some sources have suggested it may help remove heavy metals from the body and in turn potentially help support the immune system and hormone imbalances.
According to Naturopathic Doctor, Jonathan Beatty, serrapeptase works differently than digestive enzymes. While it will help digest proteins from the diet, it is meant to be taken between meals to be used to break down inflammatory proteins that drive inflammation in the body. He states that, “if inflammation is part of the disease, serrapeptase is functional.” He also notes that in commercial supplement products, the enzyme is produced in a way that no silk worm are actually used in the process. Here are some of its main uses:
Heart Health – Plaque formation involves deposits of fats, cholesterol, cellular waste products, calcium and fibrin (a clotting material in the blood) on the inner lining of the arteries. Plaque accumulation results in blockage of blood flow through an artery, potentially resulting in higher risk of heart problems. The cocoon that the silkworm escapes from is made from a fibre (fibrin), which is very similar to the “plaque” that builds up in the human vascular system. It has now been shown that serrapeptase dissolves protein by-products of blood coagulation called fibrin (aka: plaque buildup) in the arteries.
Pain and Inflammation – Inflammation is a natural immune response to irritation used to protect the body. However, it becomes of concern once it becomes chronic. The inflammatory response can cause pain, swelling and mucous build-up, to name a few. Serrapeptase is said to have anti-inflammatory and anti-edemic properties (preventing swelling and fluid retention). It is thought to reduce inflammation by thinning fluids formed, helping them to drain and speeding up tissue repair and recovery time. In addition to reducing inflammation, it also effectively relieves chronic pain by blocking the release of the body’s natural pain chemicals from inflamed/injured tissues. This way it halts pain pathways and restores the body’s inflammatory response to reduce swelling and improve circulation.
Sinusitis: This condition involves excess mucous production and build-up that can cause uncomfortable congestion. Serrapeptase works as a “mucolytic enzyme” and has been used to help with break down and reducing the thickness of the mucous, which is protein based, thus improving elimination and easing pressure.
Others: Due to the fact that serrapeptase has the ability to dissolve unwanted non-living tissue and help with pain relief, it has been suggested for issues such as scar tissue, cysts, clots, carpal tunnel, etc.
It should be noted that Health Canada has granted serrapeptase a Natural Product Number (or NPN—look for it on the bottle) which means it has been assessed and found it to be “safe, effective and of high quality.” Dr. Beatty explains that serrapeptase is rated by serratia units and is measured by enzyme activity or potency. He suggests that it is ideally taken on an empty stomach and in enteric form for maximum absorption.
-This column is sponsored by Good N Natural in Steinbach -