What Is Serrapeptase?
A bacteria found in the intestines of silkworms, serrapeptase has several reported health benefits. Serrapeptase is also referred to as serratiopeptidase, a proteolytic enzyme which breaks down protein into smaller pieces called amino acids. It came about in the Japanese pharmaceutical market back in 1968 and was used for reducing inflammation and pain from surgery, trauma, and other inflammatory conditions.
Currently, it’s widely used as a dietary supplement with most studies dosing the supplement at between 10 mg to 60 mg per day.
Here are 6 benefits that you may experience by adding this supplement to your day!
1. Break Down Protein in Mucus
Individuals who deal with chronic respiratory diseases may benefit from taking a serrapeptase supplement as studies have shown it may help clear mucus from airways and reduce inflammation.
Common chronic respiratory diseases include:
- chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
- and cystic fibrosis
These chronic respiratory diseases are incurable, but treatments can help widen airways and decrease mucus to improve quality of life of individuals who are diagnosed with them.
One study published in Respirology (1) researched a small group of individuals with bronchitis who were randomly assigned either 30 mg of serrapeptase or a placebo each day. Bronchitis usually consists of coughing up thickened mucus and having inflamed bronchial tubes. The results found that people who were taking serrapeptase had less mucus production and therefore able to easily clear their lungs.
2. Prevent Blood Clots and Reduce Scar Tissue
Although more studies need to be done, some lab testing has shown that serrapeptase has the ability to break down fibrin. Fibrin is a protein that is involved with blood clotting and can also create scar tissue.
When it comes to wound healing, another proteolytic enzyme called papain was studied on animals. The study published in The Pakistan Journal of Biological Sciences (2) used a cleanser containing papain to treat wound incisions on rats. The results found that the rats treated with this cleanser showed a progressive amount of wound healing when compared to typical wound reduction rates.
It’s believed this improvement in wound healing is due to better collagen deposition and increased skin organelles.
3. Serrapeptase Can Decrease Inflammation
When your body gets injured, it responds with inflammation. Serrapeptase has been used in dentistry after minor surgical procedures to reduce pain, lockjaw, and facial swelling.
The belief is that serrapeptase can decrease inflammatory cells at the affected sites. The Journal of Maxillofacial and Oral Surgery (3) compared serrapeptase to other drugs after the removal of wisdom teeth. The conclusion was that serrapeptase improved lockjaw and was more effective than other powerful drugs that tame inflammation, including ibuprofen and corticosteroids. This means serrapeptase can be a great alternative for individuals who may not be able to tolerate other drugs.
4. Decrease Pain
When an area of our body is inflamed, a common system is pain. Since serrapeptase has been studied to reduce inflammation, it has in turn been reviewed on how it may affect pain.
One study published in The Journal of International Medical Research (4) reviewed how serrapeptase affected almost 200 individuals with inflammatory ear, nose, and throat conditions. Pain severity and mucus production were greatly reduced with serrapeptase supplementation compared to placebo.
Another study published in Minerva Cadioangiolgica (5) studied 40 patients with inflammatory venous disease. The results found that serrapeptase supplementation decreased the pain associated with the disease by 64% along with decreasing nighttime cramps by 53%.
5. Prevent Infections
When bacteria join together, they form a protective barrier which allows them to multiply and result in an infection. These barriers are referred to as biofilms, and they can shield the bacteria against antibiotics. Serrapeptase is believed to stop the creation of these biofilms, which will allow antibiotics to reach the bacteria.
The Journal of Hospital Infection (6) researched the combination of antibiotics and serrapeptase when treating Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) which is one of the leading causes of healthcare-associated infections. Results of the study found that the antibiotics were more effective when paired with serrapeptase compared to the antibiotic alone when treating S. aureus.
Serrapeptase also gives a boost to treating bacteria for those who have become resistant to antibiotics.
6. Brain Cell Protection
Alzheimer’s disease is a form of dementia which causes brain cells to waste away and die. This causes a decline in thinking, memory, and proper functioning.
A 2013 study published in Human & Experimental Toxicology (7) tested serrapeptase on rats to see how it affected brain function. Serrapeptase increased levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1). These growth hormones are known to protect the brain. The same study also showed reduction in the activity of inflammatory markers which can typically be high in Alzheimer’s patients.
Alzheimer’s disease is also linked with low acetylcholine and amyloid-beta plaques. Materials Science and Engineering (8) used zebrafish to study how serrapeptase affects these amyloid plaques. Serrapeptase has been shown to be beneficial in breaking down these amyloid plaques with the possibility of it being a potential drug candidate for conditions that are affected by amyloids.
As with any supplement, it’s important to touch base with your doctor before starting it to ensure that it will not interact with any medication that you are taking. Since it can affect blood clots, serrapeptase should not be taken with blood thinners such as Warfarin and aspirin or other dietary supplements including garlic, fish oil, and turmeric. Doing so may increase your risk of bleeding or bruising. (9)
Limited research has been completed on serrapeptase, especially when it comes to human participants. More will need to be done to confirm how efficient and safe this supplement is. Overall, its benefits seem promising for many health conditions and diseases.