Serrapeptase: Beneficial Anti-Inflammation Enzyme or Just Hype?
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Serrapeptase: Beneficial Anti-Inflammation Enzyme or Just Hype?

Jillian Levy via Dr. Josh Axe — Food is Medicine
Dec 6, 2018

This enzyme is used in for its anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects in various ways — including following surgery and in cardiac care, orthopedics, gynecology, dentistry and more.

According to a 2017 article published in the Asian Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences, “Serratiopeptidase is a leading enzyme which has a very long history in medical as an effective anti-inflammatory drug.” (1) Starting in the 1950s, proteolytic enzymes in the same family as serrapeptase began being used as natural painkilling agents. They were primarily prescribed to relieve pain and inflammation associated with common conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, ulcerative colitis, injuries, surgery wounds and viral pneumonia.

In the 1980s and ’90s, when Japanese and European researchers compared several enzymes for potential anti-inflammatory activity, they found that serrapeptase (also called serratiopeptidase) was the most effective at controlling the body’s inflammatory response.

A major advantage of treating pain with serrapeptase rather than over-the-counter drugs, such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), is that it causes few side effects in most people. What else is serrapeptase used for? As you’ll learn more about below, this enzyme is used for its anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects in various ways — including following surgery and in cardiac care, orthopedics, gynecology, dentistry and more.

What Is Serrapeptase?

Serrapeptase is a proteolytic enzyme in the trypsin family. Another name for serrapeptase is serratiopeptidase. Like other proteolytic enzymes, serrapeptase helps break down proteins into smaller molecules. It can promote healing by reducing fluid and debris accumulation that can occur around tissue when an injury takes place. Today, serrapeptase is mostly isolated from the non-pathogenic bacteria called Serratia E15, which is found in silkworms.

Is serratiopeptidase a painkiller? Yes, but while it can help to reduce discomfort, serrapeptase works differently than many other anti-inflammatory, pain-killing drugs. Researchers believe that enzymes like serrapeptase work to reduce inflammation by facilitating immune cell movement and regulating levels of lymphocytes at the site of inflammation. (2) It has been shown to help curb inflammation associated with:

  • arthritis
  • neurological disorders
  • heart disease
  • injuries, including wounds and sprains
  • sinusitis and bronchitis
  • fibrocystic breast disease
  • carpal tunnel syndrome
  • muscle inflammation
  • and many other conditions

Inflammation is the body’s natural response to injury, autoimmune conditions or infection. It’s also a key component of many physiological conditions that cause pain. Enzyme-based anti-inflammatory drugs are becoming preferred over conventional, chemical-based drugs that reduce pain because they generally have limited side effects. In countries including Japan and many in Europe, serrapeptase is currently considered the anti-inflammatory and pain treatment of choice.

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