Serrapeptase, also known as serratiopeptidase, is a powerful systemic enzyme that promotes a healthy respiratory system, lungs, joints, muscles, sinuses and tissues. It has been used effectively and safely for more than 50 years all over the world. Studies show it is a quality natural alternative, supporting the body’s natural response to inflammation.
Serrapeptase is a proteolytic enzyme with a wide variety of uses as a dietary supplement. Proteolytic enzymes are used by the body to break down proteins into amino acids. Serrapeptase also is shown to support the breakdown of non-living tissue in the body.
Enzymes and Our Bodies
Before we delve deeper into serrapeptase, let’s take a step back and learn more about enzymes. Enzymes are ubiquitous in nature and within our bodies. More than 3,000 enzymes work as biocatalysts in the human body speeding up nearly every biochemical reaction.
Enzymes support our digestion, as well as nearly all other systems and organs in the body, including respiratory, circulatory, immune, joint, tissue, muscle and cardiovascular support.
Due to stress, aging or lifestyle choices, our body sometimes doesn’t produce enough enzymes to support digestion and other processes, creating the need to take a dietary enzyme supplement to replenish the body with adequate enzyme support. Restoring the body’s natural enzyme balance helps support it in fighting disease and improving your health, which is why systemic enzyme therapy is useful for a wide range of conditions.
Digestive vs Systemic Enzymes
Digestive enzymes break down food in the stomach. The most common example is of the lactase enzyme, which breaks down the milk sugar lactose. If your body doesn’t produce enough lactase (or other digestive enzymes) on its own, a supplement can complement what your body naturally provides.
Systemic enzymes on the other hand are absorbed through the GI tract into the bloodstream, where they move systemically and support the body’s natural response to inflammation. Systemic enzymes have been shown to have strong fibrinolytic activity, or support the digestion of fibrin.
Some enzymes can function as both digestive and systemic enzymes, working differently if they are taken with food (digestive) than if taken on an empty stomach (systemic).
The Research on Serrapeptase
Serrapeptase is derived from the serratia species of bacteria, found in the intestines of silkworms, but is now grown in cultures via fermentation – and is vegetarian. Widely used in Europe and Asia in clinical settings, more than three dozen studies from international journals appear in PubMed about serrapeptase.
The studies show serrapeptase offers support for respiratory, circulatory, sinus, joint and muscle health:
Ear, Nose and Throat: One study evaluated the effectiveness of serrapeptase enzymes in patients suffering from acute or chronic conditions of the ear, nose or throat. This controlled study, which evaluated 193 individuals, found that after three to four days of treatment, patients treated using serrapeptase saw a significant reduction in their symptoms. In comparison to other statistical findings, serrapeptase was confirmed to be effective against symptoms of ear, nose and throat conditions. It was determined that serrapeptase enzymes have anti-inflammatory, anti-endemic and fibrinolytic properties that quickly address localized inflammation in patients.5
Sputum and Viscosity: Another study in Japan researched the effects of serrapeptase on sputum and symptoms associated with chronic respiratory conditions. After 4 weeks of serrapeptase treatment in patients with these conditions, the findings concluded that the amount of sputum output decreased and that viscosity and sputum neutrophil (white blood cells) count was significantly reduced. Also less frequent was the persistent need to cough and expectorate. The study determined that serrapeptase enzymes may exhibit properties which are beneficial to the clearance of mucus and phlegm in patients with respiratory diseases by reducing the amount of white blood cells present and modifying the viscosity of sputum.6
Fibrin: Studies have also found that serrapeptase is effective in removing excess fibrin from the body. Fibrin, which helps to heal the body when tissue is injured, can be bad in excess, trapping red blood cells, preventing oxygen from getting to the tissues and causing blood clots. Serrapeptase enzymes have been found to reduce this threat. In addition, serrapeptase helps to remove waste and toxins from the blood so that it can be filtered through the liver and eliminated from the body.7
Rheumatic: Evidence has also shown that there are statistical similarities between the effectiveness of enzyme treatment and conventional drug therapy in effectually reducing symptoms of pain in patients who suffer from rheumatic conditions.1
Carpal Tunnel: A study conducted in India assessed the effectiveness of serrapeptase in patients suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS). Of the 20 patients with CTS, 65 percent of them showed dramatic improvement after six weeks of serrapeptase therapy. Doctors evaluated the improvement in electrophysiological parameters (measurements of nerve activity) and concluded that serrapeptase treatment may be an effective alternative to more invasive treatment procedures.2
Veins: In another study, serrapeptase and seaprose-s (a protease) were evaluated on their effectiveness to combat venous inflammatory conditions. Serrapeptase was found to be effective in 65 percent of patients while seaprose-s demonstrated effectiveness in 85 percent of patients. Patients treated using serrapeptase enzymes saw a 63 percent reduction in spontaneous pain and 57 percent reduction in pain when pressure was applied. Although seaprose-s produced better overall results for patients, it was concluded that both enzymes served as effective treatments for those suffering from inflammatory conditions of the veins.3 However, seaprose-s has since been removed from the market.
Joints: Serrapeptase has also been studied for its effectiveness on the treatment of post-operative swelling and pain. The study found that patients treated using serrapeptase therapy saw a 50 percent reduction in swelling and pain by the third day following the operation. Patients who received either treatment with ice or no treatment at all saw no relief from swelling. Based on these results, the study concluded that serrapeptase therapy proved to be more effective than ice compresses.4
How to Select the Best Serrapeptase Supplement
Activity Level: The effectiveness of enzymes is based on activity (SU), not quantity (milligrams) like pharmaceutical drugs or vitamins. The higher the activity, the more potent the enzyme supplement.
When looking for the best serrapeptase supplement, look for the highest activity per capsule. Many companies attempt to mislead consumers by claiming an activity on the bottle that is contained in multiple capsules.
AST Enzymes Serrapeptase is the most powerful on the market, with 130,000 SU of activity per capsule.
Direct from the Manufacturer: In the United States, companies can claim they are manufacturers if they bottle a product, even if the ingredients are from someone else. The AST Enzymes family of companies are the largest manufacturers of serrapeptase in the world, producing more than 80% of the serrapeptase available globally. Buying direct from the manufacturer gives you the assurance of quality, as well as the highest potency at the most competitive prices.
Dosage varies by individual. For maintenance, take 1 to 2 capsules once or twice a day. More capsules can be taken as needed.
Systemic enzymes have few known minor side effects, and no major ones to date. It makes them ideal for those who have complications from taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), which can cause gastric bleeding, joint damage, disrupted metabolism, increased blood sugar, loss of bone mass and other issues. Systemic enzymes are derived from natural sources, well-tolerated, safe and effective.
- Klein G, Kullich W. Reducing pain by oral enzyme therapy in rheumatic diseases. Wien Med Wochenschr. 1999; 149(21-22):577-80.
- Panagariya A, Sharma AK. A preliminary trial of serratiopeptidase in patients with carpal tunnel syndrome. J Assoc Physicians India. 2000; 48(11):1130.
- Bracale G, Selvetella L. Clinical study of the efficacy of and tolerance to seaprose S in inflammatory venous disease. Controlled study versus serratio-peptidase[Article in Italian] Minerva Cardioangiol. 1996; 44(10):515-24.
- Esch PM, Gerngross H, Fabian A. Reduction of postoperative swelling. Objective measurement of swelling of the upper ankle joint in treatment with serrapeptase– a prospective study (German). Fortschr Med. 1989; 107(4):67-8, 71-2.
- Mazzone A, Catalani M, Costanzo M, et al. Evaluation of Serratia peptidase in acute or chronic inflammation of otorhinolaryngology pathology: a multicentre, double-blind, randomized trial versus placebo. J Int Med Res. 1990; 18(5):379-88.
- Nakamura S, Hashimoto Y, Mikami M, et al. Effect of the proteolytic enzyme serrapeptase in patients with chronic airway disease. Respirology. 2003; 8(3):316-20.
- Prevent Heart Attack and Stroke with Potent Enzyme that Dissolves Deadly Blood Clots in Hours. Health Sciences Institute, 2002.