For those of you who are up on your biochemistry, you may immediately recognize serrapeptase as an enzyme, since the "tase" ending gives it away. Serrapeptase (aka serrapeptidase, serratiopeptidase) is not an enzyme you'll find in your body however, because it comes from the digestive system of silkworms.
More specifically, serrapeptase is a substance that silkworms regurgitate or spit out to help them get out of their cocoon. Why are we interested in this silkworm enzyme? Because it harbors some special healing powers that can benefit humans.
Silkworms are able to break free of their cocoons because serrapeptase breaks down proteins into amino acids and peptides. While this characteristic of serrapeptase liberates silkworms, scientists have discovered that it also may be utilized to help people break free from conditions characterized by abnormal buildup of fibrous connective tissue.
Such conditions, referred to collectively as forms of fibrosis, include atherosclerosis (plaque in artery walls), fibrocystic breasts, scarring after surgery or injury, cystic fibrosis, uterine fibroid tumors, and blood clots (associated with fibrin-a fibrous protein–in the blood). Some people also value it for relief from painful conditions such as back pain, migraine, tension headache, and osteoporosis.
Serrapeptase has another promising benefit: it's an anti-inflammatory. This feature is actually a result of the enzyme's work on fibrous tissue, because once the excess material is broken down, the body doesn't have to engage its inflammation defense tactics. Therefore, the body can get rid of the debris from the enzyme's action and heal more quickly and effectively.
Health benefits of serrapeptase
Serrapeptase may be helpful against a variety of inflammatory conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis, ulcerative colitis, Crohn's disease, irritable bowel syndrome, multiple sclerosis, allergies, cancer, lupus, asthma, sinusitis, fibromyalgia, varicose veins, bronchitis, and psoriasis. However, there are few studies that demonstrate the effectiveness of serrapeptase for the majority of any of the conditions mentioned. For now, many of the positive reports are anecdotal.
What is serrapeptase good for?
According to Dr. Edward Group, DC, NP, serrapeptase works by attaching itself to a substance in our plasma that protects it from destruction by the immune system. The enzyme then can travel throughout the body to where it is needed to break down non-living tissue (e.g., scars, plaque).
This property was what made Dr. Hans Nieper, a German physician, use it to promote cardiovascular health. Nieper discovered that the enzyme could dissolve blood clots, help eliminate atherosclerotic plaque in the arteries, and reduce varicose veins.
Here's a sample of published research on the effectiveness of serrapeptase:
- In a 2015 report, serrapeptase was compared with methylprednisolone in patients who had undergone molar surgery. While methylprednisolone provided better pain relief, serrapeptase was better at fighting inflammation and swelling.
- In a double-blind study, German experts found that the enzyme reduced swelling by up to 50 percent following surgery. Patients who took serrapeptase also reported significantly less pain than did the control group.
- Among women with cystic breast disease, use of serrapeptase reduced breast pain, swelling, and induration in nearly all (85.7%) of the patients who took the enzyme in this study.
- Individuals with acute or chronic throat, ear, or nose infections experienced significant symptom relief using serrapeptase when compared with placebo in a double-blind study. The enzyme reduced mucous viscosity, which aided drainage.
- Use of serrapeptase is not without controversy, however. A review published in 2013 evaluated data gathered from 24 studies. The authors concluded that "the existing scientific evidence for serratiopeptidase is insufficient to support its use as an analgesic and health supplement," and that "data on long-term safety of this enzyme is lacking." They recommended research be conducted to help establish the safety and effectiveness of this supplement.
Sera peptides benefits
In Europe and Japan, serrapeptase has been used for decades as a nutritional supplement, while in the United States it is a newer addition to the dietary supplement shelves. The suggested doses of serrapeptase to take depend on the condition you have and the brand of supplement you choose. Dosages can range from 10,000 SPU to 250,000 SPU daily, although you are likely to see products sold with milligrams or International Units(IUs) on the label, so let me clear up the confusion.
An SPU (serratiopeptidase unit) or SU (serrapeptase unit) is basically the same thing, although you're more likely to see SPU than SU. These are a way to measure the potency or activity of the enzyme based on a certain scientific test. (If you take probiotics, you may be familiar with CFUs-colony forming units– which is how these beneficial bacteria are measured for dosing purposes.) Although you may see a supplement that says "500 mg" on the front label, the number you are really interested in is the SPU (or SU). The higher the SPU, the more enzyme activity you can expect.
Consult with your healthcare provider before using serrapeptase. Take serrapeptase on an empty stomach for best results. If you are taking any type of blood thinners (e.g., aspirin, Coumadin), it's especially important to talk to your doctor, as serrapeptase may interfere with blood clotting.
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