Also called serratiopeptidase or silk worm enzyme, this substance is a proteolytic (protein-splitting) enzyme widely used in Japan and Europe in clinical therapy.
Experts believe that this enzyme has the ability to reduce swelling, thin the blood out (to reduce the risk of blood clots), and decrease the sensation of pain.
It is often suggested for use to treat lung conditions such as in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) because it can break down the mucus in the lungs and airways.
Testimonials from people taking this enzyme and growing sales of this product in health food stores suggest that many individuals find it beneficial for their health conditions.
It has been used predominately for osteoarthritis and other inflammatory conditions such as carpal tunnel syndrome and chronic airway disease.
The Research Status
Many of the most earlier research studies were conducted in laboratories in Japan.
Researchers are still actively looking into many of the reported health benefits of serrapeptase.
There are 17 published clinical trials and a total of 84 studies done on humans volunteers on the use of serrapeptase.
They are mostly related to dental pain and inflammation type health conditions.
Other experts suggest that the health benefits of serrapeptase even extend into the treatment of cancer. However, these uses are only based on lab studies.
Below are some of the known benefits based on published research papers.
|Swelling and Pain after Dental and Surgical Procedures|
|Ear, Nose and Throat Complaints|
|Chronic Sinus Infections (Sinusitis)|
|Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)|
|Carpal Tunnel Syndrome|
|Breast Engorgement Treatment|
|Osteoarthritis & Rheumatoid Arthritis|
|Fibroids & Fibrocystic Breast Disease|
|Fibrolytic Benefits ("Clot Busting")|
Reviews of all the recent clinical studies showed that most information comes from using this enzyme to treat dental swelling and pain after tooth extractions. Most but not all studies show that this enzyme can cut down swelling and pain.
Lab and animal studies shows that serratiopeptidase possesses anti-inflammatory effects.
Because of this anti-swelling effect, some experts suggest that it can be used to treat conditions like osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and other similar health problems.
In one clinical study, serrapeptase given at a dose of 30 mg daily for 4 weeks reduced the amount of phlegm produced, the thickness and the frequency of coughing in those suffering from chronic airway disease like COPD or emphysema.
The researchers concluded that serratiopeptidase can be helpful in allowing the person to clear mucus from the lungs and airways.
Twenty patients with CTS were enrolled in the clinical study to see if taking serrapeptase would help treat symptoms of CTS.
After 6 weeks, 65% of the subject showed significant improvement. Moreover, no significant side effects were reported by the subjects.
One clinical trial involving 193 subjects suffering from acute or chronic ear, nose or throat problems experienced benefit from taking serrapeptase. Many of their symptoms were reduced in only 3 to 4 days.
Since proteolytic enzymes are able to break down protein and tissues some people have suggested that taking this enzyme may help dissolve fibroids.
Clinical trials will need to be done to verify this benefit.
See the article Natural Remedies for Fibroids for a complete list of supplements that have traditionally been used for this common health condition.
Nattokinase is another proteolytic enzyme similar to serratiopeptidase. It is believed to have similar health benefits. As such, there is also a large amount of research studies being done on this enzyme.
For a full review on this related enzyme, see Health Benefits of Nattokinase.
This proteolytic enzyme may cause side effects such as stomach discomfort, stomach pain and nausea.
In clinical trials, the subjects who did report the side effects said that they were mild.
This enzyme seems to show blood-thinning effects (similar to Aspirin). Taking this supplement while on blood thinners such as warfarin (Coumadin), clopidogrel (Plavix) or ASA (Aspirin) may increase the chances of bleeding or bruising.
This increased risk of bleeding may also occur when this enzyme is taken with other natural remedies such as garlic, fish oil and turmeric. Talk to your family doctor first before taking this enzyme if you are taking similar medications or herbal supplements.
Typical dosage used in clinical studies is 10 mg three times daily.
See the article Recommended Serratiopeptidase Dosage for further details on the proper dose to use. You will find that the dose varies depending on its intended use.
When using a higher dose, consult a qualified health care provider to get a proper dose for your specific condition.