What is Serrapeptase?
Silkworms produce a chemical known as serrapeptase (x). This chemical has been used as a drug for various ailments in numerous parts of the world, especially Japan and Europe (x). As a result, many nutritionists and food experts presently classify serrapeptase as a dietary supplement.
Serrapeptase is used to treat or minimize the symptoms of a wide range of medical conditions, including back pain, fibromyalgia, migraines and carpal tunnel syndrome. Some people use the chemical compound to treat heart conditions, including atherosclerosis or hardening of the arteries (x).
Some women use serrapeptase to minimize the symptoms associated with non-cancerous lumpy breasts and breast engorgement (x). It is also used to mitigate the symptoms of diabetes, asthma, emphysema or accumulation of pus in body tissues. Serrapeptase works by breaking down various proteins in the body, which may decrease inflammation, pain and accumulation of mucus.
Benefits of Serrapeptase
Cellular debris or dead cells can overstimulate the immune system and cause inflammation. Serrapeptase plays an essential role in breaking down the cellular debris and helps to drain fluids and other substances from the inflamed site. In addition, it causes toxins that may render inflammation as inactive (x).
During an injury, the body produces high amounts of cyclooxygenase, an enzyme that contributes to inflammation after injury or infection (x). Therefore, serrapeptase can minimize swelling caused by a wide range of health conditions, including trauma, arthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome and lung inflammation. The chemical compound decreases inflammation caused by injuries, surgery and other health conditions.
Serrapeptase may provide pain relief for postoperative patients. It can significantly reduce pain associated with inflammatory venous disease, cramps and injuries (x). The pain relief compound is highly effective in reducing pain in localized areas of the body, including the nose, ears and throat.
Minimizes Mucus Secretion
Serrapeptase helps to reduce the density of bodily secretions, including mucus. Therefore, it speeds up tissue repair by supporting the removal of excretions. It can improve mucus clearance and decrease phlegm, saliva and cough frequency (x).
The silkworm chemical compound also reduces the amount of neutrophils in sputum (x). Neutrophils are standard features in the secretions produced with lung infections. The more the body produces neutrophils, the higher the inflammation and the thicker the sputum.
Serrapeptase is highly efficient in dissolving and removing mucus and phlegm, so it may be incredibly useful, especially to people with blockages of the nose and lung infections.
Eliminates Blood Clots and Plaque
A significant benefit is its ability to break down blood-clotting molecules in dead tissues without harming the surrounding tissues. Therefore, it effectively removes blood clots and plaque, so that antibiotic treatment can penetrate tissues to ensure faster healing.
Biofilms that grow on mucosa and other tissues can cause infections (x). The biofilms are usually made of fibrins, which can be broken down by serrapeptase. Fibrins also comprise scar tissue that can be not only painful, but also unsightly. Serrapeptase can target fibrins and reduce excessive scarring (x).
Minimize the Symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disease
Research indicates that serrapeptase may have the potential to increase chemical agents that protect brain cells. In addition, the silkworm enzyme can significantly reduce the activities of inflammatory markers common with patients with Alzheimer’s disease.
Minimize the Likelihood of Stroke
Serrapeptase can dissolve dead tissue cells without compromising healthy tissues. Therefore, it can remove fat, cholesterol and waste deposits that accumulate in the arteries. Removing these deposits may lower the risk of strokes and atherosclerosis.
Decreases Breast Engorgement
Breast engorgement is the overfilling of the breasts with milk (x). This condition can be quite painful. Serrapeptase can improve breast engorgement and minimize breast swelling and hardness (x). However, it is essential for breastfeeding mothers to consult a doctor before taking serrapeptase to reduce breast engorgement.
Decreases Inflammation of Veins
Serrapeptase can significantly improve the symptoms of superficial thrombophlebitis (x), which causes pain and inflammation in the veins as a result of blood clots. Treatment with the silkworm enzyme can decrease thrombophlebitis symptoms such as skin patches, inflammation and pain.
Serrapeptase can also decrease dental implant inflammation (x). Patients who have received the treatment are more likely to heal faster and experience fewer dental implant failures than patients who have received placebos (x).
Improves Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Serrapeptase has the potential to improve carpal tunnel syndrome (x). However, more studies need to be undertaken to determine the exact effects of its treatment on carpal tunnel syndrome.
May Improve Fertility
Serrapeptase, when used in combination with other treatments, including antibiotics, may offer the potential to increase sperm count in men with reproductive organ infections (x). Experts believe the ability of serrapeptase to improve fertility in combination with antibiotics is partly due to the fact that the silkworm enzyme enhances the efficiency of antibiotics (x).
Side Effects of Serrapeptase
A common effect of serrapeptase is the breakdown of proteins in mucus (x), which makes it easier for you to breathe, especially if you have a cold. In addition, it can thin out blood that accumulates around injured sites in the body, making it easier for fluids to drain and prevent inflammation.
The fluid-thinning effects of serrapeptase are not always beneficial. Be careful about combining it with blood thinners and other medications that thin bodily fluids. It interacts with many medications and supplements, including fish oil, aspirin, warfarin and clopidogrel (x). Like serrapeptase, fish oil is a mild blood thinner. When used in combination, serrapeptase and fish oil can make your blood excessively thin.
Aspirin has stronger blood-thinning properties than serrapeptase (x). Therefore, avoid mixing the two altogether. In general, avoid using serrapeptase with blood thing products. Thin blood may have trouble clotting and may cause uncontrolled bleeding. In addition, mixing serrapeptase with other blood-thinning agents may prompt spontaneous bruising and bleeding, especially through the nose.
Researchers believe serrapeptase may be beneficial in the treatment of various other health complications, including cancer, fibroids and Bartholin cysts (x). However, further research should be done to validate the effectiveness of serrapeptase treatment on these conditions.
Serrapeptase can prevent the production of biofilm, which is a coating that protects bacteria from antibiotics (x). Therefore, the silkworm enzyme can enhance the activity of various antibiotics, including ampicillin, cefotiam, minocycline and cyclacillin (x). The enzyme may provide a more efficient treatment when combined with magnesium or zinc.
Limitations and Caveats
Although serrapeptase has wide-ranging applications as a supplement and drug, there is limited research to prove its effectiveness as medication for pain relief and inflammation (x). In addition, there is insufficient scientific data on the side effects and long term safety of the supplement.
Serrapeptase vs. Nattokinase
Many types of proteins cut enzymes, including serrapeptase and nattokinase. Both enzymes are possibly effective in improving the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease and inflammatory molecules. However, research (x) indicates serrapeptase is more efficient in breaking down amyloidal plaques. When used in combination, serrapeptase and nattokinase may break down biofilms produced by infection-causing microorganisms.
Serrapeptase and Fertility
Pain inflammation and scar tissues are some of the most common problems experienced by women with reproductive health issues. Some of the leading causes of infertility among women include endometriosis, uterine fibroids and Asherman’s syndrome (x).
Many of the drugs and procedures recommended for the treatment of infertility in women are not as effective and often produce harmful side effects — so many that women seek alternative treatments, including enzyme therapy. Serrapeptase is one of the leading treatments used in enzyme therapy (x).
Enzyme Therapy for Fertility
Serrapeptase has the potential to treat reproductive health problems in women. It breaks down proteins and helps rid the body of excess proteins circulating in the bloodstream. Excess proteins often accumulate in sites of inflammation and injuries within the body. Injuries and inflammation reflect some of the leading causes of reproductive health problems in women (x).
Studies indicate serrapeptase can break down non-living tissues such as blood clots, cysts and scars in the uterus and breasts (x). Patients with breast engorgement often experience improvement after undergoing serrapeptase treatments. However, the effectiveness of serrapeptase as a fertility treatment can only be established through further research.
The absorption of serrapeptase through the gastrointestinal tract may be affected by various factors, including molecular weight, hydrophilicity, chemical instability and metabolism of enzymes in the GI tract.
Some serrapeptase products feature a coating that protects them from degradation once they enter the GI tract. Such products are the recommended formulations. The healthy dosage of serrapeptase is no more than 60 milligrams per day (x). However, consult a health professional in case you intend to use it for more than four weeks. Consider taking the supplement at least two hours after meals.
Pregnancy / Lactation
There is little information regarding the safety of serrapeptase use during pregnancy or lactation. Therefore, pregnant and lactating mothers should avoid using serrapeptase altogether. In addition, refrain from using the product if you have a history of bleeding disorders or if you are scheduled for surgery in less than two weeks.
The Bottom Line
The silkworm produces serrapeptase as an enzyme (x). Serrapeptase has been used in many countries to treat a wide range of medical conditions, including fertility, pain, inflammation, cold, breast engorgement and stroke, among others (x). Although it shows great potential as a dietary supplement, additional research should be undertaken to determine its uses and effectiveness.