Updated: Feb 2
Over 2,000 enzymes have been identified, and each of them is involved with one specific chemical reaction. (Beck K., 2018) However, when discussing supplemental enzymes most people are only familiar with the two following subcategories which the first is referred to as digestive enzymes which do exactly as their name suggests and help you digest food. The second is called proteolytic enzymes which if taken with meals can do much of the same things as digestive enzymes but if taken on an empty stomach can do so much more!
Proteolytic enzymes have various health benefits such as play a critical role in speeding up every chemical reaction in the body, break down proteins, replicate new cells, and even generate ATP which is the primary source of fuel for all cells.
Proteolytic enzymes have been a go-to supplement of mine for years, specifically those derived mainly from serrapeptase such as SerraGold by Enzymedica.
I have been using this supplement in higher doses as my primary and natural anti-inflammatory to help control my inflammation, (1) scar tissue, cystic stuff known to occur due to Lyme Disease and even my Fibrocystic breasts. (2) A common benign condition many women deal with and is better known as lumpy breasts and can be painful at times.
I also use serrapeptase to prevent or repair damaged tissue in my gut or joints which can be commonly caused by inflammation due to my Crohn’s Colitis.
Our bodies produce a considerable number of enzymes on their own but various health conditions, digestive issues, poor lighting conditions, environmental toxins, and even age can affect how our body both produces them or utilize those that are found in our food. Even the way we grow and prepare our food these days can affect the enzyme content making it difficult to utilize the nutrients in our meals. This can potentially lead to undigested food particles that may make their way through the stomach into the small intestine or into the large bowel where food may damage the gut and eventually lead to food intolerance's, bloating, gas, inflammation and overall poor health.
This is why I often suggest SerraGold and digestive enzymes (which are not to be confused with one another) to any of my readers who might be struggling with poor digestion, inflammation, pain, food intolerance's, allergies or a compromised gut.
Proteolytic enzymes are also great at digesting biofilms and mucus. (3)
Biofilms are a collective of one or more types of microorganisms that can grow on many different surfaces. Microorganisms that form biofilms include bacteria, fungi and protists. (Vidyasagar, 2016) (4)
Biofilms contribute to poor health and have often been implicated in diseases and infections such as Lyme disease, mold toxicity, Lupus, chronic rhinosinusitis (CRS), Crohn's, Ulcerative Colitis (IBD), as well as in chronic ear infections, chronic fatigue syndrome, Multiple Sclerosis and acid refulx. (5)
Proteolytic enzymes can be found in both foods like pineapple (bromelain) and papaya (papain) but I prefer a high potency serrapeptase which is a proteolytic enzyme that is isolated from the bacteria found in the digestive tract of silkworms that the emerging moth later uses to digest and dissolve their cocoon.
It has been used for years in Japan and Europe for reducing inflammation and pain due to surgery, trauma, and other inflammatory conditions. I’ve tried all three but found that serrapeptase in higher doses (which I had to work up to gradually) was much more effective at reducing my pain and inflammation.
When taken in-between meals, proteolytic enzymes go beyond the digestive system to boost energy, optimize oxygen flow, fight inflammation and more. (6) Here are 5 reasons why you would want to consider taking a proteolytic enzyme daily:
1. Combats Inflammation
As mentioned up above proteolytic enzymes can digest biofilms and destroy pathogenic complexes which if left undisturbed can grow in our bodies and cause unwanted and painful systemic inflammation.
“Italian researchers have shown that the ability of proteolytic enzymes to reduce inflammation is equal to or superior to four powerful steroidal and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.”
This means that serrapeptase may not only reduce systemic inflammation but also joint pain and help to prevent potential joint deformities that can be caused by autoimmune diseases such as Rheumatoid or Psoriatic arthritis.
If you’re looking for the maximum effect try combining SerraGold with our Cannabis Sativa Hemp Seed Oil and Krill Oil we recommend or eating shellfish high in Omega 3’s a few times a week.
You may also want to find a local NUCCA chiropractor that can help properly align your spine, eat an anti-inflammatory diet and seek out a Photon Genius for a few sessions a week in your local area.
Fulvic acid is another great option for those who might be lacking in minerals due to a chronic illness which can cause stress on the body due to chronic pain, age or poor dietary choices. All of these suggestions can be found under our recommendations page HERE.
Some may even find some additional benefit in taking a supplement that contains both serrapeptase and bromelain combined, such as Repair Gold by Ezymedica if joint and muscle repair is your primary focus. If immune support and systemic inflammation are all that you are after SerraGold may be all that you need.
2. Heart Health
Taking care of your heart should be at the top of everyone’s self-care routine considering it is the number one leading cause of death in the world. (7) In which case serrapeptase with some of the other supplements and the Photon Genius mentioned up above may be able to help in this area as well. Whether you have a current heart condition or have suffered from a previous heart attack, blood clot or stroke, research suggests that a proteolytic enzymes may help. In addition to taking a proteolytic enzyme like serrapeptase, nattokinase may add additional support for the heart.
“In 2016, researchers found that consuming nattokinase, a specific proteolytic enzyme, can help reduce your blood pressure.
Additional studies found that nattokinase can benefit your cardiovascular system in other ways. Nattokinase “provides support to the circulatory system by thinning the blood and dissolving blood clots.” (Jensen G.S., Lenninger M., Ero M.P., Kathleen F Benson K.F., 2016) (8)(9)
In which case you may want to try one of two supplements: Natto-K by Enzymedica in conjunction with SerraGold or you can try Green Energy by TouchStone Essentials which contains all three proteolytic enzymes: bromelain, serrapeptase and nattokinase as well as a few others, including green tea extract for added energy. If you do decide to place an order through Touchstone Essentials don’t forget to use Enroll ID: 984705 and use Discount Code: Healthy10 for 10% off your first order.
The reason why I recommend supplements from various companies is because over the years I have found that certain combinations work well for me, especially when it comes to enzymes as potent as proteolytic enzymes, but they may not work for everyone. The only way to know if they will work for you is to try several different brands for at least three months, listen to your body and come to your own conclusion.
I prefer to take SerraGold on its own because other serrapeptase enzymes did cause some strange side effects such as heart palpitations and some digestive upset. I have even heard of some people that experience nausea and in more severe cases, fever or vomiting. However, I suspect that may mean that those individuals are dealing with a deeper underlying issue or simply have not found a proteolytic enzyme that works with their specific body chemistry. In other cases some may have started with a dose or potency that was much too high for them and may find that starting with a lower dose may rectify this issue. If an adverse reaction should persist discontinue the product and consult with your doctor before trying another enzyme until you can both find one that works best for you.
3. May Help With Digestion & Gut Health
Proteolytic enzymes help your body break down proteins. That means if you consume high-protein meals, or follow a paleo diet, you can use proteolytic enzymes to support digestive health. However, if you just want to use an enzyme for digestion you can find cheaper options through using full-spectrum digestive enzymes which can also help you digest not only proteins but fats, carbohydrates, fiber, gluten, dairy and even ones that help with the discomfort one might feel after consuming beans.
If you are just looking for a basic digestive enzyme you might want to try Digest Basic by Enzymedica, however if gluten and lactose is a major concern for you, you might have to try something a little stronger like Digest Spectrum also produced by Enzymedica.
“One study, for example, found that people who suffered from functional dyspepsia (gastritis) received significant benefit from taking a proteolytic supplement. Improvements included reduced bloating, gas, abdominal pain, and heartburn. For full digestive benefits, take proteolytic enzymes before a protein-heavy meal or taking a protein powder.” ( Khandke D.A., Sanjay K. Jain, , Prashant A. Shirsath, 2013) (10)
In which case once again you may benefit from Green Energy by Touchstone Essentials if you don’t want to buy a separate digestive and proteolytic enzyme. However, I take both and only use digestive enzymes when I know I am going to be eating something that might cause me some digestive issues or if my gut needs the additional support.
4. Energy Booster
"Proteolytic enzymes have been found to increase energy naturally, since they help to clean out the pathogens and excess protein from the blood, they optimize the flow of red blood cells in the body. And because red blood cells transport oxygen, they can deliver energizing oxygen more efficiently throughout the body."(5 Remarkable Benefits of Proteolytic Enzymes, n.d.)
5. Rapid Healing
I was first introduced to proteolytic enzymes by one of the sales representatives when I worked for a large professional nutraceutical company about 8 years ago. I had been complaining about my systemic inflammation when he asked me if I had ever tried a proteolytic enzymes for my pain or to help me recover from inflammation. He went on to say that he specifically recommended it to all of his clients with inflammation but especially to his Naturopathic or Holistic Doctors who had patients that had just been through surgery or experienced any other type of injury that required rapid healing.
Since having an autoimmune and Lyme disease meant I was always under constant attack from the inflammation that was trying to protect me and the potential damage it was causing to my body overall, I thought why not give it a try!
I first started with a particular professional proteolytic enzyme that is primarily made of bromelain and some pancreatic enzymes extracted from porcine called Wobenzym. However, I had a terrible reaction to it and had to stop it almost immediately. For some reason it gave me extreme heart palpitations which felt like I was having an anxiety attack and I could barely catch my breath. Many still see great results with this product and it is often recommended by Naturopathic Doctors to their patients after surgery.
When that particular enzyme didn't work for me I didn't give up, instead I started to look for others that might help me and that’s when I came across serrapeptase. Originally I had to try at least two or three other brands before finally settling on SerraGold by Enzymedica. Other brands just seemed to upset my stomach or caused stomach discomfort that almost felt like gastritis. However, this has never happened to me while using SerraGold which is why I often recommend this brand over others.
I really like Enzymedica’s brand because they are one of the leading manufacturers in enzymes and most if not all of their formulas do not contain any nasty or allergenic additives like: eggs, dairy, sucrose, preservatives, soy, wheat, yeast, nuts, corn, gluten, potato, rice, artificial colors or flavors.
A lot of their serrapeptase formulas also contain something called THERA-BLEND: Multiple fast-acting enzymes combined for greater activity across the wide pH range found throughout your body and from what I’ve read this blend is supposed to make it easier on your digestive system which is exactly what I needed because of my Crohn’s Colitis.
Anyhow, to make a very long story short it not only helped my inflammation but I also noticed that a small cyst that I had developed almost 20 years earlier in my teen years, one in which I had picked at and caused scar tissue beneath the skin's surface suddenly vanished in about 6 months time. I knew the enzyme could help you repair from a surgery or an injury more quickly but I had no idea that it would digest and dissolve old scar tissue as well but that’s exactly what it did and it was amazing!
Therefore, every time Kevin went into one of his dental surgeries, we made sure to have plenty of SerraGold on hand to help him repair and heal as quickly as possible.
“Proteolytic enzymes can break down cellular debris at sites of injury. This causes swelling and pain to decrease at a faster rate. Evidence also suggests that they can boost the speed of new tissue growth and wound healing” (11) (12)
Since various proteolytic enzymes can reduce swelling, inflammation, and promote new tissue growth, they can also be used for exercise recovery.
“One study found that people who consumed a supplement containing a variety of proteolytic enzymes experienced significantly less muscle soreness and quicker muscle recovery after downhill running.” (13) (5 Remarkable Benefits of Proteolytic Enzymes, n.d)
According to Web MD serrapeptase has also been used for the following painful conditions:
carpel tunnel syndrome
swelling after surgery
fibrocystic breast disease
& pus accumulation (empyema).
However, more evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of serrapeptase for the conditions listed up above. (14)
If you would like to purchase SerraGold in Canadian dollars you can do so HERE.
If you are taking blood-thinning medication, you should check with your doctor before starting proteolytic enzymes since these enzymes posses natural blood thinning qualities and can speed up blood flow.
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1. Controlling Inflammation with Proteolytic Enzymes, Retrieved from: https://nutritionreview.org/2013/04/controlling-inflammation-proteolytic-enzymes/
2. The role of serratiopeptidase in the resolution of inflammation, Retrieved from:
3. Biofilms and Resistance, Retreived from: https://blog.designsforhealth.com/biofilms-and-resistance
5. Kresser C., (2018) Biofilm: What It Is and How to Treat It, Retrieved from: https://kresserinstitute.com/biofilm-what-it-is-and-how-to-treat-it/
6. 5 Remarkable Benefits of Proteolytic Enzymes, n.d., Retrieved from: https://thegoodinside.com/5-remarkable-benefits-of-proteolytic-enzymes/?utm_source=ONTRAPORT-email-campaign&utm_medium=ONTRAPORT-email-campaign&utm_term=&utm_content=The+enzyme+you+need+for+whole-body+health.&utm_campaign=Newsletter+Campaign
7. Top Ten Leading Causes Of Death In The World, Retrieved from: https://www.worldatlas.com/articles/top-ten-leading-causes-of-death-in-the-world.html
8. Consumption of nattokinase is associated with reduced blood pressure and von Willebrand factor, a cardiovascular risk marker: results from a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, multicenter North American clinical trial, Retrieved from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5066864/#b12-ibpc-9-095
9. Nattokinase: An Oral Antithrombotic Agent for the Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease, Retrieved from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5372539/
10. Post-Marketing Surveillance Study to Assess the Efficacy and Tolerability of Al5zyme — A Multienzyme Preparation in Patients with Functional Dyspepsia, Retrieved from: http://medind.nic.in/ice/t13/i5/icet13i5p181.pdf
11. Selectivity of a bromelain based enzymatic debridement agent: a porcine study., Retrieved from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22385643
12. [Reduction of postoperative swelling. Objective measurement of swelling of the upper ankle joint in treatment with serrapeptase-- a prospective study]., Retrieved from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2647603
13. The effects of protease supplementation on skeletal muscle function and DOMS following downhill running., Retrieved from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15161110
14. Serrapeptase, Retrieved from: https://www.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-1115/serrapeptase