Serrapeptase benefits – ever heard of this enzyme isolated from silkworm bacteria that has a calming and anti-inflammatory potential?
In recent years, serrapeptase supplements have become popular as adjuncts in pain relief. In places like Japan, the United States and European countries, they use this treatment to reduce inflammation and pain caused by trauma, conditions or surgeries.
While it is not a first-line approach to disease, some research has made interesting findings about its potential to improve health. Do you want to know more about it? Below we detail the main serrapeptase benefits, some of the side effects and consumption recommendations.
What is serrapeptase?
Serrapeptase is a proteolytic enzyme obtained from a bacterium called Serratia E-15 that lives in the digestive tract of the silkworm. Its main function is to help dissolve the cocoon of the worm once it transforms into a moth.
However, as stated in a systematic review published in the International Journal of Surgery, it also stands out for its medicinal effects. To be more precise, it has anti-inflammatory, anti-oedemic and analgesic properties, which can contribute to the relief of various types of ailments.
This enzyme was first isolated in Japan in the 1960s. Shortly after, it was marketed under the name “Danzan” and became one of the best-selling dietary supplements in Asia, Europe, and North America. .
At present, the evidence on the efficacy and safety of these products remains limited. Due to this, its manufacturer Takeda decided to withdraw it voluntarily from the market in 2011. Even so, other companies continue to produce it and are supported by clinical studies that exist so far.
Anecdotal data suggest that serrapeptase may contribute to the relief of a wide variety of conditions. However, right now there is not enough scientific evidence to prove the multiple properties attributed to it.
In any case, small studies have been made that conclude certain benefits. Let’s see in detail the most relevant ones.
In research published through the International Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, serrapeptase was helpful in decreasing pain, jaw muscle spasms, and facial swelling after a tooth extraction procedure. Researchers believe that this enzyme reduces the presence of inflammatory cells in the area involved.
In turn, a review of five studies published in this same journal found that these supplements are more effective in calming trismus (involuntary contraction of the chewing muscles), after the extraction of wisdom teeth, compared to ibuprofen and corticosteroids. Still, more evidence is needed.
Another of the most widespread uses of serrapeptase is temporary pain relief. A study released by the Journal of International Medical Research observed the effect of this supplement in almost 200 people with inflammatory diseases of the ear, nose and throat.
After a period of 7-8 days, the discovery is that serrapeptase can contribute to a significant reduction in pain. It even seems that it also helps reduce excessive mucus production.
One of the most exciting benefits of serrapeptase supplements has to do with preventing bacterial infections. Relevant effects in test tube and animal studies exist.
For example, research shared in the Journal of Hospital Infection suggests that this enzymatic agent increases the efficacy of antibiotics in treating Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus).
Its function is to inhibit the formation of biofilms, which act as a barrier against antibiotics to facilitate the growth of bacteria. Therefore, studies show that serrapeptase in combination with antibiotics is a good strategy to stop the progression of infections, especially in cases of bacteria resistant to antibiotics.
Since its discovery, serrapeptase is an efficient adjunct to decrease sore throat, hoarseness, and sinus congestion. In other words, it is a supplement that improves the symptoms of upper respiratory diseases.
Regarding this, a review published in the Asian Journal of Pharmacological Science determined that this supplement exerts similar effects to the inhibitors of cyclooxygenase-1 (COX-1) and cyclooxygenase-1 (COX-2), which helps to decrease the inflammation.
In addition to this, it seems to be that it helps in the decomposition of exudates, that is, fluids that leak out of the tissues due to inflammation. A small study published in Respirology observed that bronchitis patients who received serrapeptase had less mucus production compared to the placebo group.
Other possible benefits
Alternative medicine advocates attribute a wide variety of other uses to serrapeptase supplements. But, as the American corporation WebMD points out, the evidence is insufficient. These applications would be the following:
- Back pain.
- Rheumatoid arthritis.
- Carpal tunnel syndrome.
- Headache and migraines.
- Fibrocystic breast disease.
- Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).
- Ear infections.
Risks and possible side effects
For now, there are not enough studies on the adverse reactions of serrapeptase. The long-term effects of its use are unknown.
That is why you should take it in moderation, according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Some studies show that it can cause the following side effects:
- Lack of appetite.
- Upset stomach.
- Blood clotting disorders.
- Skin reactions.
- Muscle and joint pain.
A report shared in the Journal of Clinical and Diagnostic Research states that serrapeptase can influence abscess enlargement. For this reason, he suggests avoiding its use in the presence of dental abscesses or of any kind. In these cases, it increases the risk of infections.
Its consumption is not good children and women in a state of pregnancy or lactation, since its effects in these stages are unknown. You should use it with care in the presence of diseases you already have diagnosis for.
You should not take it two weeks before a surgery, due to the risk of bleeding. Nor should you take it in conjunction with anticoagulant medications, such as Coumadin ® (warfarin) or Plavix ® (clopidogrel).
Dosage and precautions
At this time, it is not clear what the best way to use serrapeptase is. Doses of up to 30 milligrams a day have been used in clinical trials. Still, the supplements are available in capsules, gel caps, or tablets with dosages ranging from 34 milligrams to 500 milligrams.
Recommendations are to avoid higher doses, as there is no evidence that they work better than lower ones. If you suffer from an upset stomach, the ideal is to choose the tablets.
What should you remember about serrapeptase?
Serrapeptase supplements have become popular for their effects on relieving pain and inflammation, especially when it comes to oral conditions. However, they are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and therefore you must use them with care.
In case of having previous chronic diseases or you’re under some medical treatment, it is best to avoid its use until consulting with the professional. You should not ignore the fact that it can cause adverse effects or interactions.
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