How Does Serrapeptase Work?
Serrapeptase reduces pain and inflammation in three different ways:
- Serrapeptase breaks down fibrin, which is an important protein in the blood that is involved in blood coagulation or clotting.
- Serrapeptase thins the fluids that are associated with inflammation. This allows fast drainage away from the site of inflammation and leads to quicker recovery times after injury or surgery.
- And finally, Serrapeptase has the ability to alleviate pain by blocking the release of Bradykinin in damaged tissue. Bradykinin is a protein that is responsible for triggering a pain response.
Serrapeptase has been shown to reduce inflammation and swelling without causing harm to healthy tissue or adverse side effects and is, therefore, a safer alternative to anti-inflammatory drugs (9-18). Furthermore, when taken in capsule form, Serrapeptase is easily absorbed through the intestines and released into the body through the bloodstream (19). Once released into the body, this enzyme promotes the degradation of cellular debris and causes fluid accumulations to become less viscous, thereby facilitating the drainage of harmful substances away from the site of inflammation. As a result, Serrapeptase leads to a rapid decrease in the signs and symptoms of inflammation while speeding up tissue repair (20-25).
SERRAPEPTASE FOR POST-OPERATIVE SWELLING, PAIN, AND EDEMA
Patients undergoing maxillary antrotomy for empyema who take 10 mg of Serrapeptase three times orally the day before surgery, once in the evening after surgery, and three times daily for 5 days after surgery, experienced a modest reduction in buccal swelling compared to the placebo group (37).
Patients undergoing surgical removal of impacted third molars were randomly selected to receive ibuprofen, paracetamol, betamethasone, Serrapeptase or a placebo. Serrapeptase did not show significant analgesic and anti-inflammatory action. However, in a similar study of patients undergoing surgical removal of impacted third molars, 5 mg of Serrapeptase or 5 mg of a placebo was taken along with 1000 mg of paracetamol. There was a significant reduction in the extent of cheek swelling and pain intensity in the Serrapeptase group at the 2nd, 3rd and 7th postoperative days (18). In one additional study involving patients who had 4 third molars removed, Serrapeptase demonstrated statistically significant effectiveness in reducing excessive fluid accumulation (38).
In a different type of study, 66 patients who underwent surgery for the lateral ligament were instructed to either elevate the leg, stay in bed (with and without the application of ice), or take Serrapeptase. In the Serrapeptase group, the swelling decreased by 50% on the third post-operative day, while no reduction in swelling was observed at this time point in the other two groups. A decrease in pain was typically associated with the reduction in swelling (9).
Parflex, a single pharmaceutical product that combines aceclofenac with paracetamol and Serrapeptase, was assessed for the management of pain and inflammation in adult patients undergoing ear, nose, and throat, orthopedic, or gynecologic surgical procedures. Effectiveness was rated as excellent or good by 54% of patients and by 59% of the treating physicians. The conclusion was that combining Serrapeptase with anti-inflammatory drugs has the potential to augment pain reduction and inflammation (39).
Listeria monocytogenes is a notably invasive bacterium associated with life-threatening food-borne diseases in humans. Several surface proteins (biofilms) have been shown to be essential in the adhesion of L. monocytogenes, and in the subsequent invasion of phagocytes. However, research has shown that Serrapeptase has the ability to break down the proteins (biofilms) that promote cell adhesion of L. monocytogenes, thereby reducing invasion into host cells in the human gut (40).
In an animal model which evaluated the effectiveness of Serrapeptase in reducing the number of biofilm-forming bacteria, animals were given Serrapeptase plus an antibiotic, an antibiotic only, or nothing. After two weeks, microbiological testing suggested that infection existed in 63.2% of the animals in the no-treatment group, 37.5% of the animals in the antibiotic-only group, and only 5.6% of the animals in the Serrapeptase plus antibiotic group. Researchers concluded that Serrapeptase was effective at decreasing the number of biofilm-forming bacteria that cause infections (14). Additional research has also demonstrated the effectiveness of Serrapeptase at inhibiting the reproduction of biofilm-embedded bacteria that cause prosthetic device infections (17).
Cephalosporin antibiotics are widely used to prevent infection in patients undergoing thoracotomy. The ability of Serrapeptase to augment the tissue permeation of cephalosporin Cefotiam (CTM) was examined in 35 thoracotomy patients. The patients were divided into two groups, one receiving a single dose of CTM alone, the other receiving a combination of CTM and Serrapeptase (30 mg daily) for three days before surgery. The results showed that 29.1% of the drug alone accumulated in pulmonary tissues, but when it was combined with Serrapeptase, 44.2% of the drug accumulated in pulmonary tissue. The researchers concluded that Serrapeptase stimulated permeation of the antibiotic into tissues (41). Similar beneficial effects regarding the distribution of antibiotics in tissues when taken in combination with Serrapeptase were seen in other human (42) and animal (43) studies.
Pharyngitis and laryngitis
Research has demonstrated that patients with pharyngitis or laryngitis who take 10 mg of Serrapeptase three times daily have significantly reduced pain, secretions, difficulty swallowing, and body temperature after 3-4 days of taking this supplement (13).
Serrapeptase was found to improve the fluidity of nasal mucus secretions in adult patients (44). In addition, when 30 mg of Serrapeptase was administered daily to adult patients for 4 weeks, the viscosity of the nasal mucus reduced (45). Research has also shown that patients who take 10 mg of Serrapeptase three times daily also have significantly reduced pain, nasal secretions, nasal obstruction, and anosmia (lack of sense of smell) after taking Serrapeptase for 3-4 days (13).
The Silkworm Enzyme
The Silkworm (Bombyx mori) is actually not a worm at all. It is a caterpillar whose cocoon is made of silk. After a brief period, the caterpillar transforms into a moth. This insect is also called the silkworm-moth and the mulberry silkworm, and is native to Northern China.
Carpal tunnel syndrome
Twenty patients with carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) were recruited to evaluate the anti-inflammatory effects of taking 10 mg of Serrapeptase twice daily for six weeks with an initial short course of nimesulide (a COX-2 inhibitor). The results were that 65% of cases showed a significant reduction in inflammation which was supported by significant improvement in electrophysiological parameters (16).
venous thrombosis and inflammation
Patients with thrombophlebitis were recruited to evaluate the anti-inflammatory, fibrinolytic, and anti-edemic effects of taking two 5 mg tabs of Serrapeptase three times daily (total dose 30 mg) for 14 days. By the end of the two week period, spontaneous pain was reduced 63.3% from the initial baseline score. Pain upon feeling pressure was reduced by 57.6%. Edema was reduced by 56.2%; erythema (redness of skin) diminished by 58.3%; nighttime cramps occurred 52.9% less; hemorrhagic suffusion was 41.7% less; and cutaneous dystrophy (skin wasting) was reduced by 7.7%. At the end of the study, Serrapeptase efficacy was assessed as good or excellent in 65% of the cases (46).
Seventy patients were recruited to evaluate the effectiveness of Serrapeptase at reducing breast engorgement when taken for three days. The results were that Serrapeptase was superior to the placebo in improving breast pain, breast swelling and induration (tissue hardening), with 85.7% of the patients experiencing “moderate to marked” improvement compared to 60.0% in the placebo group. Furthermore, “marked” improvement was found in 22.9% of the Serrapeptase group compared to 2.9% of the placebo group (10).
Preliminary evidence suggests that taking 30 mg of Serrapeptase daily for 4 weeks can significantly reduce frequencies of coughing and expectoration. This is due to the ability of Serrapeptase to decrease mucus viscosity and lower neutrophil counts in mucus samples (15). Similar beneficial results were demonstrated in animal research (47).
Forty patients with chronic pulmonary disease were recruited to evaluate the effectiveness of taking Serrapeptase to reduce mucus viscoelasticity. The groups were as follows: Group I (control); Group II (Bromhexine hydrochloride 24 mg per day); Group III (Ambroxol 90 mg per day); Group IV (alpha – Chymotrypsin buccle 100 ch.u. per day); and Group V (Serrapeptase 30 mg per day). The results were that the mucus viscoelasticity in the Serrapeptase and chymotrypsin groups increased in fluidity, meaning that the mucus became thinner. No significant changes were observed in the other groups. These findings suggest that proteolytic enzymes administered orally break down proteins within mucus, causing it to become thinner and move more easily (48).
Research indicates that in comparison with pure Serrapeptase, the incorporation of Serrapeptase into liposomes improves permeability and it is proposed that the liposomal formulation would improve the oral absorption of the enzyme (49)..