Serrapeptase: Benefits, Side Effects, Dosages, and Interactions

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Serrapeptase is an enzyme derived from Serratia E-15, an intestinal bacteria that the silkworm uses to dissolve its cocoon when it turns into a moth. Serrapeptase is believed to have an anti-inflammatory effect by reducing pain and swelling, mainly in the upper respiratory tract. It is also used to relieve pain after minor surgery.

Serrapeptase was first isolated by scientists in Japan in the 1960s and became a bestseller there shortly thereafter (trademark Danzan), then hitting drug store shelves in Europe and North America as a supplement. dietetic .

Doubts about the drug's efficacy led its manufacturer, Takeda, to voluntarily withdraw it in 2011. Despite the recall, there are many manufacturers that still manufacture serrapeptase supplements and report its efficacy in clinical trials.

Also know as

  • Butterfly extract
  • Serratiopeptidase
  • Silkworm enzyme

What is serrapeptase used for?

Proponents of alternative medicine argue that serrapeptase can help treat a wide range of conditions. The main ones are:

Health claims for alternative therapies often go beyond the substance's intended use and encompass what appears to be an almost encyclopedic range of diseases.

Proponents of serrapeptase argue that the enzyme can dissolve blood clots, relieve arthritis symptoms, prevent atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), and treat diabetes, asthma, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) , ulcers. in the legs and fibrotic disease of the breasts .

To date, there is no evidence that it can treat any of these conditions.

This does not mean that the use of serrapeptase is useless. However, the studies that make up the current study population are often poorly designed or too small to be statistically significant.

Here are some of them that provide the most compelling evidence to support the use of serrapeptase.

Maxillofacial Surgery

A small study published in the International Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery suggests that serrapeptase may help relieve pain and swelling caused by dental surgery.

The study involved 24 healthy people, all of whom underwent surgical removal of impacted molars. Half received 1000 milligrams (mg) of Tylenol (acetaminophen) plus 5 mg of serrapeptase, while the other group received the same amount of Tylenol with a placebo .

Within seven days after surgery, the researchers said the serrapeptase group had less cheek swelling (as measured by gauge) and pain intensity (numerical scale) than those given the placebo.

Despite the promising results, the findings were limited by the size of the study and the highly subjective nature of the pain measurements.

Upper respiratory symptoms

Serrapeptase has long been touted for its ability to relieve sore throats, hoarseness, and sinus congestion associated with upper respiratory infections and diseases.

According to a 2017 review published in the Asian Journal of Pharmacological Science, serrapeptase has similar effects to cyclooxygenase-1 (COX-1) and cyclooxygenase-1 (COX-2) inhibitors such as Aleve (naproxen) and Celebrex (celecoxib) .

In addition to relieving inflammation , serrapeptase also appears to break down exudates (fluids that leak out of tissues as a result of inflammation).

With its anti-inflammatory, anti-exudative, and analgesic (analgesic) properties, serrapeptase can relieve general upper respiratory tract symptoms very well. However, to date, there is little quality evidence for such benefits.

Of the available studies, a 2003 study in the journal Respiralogy reported that taking 30 mg of serrapeptase daily for four weeks reduced the amount and thickness of mucus when coughing in people with chronic bronchitis .

Despite the flaws in the study design, the results were significant enough to suggest that serrapeptase may play an important role in mucus clearance in people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and other respiratory conditions.

Possible side effects.

Although serrapeptase has been used in clinical trials for up to four weeks, little is known about its long-term safety. Common side effects are usually mild, but can include:

  • Nausea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Muscle and joint pain
  • Cough
  • Rash

Although serrapeptase is believed to relieve upper respiratory symptoms, serrapeptase can cause pneumonitis (inflammation of the lungs) in some people. The condition appears to be caused by a sudden drop in white blood cells called eosinophils and occurs mainly in the elderly .

A 2016 report in the Journal of Clinical and Diagnostic Research also suggests that serrapeptase can increase the size of an abscess , in part by breaking down exudates in the surrounding tissue.

Serrapeptase should not be used if you have any type of abscess, including a tooth abscess . This can further spread the infection.

The safety of serrapeptase in pregnant women, nursing mothers, and children has not been established. Given the potential harm and uncertain benefits, it may be best for these groups to avoid serrapeptase.

Interactions

Serrapeptase can interfere with blood clotting and should be avoided if you are taking blood thinners such as Coumadin (warfarin) or Plavix (Clopidogrel) . Using them together can easily bruise or bleed.

For the same reason, you should stop using serrapeptase two weeks before your scheduled surgery to avoid excessive bleeding.

Get Drug Information / Anastasia Tretyak

Dosage and preparation

There are no recommendations for the correct use of serrapeptase. In short-term studies, doses of up to 30 mg per day have been used safely.

Serrapeptase supplements can be easily found online and in some health food and supplement stores. Most are sold as capsules, gelatin capsules, or enteric-coated tablets in doses ranging from 34 mg (20,000 international units or IU) to 500 mg (300,000 IU).

In general, it is best to avoid high-dose formulations. Not only are they more expensive, but there is no evidence that higher doses are more effective than lower doses.

Always use the lowest dose possible and never exceed the recommended dose stated on the product label. If side effects persist or get worse, stop taking serrapeptase and tell your doctor.

To avoid indigestion, take the supplement with meals or opt for enteric-coated tablets that dissolve lower in the intestinal tract. It can also help slow the breakdown and deactivation of serrapeptase by stomach acids.

What to look for

Food additives are not strictly regulated in the United States. To ensure the highest quality, select brands that have been tested by an independent certification body such as the United States Pharmacopeia (USP), NSF International, or ConsumerLab.

If you are strictly vegetarian or vegan, make sure again that the gelatin capsules are made from plant gelatin and not from animal-based pork or bovine gelatin.

Serrapeptase can be safely stored at room temperature. You must discard any additives that have expired or show signs of deterioration or deterioration (including discoloration, texture, or odor).

Frequently asked questions

  • Serrapeptase (also known as serratiopeptidase and serralisin) is an enzyme that was discovered in the intestines of the Bombyx mori silkworm in the 1960s. Alternative practitioners claim that it has medicinal properties and can be used to treat pain and inflammation . .

  • Serrapeptase was originally marketed under the Danzan brand in the 1960s, with some claiming that it prevents or treats a wide range of diseases, including:

  • There are no recommendations for the correct use of serrapeptase in any form. Short-term studies have safely used doses of up to 60 milligrams (mg) per day.

  • Serrapeptase appears to be well tolerated, although little is known about its long-term safety. Common side effects include:

    • Nausea
    • Stomach ache
    • Muscle pain
    • Joint pain
    • Cough
    • Rash (rare)

  • Serrapeptase should be avoided in people with dental abscesses because there is evidence that it can spread the infection to deeper tissues. Children and people who are pregnant or breastfeeding should also avoid the use of serrapeptase due to the lack of safety studies.

  • Because serrapeptase can inhibit blood clotting, people taking blood thinners such as Coumadin (warfarin) and Plavix (clopidogrel) should avoid it, as the combination can increase the risk of bruising and bleeding.

  • A 2013 review published in the International Journal of Surgery , which included 24 different studies, concluded that "the existing scientific evidence for serrapeptase is insufficient to support its use as a pain reliever and health supplement."

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