Serrapeptase is a proteolytic enzyme, or protease, isolated from the intestine of the silkworm. Proteases are enzymes that break down proteins, and they have been utilized for a variety of medical purposes, including the removal of damaged wound tissue and the treatment of blood clots in certain types of strokes. Serrapeptase is known by a variety of other names such as serralysin, serratiapeptase, serratia peptidase, serratio peptidase, and serrapeptidase.
Originating in the microorganism Serratia E-15 protease, serrapeptase was first isolated from the silkworm in the 1960s. It is naturally occurring in the silkworm's intestine and facilitates the dissolution of the cocoon after the worm has transformed into a moth. It was historically used as a healing agent in Germany and Asia. Today, it is produced after a process of fermentation and is widely available for human medical use.
Serrapeptase is thought to possess distinctive health benefits. Practitioners of alternative health and wellness cite several uses for serrapeptase. Its main draw is its anti-inflammatory properties and has been shown to reduce inflammation and ease the pain associated with arthritis and carpal tunnel syndrome. Serrapeptase also has been used to reduce blockages associated with arterial flow and helps remove plaque from the artery walls. It can also be taken as a preventative measure to ward off strokes.
There are other conditions that may also reap the rewards of serrapeptase. Painful swelling after dental surgery can be dramatically reduced, for example. In Japan, serrapeptase is often given to patients afflicted with chronic airway ailments as well. Additionally, it can help dissolve cysts, consuming the dead tissue until the cyst is significantly shrunken or gone completely.
Despite the positive benefits experienced by many who have used it, serrapeptase remains largely unstudied and should be used with caution. There have been a few minor side effects reported. Among them are minor, generalized pain, skin allergies, and pneumonitis, an inflammation of the lung tissue. In one highly publicized case, a young woman developed life-threatening liver problems after taking serrapeptase. It is not known to interfere with other medications.
Serrapeptase can be purchased in capsule or tablet form. While some brands claim the enzyme can be taken two or three times per day, many experts have warned against this high dosage. Until more is known about the properties and effects of serrapeptase, users should limit their intake to one capsule or tablet per day and only take it five days out of the week. And as with any medication, a doctor should be consulted before beginning a treatment regimen.