Serrapeptase: benefits and side effects

In recent years, Serrapeptase supplements became 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 considered 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 its main benefits, some of the side effects and consumption recommendations.

What is serrapeptase?

Serrapeptase is a proteolytic enzyme that is obtained from a bacteria called Serratia E-15 that is housed 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 a systematic review published in International Journal of Surgery, It also stands out for its medicinal effects. To be more precise, it is attributed 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, around the 1960s. Shortly after, it began to be marketed under the name "Danzan" and it became one of the best-selling dietary supplements in both Asia and Europe and North America.

At present, the evidence on the efficacy and safety of these products remains limited. Because of 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 existing clinical studies so far.

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Possible benefits of serrapeptase

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.

Some research suggested that the enzyme reduces pain after tooth extraction.

Oral health

In research published through International Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, serrapeptase was helpful in reducing 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 lockjaw (involuntary contraction of the chewing muscles), after extraction of wisdom teeth, compared to ibuprofen and corticosteroids. Still, more evidence is needed.

Pain relief

Another of the most widespread uses of serrapeptase is temporary pain relief. A study released by 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 it was determined that serrapeptase can contribute to a significant reduction in pain. It even seems that it also helps reduce excessive mucus production. Despite this, the research is considered very small and the conclusions are limited.

Infection prevention

One of the most exciting benefits of serrapeptase supplements has to do with preventing bacterial infections. Relevant effects have been observed in test tube and animal studies.

For example, research shared in Journal of Hospital Infection suggests that this enzymatic agent increases the effectiveness of antibiotics in the treatment against Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus).

Its function is believed to be to inhibit the formation of biofilms, which act as a barrier against antibiotics to facilitate the growth of bacteria. For this reason, studies show that serrapeptase combined with antibiotics is a good strategy to stop the progression of infections, especially in cases of bacteria resistant to antibiotics.

Respiratory diseases

Since its discovery, serrapeptase has been touted as an adjuvant 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 disclosed in Asian Journal of Pharmacological Science found that this supplement exerts similar effects to the inhibitors of cyclooxygenase-1 (COX-1) and cyclooxygenase-1 (COX-2), helping to reduce inflammation.

In addition to this, it appears to be that it contributes to the breakdown of exudates, that is, fluids that leak out of the tissues due to inflammation. A small study published in Respirology observed that patients with bronchitis who received serrapeptase they 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 points out WebMD, the evidence is insufficient. These applications would be the following:

  • Back pain.
  • Osteoarthritis.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome.
  • Osteoporosis.
  • Headache and migraines.
  • Thrombophlebitis
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Fibrocystic breast disease.
  • Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).
  • Ear infections

Risks and possible side effects of serrapeptase

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 it should be taken in moderation, according to the manufacturer's instructions. Some studies show that it can cause the following side effects:

  • Sickness.
  • Lack of appetite
  • Upset stomach
  • Blood clotting disorders.
  • Skin reactions
  • Muscle and joint pain.

A report shared on Journal of Clinical and Diagnostic Research states that serrapeptase can affect abscess enlargement. Therefore, he suggests avoiding its use in the presence of dental abscesses or of any kind. In these cases, it increases the risk of infections.

It should be noted that its consumption is not recommended in children and pregnant or lactating women, since its effects in these stages are unknown. It should even be used with care in the presence of already diagnosed diseases.

It should not be taken two weeks before a scheduled surgery, due to the risk of bleeding. Nor should it be taken in conjunction with anticoagulant medications, such as Coumadin ® (warfarin) or Plavix ® (clopidogrel).

The pregnancy and lactation stages are sensitive, so the use of supplements without sufficient evidence should be avoided.

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Dosage and precautions

At the moment, it is not clear what is the best way to use serrapeptase. Doses of up to 30 milligrams a day have been used in clinical trials. Still, supplements are available in capsules, gel caps, or enteric-coated tablets. whose doses vary between 34 milligrams and 500 milligrams.

It is recommended 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 enteric-coated ones.

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 must be used with care.

In case of having previous chronic diseases or being subjected to some medical treatment, it is best to avoid its use until consulting with the professional. It should not be ignored that it can cause adverse effects or interactions.