Serrapeptase, also known as serratiopeptidase, is produced naturally within the digestive tract of silkworms. It’s a proteolytic enzyme, which means it breaks down nonliving protein tissue into amino acids. Silkworms use this enzyme to break down their cocoons at birth.
Because serrapeptase’s main function is to break down proteins, it is useful for decreasing inflammation and clearing mucus in numerous ways. Clinical studies done in the 1960s began to show its effect in reducing inflammation.
More recent studies have shown that it is particularly effective for post-traumatic swelling.
Serrapeptase has been used routinely in medical practices in Asia and Europe for over 30 years, and while it’s recently made its way to the United States and Canada, it's mostly found in dietary supplements.
Serrapeptase is a “super enzyme” and has been used in general surgery, orthopedics, dentistry, and gynecology, among other practices and procedures. It is used because of its analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties.
In addition, other potential health benefits include:
Serrapeptase may have the ability to reduce pain. For example, one double-blind, placebo-controlled study showed that subjects who had taken it reported a significant reduction in pain compared to those who took the placebo.
A similar study showed dental patients had less swelling in the cheek and reported minimal pain after surgery when compared to the control group.
Over 80% of bacterial infections are caused by biofilms, and serrapeptase has been classified as a biofilm buster.
Biofilms are dangerous because bacteria use them as a shield against antibodies and your immune system, providing a safe space for bacteria to thrive. Serrapeptase limits the ability of biofilm to form.
Other studies have shown that, when used together with antibiotics, serrapeptase can be very effective, especially against antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
Several studies have shown that serrapeptase has qualities that make it an effective anti-inflammatory agent.
One study even touts serrepeptase’s tremendous ability to reduce inflammation.
Specifically, it has been proven to be safe and effective in reducing facial swelling after the removal of an impacted molar and wisdom teeth.
Blood Clot Thinner
Serrapeptase may potentially help break down the plaque that builds up inside your arteries, something known as atherosclerosis.
Recent studies have successfully used similar fibrinolytic enzymes produced by microorganisms in the treatment of blood clots, specifically in relation to dissolving fibrin, a common artery-blocking compound.
Chronic Respiratory Diseases
While chronic respiratory diseases (CRDs) do not have a known cure, there are ways to alleviate the pain and complications of CRDs and improve the quality of life. Due to the ability of serrapeptase to break down mucus, doctors have used it to assist patients with CRDs.
One study showed that participants who took serrapeptase had significantly fewer bouts of coughing than the participants who took a placebo.
There have been only a few studies done specifically on the risks and side effects of serrapeptase. It is not recommended to take while pregnant or breastfeeding.
Serrapeptase has been shown to thin the blood, therefore it is also not recommended to take it with other blood thinners, fish oil, aspirin, or if you have a blood disorder.
Amount and Dosage
For serrapeptase to be effective, it has to be able to reach your intestine and move on to your bloodstream. If you are going to take it orally, it is important that it is enteric-coated in order to protect it from being destroyed and rendered ineffective by your stomach acid before it can reach the intestine.
Recommended doses vary depending on the reason it is being taken.
- For prevention: 10 mg daily
- For arthritis, sinusitis, fibrocystic breast, bronchitis, and cardiovascular problems: 20 mg daily
- For general pain: start with 10 mg and work up to 20 mg if needed
- For injury, trauma, or post-surgery recovery: 30 mg for two days, then 20 mg daily until swelling and pain subside
It is also recommended that serrapeptase be taken on an empty stomach.