Also known as serratiopeptidase, serrapeptase is used in Japanese medicine. Serrapeptase is isolated from the microorganism Serratia E15, which dwells in the intestine of the silkworm. The true purpose of this organism is to help silkworms dissolve their own cocoons. Serrapeptase is adept at dissolving necrotic tissue, blood clots, arterial plaques, and inflammatory factors.
Used clinically in Europe and Asia for nearly a quarter century, serrapeptase is utilized for its anti-inflammatory actions to treat conditions such as chronic sinusitis, thinning of bronchopulmonary secretions, sprains and strains, edema, and even postoperative inflammatory states. New research on this novel enzyme demonstrates its efficacy for treating several disease states. Studies on serrapeptase have focused on its use for treating chronic lung disease; ear, nose, and throat disorders; carpal tunnel syndrome; and edema following injury and surgery.
In patients with chronic airway disease (in which mucus production and removal are problematic), treatment with 30 mg per day of serrapeptase for four weeks resulted in changes in sputum. Weight, viscosity, elasticity, and neutrophil content were all decreased. Coughing and expectoration frequency were significantly decreased.13 Using serrapeptase for treating chronic lung conditions in which sputum production is a problem (for example, cystic fibrosis) leads to improved lifestyle parameters. In a separate investigation, serrapeptase was studied in conjunction with chronic sinusitis in adults. Again, a dose of 30 mg a day, for four weeks, led to significant decreases in viscosity but not elasticity of nasal mucus in this study, providing a better quality of life for these patients.14 Researchers did not speculate about the contribution that enzyme therapy could make in cases of chronic sinusitis in which mucus removal is enhanced, thereby leading to quicker resolution of the condition.
Serrapeptase has also been used to treat several chronic conditions with ear, nose, and throat pathology in which inflammatory processes are a component.15 This study on chronic conditions was performed at several treatment centers and 193 subjects were involved. Treatment lasted for seven to eight days and was compared to a placebo. The serrapeptase-treated group experienced significant reduction of symptoms beginning after three days of treatment. The researchers noted a more rapid response to serrapeptase compared to the placebo. The treatment group tolerated the enzyme therapy well. The investigators concluded that serrapeptase produced anti-inflammatory, antiedemic, and fibrinolytic activity and produced more rapid action than the placebo. Similarly, serrapeptase was used to treat swelling of the buccal membrane following a specified surgical procedure (Caldwell-Luc antrotomy) for chronic empyema in that area.16 A total of 174 patients underwent the procedure, 80 of whom received treatment with the enzyme. The dose of serrapeptase was 30 mg per day, in divided doses, on the day before the procedure, the day it was performed, and five days postprocedure. Patients treated with serrapeptase had significantly less buccal membrane swelling compared to patients who received a placebo at each point of observation following the operation. The point of maximal swelling in these patients never approached that of the patients treated with the placebo. Subjects receiving treatment reported no side effects from the enzyme therapy.
In another surgical study using serrapeptase, the amount of postoperative swelling in ankle joints was studied.17 This study examined swelling intensity following surgery for acute
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