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Weight Loss, Benefits, and Downsides


Serrapeptase is an enzyme produced from the bacterium Serratia marcescens.

The enzyme has traditionally been used in Europe and Asia to treat a range of diseases and conditions like digestive disorders, arthritis, and heart disease (1).

In addition to these uses, serrapeptase has recently been promoted as a supplement to help with weight loss.

This article explains whether serrapeptase can help you lose weight and discusses serrapeptase’s other potential health benefits and risks.

Serrapeptase was originally obtained from the intestines of silkworms in the late 1960s (1).

It’s a proteolytic enzyme, meaning it breaks down and digests protein.

The proteolytic effects of serrapeptase allows the emerging moth from silkworms to dissolve the protein fiber of its cocoon.

Serrapeptase also mimics your body’s natural process of breaking down blood clots before they cause problems.

The enzyme has been used in Europe and Asia for decades, but it’s now becoming more popular as a dietary supplement in the United States and Canada (1).

Serrapeptase supplements are produced through a purification and fermentation process of Serratia marcescens (1, 2).

Summary

Serrapeptase is a proteolytic enzyme that has gained popularity in the United States and Canada.

Serrapeptase has recently been promoted for weight loss.

However, no studies — test tube or human — have examined whether serrapeptase affects fat loss.

However, it has been suggested that serrapeptase may indirectly promote weight loss in people with overweight or obesity by potentially reducing inflammation.

This is because people who have overweight or obesity tend to have chronic low-grade inflammation, which can impair their body’s ability to regulate healthy blood sugars through what is known as insulin resistance (3, 4).

While being resistant to insulin doesn’t necessarily reduce the amount of weight you can lose compared with someone who isn’t resistant to insulin, it may make it more difficult to maintain weight loss (5, 6).

As such, by lowering inflammation, serrapeptase may restore the body’s sensitivity to insulin’s effects and support weight loss in combination with a reduced calorie diet (6, 7).

However, studies have shown that serrapeptase may affect inflammatory responses related to infection or injury, but not chronic inflammation, which is the type of inflammation linked with obesity and certain chronic diseases (8, 9).

Because no studies on the topic exist, it’s unknown whether serrapeptase can help you lose weight.

Summary

While serrapeptase has been suggested to help with weight loss through its anti-inflammatory effects, no study has investigated the enzyme’s effects on weight loss.

Serrapeptase may help reduce inflammation.

Inflammation is your body’s natural response to foreign invaders like bacteria and viruses or injuries like scrapes and surgical procedures.

Though your body’s inflammatory response is necessary to heal and repair damaged tissues, it can cause pain and uncomfortable swelling.

A review of five studies found that serrapeptase significantly improved jaw mobility compared with corticosteroids and led to similar improvements in facial swelling following surgery to remove patients’ wisdom teeth (10).

Corticosteroids are a class of medications that lower inflammation.

However, corticosteroids have demonstrated better pain relief than serrapeptase following oral surgery (11, 12).

Besides oral surgery, serrapeptase’s anti-inflammatory effects have been shown in early research to provide symptom relief in patients with the common cold and sinus infections (13).

Despite these promising effects, the research on the anti-inflammatory effects of serrapeptase remains very limited.

Moreover, no study has examined the effects of serrapeptase on markers of inflammation in humans, making it difficult to support the enzyme for reducing inflammation.

Summary

Several studies have shown that serrapeptase may lower inflammation following dental surgery, but the overall research on its anti-inflammatory effects remains limited.

In several test tube and animal studies, serrapeptase has demonstrated promising effects for various diseases, including:

  • Cancer. Serrapeptase may protect healthy cells from damage caused by drugs used to kill cancer cells or prevent their growth. The enzyme may also increase the anticancer properties of other compounds like curcumin (14, 15).
  • Alzheimer’s disease. Serrapeptase may decrease the formation of amyloid plaque in the brain, which has been implicated in the development of Alzheimer’s disease (16, 17).
  • Lung diseases. By clearing excess mucus and reducing lung inflammation, serrapeptase may benefit people with chronic lung disease (18).
  • Heart disease. Serrapeptase may help dissolve the atherosclerotic plaque that builds up in arteries over time and increases the risk for heart disease (19, 20).

However, as one review concluded, there is insufficient evidence — especially in humans — to support the use of serrapeptase for these conditions (21).

Summary

Serrapeptase may provide benefits for diseases, including cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, lung diseases, and heart disease, but studies in humans are needed.

Taken as a supplement, serrapeptase is easily destroyed and deactivated by the acidity nature of the stomach (22).

Most serrapeptase capsules are enteric coated to prevent this, so the enzyme can move through the stomach and be absorbed in the intestines.

However, some supplements are sold in liquid form and taken by a dropper. This form is likely poorly absorbed — if absorbed at all — due to being deactivated by stomach acid before it reaches the intestines for absorption.

The typical dosage of serrapeptase ranges from 10–60 mg per day, with 10 mg equaling 20,000 units of enzymatic activity.

Most manufacturers recommend taking serrapeptase daily with water on an empty stomach or at least 2 hours after eating (21).

Summary

Serrapeptase supplements should be enteric coated and taken on an empty stomach.

Few human studies have provided safety data on serrapeptase.

Some people have reported the following side effects after taking the enzyme (21, 23, 24):

Serrapeptase should not be taken with blood thinners like warfarin or aspirin or other dietary supplements that increase bleeding risk, such as fish oil or turmeric (21).

Summary

The safety of serrapeptase remains largely unknown due to limited human trials. However, several mild to moderate side effects have been reported.

Currently, there is no research on the effects of serrapeptase on weight loss.

Some human studies support the anti-inflammatory effects of the enzyme, but the overall evidence is lacking.

Test tube and animal studies have demonstrated that serrapeptase has promising effects for different diseases, but studies in humans are needed to confirm these effects.

There is also the potential for mild to moderate adverse effects with serrapeptase supplements, with little information on serrapeptase’s long-term safety.

Until more research becomes available supporting its efficacy and safety, it’s probably not worth your cash or health to take serrapeptase supplements.

Summary

The evidence to support supplementing with serrapeptase for its purported benefits in humans is lacking and is probably not worth your money.

Serrapeptase is an enzyme produced from a bacterium that was originally isolated from silkworms.

Although it has been suggested that the enzyme can help you lose weight, no study to date has examined this theory.

Furthermore, there is a lack of research to support taking serrapeptase supplements for their anti-inflammatory effects or other emerging health effects.



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