Where Can You Buy Protease Enzymes?

Proteolytic enzymes are essential to the digestive system. Like other enzymes that are necessary for helping the process of breaking down food into energy, protease enzymes assist in the breaking down and digestion of protein. These enzymes are found in bodies but can also be found in certain types of foods and dietary supplements.

Protease enzyme supplements in the food industry have grown because of their supposed health benefits. The enzymes are necessary for different yet essential processes in the body such as assisting in cell division, immune function, protein recycling, and blood clotting apart from their most commonly known function in the digestion of protein. The pancreas and stomach are where these enzymes are produced in the human body, and they are also referred to as proteases, peptidases, proteinases, or pepsin.

It is not only humans though who heavily depend on proteolytic enzymes, plants also depend on them for development and proper growth. Proteases also help keep plants healthy by acting as a protection mechanism against insects and other pests.

Proteolytic enzymes can be taken from plants to supplement people’s diets, but humans can also benefit from ingesting animal-derived enzymes. Fungi and bacteria also make these enzymes.

Sources of Protease Enzymes

The digestive system naturally produces pepsin, trypsin and chymotrypsin as the three main protease enzymes to help break down proteins from our diet. Food is broken down into amino acids which are smaller fragments of the food for easier absorption and digestion. Proteolytic enzymes are naturally found in certain types of foods but are also available as supplements.

Food Sources

Papaya and Pineapples are the best-known food sources of this enzyme. In the Papaya, the enzyme papain is available in the actual fruit, leaves, and roots of the plant. The papain proteolytic enzyme is powerful and because it can break down proteins with such power it has for thousands of years been used as a meat tenderizer.

The pineapple on the other hand contains the enzyme bromelain. This powerful protease enzyme is found in the pineapple skin, fruit, and sweet juice. In Central and South America, the plant is used as a natural treatment for several ailments among the indigenous people.

The enzymes papain and bromelain are available and can be eaten raw from the papaya and pineapple, but forms of concentrated supplements are also available.

Other dietary sources of proteolytic enzymes include:

  • Ginger
  • Kiwifruit
  • Kimchi
  • Kefir
  • Yoghurt
  • Sauerkraut
  • Asparagus

Supplement forms of proteolytic enzymes

Proteolytic enzymes can be found in gel caps, powder, tablets, capsules, or chewable. These supplements may have one enzyme or a combination of enzymes with the common ones being papain, bromelain, trypsin, and chymotrypsin. These enzymes are animal or plant derived.

For example, manufacturers obtain trypsin and chymotrypsin from cows and pigs to add to supplement blends making them the most common animal-based proteolytic enzyme. Papain and bromelain on the other hand are fruit derived.

For buyers of these supplements, the issue of potency is important. Check on the label of the brand to see the weight but also the potency levels. SAP, HUT, and USP are some of the labeling units used for proteolytic enzymes.

Possible benefits of proteolytic enzymes

There are a number of benefits that have been linked to the taking of proteolytic enzymes

Improved digestion

Protease enzymes may improve digestion and absorption of proteins from diets. Supplements of proteolytic enzymes can be used to help people with a deficiency or lack of necessary enzymes to aid digestion. Foods and supplements can be used to support protein digestion where it is failing.

Pancreatic enzyme replacement therapy (PERT) is one treatment that is used to treat cystic fibrosis, pancreatic insufficiency, and certain types of cancer like colorectal and stomach cancer, and pancreatic cancer or it can also be used as an after-treatment for gastric or pancreatic surgery.

Different animal studies have shown how extracts from kiwifruit can help improve the breakdown and digestion of proteins from milk, cheese, eggs, fish, and meats. Another study on people with indigestion observed that with a proteolytic supplement there was a considerable improvement in abdominal pain, heartburn, belching, bloating, and loss of appetite.

May Decrease Inflammation

Inflammation and symptoms related to inflammatory conditions were reduced by proteolytic enzymes as shown by several studies. Some proteolytic enzymes are being used as an effective and safe treatment for arthritis while some studies have shown that symptoms of swelling and joint stiffness in osteoarthritis patients and pain can be reduced by bromelain the fruit-derived enzyme.

Bromelain has also been linked to relieving symptoms and reducing inflammation in people with sinusitis, a condition that causes inflammation in the nasal passage.

Help with Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Common symptoms associated with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) may be reduced by taking proteolytic enzyme supplements. In one study it was shown that the use of a papain enzyme supplement reduced issues of constipation, painful bowel movement, and bloating while another study showed that bloating, abdominal pain, and gas was reduced after taking digestive proteolytic enzyme supplements.

Bromelain has been linked to reducing inflammation in patients with inflammatory bowel diseases such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.

May Promote Healing

The enzymes can also be applied to the skin to treat skin conditions, reduce recovery time after surgery, and promote the speedy healing of wounds on the skin. Bromelain and papain, when applied on the skin can also accelerate new tissue growth.

Swelling and pain intensity after dental surgery was also reduced after patients had taken a supplement with 5mg of serrapeptase another proteolytic enzyme according to one study.