What is serrapeptase?
A chemical originally derived from the silkworm, serrapeptase, sometimes called serratiopeptidase, is an enzyme used by the moth to digest and escape its cocoon. It is now commercially manufactured and has been sold in Asian countries as a medicine for reducing inflammation and mucus. However, it is classified as a dietary supplement in the UK, where it is sold in tablet or capsule form.
According to claims made for one brand of tablet sold in Asian countries and containing 5mg of serratiopeptidase, it can help eliminate inflammatory oedema and swelling by breaking down abnormal fluids and protein and by promoting the absorption of these decomposed products through blood and lymphatic vessels. It could also break down and liquefy mucus and fibrin clots and help antibiotics to focus on infection. The medicine was withdrawn as a medicinal product by the Health Sciences Authority in Singapore after the manufacturer failed to "show statistically significant differences between serratiopeptidase and placebo with respect to its efficacy as an expectorant and anti-inflammatory agent".
Is there evidence that serrapeptase works?
There has been research into claims that serrapeptase can reduce:
However, these studies, along with other clinical trials on the chemical, have not provided sufficient evidence to back any claims of benefit.
Always seek medical advice before taking serrapeptase if you have any medical conditions, are taking medication, or are pregnant or breastfeeding. Some research suggests serrapeptase should not be taken by people with bleeding disorders or who are about to have surgery as it may interfere with blood clotting.