Are they magical capsules capable of eradicating nutritional gaps and supercharging the human body, or sham pills yielding expensive urine, only as powerful as their placebo? (Although, of course, the power of such should not be underestimated! Just wait for my upcoming podcast interview with
Dr. Shamini Jain, author of "Healing Ourselves: Biofield Science and the Future of Health. ) Self-proclaimed “biohackers” often laud the praises of supplements on one hand and scrutinize their efficacy on the other, all the while contemplating the ideal forms and routes to go.
The goal of biohacking supplements often encompasses a broad if vague target of supporting immunity, wellness, or “the mitochondria.” Take for example NMN or NR, purported to boost the body’s NAD levels. Yes, I take these daily. Do I know if they’re actually boosting my NAD levels? It’s hard to know, so I’m just hoping for the best. Or take spermidine. Does it grant more years to your life? I suppose you can report back on your deathbed. (Unless, of course, such a concept becomes not applicable, if longevity technology has its way with immortality.) More concrete conclusions of cost/benefit can be made about supplements that affect a specific biomarker. Did that grass-fed spleen raise your iron? Did that berberine lower your blood glucose or HbA1c? Did that probiotic resolve your constipation or diarrhea?
Rare is the supplement which boasts those broad-ranging effects of wellness, yet also very specifically address acute conditions, with evident results. I’m talking about that magic supplement which seems to do almost everything, and which people can point a finger to as being the cause. With scientific support to boot!
THE SECRET OF THE SILKWORM
To this day, silk is one of the most sought after fabrics on earth, and the beauty and power of the silkworm spinning its threads has been guarded as a national treasure in Asia for centuries. A new “secret” power of the silkworm, however, has been emerging for the past several decades in Japan, and more recently in the United States. A growing body of evidence is emerging regarding the therapeutic potential of an enzyme the silkworm creates: serrapeptase.
Serrapeptase has been used for decades and recently has undergone many studies for its potential positive impact for a wide range of potential symptoms. While relatively few have heard of serrapeptase, when you meet someone who has taken it, they tend to light up with a knowingness of having found some secret treasure. I first started taking serrapeptase years ago for allergies. I’m worthless in a field of grass, and was shocked at how it almost instantly removed my congestion and runny nose like they were never a thing. Who needs Claritin? When I met my Intermittent Fasting Podcast co-host, Gin Stephens (NYT best-selling author of Fast Feast Repeat), she quickly identified as a non-supplement person (which I completely respect). We were therefore a bit shocked when we realized there was, in fact, one supplement we not only took, but swore by! As it turned out, serrapeptase was not only great for my allergies and inflammation, but it also could help dissolve fibroids – Gin’s successful serrapeptase experience.
And it doesn’t end there.
The Japanese silkworm utilizes the serrapeptase enzyme to break down the walls of its cocoon. The compound is now conventionally manufactured, cultivated from a gram-negative strain of bacteria. Serrapeptase’s proteolytic (protein-digesting) and fibrinolytic (blood clot-thinning) potential grant it an extraordinary number of benefits in the body, rivaling many pharmaceuticals, yet without their notorious side effects. Interestingly, while the majority of serrapeptase’s benefits are often ascribed to its epic proteolytic effects, mutant forms bred to not contain its protein-digesting potential still show powerful effects – like preventing biofilm formation – indicating multiple factors may be synergistically at play in its therapeutic potential.
THE HEALTH BENEFITS
Pain, Inflammation, And Healing
The powerful anti-inflammatory golden child of modern medicine, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are known for their notorious side effects wreaking havoc on the gut, including indigestion and stomach ulcers. Clinical studies have shown serrapeptase may produce better anti-inflammatory effects in rats compared to aspirin, and comparable effects to diclofenac sodium, without the side effects. In trials, serrapeptase can help relieve pain in patients with root canals, toothaches, molar extractions, breast engorgement, carpal tunnel syndrome, and more.
Serrapeptase’s pain-relieving effects may be thanks in part to its ability to modulate and break down inflammatory compounds (such as histamine, serotonin, and bradykinin) and helping prevent chronic inflammation in injuries. It affects cell adhesion molecules which are responsible for guiding the inflammatory response, controls temperature, and encourages healing and wound repair. Serrapeptase can drain excess fluid in wounded tissue, consequently reducing pain and swelling, and catalyzing tissue repair. In a study of 544 patients treated for peri-implantitis (inflammation in the connective tissue which leads to bone loss), serrapeptase helped repair bone lesions and accelerated the bones’ healing. Serrapeptase has also been shown to reduce C-reactive protein and myeloperoxidase, markers of inflammation. When looked at for its effect on the inflammatory bowel disease, ulcerative colitis, in rats, serrapeptase was found to reduce glutathione depletion, lipid peroxidation, and nitrous oxide production.
Interestingly, some studies have found serrapeptase works synergistically with NSAIDs, since it does not affect lipoxygenase enzymes, a primary target of NSAIDs, which are responsible for many of NSAIDs’ negative side effects. Yet other studies have found serrapeptase does not work in conjunction with some NSAIDs, indicating a conflicting mechanism of action.
Heart Disease And Plaque
With its fibrinolytic potential, serrapeptase has been shown to break down damaged and dead tissue, dissolve blood clots, and even help remove arteriosclerotic plaques, cholesterol, and other fatty deposits from the arteries. In clinical trials, serrapeptase has even been shown to rival the go-to anti-amyloid compound nattokinase’s ability to break down amyloid plaque. This is likely thanks to serrapeptase’s proteolytic, antioxidant, and ultimately anti-amyloidogenic effects. Importantly, serrapeptase has been shown to dissolve amyloid plaques both in vitro (in a cell dish outside of the human body), and in vivo (taken as a supplement within the body).
Serrapeptase needs to be taken in the fasted state for proper escorting into the bloodstream. (Taken with food, it will likely instead just break down the food you are eating). Interestingly, many of serrapeptase's benefits are processes catalyzed by the fasted state. Fasting, for example, upregulates autophagy: the process in which the body breaks down old, broken proteins to recycle into something new. While serrapeptase does not equate to autopagy, I'd hypothesize it may enhance this cellular cleanup process due to its proteolytic potential! Like fasting, serrapeptase may also support healthy inflammatory levels and address pain. I love to support my fasts with serrapeptase, to synergize the process.
THE NEW FRONTIER OF ANTIBIOTICS
A promising new frontier for serrapeptase is the war of antibiotic resistance. While many antibiotics can become defunct or lose potency with their increasing use, numerous studies have revealed that pairing serrapeptase with antibiotics increases their effectiveness. Serrapeptase can affect numerous mechanisms of bacterial virulence, including their ability to invade and adhere to cell walls. Serrapeptase may break down biofilms – protective matrixes which bacteria produce, and which can form a barrier to traditional antibiotics. Serrapeptase may eradicate and prevent future formation of biofilms, rendering bacteria more susceptible to antibiotics. In a rodent study, serrapeptase eradicated staph infection. In another study, 37.5% of rats became infected when treated with only antibiotics, while adding serrapeptase to the mix reduced infection rate to 5.6%.
THE INGENUITY OF SELECTIVITY
One of serrapeptase’s most fascinating characteristics is its ability to “know.” Serrapeptase bears a unique ability to dissolve dead tissue in injured areas, while not harming living cells. Like how the process of autophagy during fasting selectively targets damaged, old proteins to remove and recycle, serrapeptase holds a similar selective power. Studies have shown that serrapeptase specifically accumulates in damaged tissue rather than the blood stream. Once absorbed, it is directly distributed to inflammatory sites, perhaps by binding with plasma protease inhibitor alpha-1 macroglobulin.
Does serrapeptase have a dark side? When it comes to side effects, they are largely absent, and only minimal if so. A natural compound that has been in use for decades, serrapeptase is generally considered safe. Most studies show no adverse effects, and those which do are relatively minor, often occurring when using high dosing to evaluate mechanisms of action and potential. Side effects may therefore be dose dependent, when used in combination with other drugs, or may be due to fillers, lubricants, and enteric coatings used in many supplements. People that do experience side effects typically report GI distress, which may be due to the specific brand or dosing, or taking with another medication that thins the blood or causes GI distress. Conventional wisdom is to start slow, and lower the dose, switch brands, or cease use, if side effects arise.
I don’t like to think of myself as a supplement girl. In my dream world, we receive all the nourishment and support we need from ancestral whole foods and an active lifestyle, full of light and love. That said, I’m all for supporting our body’s vitality from the inside out, and serrapeptase fits the bill for supercharging the body in a myriad of shocking avenues. I started it for mere allergies, and have kept it in my life for so much more. From inflammation to brain fog to fatty deposits, serrapeptase seems to have something for everyone. Next time you fall into some silk sheets, or see a cocoon, maybe take a moment of gratitude for this powerful enzyme.
GET AVALONX SERRAPEPTASE
I formulated AvalonX Serrapeptase 125 (use the code melanieavalon to get 10% off) to be the very best serrapeptase on the market!
Most if not all existing serrapeptase brands utilizes enteric coatings to ensure its survival of the stomach, and absorption in the small intestine. These coatings can contain problematic ingredients, as well as GI distress. To solve this issue, I partnered with MD Logic Health, a USA-made professional health supplement brand manufactured in a GMP-certified facility, to create a special MCT formulation which eliminates unwanted additives and fillers, while also enhancing and maximizing absorption. We use a benign acid-resistant capsule. In tests with other brands, AvalonX Serrapeptase 125 demonstrated superior resistance to acid (vinegar), opening up in an alkaline environment as intended (water).
AvalonX Serrapeptase 125 is free of all common allergens, including gluten, wheat, soy, dairy, nuts, eggs, shellfish, and rice. It is vegan and phthalate-free, packaged in dark amber glass bottles to help reduce the leaching of plastics into our bodies and environment.
Get 10% off all AvalonX supplements at AvalonX.Us with the code MelanieAvalon
Comparison between the pain relieving action of serratiopeptidase, NSAIDs and combination of both in the root canal treatment patientsA preliminary trial of serratiopeptidase in patients with carpal tunnel syndrome
Impact of metformin and serratiopeptidase in obese patients with knee osteoarthritis.Russo S., Guarini E., Vesperini G. Evaluation of serratia peptidase in acute or chronic inflammation of otorhinolaryngology pathology: a multicentre, double-blind, randomized trial versus placebo
Preliminary Trial of Serratiopeptidase in Patients with Carpal Tunnel SyndromeSerratiopeptidase reduces the invasion of osteoblasts by Staphylococcus aureusA multi-centre, double-blind study of serrapeptase versus placebo in post-antrotomy buccal swelling