In the final stages of its metamorphosis, the silkworm secretes an enzyme that starts to eat its way through the hard cocoon. It is through this hole that the silkworm will emerge and fly off to continue its life-cycle. In its stomach, bacteria produce an enzyme called serrapeptase which the silkworm uses to die just the Mulberry leaves that it feeds on. It’s this enzyme that has been of great interest to science and medicine.
Serrapeptase is protease which means it breaks up proteins, but one feature of this enzyme is that in the human body it breaks up nonliving tissues. In the 1970s a German doctor specialising in cancer called Dr. Hans Nieper reported a number of benefits in trials on patients with coronary artery problems. His patients, often suffering from severe blockage of the carotid arteries (in some cases it was so bad the patients suffered from intermittent blindness) showed remarkable progress after being given serrapeptase. Using ultrasound Dr. Nieper confirmed that these patients showed a significant increase in blood flow through the previously blocked arteries.
As research on this enzyme continued, other health benefits became apparent. Serrapeptase is an anti-inflammatory, and most diseases begin with inflammation of tissues. In fact serrapeptase has been implicated as a possible treatment for so many diseases that it’s been dubbed the miracle enzyme.
Serrapeptase is something you can buy on the Internet. It’s an orally administered supplement, and this fact means that a lot of people refuse to believe that it can possibly work. I mean a basic level of biology will tell you that if you eat something that is made of protein (such as an enzyme) it will be broken down undigested and never absorbed into the body in the form of the original molecule. The tablets you can buy are specially treated with something called an enteric coat (you can also get them as veggie caps suitable for vegetarians) which helps to protect the enzyme as it passes through the harsh acidic environment of the stomach. But what happens next? Surely once the supplement passes into the intestines it will be broken down by enzymes there? This is an argument that a lot of people will use to suggest that serrapeptase simply can’t work. However, scientific research has shown that the enzyme is absorbed into the blood in an active form from the intestines. So I guess the only question really to ask is that once inside your body can serrapeptase heel you from all manner of disease?
As a scientist myself, I went in search of scientific literature the back up some of the claims made about serrapeptase. What I found was very interesting. Not only was there a scientific basis for a lot of the claims, but there are also a lot of testimonials from people swearing that serrapeptase had helped them enormously. While large pharmaceutical companies would prefer doctors to ignore alternative therapies like serrapeptase, it seems that in certain parts of Europe doctors are actually recommending it to their patients for a wide range of problems.