last updated 8.25.05
Serratiopeptidase is an enzyme derived from a bacteria from the genus serratia. This enzyme has several different spellings: serratiapeptidase, serratia peptidase, serrapeptidase.
However, seaprose is a totally completely different enzyme.
Serratiopeptidase is derived from bacteria microbes.
Seaprose is derived from fungal microbes.
Amano, a Japanese company, offers seaprose.
Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited, a Japanese company, offers serratiopeptidase.
Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited also goes by Takeda Chemical Company Limited.
I contacted Amano who wrote write back and said serratiopeptidase was not their product and gave me Takeda's contact.
Serratiopeptidase is supposed to be particularly helpful
with arthritis or other pain (inflammation). A number of products featuring serratiopeptidase have been on the market for quite a while now with a good reputation of success. Many clinical studies verify the effectiveness of serratiopeptidase. It is said to have even less side-effects or adjustments than other enzymes. Some research and discussion on serratiopeptidase is located at these links.
Products which feature serratiopeptidase are:
- ViraStop (Enzymedica)
- Vitalzym (World Nutrition)
- SerraZyme (Serrazyme)
- Serra Trol (MRM)
- Serrapeptase (Enerex)
- ArthroZyme (Sedona Labs)
Source of Serratiopeptidase
Serratiopeptidase is derived from an organism from a genus of bacteria called serratia.
There are many types of serratia organisms just as there are many strains of other bacteria, such as lactobacillus. Reference lists showing range:
Most of the serratia strains are non-pathogenic. However, there is one strain of the serratia family, Serratia marcesens, that is thought to be pathogenic in humans. Some wonder what impact this has on the enzyme serratiopeptidase.
"The only serratia species that have been routinely associated with human disease is S. marcescens." - source John Hopkins Medical Institution
The serratia organism that serratiopeptidase is derived from is not the same organism as Serratia marcesens. Serratiopeptidase is from a non-pathogenic organism. It is known as Serratia E15 and is specifically stated to be non-pathogenic:
I have found nothing to even suggest that E15 is some modified version of S. marcescens and not a separate organism itself as was suggested in a previous comment. One enzyme manufacturer who brings the serratiopeptidase enzymes into the US and then re-sells to enzyme suppliers said their information showed it was a different organism and not some altered form. Will keep working on this one.
While nothing will be optimal for everyone, to me the weight of the literature is squarely that serratiopeptidase works quite well and with good safety. If there are some concerns, it is best if this can be verified by independent sources to make sure the concerns are accurate and still relevant. Science changes quickly and there could quite well be there are improved and more refined processing and purification
techniques currently used than before.
What I wondered is why is the source something to strongly consider in the case or serratiopeptidase? Enzymes are supposed to be purified and purified to such an extent that there is not trace or contamination of any part of the source in the final product. I mean, mold and fungus are considered `pathogenic' if they get inside you with overgrowth. Mold and fungus are not something people want to be putting in their body and some people are highly reactive to such things. Yet these are the sources of most of the enzymes on the market with a very high success rate, even among those with allergies to mold.
Note: if you have a mold allergy, know that many people with mold allergies have had no problem with enzymes derived from fungal organisms. However, it is also completely understandable if this is something you do not wish to risk. Please consult your health practitioner about your particular situation if you have a serious mold allergy and are interested in enzymes derived from fungal sources. If you decide against fungal source, you still have the option of pancreatic enzymes, plant-derived enzymes (bromelain, papain, actinidin), or bacteria-derived enzymes.
When someone asks if one should take microbial/plant derived enzymes because you don't want to be talking mold, the answer given by enzyme companies is that the purification process is so rigorous and excellent the source is not an issue because there is no trace of the parent source in the final product. It is commonly said 'you are not consuming fungus when you take fungal-derived enzymes' or 'when you get a dose of penicillin, you are not getting a dose of bread mold.' Fungal derived enzymes have performed quite well even in those with fungal overgrowth (candida or yeast problems). there are fungal derives enzymes specifically to treat yeast problems (Candidase, Candex).
So why would this case with serratiopeptidase be any different? The entire reason given for any concern with serratiopeptidase is that the source may be a problem. First, the source itself turns out not to be a pathogenic organism at all. But even if it was the source of enzymes is not a concern because the purification process is so great, and there is no contamination or traces from the source in the final enzyme product.
Besides the science part of something, or the theory where something is 'thought' to work a certain way, I look at experience in real-life. The more the better. What I see is that after nearly a year and a half of working with ViraStop which features serratiopeptidase, looking into viral conditions, and talking to gobs of people using ViraStop, the results are basically that ViraStop totally ROCKS!!! I do not have personal experience with Vitalzym but others who take it report good results.
The question is not whether someone should consume the entire organism (like a probiotic, although probiotics are enzyme producing bacteria as well). Nor are we talking about extacting any other by-products of the organisms. The question involves the purified extracted enzyme. The issue with serratiopeptidase or any other digestive enzyme is that you are NOT consuming the whole functioning organism, like you do with probiotics, baker's yeast, brewer's yeast, and Saccharomyces cerevisiae. When consuming the entire organism you need to think about how that will impact the other beneficial organisms in your system, and what by-products that organism will produce and release in your system. Candida yeast, for example, produce lots of harmful by-products, while acidophilus bacteria produce lots of beneficial by-products.
I asked several dozen enzyme industry professionals about this. I asked everyone I talked and wrote to: 'Does it really even matter if the source organism is pathogenic or not? Let's say we wanted an enzyme from poisonous snake venom. Wouldn't the resulting enzyme be totally safe because of the extensive purification process, or would we need to worry that there was any trace of poison in the final product?' Every source said we do not have to worry about the source because the purification really is quite excellent. (Although 2 people thought going overboard with the snake venom idea was a great way to get the point across.)
Now, to put things in perspective, I wanted to see how 'pathogenic' current sources of enzymes are. That is, are any currently used enzymes derived from organisms that may be considered 'pathogenic'. Surprise! If you look up an enzyme species and then add on 'pathogenic' in a google search, bunch of interesting things come up. So search google with entries like "Aspergillus oryzae +pathogenic." Aspergillus oryzae is one of the most common sources for many enzymes on the market as dietary supplements. One in particular was a source of DPP IV - and DPP IV has been very helpful in cases of autism and leaky gut.
DPP IV source abstract
So it looks like the bottom line is that Serratiopeptidase is not from a pathogenic source, and other currently used enzymes can be from a source much more problematic. And those current enzymes are doing fabulously well in improving health. But since there is none of the parent source in the final enzyme product, the source doesn't really matter on the practical side.
Being persistant when looking at product safety is good. In this case, it isn't just the safety of a single product enzyme under scrutiny, but the entire product category of supplemental enzymes.
Professional Opinions on Serratiopeptidase
The next issue I wanted to look at was what was the general feeling of 'the enzyme industry' on serratiopeptidase. Until this topic recently came up, I had not run into anything the least bit questionable about serratiopeptidase. The summary of all my conversations with enzyme company and non-company sources was that the vast majority feel serratiopeptidase is a great enzyme, lots of raves, more safe and researched than even other enzymes, and any concerns were past speculation when the enzyme was new, but have since been resolved. Serratiopeptidase is used as an ingredient is some medications, so it had to go through that level of investigation and safety as well.
I asked each enzyme industry source the same questions. The first was 'Do you offer or work with serratiopeptidase?' Then, 'If yes, why' or 'If no, why?' For those that did not offer or work with serratiopeptidase, the answers were interesting.
One main enzyme supplier said they did not offer serratiopeptidase at this time, not because of health or purity issues, it was because of importation and paperwork issues. Apparently they feel they are not getting the contract or deal they would like. But if that is ever resolved, they wouldn't have a problem offering serratiopeptidase. Another company said they did not offer serratiopeptidase because it was a matter of not being able to get it on the financial or business terms they wanted (not a safety or quality issue).
Another company said they did not offer serratiopeptidase in their products because there were not making those types of products (yet).
A non-company specialist with a couple decades experience in this area said she couldn't recall any real actual negatives about serratiopeptidase, and only hears very good things about it from customers and businesses. Added that there is always 'wondering' about products when they are new and unknown to someone, but serratiopeptidase has been out awhile now and has many good studies backing it up. I asked about the 'general feeling' about this enzyme among enzyme companies and was told again, it was vastly on the positive side, but there are usually a few who always are not too keen on something.
So this is my experience.
Update July 2006: So far, I have found not one professional or specialist in the enzyme or supplement industry who thinks serratiopeptidase is a problem except the one enzyme seller who does not carry an serratiopeptidase product and is in competition with other enzymes supplement companies. One of the top four enzyme manufacturers who offers a fungal-derived equivalent of serratiopeptidase said they decided to go with a fungal equivalent instead of the bacterial serratiopeptidase because it was cheaper (cost them less to make) and not because there was any problem with the bacterial-derived serratiopeptidase.
last updated 7.14.06