Medicine
Fact-checked

At TheHealthBoard, we're committed to delivering accurate, trustworthy information. Our expert-authored content is rigorously fact-checked and sourced from credible authorities. Discover how we uphold the highest standards in providing you with reliable knowledge.

Learn more...

What are Proteolytic Enzymes?

Proteolytic enzymes, also known as proteases, are vital biological catalysts that break down proteins into amino acids, aiding digestion and numerous cellular processes. They're essential for health, influencing everything from immune function to wound healing. Intrigued by how these enzymes shape your well-being? Discover their diverse roles and benefits in our body through vivid imagery and insights. Ready to unravel their secrets?
Simone Lawson
Simone Lawson

Proteolytic enzymes refer to a group of enzymes that break down long molecules of proteins into shorter pieces that eventually become amino acids. These enzymes work to aid the body in digesting proteins. Proteolytic enzymes are produced naturally in the pancreas but may also be found in certain foods. Supplements containing these enzymes may be used to address a variety of health concerns.

Papaya and pineapple produce naturally high amounts of bromelain and papain, which are proteolytic enzymes. These enzymes are found naturally in the pancreas, but if digestive problems occur, it may be helpful to add pineapple and papaya to the diet. If the body is experiencing a deficiency in proteolytic enzymes, the symptoms may include indigestion, gas, abdominal bloating and undigested food passing through the stool.

Papaya produces a high amount of two proteolytic enzymes.
Papaya produces a high amount of two proteolytic enzymes.

If digestive issues are constant and severe, it may be helpful to purchase bromelain and papain in the form of a pill supplement. These supplements have been found helpful in treating enzyme deficiencies but are not necessarily considered useful in treating common indigestion. Caution should be used with these supplements, and it may be best to consult a physician before attempting a supplement regimen.

Pineapple is a good source of proteolytic enzymes.
Pineapple is a good source of proteolytic enzymes.

The use of proteolytic enzymes for treatments other than digestive issues, such as acute pain, has occurred in some cases, but further research is still being conducted to determine its effectiveness. A double-blind, randomized trial was performed in Germany in 1996 by Dr. H. Tilscher, who found that a mixture of proteolytic enzymes helped reduce chronic neck pain.

Some alternative medicine practitioners claim that proteolytic enzymes may be beneficial for rheumatoid arthritis.
Some alternative medicine practitioners claim that proteolytic enzymes may be beneficial for rheumatoid arthritis.

Another double-blind trial performed in Japan in 1965 by Dr. T. Murata found encouraging results using proteolytic enzymes to treat women suffering from postpartum breast engorgement. The enzymes helped reduce breast discomfort in lactating women. Some women in postpartum condition may generally find the use of proteolytic enzymes helpful in relieving symptoms associated with the condition.

Deficiency in proteolytic enzymes may include gas and bloating.
Deficiency in proteolytic enzymes may include gas and bloating.

Some alternative medicine practitioners have claimed that proteolytic enzymes may benefit those suffering from rheumatoid arthritis, lupus or other autoimmune diseases. The added enzymes are thought to treat immune reactions caused by whole protein strands leaking into the blood stream. There have been very few controlled trials performed to support these claims.

Proteolytic enzymes break down the proteins that are found in meats and dairy products.
Proteolytic enzymes break down the proteins that are found in meats and dairy products.

Other alternative practitioners may prescribe enzyme supplements for those suffering from food allergies. The theory is that the enzymes work to ensure that food is entirely and properly digested, leaving little remnants of food so that allergic reactions are reduced or stopped. Again, there have been no controlled studies to support the theory of enzymes controlling allergic food reactions.

You might also Like

Discuss this Article

Post your comments
Login:
Forgot password?
Register:
    • Papaya produces a high amount of two proteolytic enzymes.
      By: tashka2000
      Papaya produces a high amount of two proteolytic enzymes.
    • Pineapple is a good source of proteolytic enzymes.
      By: Malyshchyts Viktar
      Pineapple is a good source of proteolytic enzymes.
    • Some alternative medicine practitioners claim that proteolytic enzymes may be beneficial for rheumatoid arthritis.
      By: Fenton
      Some alternative medicine practitioners claim that proteolytic enzymes may be beneficial for rheumatoid arthritis.
    • Deficiency in proteolytic enzymes may include gas and bloating.
      By: michaeljung
      Deficiency in proteolytic enzymes may include gas and bloating.
    • Proteolytic enzymes break down the proteins that are found in meats and dairy products.
      By: MSPhotographic
      Proteolytic enzymes break down the proteins that are found in meats and dairy products.
    • The pancreas naturally produces proteolytic enzymes.
      By: CLIPAREA.com
      The pancreas naturally produces proteolytic enzymes.
    • Cooking unripe papaya can release the papain enzyme.
      By: idmanjoe
      Cooking unripe papaya can release the papain enzyme.
    • Proteolytic enzymes may be helpful in treating neck pain.
      By: triocean
      Proteolytic enzymes may be helpful in treating neck pain.
    • A lack of proteolytic enzymes can cause indigestion.
      By: Innovated Captures
      A lack of proteolytic enzymes can cause indigestion.