What to Know About Serrapeptase and Weight Loss

Dr. Christopher McGowan
August 18, 2022

For nearly as long as humans have been around, we’ve attempted to heal what ails us with what we can find in nature. Over the millennia, science and medicine have evolved and our understanding of the body and how to cure it has expanded greatly. Even while new advances have taken us far, however, there remains a desire in some quarters to look to natural remedies for everything from disease to obesity. One example of a substance that has been around for a long time and is still used by both alternative and mainstream medicine is ‌serrapeptase. Some even claim that it can be beneficial for weight loss.      

What is Serrapeptase?   

‌Serrapeptase (alternately known as serratiopeptidase or serratia peptidase) is a protease, a type of proteolytic enzyme that helps the digestive system break down proteins into smaller parts (like amino acids) that are usable by the body’s cells. This particular protease is produced by a bacteria called Serratia marcescens. This bacteria is only found in the intestines of the silkworm, the larva of a domestic silk moth (Bombyx mori); the enzyme is part of the moth’s natural ability to dissolve its cocoon.  

‌The serrapeptase enzyme has been used for years in many countries around the world. It is especially popular in Japan and Europe as a medication that is used to treat symptoms related to inflammation. In the United States, it is typically manufactured as a dietary supplement. There are many claims made by many parties about the potential health benefits of ‌serrapeptase, but not all nations are convinced; in Singapore, for instance, the national health department has stopped its usage in the country altogether.  

What Are the Health Benefits of Serrapeptase?   

Health care professionals in Japan and Europe have used ‌serrapeptase for many years for its anti-inflammatory effects and pain-reducing effects, and it has even been considered as a possible alternative to non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to treat conditions like sinusitis and bronchitis. There are, however, a fairly wide range of purported benefits:

  • Inflammation: Throughout the history of its use, ‌serrapeptase has been used as a way to treat various kinds of inflammation; some is just the immune system’s standard inflammatory response to infection, injury, or some types of disease; but some can become chronic over time. ‌Serrapeptase works by catalyzing the biochemical reactions that are involved in resolving inflammation and achieving homeostasis. 
  • Pain: ‌Clinical studies have also shown serrapeptase to have analgesic effects that reduce some of the pain associated with inflammation. It is also thought to be beneficial in treating back, joint pain, and some other symptoms of arthritis. 
  • Swelling: Another common use of serrapeptase is to treat swelling that can result from trauma related to surgery or being injured.  
  • Clotting: The protein-breaking ‌serrapeptase may be effective in dissolving fibrin, a protein involved in the formation of blood clots. It may additionally be useful in breaking up some of the plaque that can accumulate in arteries when someone has atherosclerosis.   
  • Infections: ‌Serrapeptase is also known for its anti-biofilm properties; biofilms are thin, loosely connected communities of bacteria that live on the surfaces of many host tissues. Clinical trials have shown that serrapeptase appears to be useful in changing or eliminating biofilms present in the body. This can be beneficial in fighting off current infection as well as preventing future infections. 
  • Lockjaw: Technically referred to as trismus, lockjaw is a condition characterized by limited jaw motility usually related to tetanus. Studies have shown that serrapeptase may be more effective at improving the symptoms than standard over-the-counter pain medication like ibuprofen.  
  • Respiratory problems: Some evidence has shown that serrapeptase helps patients with chronic airway diseases by reducing the frequency of coughing and secretions associated with most sinus or respiratory problems. 

The truth is that there is no solid, scientific consensus about the health benefits of serrapeptase. Health care providers in many nations have been using it to treat acute pain and inflammation in clinical settings for decades, and there is also evidence for its benefits as a dietary supplement here in the United States. But much more research needs to be done to examine some of the claimed benefits more fully and to study side effects of serrapeptase or the implications of long-term use. Currently, the only major concern is for patients on blood thinner medication; the anti-clotting effect may also generally thin the blood. 

Does Serrapeptase Lead to Weight Loss?   

As a practical matter in clinical settings, serrapeptase is useful for a few well-known purposes. Yet questions remain about some of the other claims surrounding what it can do. One other category of benefits that isn’t quite clear is related to weight loss. While there has been very little—if any—research done on this topic, it has been theorized that serrapeptase may indirectly promote weight loss in people who are overweight or obese. The proponents for serrapeptase being used as a weight loss tool point to its anti-inflammatory properties. 

The premise the idea is based upon is that overweight and obese people tend to have high levels of inflammation in the body by default as a symptom of obesity. This kind of inflammation can impair the ability of insulin to work properly; this can lead to the storage of more fat cells, insulin resistance, and eventually type 2 diabetes. The belief is that serrapeptase should be able to generally reduce inflammation in the body and make it somewhat easier to lose weight. As noted, there is currently no scientific basis for this claim. Yet even still, it would only assist a weight loss effort already in progress rather than be the singular means of losing weight.          

Serrapeptase: Bottom Line

There is sufficient evidence to trust the anti-inflammatory and pain relief properties of serrapeptase as it has been used for years in many contexts. Even as a dietary supplement, it does appear to be beneficial for treating different kinds of inflammation around the body. More research needs to be done to evaluate all of the potential benefits, however; there have also been few studies about the long term effects. Will it lead to weight loss? There is no conclusive answer, but it’s clear that just using serrapeptase supplements alone isn’t going to make a significant difference.  

How Can I Lose Weight? 

The process of gaining weight happens so gradually that it’s often a complicated process to be ready to make a change. And even when that happens, it can be difficult to know how to proceed. After all, many people attempt radical diets or vigorous exercise programs, but for various reasons they are unsustainable practices that lead to minimal weight loss or weight regained after a few months. 

At True You Weight Loss, we offer a series of alternative weight loss solutions that are designed with long-term, sustained weight loss in mind. One of the most popular options is Endoscopic Sleeve Gastroplasty (ESG), a minimally-invasive, non-surgical procedure that involves reducing the stomach’s volume to limit how much can be eaten in one sitting. Over time, the change in feelings of fullness and satiety will lead to eating less and achieving a calorie deficit, the critical factor in fat loss. If you would like to learn more about ESG or any of our other weight loss solutions, please contact us today to request a consultation.   

Dr. Christopher McGowan
Dr. Christopher McGowan

Dr. Christopher McGowan, MD, a leader in endobariatrics, specializes in non-surgical obesity treatments and is triple-board-certified in Internal Medicine, Gastroenterology, and Obesity Medicine. Renowned for pioneering endoscopic sleeve gastroplasty (ESG) with over 2,000 procedures, his global influence and research contributions define him as a top expert.

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