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Enzymes are the body’s natural catalysts.  They are needed for every single chemical action that occurs within the body. Proteolytic enzymes – also known as protease – are enzymes that aid in the breakdown of protein. They also help to assimilate it into the digestive system.

Protease is naturally produced by the pancreas and stomach but can also be found in certain foods and supplements. The most common proteolytic enzymes are pepsin, bromelain, and papain. These enzymes have all been attributed to providing a number of health benefits such as improving digestion and decreasing inflammation. Pepsin is naturally produced in the gut.  Bromelain and papain can be found in certain foods. Also, papain is occasionally extracted to make supplements. So, what are the benefits of proteolytic enzymes?

The benefits of proteolytic enzymes

1. Anti-inflammatory properties

Proteolytic enzymes can help in reducing inflammation. According to one animal study, rats injected with these enzymes experienced a reduction in inflammation. Furthermore, a review found a reduction in pain symptoms, swelling, and joint stiffness in patients suffering from osteoarthritis.

2. May promote wound healing

Proteolytic enzyme supplements may be the best way to deal with a wound. According to animal studies, proteolytic enzymes help to heal a wound by speeding up new tissue growth. Additionally, a study published in the International Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery showed proteolytic enzymes helped ease post-surgery symptoms.

3. Boost digestive health

Battling with digestive health issues? Proteolytic enzymes could be the answer. Irritable bowel syndrome symptoms include bloating, gas, constipation, and abdominal pain. According to one study, the administration of proteolytic enzyme supplements helps to ease these symptoms. Beware though!

4. May help fight against cancer

Some studies have highlighted the anti-cancer properties of proteolytic enzymes. A test-tube study revealed that the proteolytic enzyme bromelain managed to hinder the growth of stomach cancer and colon cancer cells. Some cells were even killed off. It is through this and other studies that researchers have deduced the potential of bromelain, helping to prevent colon cancer.

Other nutrients found in foods that contain proteolytic enzymes have also been linked to reducing the risk of cancer. Such foods also contain fiber. Fiber protects the colon by keeping healthy cells safe from toxins that can cause cancer.

Food sources

The best foods that are rich in proteolytic enzymes are papaya and pineapple. Papayas contain papain which is great for digestive health. Pineapples, on the other hand, contain the powerful enzyme bromelain. Aside from these two, other dietary sources include kiwifruit, sauerkraut, yogurt, and ginger.

Bottom line

A diet lacking in enzymes can lead to issues such as allergies, memory loss, and poor digestive and skin health. Including enzyme-rich foods in your diet is sure to make you look and feel better.

Pie Mulumba

Pie Mulumba

Pie Mulumba is a beauty and wellness writer who has a passion for poetry, equality, natural hair, and skin-care. With a journalism degree from Pearson's Institute of Higher Education, and identifiable by either her large afro or colorful locks, Pie aspires to continuously provide the latest information, be it beauty or wellness, on how one can adopt a healthy lifestyle on a day-to-day basis.

The content in this editorial is for general information only and is not intended to provide medical or other professional advice. For more information on your medical condition and treatment options, speak to your healthcare professional.