Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in these newsletters are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nutristart Vitamin Company.
JointStart contains two forms of protease. Proteases are a family of protein digesting enzymes that have a variety of therapeutic applications, aside from serving as a digestive aid. Proteases, derived from animal, plant and microbial sources, are used to fight inflammation, in chronic conditions such as cancer and arthritis, and in acute conditions such as sports injuries, surgery and wounds. The Serratia Protease (Serratia Peptidase) has even broader benefits including digesting non-living tissue, blood clots, cysts, fibrin and arterial plaque. These enzymes also have been used to treat respiratory tract diseases (thins mucus), edema, acute sinusitis and varicose veins (due to breaking down fibrin deposits).
We must appreciate that, however wonderful the anti-inflammatory benefits of these proteolytic enzymes, unlike JointStart Premium, they cannot repair cartilage and connective tissues. So, for example, if one has osteoarthritis, caused by a distinct loss of cartilage in the joints, all the Serrapeptase in the world will not promote new cartilage growth the way glucosamine will. Thus JointStart products have the dual effect of both reducing pain and inflammation, and rebuilding the damaged connective tissues that have caused the pain response in the first place.
Bromelain is often overlooked as therapeutic agent due to the latest marketing hype, yet since its introduction as a therapeutic agent in 1957, well over 200 scientific papers attesting to its effectiveness have appeared in the medical literature. Bromelain has been proven to be clinically effective in treating: pancreatic insufficiency, cellulites, sprains, strains, contusions, sinusitis, bronchitis, degenerative bone and joint diseases, tumors, allergies, and much more (1). In fact the original research done by Dr. Hans Nieper, and often quoted to support the sales of serratia peptidase products, was done with Bromelain.
Bromelain has proven useful in treating both rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis, and sports related injuries. One study compared the effects of bromelain against NSAID medication for treatment of osteoarthritis of the knee. Both groups received the same benefits in pain reduction and improved mobility. We now know that non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs can have dangerous side effects, so bromelain proved to be a safe and effective alternative (2).
The enzyme serratia peptidase is marketed under many different names, and is well researched in Europe and Japan. Most studies are based on treating pain and inflammation due to physical trauma, especially post-operative trauma (3). Additional clinical studies cover treating sinusitis, respiratory ailments and breast engorgement. While logical extension of its benefits have lead to these products being marketed for arthritic conditions, in fact, bromelain has more actual science behind it for treating these conditions. Though one study out of India did confirm its effectiveness on carpal tunnel syndrome (65% of cases showed significant clinical improvement) (4), and new studies are being performed in these areas, we chose to go with the addition of an enzyme (bromelain) that had scientific evidence to back up its use in the treatment of arthritic and related conditions.
Serrapeptase is isolated from the enterobacteria Serratia E15, derived from the larval form of the silk moth. This enzyme is produced in the intestines of silk worms to break down the cocoon walls. Our version of this enzyme, Serrazimes-1, is produced from fungal strains (aspergillus – the variety used to produce most digestive enzymes sold in supplemental form) with a long history of safe use. These strains are very well established, known to be non-pathogenic and do not produce micotoxins.
Much has been made of the necessity of enteric coating protease products when they are to be used to reduce inflammation or clean out cellular debris. If we set aside the marketing hype and look at it from a scientific perspective it is fairly clear that the enteric coating is not necessary. Basically, the first function of protease is to digest protein, so if you take these enzymes while there is protein in the stomach that is what they will do. If there is no protein in the stomach, they will serve their secondary functions of cleaning out waste material and reducing inflammation. So when using non-enteric coated products, such as ours, simple take away from protein. We suggest they be taken on an empty stomach (half hour before eating, or one hour after eating), but really they can be taken with fruit or carbs, as long as no protein is ingested at the same time (meat, fish, poultry, eggs, cheese, tofu, tempeh).
To further support this position we quote Dr. Michael Murray from his book The Healing Power of Herbs: “Later studies implied that bromelain failed in some of these early studies because of the enteric coating as well as inadequate dosages” (5). Remember that bromelain and serratia peptidase products, are both of the same family of enzymes, and so the same digestive principles apply to both of them. He goes on to state elsewhere, with regard to the studies done on arthritis: “Even better results may have been obtained by using a non-enteric coated product.” And with regard to cancer studies (bromelain is used to support standard chemotherapy treatment to aid in tumor regression)“The most effective preparations were nonenteric coated…” (6). This may be due to the ability of bromelain to remain active over a wide pH range, such that it can work in the low-pH environment of the stomach, as well as in the high-pH environment in the small intestine. Serrazimes also work in a wide pH range and are active in both the stomach and the intestines.
Both Bromelain and all variations of Serratia Peptidase will increase the concentration of antibiotics in the bloodstream. While this can allow for less antibiotics to be used, if they are properly prescribed together, it can be dangerous to mix the two without professional guidance. Because Bromelain reduces blood platelet aggregation it should not be combined with blood thinning medications, again unless under the supervision of a trained professional. All protein digesting enzymes can irritate existing ulcers and should be avoided by those with stomach or intestinal ulcers. People allergic to pineapples may react poorly to Bromelain supplements. And, as a general precaution, if you are pregnant or nursing, consult with a professional before using.
1.Cichoke, Dr.Anthony J: The Complete Book of Enzyme Therapy. Avery Publishing, Garden City Park, NY, 1999, pp 46,52.
2.Klein, G and Kullich W: “Short-Term Treatment of Painful Osteoarthritis of the Knee With Oral Enzymes.” W Clinical Drug Investigation Jan 01, 2000.
3.Esch PM, Gerngross H, Fabian A. Reduction of postoperative swelling. Fortschr Med. 1989; 107 (4):67-8, 71-2
4.Dept. of Neurology, SMS Medical College and Hospital, Jaipur. J AssocPhysicians India, 2000 Nov: 48(11):1130
5.Taussig S and Batkin S: Bromelain, the enzyme complex of pineapple and its clinical application. An update. J Ethnopharmacol 22, 191-203, 1988
6.Murray, Dr. Michael T: The Healing Power of Herbs. Prima Publishing, Rocklin, CA, 1995, pp 60,65,67.
References available by request.