But just in case, we’ll give you a small hint: Protein.
As the name entails, protease (also known as proteolytic enzyme and peptidase), is a kind of enzyme that helps us digest proteins by breaking them down. Of course, this is a very simplified explanation of what protease actually is, but for now, this explanation should be enough for you. After all, you didn’t come here to know how protease breaks down proteins into amino acids, right? (At least we hope so because well… we don’t really know how protease breaks down proteins into amino acids.)
Instead, we know something even more useful. But before teaching you how protease could benefit your body, let’s first take a look at where exactly protease can be found… both inside your body and outside of it.
Where are protease enzymes found?
Inside your body, your digestive tracks produce most of these enzymes, including pepsin, trypsin and chemotrypsin. Outside of your body, protease enzymes can be found in several plant sources including papaya and pineapple. Protease supplements are usually derived from plant sources.
What are the health benefits of protease enzymes?
Protease enzymes offer quite a few health benefits. The first (and most obvious one) is its main function — namely, to help your body digest proteins. But what makes those enzymes so amazing is that foods are not the only things that they digest. Cell walls of unwanted (and harmful) organisms, toxins, debris, undigested proteins and other unwanted wastes all fall victims to protease enzymes.
Because protease enzymes do such a wonderful job at cleaning your digestive track, they play an essential role in keeping your digestive system working as it should. But that is not all: Recent studies have shown that the benefits of systemic enzymes may not be limited to the digestive system. Since they don’t stop in your digestive system but continue to make their way through your circulatory system and entire body, protease enzymes have been known to help with:
- Cancer treatment;
- Sport injuries;
- And many other conditions.
Should I supplement with proteolytic enzymes?
This is a question that you should ask yourself and your doctor. No serious side effects have been linked with protease enzyme supplements (or most enzyme supplements for that matter), so they are generally safe to consume. If you are on a blood thinning medication, however, you should steer clear of enzyme supplements in general. This is because they are so effective at thinning the blood that they may cause serious health complications for you.
To go back to the original question, should you supplement with proteolytic enzymes? We see no reason why you shouldn’t — especially if better digestion is something that you’ve been trying to achieve for a while. The health benefits of proteolytic enzymes are incredibly varied, so in this case, what do you have to lose? (And what do you have to gain?)