belly digestion

In this article, we will be discussing enzymes and more specifically Proteolytic Enzymes or Protease Enzymes as many call them. We will help you understand what proteolytic enzymes are and we will try to answer all the important questions about them.

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What are proteolytic enzymes

Enzymes are a vital part of any physiological process in the body. Enzymes live in every cell in your body and science has identified more than 3,000 different enzymes, each with a different function.

To understand what Proteolytic Enzymes are, we first need to understand what the word Proteolytic means. Proteolytic (or proteases) means – in simple terms – breaking up the protein.

Protein degradation begins with the action of proteolytic enzymes (proteinases or proteases), which break down proteins first into peptides and eventually in amino acids allowing our bodies to absorb the amino acids and nutrients from our foods better and faster.

Are proteolytic enzymes the same as digestive enzymes

Proteolytic Enzymes is a group of enzymes that fall into the Digestive enzymes category but we can’t say that Proteolytic Enzymes are Digestive Enzymes because within the same category we have other groups of enzymes as well.

Digestive Enzymes are separated into 3 main groups:

  • Proteases (or Proteolytic enzymes) – which break the protein into smaller molecules, ready for absorption,
  • Lipases – which break down fats in their components (fatty acids and glycerol) which are absorbed better and faster into the small intestine
  • Amylases – that are the main enzymes that break down carbohydrates.
  • Lactase is an enzyme responsible for breaking down milk sugar, lactose.

READ ALSO: N-Acetylcysteine Benefits, Side Effects & Supplementation.

How do proteolytic enzymes work

Proteolytic enzymes are exclusively involved in the digestion of proteins. Protease is localized in the stomach, pancreatic and intestinal fluids. Other proteolytic enzymes are pepsin, trypsin, pancreatin, and chymotrypsin.

In addition, there are the enzymes bromelain and papain (papain), derived from pineapple and papaya respectively. These enzymes work together in the human body by breaking down proteins into several small molecules, easily to be absorbed.

This image will help you understand how protease enzymes (proteolytic) break down protein molecules into easily absorbed amino-acids.

proteolytic enzymes breaking down protein

Proteolytic enzymes benefits

Proteolytic enzymes offer a number of benefits to our bodies and especially to athletes and bodybuilders. Let’s examine one by one the proteolytic enzymes (proteases) benefits

Increase our amino acids absorption capacity

Proteolytic Enzymes help our bodies to absorb key amino acids from our foods, faster and better. For example, they help our bodies absorb up to 67% more arginine, by up to 45% more citrulline, and by 52% more tryptophan.

Increase Folate Absorption

Proteolytic Enzymes help our bodies to absorb more of certain vitamins like folate by up to 50%. Folate – also known as vitamin B9 – is an essential vitamin to our bodies as it has the capability of producing red and white blood cells, transform carbohydrates into energy and it plays role in the production of DNA and RNA.

Increase Glucosamine Absorption

Protease Enzymes can boost the absorption of the join-protecting glucosamine by 42%. Glucosamine is a natural nutrient found in cartilage – the tissue sits between our joints. By absorbing more glucosamine from our food intake we help our joints stay in a working condition for a longer period than usual.

Speeds up Muscle Recovery

Proteases help your bodies absorb up to 55% more glucose from our food intake. Glucose helps the muscles of bodybuilders and athletes to recover faster. With 55% more glucose absorption, your bodies will recover in half the time after intense training.

muscled man sitting on a bench
– Proteolytic Enzymes can speed up muscle recovery. Also, by helping your body to absorb more protein from a single meal, you tend to build bigger muscles.

Increase in muscle gains

Since your body can recover much faster with proteolytic enzymes this means that you regain your energy levels faster and be ready to hit the gym more. We all know that the more you hit the gym the bigger your arms become.

Also, by helping our bodies to break down protein and be more absorbable, that means that when we drink our protein shake or eat a high protein food, we drive more of that protein into our bodies, helping our muscles grow faster.

Promotes Faster Healing

A study (double-blind placebo) made in 44 people who had ankle injuries derived from sport accidents, showed that protease (proteolytic) enzymes helped them to heal faster and stay 50% less time away from their training routines, compared to a group of people who took the placebo.

Supports a healthy immune system

Proteolytic Enzymes clears away undigested protein from your gut – that essentially rots there causing the development of ”bad” bacteria – and gives room to ”good” bacteria to thrive.

Also, proteases have been shown to be key elements of our body’s inflammatory response – both in physiological and pathophysiological contexts – due to their release from activated leukocytes and mast cells or generation through the coagulation cascade (source).

Increases mental clarity and focus

Proteolytic Enzymes cleanse our guts and eliminate constipation by helping our bodies to break down food more easily and absorb nutrients faster and better. By improving digestion and eliminating constipation our bodies have more energy to allocate for mental and cognitive functions.

READ ALSO: The BEST Green Juice to Buy in 2020 and Everything You Need to Know in Between

Aging Affects Your Enzyme Production

Aging is the number one reason our natural enzyme production starts to decline. Research has shown that the decline in our natural enzyme production starts as early as 20 years old.

Every ten years the production of enzymes is decreased by 13%. That means that by the age of 40, our enzyme production will be down by 25% compared back when we were children. By the age of 70 years old, we will be producing 66% less.

If the body is not able to easily digest the food it receives daily using enzymes then it will start allocating more energy for the digestion process. That energy will not be allocated to your cells, thus you are not going to heal as fast as you would causing you to have constant health issues and not being able to respond.

READ ALSO: 17 Best Anti Aging Supplements According to Science

Where can proteolytic enzymes be found?

Proteolytic enzymes can be found in bacteria, fungi, some types of algae, viruses, foods and plants. But because I don’t want you to catch a flue or start eating algae to get proteolytic enzymes, here’s a list with the top 5 foods to eat to get proteolytic enzymes.

– Slices of Pineapple | Source: Pexels
  • Pineapples – Pineapple contains a compound known as bromelain, which has been shown to have anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory effects. Pineapples also contain several important enzymes, including protein digestion enzymes known as cysteine proteinases. These enzymes have the ability to help inflame, blood clotting, and even in certain types of tumors.
  • Papaya – Papaya is rich in proteolytic enzymes, including papain. Papain plays an important role in maintaining digestive hygiene. It is considered one of the most effective enzymes to break down the meat and other proteins in the body and has strong anti-inflammatory benefits.
  • Kefir – Kefir is PACKED with proteolytic enzymes, which are essential for breaking down proteins into their component parts. These enzymes can help improve digestion and boost your overall health.
  • Greek Yoghurt – Just like kefir, Greek yoghurt is a great source of proteolytic enzymes. Consuming Greek Yoghurt (preferably from goat’s or sheep’s milk) is the easiest and most abundant way to increase your proteolytic enzyme intake.
  • Kiwi – Kiwi is another fruit packed with proteolytic enzymes. I mean, just one Kiwi can give you a nice boost to break down proteins. And if you’re looking to get into shape, then eating more protein is definitely the way to go – and what better way than by chowing down on some delicious kiwis? They might be a bit pricey compared to other fruits out there, but in my opinion they’re well worth it.
  • BONUS: Supplementation. The most recommended method of getting adequate proteolytic enzymes is through supplementation. You’ll get the most proteolytic enzymes in a single capsule – instead of having to feast on a bowl of fruits (which is not bad if you ask me).

Where can I buy proteolytic enzymes supplements?

You can buy proteolytic enzymes supplements from various sources such as Amazon, PureFormulas or Bioptimizers. The best proteolytic enzyme in the market at the moment is MassZymes 3.0 sold by Bioptimizers.

Here are our top 3 recommendations

MassZymes 3.0 by Bioptimizers

masszymes 3.0

MassZymes 3.0 is the Gold Standard of Enzyme Supplements for many reasons. First of all, it is among the very few Proteolytic Enzyme Supplements that include AstraZyme.

AstraZyme™ is a proprietary all-natural plant-derived compound extracted from Panax ginseng and Astragalus using proprietary processing technology has been proven to increase the absorption of many important nutrients

MassZymes 3.0 contains 100,000 HUTs of protease per capsule. That’s 102% more protease than the runner-up enzyme supplement currently in the market. According to MassZyme’s founders, they literally looked at every enzyme label they could find and made their enzyme formulation better. You can read our MassZymes 3.0 Review here.

Doctor’s Best Proteolytic enzymes

Proteolytic Enzymes: What Are They, Benefits, Foods, Supplements

Another great choice is the proteolytic supplements from Doctor’s Best.

Doctor’s Best Proteolytic enzymes supplement helps support healthy digestion of proteins.

It is a potent formulation containing a broad spectrum of proteolytic enzymes (proteases) including serrapeptase, a protease derived from the silkworm.

This formulation helps break down proteins into peptides and amino acids for absorption and supports joint health, muscle health, and healthy immune function.

It is gluten free, vegetarian, and non-GMO.

Wonder Laboratories Proteolytic Enzymes

Proteolytic Enzymes: What Are They, Benefits, Foods, Supplements

Our final recommendation comes from Wonder Laboratories. Wonder Laboratories Proteolytic Enzymes are a blend of enzymes that help to support proper digestion. The formula includes bromelain, papain, pancreatin, and trypsin, all of which are essential for breaking down proteins.

This blend helps to support the body’s natural digestive process and can help to reduce inflammation.

Wonder Laboratories Proteolytic Enzymes are also standardized to ensure potency and quality.

The formula is gluten-free and dairy-free, making it a great choice for those with dietary restrictions. The tablets are easy to swallow and can be taken with or without food.

What to look for when buying Proteolytic Enzymes?

When buying proteolytic enzyme supplements, make sure the product lists its potency in proteases. For example, MassZymes 3.0 lists on its package that it has 100.000 HUT. Many brands simply list the weight in grams or milligrams of the enzymes they have. This does not show the ”strength” of the product.

Also, make sure that the supplement you are buying is enteric-coated. This means that each capsule or pill of the proteolytic enzyme is covered with a substance that prevents Hydrochloric acid produced by the stomach to break them down and make them ineffective. To be effective proteolytic enzymes must reach the intestine -where nutrient absorption occurs.

Finally, don’t fall for the natural or organic labels not explaining why they are labeled as such. Look at products that are reviewed third party respected agencies such us U.S. Pharmacopeia, NSF International, or

People Also Ask (Frequently Asked Questions)

Here are some FAQs we get asked by our readers. If you want to ask something feel free to contact us here.

Yes, proteolytic enzymes can cause stomach pain if taken in high doses. This is because these enzymes can digest proteins, and when there are too many of them present in the gut they can start to break down the tissue lining of the stomach, leading to inflammation and discomfort.

No. Proteolytic enzymes improve digestion. On the contrary, they might help you visit the toilet more often.

Yes, you can overdose on proteolytic enzymes. Proteolytic enzymes are used to digest protein, so taking too many could lead to digestion problems. Symptoms of an enzyme overdose may include nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.

Sure, proteolytic enzymes are best taken with food.

Yes, proteolytic enzymes can be harmful if taken in large quantities. However, it is important to follow the dosage recommendations on the label and consult with a doctor before taking them if you have any health concerns. If you stick to the recommended dosage, there’s nothing to be afraid of, unless your doctor says no.

Yes, proteolytic enzymes can help fight viruses. There is evidence that some viruses behave like proteins in that they are susceptible to being broken down by proteolytic enzymes and digested.

Also proteolytic enzymes like bromelain can kill viruses by breaking down their protective coatings. [1]

Zymogens are inactive precursors of proteolytic enzymes. This is done to prevent degradation of proteins, and to enable spatial and temporal regulation of proteolytic activity. [2]

The key difference between systemic and proteolytic enzymes is that systemic enzymes mainly help against inflammation throughout the body while proteolytic enzymes help to break down proteins within the body.

In simple words, Proteolytic enzymes reduce inflammation by breaking down proteins and peptides that contribute to the inflammatory response. The enzymes help to clear out these damaged structures, which then reduces inflammation.

Bottom Line

So, what are proteolytic enzymes? Simply put, they’re a type of enzyme that helps break down proteins. This can have numerous benefits for the body, including better digestion and absorption of nutrients, improved circulation, increased energy levels and more efficient detoxification processes. They can also be helpful in reducing inflammation throughout the body.

You can find proteolytic enzymes in certain foods – such as raw pineapple or papaya – as well as supplements form. When looking for a good supplement brand, it’s important to search for one that uses plant-based enzymes instead of animal-based ones (the latter tend to be less effective).

I hope you enjoyed our article on Proteolytic (or Protease) Enzymes. If you feel that this article is useful, feel free to share it with your friends and family to help them understand the importance of Proteolytic Enzymes intake.

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