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What Is Papain?
Most people are aware of the bright colors of the orange papaya and the delicious flavor and excellent nutrients it brings. But, some believe the best part of the papaya to be the enzyme papain. This enzyme is in the raw papaya and has a long history in non-traditional medicines, such as folk medicine.
Papain is popular because it has qualities that aid in digestion by breaking down proteins and reducing inflammation. Interestingly, you will often find it in combination with bromelain (from pineapples) for both their excellent abilities to relieve pain.
The papaya fruit is orange and has a flavor that people love in addition to the benefits of the nutrients it contains. You will also find it in folk medicine for its superb job of aiding with healthy digestion.
How Does Papain Work?
This wonderful papaya fruit is a source of proteolytic enzymes. In fact, it contains several such as chymopapain A, chymopapain B, papain, and papaya peptidase A. The significance of proteolytic enzymes is that they work to effectively break down the long chain of molecule proteins into fragments and then into the building blocks of proteins, more commonly knows as amino acids.
Papain Benefits and Uses
This wonderful fruit has many qualities which are conducive to good digestive health. However, there are studies which suggest that there are other healthy uses for this tasty treat as well.
The following are some suggestions for using papaya for your good health.
- Digestion Aid: Gastrointestinal dysfunction that may include bloating or constipation show improvements when taking papain supplements. Also, if you have trouble digesting animal meat or other protein foods because of low stomach acid, this protease enzyme breaks down protein without the necessity of acid.
- Inflammation Reducer:
- If you have an inflammatory condition including asthma or arthritis, this supplement might be helpful for you. Research results for a study published in 2013 show that proteolytic enzymes such as papain and trypsin can break down pathogenic immune complexes. In fact, it is possible that this combination might prevent them from forming.
- Additionally, Vitro and in vivo studies suggest that papaya and its phytochemicals exhibit anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory qualities.
- Pain Reliever:
- There are several studies in existence that suggest pain relief from the use of papain. Suggestions for use include muscle pain, the pain from shingles, and sore throat pain.
- For the care of your teeth, papain gel is useful in removing infections from decaying teeth. Additionally, during oral surgery, this gel also helps lower pain and inflammation without the use of anesthesia.
- Muscle pain finds relief with the use of this supplement. For instance, if you’re a runner, this is a good supplement to consider. One study finds that when runners take a protease tablet containing 50mg of papain along with other enzymes such as amylase, bromelain, lipase, and trypsin, they experience faster recovery after running and a reduction in muscle soreness.
- A study done in Germany in 1995 looked into the effectiveness of papain in combination with other enzymes for the treatment of herpes zoster and shingles. One finding is that it is as effective as acyclovir which is a medication used to treat herpes. Another finding is that it helps reduce the pain from shingles.
- Anti-tumor Qualities: An Italian study with animals shows when they received a papain immunization, it inhibited the growth rate, invasion, and metastasis of cancerous tumors.
- Infection Fighter: This amazing enzyme also fights infections. It does this by destroying the protein layers that guard viruses and fungi. By destroying the protein layers, their ability to reproduce and spread infections is thereby significantly lower.
- Wound Healing: You can find this supplement in a topical skin application for healing wounds. (However, the FDA warns that there might be adverse skin reactions so please test on your skin before using topically.) An animal study conducted in 2010 in Malaysia shows findings that a wound cleanser containing a base of papain helped increase collagen and shows antibacterial qualities.
Papain Risks & Possible Side Effects
Papain supplementation is safe when used as directed. Additionally, it is safe when consumed as a food in normal size servings. However, the results of consuming it in enormous amounts include gastritis, stomach discomfort, and throat irritation.
Again, there is evidence of allergic reactions for some people when using papain topically. So, please ensure that you do your research and test your skin properly before using this in the form of a topical cream.
Additionally, if you are allergic to figs or kiwis, you might be allergic to papaya.
If you have diabetes or hypoglycemia conditions, avoid using papain as it might dangerously lower your blood pressure.
Moreover, if you use blood thinners, do not use papain because it might increase your bleeding. This is important to note if you are going into surgery as well – do not take for two weeks before a scheduled surgery.
Avoid use if you are pregnant or lactating.
Papain Supplement & Dosage
Delightfully, you can find this enzyme in many forms such as capsules, chewable gummies, creams, powders, and tablets.
When using a topical papain cream, do your patch test first to avoid unpleasant results due to possible allergic reactions in some people.
Dosage guidelines vary from 25 to 100mgs daily which is within safe usage recommendations.
To avoid adverse effects such as those outlined above, don’t go over 400mg per day without your doctor’s prior approval.
In summary, papain is a proteolytic enzyme that derives from the papaya plant that breaks down the proteins in our bodies into useable amino acids. In so doing, it may be beneficial in aiding in digestion, healing wounds, and pain relief.
You can buy this enzyme by itself, but you will often find it in beneficial combinations with other enzymes such as bromelain or trypsin.
Continue to do your diligent research and consult with your medical professional before starting any supplement regimen. However, if you’re looking for a good digestive enzyme with other great benefits, a papain supplement might be something to consider.
These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Products discussed are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.