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How Protease Impacts Digestive Health: Sources, Benefits, and More

7 minute read


Without digestive enzymes, our food will not be broken down properly into the useable components we need for energy. While the body is capable of producing many digestive enzymes, protease is not one of them.

Protease is one of the most important digestive enzymes, as it is responsible for breaking down proteins into amino acids that our bodies need.Learning about what protease is and where it can be found are important parts of maintaining a long, healthy life.

Protease Aids Digestion

Proteins are the building blocks of the human body, and amino acids are the building blocks of protein. As amazing as the human body is, it is not able to manufacture these proteins, so we need to get them from the food we eat.

For this we require proteases, which are the enzymes that can digest proteins into amino acids for absorption. These amino acids are used in many vital processes throughout your body.

Proteins are the most complex compounds found in nature. The amino acids that make up proteins are released when proteins you eat come into contact with protease enzymes and the hydrochloric acid found in your stomach (stomach acid).

Proteins as a whole cannot be absorbed, and, if left undigested, the remaining protein fragments left in your gut can be toxic. Protease enzymes make sure this does not happen.

Proteases also directly improve digestion through the more efficient processing and absorption of proteins. The positive influence protease has on your digestive system means that individuals with frequent digestive troubles such as indigestion, bloating, loss of appetite, and irregular bowel movements can get some relief.

Lipase and amylase are additional enzymes that we rely on for breaking down fats and carbohydrates. Although protease acts in a similar fashion to these enzymes, it also does much more.

Protease Deficiency

Beyond breaking proteins down into amino acids for energy use, proteases also play a valuable role in cell division, blood clotting, the recycling of proteins, and immune system support.

Protease deficiency can result in a number of unpleasant outcomes for your health and well-being.

pH Imbalance: Acidity is created as a result of protein digestion, so without this you end up with a strong alkaline blood which can cause anxiety and insomnia. Drastic pH imbalances in your body can also lead to disruption of several metabolic processes.

Hypoglycemia: Protein is converted to glucose as needed, so inadequate protein digestion can cause hypoglycemia, insufficient blood sugar, which triggers mood swings and irritability.

Joint Health Risks: Your risk for arthritis and osteoporosis increases because proteins are needed for the transport of protein-bound calcium in your blood. Without them the calcium cannot get where it is needed.

Additional Benefits of Proteases

Protease enzymes have been used for a long time in various forms of therapy, specifically because of the multitude of health benefits they can provide. With clinical studies showing usefulness in oncology cases, inflammatory diseases, and immune system regulation, proteases are more valuable than people realize.

In addition to improved digestion, protease also helps your body in several unexpected ways.

Muscle Support

Because protein is a staple for athletes and anyone who exercises regularly, proteases can help with muscle soreness. Studies have shown that protease helps to alleviate muscle pain and tenderness after workouts.

Research has also found that the swelling and discomfort associated with injuries can be reduced as a result of giving protease supplements to patients. Proteases can breakdown cellular debris often found at injury sites, which enhances healing by way of supporting new tissue growth.

Inflammation Control

One of the most impressive benefits of proteases is their secret anti-inflammatory properties. Inflammation on a small scale is essential for fighting infection, but systemic or uncontrolled inflammation is a leading cause of serious diseases.

Proteases have the ability to destroy pathogenic complexes that interfere with immune activity. They are able to scavenge and remove particles (free radicals) that can trigger unwanted inflammation.

Better Heart Health

With heart disease being a leading cause of death in America, heart health is becoming a top priority. Not many realize that protease enzymes can help boost heart health when combined with a heart healthy diet and regular exercise.

Certain protease enzymes help to reduce blood pressure which can protect your blood vessels from damage and reduce strain placed on your heart.

Immunity Booster

Proteases also have the ability to scavenge and digest unwanted debris from your blood. This means that along with digesting proteins, these enzymes can break down harmful bacteria and viruses.

Studies have found that protease-deficient people are more likely to be immune compromised which increases susceptibility to bacterial, viral, and yeast infections.

Energy Booster

Instead of reaching for an energy drink or caffeine, consider protease supplements for energy boosts. The spikes in energy caused by these drinks will eventually turn into dangerous crashes. However, with adequate protease levels in your body, you get sustained energy.

| Related: Lipase 101: Why This Enzyme Is Required for Digestive Health |

These enzymes help to remove pathogens from your blood as well as excess proteins, optimizing blood flow and circulation. Because red blood cells are responsible for delivering oxygen to your body, delivery of energizing oxygen is now dramatically improved.

Protease Sources and Supplements

The best food sources for proteases include cheese, pineapples, whole grains, ginger, kiwi, and papaya. You can always take a daily digestive enzyme supplement too.

When getting digestive enzymes through food, be aware that cooking at high temperatures can damage them, so going raw when possible is always better. To get the best from a supplement, be sure to take it between meals on an empty stomach.

The Bottom Line

Digestive enzymes are essential for digestion and your health. Proteases are essential in proper digestive health, making sure you get nutrients and energy for health and survival.

Beyond breaking down proteins into amino acid building blocks, proteases complete many valuable functions in the body. Whether you take a supplement or increase protease-containing foods in your diet, you can be assured of healthy digestion and better health in no time.

READ NEXT >>> Amylase: All About an Essential Enzyme


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