Proteolytic enzymes for joint health

I’ve been seeing a lot of people recently who test and respond well to proteolytic enzymes (aka proteases and peptidases) for joint pain, especially for athletes who are runners or play sports with a high occurrence of joint injuries. I think this might be a major missing piece of nutritional information being given to athletes. Proteolytic enzymes help repair tissue damage by breaking down the proteins in the tissues. It seems more common, at least among the people I’m working with, that these enzymes are deficient rather than the raw materials to build new tissue (though both deficiencies may be present).

So it may be the case that supplementing with glucosamine, chondroitin, and/or MSM might help repair joint tissue but it may also be the case that the building of new tissues slows or stalls until the damaged tissue is broken down. If this is the case than proteolytics enzymes may be extremely useful in speedy tissue repair, especially from exercise or injury.

Some common proteolytic enzymes:

  • Bromelain (cysteine protease from pineapple)
  • Papain (cysteine protease from papaya)
  • Pepsin (aspartate protease)
  • Chymotrypsin (serine protease)
  • Trypsin (serine protease)
  • Pancreatin – a mixture of digestive enzymes that contains trypsin

Some supplements that contain proteolytic enzymes include:

  • Standard Process
    • Enzycore (vegetarian/vegan)
      • bromelain (plant)
      • peptidase and various proteases (microbial)
    • Multizyme
      • bromelain and papain (plant)
      • pancreatin (animal)
    • Zypan
      • pancreatin and pepsin (animal)
  • Biotics
    • Betaine Plus HP
      • pepsin (animal)
    • Bromelain Plus (vegetarian/vegan)
      • bromelain and papain (plant)
    • Bromelain Plus CLA (vegetarian/vegan)
      • bromelain and papain (plant)
    • HCl-Plus
      • pepsin
    • Hydro-Zyme
        • pancreatin and pepsin (animal)
    • Intenzyme Forte
      • bromelain and papain (plant)
      • pancreatin, trypsin, alpha chymotrypsin (animal)
  • Premier Research Labs
    • Digest Premier (vegetarian/vegan)
      • proteases
      • pepsin (plant)
    • Digestase-SP (vegetarian/vegan)
      • peptidase enzymes
      • serratiopeptidase enzymes
    • GastroVen (vegetarian/vegan)
      • bromelain and papain (plant)
    • PancreVen (vegetarian/vegan)
      • protease and pepsin
    • Protease Premier
      • protease

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