Increasing Your Odds with Successful Post-Operative Recovery
Potential complications and post-operative concerns are inherent in any surgery, whether elective or prescribed. Surgical incision, similar to other injuries, sets off an intricate series of regulatory and repair functions that can interfere with a proper healing response, while also increasing the likelihood of infection, pain, and loss of function depending on the circumstances. Potential post-operative complications may include blood flow/clotting issues, severe edema, and swelling. Surgeries involving implantation always run the risk of infection despite improved sanitary regulations. Lastly, scar tissue formation – both in terms of movement restriction and aesthetics – tops the list of concerns for both patient and surgeon.
The use of therapeutic, orally administered proteolytic enzymes in surgery is a useful, yet often overlooked remedy. Their potent anti-inflammatory and anti-edema effects can speed recovery time and promote normal function post-surgery. Preventing excessive scar tissue and regulating inflammation may reduce prolonged post-operative pain and discomfort. The benefits of systemic enzymes are well documented, but since they are considered an alternative therapy, many doctors are unaware of the post-operative support gained through systemic enzyme therapy.
Serrapeptase and the Healing Mechanism
A key role of proteolytic enzymes is to prevent excessive self-protection during the healing process. In essence, enzymes are responsible for regulating the repair functions of the body by down-regulating the process when sufficient fibrin has been laid. When a bone, joint, ligament, or muscle is injured, the body builds a protective framework of fibrin around the internal wound to facilitate healing. The fibrin conducts platelets that release growth factors to the injury site. Scar tissue begins to form around the injured area to restrict motion that might otherwise worsen the injury. In the early stages of recovery, both inflammation and fibrin (scar tissue) are productive. Failure to turn off this process leads to excess or damaging levels of inflammation and fibrin.
Serrapeptase is a proteolytic enzyme whose main function is to regulate this process, effectively turning off production so as not to build up scar tissue beyond what is necessary and productive. This enzyme simply dissolves fibrin by breaking it down into its proteins. The body’s lymphatic and detoxifying systems can then eliminate these proteins through normal channels.
Removing the excess fibrin and/or resulting scar tissue can help relieve pain and restricted range of motion in the affected area.
The proteolytic activity of serrapeptase is amplified by other protein-dissolving enzymes, namely bromelain and papain. These co-enzymes are found naturally in pineapples and papaya. Both bromelain and papain are commonly used in topical cosmetic formulas, peels, and facials as they help regulate scar tissue production, improve blood flow for healing, and promote healthy tissue.
So why haven’t most physicians and practitioners heard of proteolytic enzymes?
As natural substances, enzymes cannot be patented and are therefore not as profitable as pharmaceuticals. Despite decades of successful and mainstream use in Europe and Asia, they have not gained much popularity in the U.S. When administered in the months following surgery, especially cosmetic and plastic surgery, patients may experience considerably less swelling and improved outcomes related to scarring, not only at the epidermal level but internally as well.
Benefits* of Proteolytic Enzymes:
- Improved post-surgical healing
- Reduced swelling/edema, inflammation, and associated pain
- Improved regulation of scar tissue formation
- Improved blood flow and volume
- Immune system support
Experts generally advise administering enteric-coated systemic enzyme supplements to ensure absorption of the highest level of active enzymes into the bloodstream. To enhance food digestion, uncoated enzymes – either in powder or capsule form – can be consumed along with other digestive enzymes, such as lipase and amylase, at meal time.
A potent proteolytic enzyme formula will also include anti-oxidants that support the healing and aging process:
Amla – a rich source of vitamin C and potent anti-oxidant found in the Indian gooseberry; known to possess anti-aging properties for skin and collagen *
Rutin – a bioflavonoid found in citrus and buckwheat to enhance vitamin C utilization and produce collagen; used to treat conditions such as hemorrhoids, varicose veins, high blood pressure, and to reduce cholesterol levels. 1
Clinical studies on the efficacy of rutin include:
- Increases the elasticity of the arterial walls, promoting greater blood flow and improved vascular health
- Improves capillary strength and helps regulate their permeability
- Works as an anti-inflammatory and anti-carcinogenic
- Inhibits the formation of blood clots, which can be helpful in preventing DVT
Just as the enzymes bromelain and papain enhance the effectiveness of serrapeptase, rutin and amla mirror the benefits of the proteolytic enzymes in the formula using different yet complementary pathways.
Vitälzӯm™ Xe is the world’s leading professional strength systemic enzyme supplement available exclusively through healthcare practitioners. Vitälzӯm™ Xe features an unmatched proprietary blend that combines potent proteolytic enzymes, digestive enzymes, and antioxidants that enhance its effectiveness. The systemic enzyme blend is formulated around the power of serrapeptase, a vegetarian-friendly enzyme shown to be stronger than animal-derived enzymes, coupled with the fruit enzymes bromelain and papain. Additional ingredients include amylase, protease, lipase, rutin, and amla extract. This professional strength formula delivers twice the potency of our Vitälzӯm™ liquid gel capsules and is available in 180-count boxes.
The digestive enzymes lipase and amylase, although not proteolytic enzymes, are included in our professional strength formula to enhance effectiveness. They support proteolytic enzymes in a systemic enzyme formula by neutralizing undigested fats and carbohydrates in the intestinal tract and bloodstream to down-regulate any elicited immune response and to improve circulatory health.
Systemic enzymes are designed to be taken without food to facilitate their release in the small intestine where they are absorbed and utilized throughout the body to neutralize rogue proteins, reduce chronic inflammation, regulate an over-active or weakened immune system, remove excess fibrin and plaque that may have been building for years, and restore healthy blood flow. *
Vitälzӯm® Xe is also the only systemic enzyme on the market manufactured with a revolutionary enteric-coated, liquid-filled gel capsule. Unlike tablet- or powder-based products, this delivery system ensures that nearly 100% of the enzymes survive the harsh acidic environment of the stomach and reach the small intestine, where they become available for absorption into the bloodstream and then are dispersed throughout the entire body.
Vitälzӯm® Xe is specifically formulated to regulate the inflammatory and immune response to support health in the following systems:
In a study conducted on patients receiving hand surgery, researchers noted that the use of orally administered proteolytic enzymes was useful when added to standard post-operative regimen due to their inhibitory effects on edema. This clinical appraisal based on objective measurements and carried out on a double-blind basis. 2
A study conducted in 1999 details the beneficial effects of systemic enzymes following aesthetic surgery. Defined as having pharmacological effects, representing preventative and curative options for inflammatory processes and healing – systemic enzymes are documented as providing excellent results in postoperative patients. Patients who had received upper eyelid blepharoplasty (correction of the eyelid) experienced decreased edema and pain following oral administration of proteolytic enzymes. No undesirable side effects were observed, and there were no limitations for patients with cardiovascular, hepatic, or renal risks. 3
Proteolytic enzymes’ ability to directly affect localized inflammation is further demonstrated in a study published in the International Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery. Enzyme efficacy was evaluated based on reduction of postoperative swelling, pain, and trismus (spasms of the jaw muscle) after third molar removal. A significant reduction was seen in both cheek thickness and pain intensity in patients receiving enzyme therapy. 4
The American Society of Plastic Surgeons has also published studies detailing the benefits of proteolytic enzymes – this time in nasal plastic surgery. 5
Especially in surgeries involving implantation, infection is an unfavorable complication. A 2006 study examined the effects of serrapeptase, a proteolytic enzyme, on the eradication of infection after implantation. Serrapeptase is noted as being effective in the eradication of infection caused by bio-film forming bacteria. Anti-biofilm properties of serrapeptase make it useful in the prevention of infection post-operation. 6
The surgical benefits of proteolytic enzymes have also been documented in episiotomy (surgical incision during the second stage of labor). The double blind clinical trial documents a reduction in bruising and edema in patients receiving enzyme therapy. 7
The efficacy of proteolytic enzyme therapy in reducing post-operative pain was studied in a group of 80 patients, half of which received proteolytic enzymes following surgery, the other half acting as controls. Pain scores were lower for the group receiving enzyme therapy than for the control group for the first five days following surgery. The enzyme group also required less analgesic medication and experienced quicker pain relief than the control group. 8
A subsequent study evaluated the use of proteolytic enzyme therapy to improve typical recovery concerns following surgery to remove excess skin from the eyelid area. Proteolytic enzymes not only reduced pain and inflammation for the 20 patients, but also the formation of hematomas and seromas. 9
This study reported observations that oral proteolytic enzymes modulate the healing process of skin wounds. 77% of study participants experienced improved wound healing, less redness, and accelerated healing time. 10
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1 – Indian Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences. 2008; 70(1):114-117.
2 – Lie K, Larsen R, Posch J. Therapeutic Value of Oral Proteolytic Enzymes Following Hand Surgery. JAMA Surgery 1969. 98(1).
3 – Duskova M, Wald M. Orally Administered Proteases in Aesthetic Surgery. Aesthetic Plastic Surgery 1999. 23(1):41-44.
4 – Al-Khateeb TH, Nusair Y. Effect of the Proteolytic Enzyme Serrapeptase on Swelling, Pain and Trismus after Surgical Extraction of Mandibular Third Molars. International Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery. 37(3): 264-268.
5 – Kahn S. The Use of Proteolytic Enzymes from Carica Papaya in Nasal Plastic Surgery. Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery 1965. 35(4):428-432.
6 – Mecikoglu M, Saygi B, Yildirim Y, et al. The Effect of Proteolytic Enzyme Serratiopeptidase in the Treatment of Experimental Implant-Related Infection. The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery 2006. 88(6):1208-1214.
7 – Howat RCL, Lewis GD. The Effect of Bromelain Therapy on Episiotomy Wounds – A Double Blind Controlled Clinical Trial. BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology 2005. 79(10):951-953.
8 – Hoernecke R, Doenicke A. Perioperative enzyme therapy. A significant supplement to postoperative pain therapy. Anaesthesist. 1993;42(12):856-61.
9 – Duskovά M, Wald M. Orally administered proteases in aesthetic surgery. Aesthetic Plast Surg. 1999;23(1):41-4.
10 – Brown SA, Coimbra M, Coberly DM, Chao JJ, Rohrich RJ. Oral nutritional supplementation accelerates skin wound healing: a randomized, placebo-controlled, double-arm, crossover study. Plast Reconstr Surg. 2004 Jul;114(1)237-44.