Proteolytic enzymes (proteases)
Proteolytic enzymes (proteases)


Proteolytic enzymes (proteases) are enzymes that break down protein. These enzymes are made by animals, plants, fungi, and bacteria.

Proteolytic enzymes break down proteins in the body or on the skin. This might help with digestion or with the breakdown of proteins involved in swelling and pain. Some proteolytic enzymes that may be found in supplements include bromelain, chymotrypsin, ficin, papain, serrapeptase, and trypsin.

Proteolytic enzymes are used for a long list of conditions including cleaning wounds on the skin, help with digestion, pain and swelling, and many other conditions. Refer to specific topics for more information on uses and effects.
When taken by mouth: Proteolytic enzymes are possibly safe when taken appropriately. Side effects are usually mild or moderate and include stomach and intestinal complaints. See specific proteolytic enzymes for more detailed safety information.

When applied to the skin: Proteolytic enzymes are possibly safe when applied to the skin. Some may cause allergic reactions. See specific proteolytic enzymes for more detailed safety information.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: There isn't enough reliable information to know if proteolytic enzymes are safe to use when pregnant or breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.


Proteolytic enzymes represent a large group of enzymes. See specific proteolytic enzymes for effectiveness information.
Likely effective Effectiveness definitions
Possibly effective Effectiveness definitions
Likely ineffective Effectiveness definitions
Possibly ineffective Effectiveness definitions
Insufficient evidence Effectiveness definitions

Dosing & administration

See specific proteolytic enzymes for dosing information.

Interactions with pharmaceuticals

See specific proteolytic enzymes for interactions with medicines.

Interactions with herbs & supplements

See specific proteolytic enzymes for interactions with herbs and supplements.

Interactions with foods

See specific proteolytic enzymes for interactions with foods.
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