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Proteolytic Enzymes


  • proteolytic enzymes = catch phrase for hydrolytic enzymes that facilitate the chemical breakdown of proteins by severing the bonds between the amino acids that make them up
  • they are proteases
  • vast majority of metabolic enzymes in the body
  • regulate everything from liver function to the immune system
  • occur naturally in all organisms
  • constitute 1-5% of all genetic content
  • different from other enzymes in the body: able to adapt to changing needs ( ex.: the same proteolytic enzyme can meet both digestive and metabolic needs)
  • a healthy supply of these protein specific enzymes is essential for sustaining and maintaining optimal health


  • six classifications (groups) in the human body:
    • Serine
    • Threonine
    • Cysteine
    • Aspartate
    • Glutamic acid
    • Metalloproteases


Enzymes Included In Supplemental Formulas


  • majority of the enzymes included in the supplemental formulas
  • break peptide bonds in those proteins in which the amino acid serine plays a key role at the enzyme’s active site
  • coordinate various physiological functions: digestion, immune response, blood coagulation, inflammation, and reproduction
  • widely distributed in nature (found in all kingdoms of cellular life and in many viral genomes)
  • defend our body: break down serine protein bonds in invading viruses


  • examples: bromelain and papain
  • regulate and enhance cell aging, cell death, and certain immune responses
  • bring macrophages back into line when they are misprogrammed and attacking collagen and elastin at sites of inflammation such as arterial walls in atherosclerosis and lung tissue in emphysema




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