Dr. Hans Nieper, the German internist renowned for his work with proteolytic enzymes, called serrapeptidase “the miracle enzyme” due to its effectiveness in a wide variety of applications. In particular, he found that it could help to prevent or dissolve arterial plaque (see Dr. Nieper). But serrapeptidase may offer additional cardiovascular benefits not considered by Nieper.
Researchers have recently found that inflammation contributes to the development of arterial blockage. C-reactive protein (CRP) is a marker for systemic inflammation. It has also been closely related to cardiovascular risk. In one study, subjects with higher levels of CRP were found to have a greater risk of future heart attack and stroke, independently of other risk factors such as smoking, high blood pressure, or cholesterol levels.
Additionally, in a study of 18 subjects who had high levels of CRP and who also used aspirin, these patients showed dramatic decreases in their risk of heart attack. This led the researchers to speculate that the effectiveness of aspirin in preventing heart attack is due as much to its anti-inflammatory activity as to its anti-clotting effects.
Serrapeptidase, like aspirin, is both anti-inflammatory and anti-clotting. Unlike aspirin however, serrapeptidase can dissolve existing fibrous deposits – such as arterial plaque. And serrapeptidase does not have the serious gastrointestinal side effects or bleeding in the brain associated with long-term use of NSAIDs such as aspirin.
Serrapeptidase, therefore, offers cardiovascular benefits beyond what is available from aspirin, and may be an excellent preventive against cardiovascular risk as an alternative to aspirin.
The Dangers of Aspirin
Several recent studies represent more evidence against the use of aspirin to prevent heart attacks.
Researchers at the University of Tasmania in Australia designed an epidemiological model to assess aspirin risks and benefits among older people. Researchers looked for first-time heart attacks, stroke and major hemorrhage in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. As reported in the British Medical Journal, the model showed that while heart attacks and ischaemic strokes may have been prevented, this benefit was offset by a significant number of subjects with sharply increased risk of bleeding in the brain and/or GI tract.
In another study reported in the July 2004 issue of the American Heart Journal, researchers divided 279 subjects into three groups. One group received 300 mg of aspirin daily, one received a standard daily dose of warfarin, and a third group received placebo. Each of the subjects had already experienced either a heart attack or stroke, prompted by thrombosis.
After an average follow up period of more than two years, the researchers found that neither the aspirin nor the warfarin therapies provided any greater protection against death, heart attack, or stroke than the placebo. In fact, subjects who received aspirin therapy were nearly twice as likely to suffer a heart attack or stroke as were those who took warfarin or placebo. Gastrointestinal problems were also elevated in the aspirin group.
Lead researcher Dr. John Cleland stated that any theoretical benefit of using aspirin after a heart attack, "is outweighed by real evidence of harm".
"Epidemiological Modelling of Routine Use of Low Dose Aspirin for the Primary Prevention of Coronary Heart Disease and Stroke in Those Aged 70 or Greater" British Medical Journal, published online 5/20/05, bmj.bmjjournals.com
"The Warfarin/Aspirin Study in Heart Failure (WASH): a Randomized Trial Comparing Antithrombotic Strategies for Patients with Heart Failure" American Heart Journal, Vol. 148, No. 1, July 2004