I found out that my mother uses serrapeptase as a natural supplement for arthritis pain.Do you think it might work or is it just a deception?
A short overview from wikipedia
Serratiopeptidase (Serratia E-15 protease, also known as serralysin, serratiapeptase, serratia peptidase, serratio peptidase, or serrapeptidase) is a proteolytic enzyme (protease) produced by enterobacterium Serratia sp. E-15. This microorganism was originally isolated in the late 1960s from silkworm Bombyx mori L. (intestine), Serratiopeptidase is present in the silkworm intestine and allows the emerging moth to dissolve its cocoon. Serratiopeptase is produced by purification from culture of Serratia E-15 bacteria
Some alternative medicine proponents claim that serratiopeptidase is beneficial for pain and inflammation but "existing trials [have been] small and generally of poor methodological quality." Online medical journal Bandolier (specializing in Evidence-based thinking about healthcare) published an article (in about 2001) in response to a reader's enquiry about serratiopeptidase. After searching PubMed and the Cochrane Library "to see if there are any randomised, controlled trials", the article stated that the "evidence on serratiopeptidase being effective for anything is not based on a firm foundation of clinical trials."
The search found 34 publications in the medical databases covered, that addressed the efficacy of serratiopeptidase, of which several were found to be animal experiments, personal letters, uncontrolled trials or those with inadequate or nonexistent randomisation. The article warned against ignoring safety issues with use of biological agents. No studies were found to have been conducted on the efficacy of serratiopeptidase as treatment for back pain, heart attack, stroke, or asthma. Of the 10 medical conditions with randomized-evidence studies on file in connection with serratiopeptidase, trial quality was described as "generally poor".
In a news article published Feb 22, 2011, Kyoda News reports: "Takeda Pharmaceutical Co. said Monday it will voluntarily recall an anti-inflammatory drug touted effective for a variety of conditions ranging from chronic bronchitis to sprained ankles because recent tests have cast doubt on its efficacy even though it has been on the market for more than 40 years. Double-blind experiments comparing the effects of the drug Dasen, which debuted in 1968, and placebos showed no significant differences between the two, the major drugmaker said. Sales of the product, generically called serrapeptase, totaled ¥6.7 billion in fiscal 2009, but the impact of the recall will likely be limited because similar drugs are being sold on the market, it said."
Serrapeptase (and other enzymes) may help certain conditions, but as you say, the evidence is incredibly sparse.
One thing to note is that combination-enzyme pills are very expensive.
I've always wondered if some forward-thinking doctor has experimented with injectible enzymes to target tissues in need of treatment. Anyone?
The issue with studies on food supplements is that diet and lifestyle play a big part and can rarely be separated. For instance certain food groups are regarded by nutritionalists as inflammatory. These include everyday items like wheat, rice and meat.
Anti-inflammatories are also found in the diet and aren't limited to enzymes like serrapeptase - circumin for example is highly regarded as anti-inflammatory and many leafy vegetables also have this property, especially when eaten raw.
The problem is most people eat both inflammatory and anti-inflammatory foods, so the net effect is often only that one cancels the other out. This means the user may not notice visible effects (although it may be true that conditions would worsen if the inflammatories weren't cancelled out by the anti-inflammatories).
In that sense, the addition of significant numbers of anti-inflammatories via a supplement may be what is needed to tip the scale in your favour. Within the health community, many proponents of enzyme therapy criticized Takeda's Dasen formula because they said it was so low strength. Dasen was 10,000IU, whereas many consider 4 x 40,000IU capsules daily to be a maintenance level and 4 x 80,000IU capsules twice daily to be a light therapeutic dose.
It's also true that not all enzymes available are equal. Heat destroys enzymatic activity so brands with a superior manufacturing process tend to get far more noticable results than some cheaper 'box-shifter' brands.
In my personal experience, I've tried numerous brands of serrapeptase including SerraZyme, Blockbuster AllClear, Serrranol, Neprinol, Vitalzym and Protenzyme. I do not have arthritis. I practice contact sports and so often get bruises and swellings and other types of inflammation related to exercise. I find serrapeptase very useful in reducing the swelling and pain and aiding recovery. The only one I didn't notice much benefit from was Neprinol which I feel is poorly made. I stopped using Protenzyme because it also contains other enzymes, one of which was of animal origin and I'm vegetarian.
Disclosure: I work at a company that sells serrapeptase amongst other health supplements and organic foods. What I've stated above is my personal experience of trying it. I'm not trying to sway a case for or against, I'm just chipping in my story and I don't feel it would be complete if I don't make that disclosure.
In answer to your question:
Do you think it might work or is it just a deception?
I'm not a scientist but I've shared what I know and I think it works. I reckon most of the people and companies making this stuff genuinely believe in it offering an alternative that can help some people. I hope she finds living with her arthritis more comfortable.