I have a quick question for you.
Who has an injury?
I’m not talking about that injury you have from when you rolled your ankle or tweaked your knee last month, what I’m talking about is one of those niggling injuries that has been plaguing you for months, if not years. The one that never seems to heal, it’s always there causing a dull ache and most therapists you see are unable to do anything much about it. It may not affect your running as you can probably train around it, but it’s always just there. Anyone who has been a runner for any significant amount of time will have experienced this at one time or another.
What we are talking about here is the remnants of old injuries, or scar tissue. When you get an injury, such as tearing a muscle or a tendon, however minor or major, you go into repair mode. Your body builds up tissue over the injury site to make it stronger while the underlying tissue is repaired. This tissue that is laid down is known as fibrin. In a healthy person, under the magic age of 27, the body generally has no issues metabolizing this fibrin, as at this age there are plenty of enzymes on hand to do the job.
For us on the wrong side of 27 such as myself, our enzymes are in shorter supply, so the body tends to reserve them a bit more and limit the supply of them. As a result, as you age, injuries tend to take a bit longer to recover from, scar tissue tends to be a bit more stubborn and our aches and pains tend to hang around for a lot longer. This is due to the fact that fibrin tends to be inflexible and if it is surrounding a muscle or tendon, it can actually restrict normal growth and movement of the associated joint. Ever wonder why our flexibility decreases as we age? This does not have to be the case though! We can supplement the enzymes responsible for metabolizing this fibrin tissue.
The enzymes we are looking for here are known as fibrinolytic enzymes with serrapeptase being the most common and potent one essential for the fibrin breakdown. Serrapeptase is derived from silk worms as they create this enzyme to break down the silk of their cocoon, so it is completely natural and has been used with success in many nations such as Japan and some European nations with a very high degree of safety.
What are the alternatives? Well in our typical Western nations, we tend to steer away from these “alternatives” and use pharmaceuticals that concentrate more on the symptoms rather than the underlying problem. The alternatives to fibrinolytic enzymes are things like non steroidal anti-inflammatory tablets (like ibuprofen). These have many side effects and I would suggest avoiding these in all but the most extreme circumstances. Natural enzymes are far safer and have few negative side effects.
There are a couple of warnings that go along with this enzyme though. They shouldn’t be taken along with hypertension medication without consulting your doctor as it can also reduce blood pressure. If you suffer from gastric issues, it may cause nausea and it may cause excess mucus in the lungs (although these two are very rare). Basically the elderly should use them with caution and stop immediately if any symptoms arise from their use.
If you are looking for a good supplier of fibrinolytic enzymes, I Herb has a vast supply of different brands, potencies and formulas. Just head to their site and enter Serrapeptase into their search bar near the top of the page and pick the one that has the highest potency for your budget. Their shipping is generally quite reasonable although they can be slow to deliver in some instances, so I would suggest spending a little bit more and avoid the cheapest shipping available.
Warning to Australians – Just keep in mind when ordering from overseas, Australian customs are notoriously strict and can change their minds without notice as to what is allowed into the country. I Herb even state on their shipping terms that Australian customs may restrict the importation of certain enzymes. If you do order from I Herb, be warned as they won’t refund your money if the product is confiscated. Have a read here for all the 1986 products they can’t send to Australia.
The time it takes for the enzymes to be effective can vary greatly depending on the degree of the issue and the strength of the tablets. It is also advised that a magnesium (1000-2000mg) and zinc (30mg) supplement be taken in conjunction with the enzymes as these help activate them.
So if you are on the wrong side of 27, experiencing any ongoing pains that seem to be stubborn, I would suggest giving enzyme therapy a go. You may be surprised at the results you get.