Do you, by chance, have any idea on how to harness the benefits of papain for your health? Just in case your mind is wandering afar off, papain is an enzyme extracted from papaya. By the way, papaya is an incredibly healthy tropical fruit; you should try it out sometime if it’s not yet on your favorite list of fruits. The fleshy fruit leaves you with a refreshing taste and exciting flavor.
That being said, there are several benefits to eating papaya as it is loaded with antioxidants that reduce inflammation, help you fight diseases, and keep you looking young – well, isn’t that the American dream? Let’s get right into it; soon, you will know how best to optimize papain benefits.
Basis of the Benefits of Papain
Papain is a proteolytic enzyme found in extracts from papaya plants. Although papaya itself does not contain therapeutic amounts of papain, you cannot discuss its benefits without touching a bit on papaya. Papaya is a highly sought after tropical fruit because it is loaded with lots of vitamins and antioxidants. In fact, the nutritional profile of papaya might convince an otherwise skeptical eater.
Asides from a healthy amount of magnesium, Vitamins B1, B2, B3, and B6, papaya also contain carotenoids, which are known for their effect on the skin. Of course, everyone wants young, supple-looking skin. Additionally, its high antioxidant content helps in fighting Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases.
Papain has been used in folk medicine for several years in treating pain, inflammation, and wounds. In fact, if you’ve come in contact with papain before now, there is a high chance it was from group therapy related to sports injury.
Papain is very useful as an enzyme in breaking down protein molecules, so it is popular among bigwig restaurants as a meat tenderizer. And by the way, meats that have been treated with papain have a characteristic sweet, tender but firm feel, just the way most of us like it. Due to the known benefits of papain to the human body, it is commonly found as supplement capsules or topical ointment.
Although several research institutes have provided evidence supporting the claims of improved heart and brain health from papain, some factions in the medical community believe that caution should be exercised when using this enzyme. While we wait on the results and findings from ongoing research about the benefits of papain, here are some of the well-founded ones that you can enjoy now.
Some of the Amazing Benefits of Papain
As earlier said, research is still ongoing to unravel more of the beneficial effects of papain on human health. Nonetheless, some of these benefits are well-founded and proven and have shown significant results in past years. Here are some of them.
Effects on Sore Throat
Especially for people living with pharyngitis and tonsillitis, papain is highly effective in reducing soreness, redness, and swelling. In fact, papain might be particularly helpful for people with a parched throat, mostly from inhaling smoke. Recent research published by the University of Columbia revealed that patients treated with papain supplements recovered faster than those placed on placebos.
While the mode of mechanism isn’t fully known, papain usage results cannot be dismissed. Although some medical researchers based this improvement on several factors that might have contributed to the treatment, others argue that those same factors were present in patients placed on placebos.
Therefore, it is generally accepted that papain works. In any case, you can try out a tablet containing papain if you have any symptoms of a sore throat. If it doesn’t show any measurable improvement in a day or two, visit the doctor.
Effect on Pain and Inflammation
Generally, it is known that proteolytic enzymes work better than most anti-inflammatory drugs in treating pain and inflammation. It is common to find papain supplements and topical ointment in sport rehabilitation centers. This is because athletes prefer it to anti-inflammatory medications, which may cause a false positive on drug tests. Of course, a false positive test might be detrimental to an athlete’s career regardless of the error.
That being said, before you use papain in place of anti-inflammatory drugs in treating pain and inflammation, talk to your doctor first. This is mostly because papain might interact with other medications you might be taking, especially for those with a pre existing health condition.
Effect on Digestion
People who suffer from chronic gastrointestinal dysfunction will benefit significantly from papain. Like its effect on a sore throat, papain’s mechanism in treating constipation, bloating among other digestive issues, is not known.
Although a study named Caricol was carried out in 2014, which proved the efficacy of this enzyme on managing conditions of the digestive system, more pieces of evidence are still required to make it a well-supported claim.
Notwithstanding, a papaya solution named after the research is available on sale in most local and online stores. It uses papain as a base substance and has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration.
Effect on Healing Wounds
This is perhaps one of the most marketed uses of papain. Evidence from research has proven that papain is effective in treating skin ulcers and wounds. There are several wound cleansers on sale with promises of fast recovery. While papain’s effects on wound healing are real, the FDA has banned several brands and companies from making products from papain due to the ridiculous claims in their advertising campaigns. Due to this, it is advised that you buy your papain product from FDA-approved companies.
Kindly exercise caution in using salves and creams containing papain if you are allergic to latex. You can have a quick test by applying a small portion of the product to your elbow and covering it with a bandage. If you experience irritation within or after 12 hours, rinse it out and call your doctor.
Bottom Line on The Benefits of Papain
There are several other benefits of papain, from relieving muscle soreness to treating the symptoms of shingles. Nonetheless, caution should be exercised by people with diabetes, those living with hypoglycemia, and lactating mothers. Ensure you consult your doctor before using papain to ascertain that it’s a good fit for you. Stay healthy, stay safe.