Papain is an enzyme known scientifically as papaya proteinase I. It is found in the papaya and mountain papaya, which are tropical trees native to Central and South America. Papain is chemically related to other enzymes such as aminopeptidases, dipeptidyl peptidases and endopeptidases that are found in many plants, animals and bacteria.
The commercial production of papain generally involves collecting the latex from papaya plants. The necks of the fruits are scored, and the latex is allowed to drip into a container. The latex is allowed to dry and impurities are removed through a chemical process. The purified papain may be a powder or liquid.
The primary biochemical action of papain is to break the peptide bonds between amino acids that form proteins. For example, papain breaks the crystallisable portion of antibodies from their antigen-binding portion. Papain is relatively resistant to heat, with an optimal operating temperature between 60 and 70 degrees Celsius.
Papain has been used as a meat tenderizer in South America for thousands of years. Meat tenderizers containing papain as the active ingredient are commercially available. Papain is also an ingredient in toothpastes and similar products. Dietary supplements that contain papain are often used to manage the body’s ability to recover and relieve discomfort of injuries while they heal.
Papain is typically used to support healthy inflammation management. It is also used to relieve specific types of discomfort and manage some skin conditions.
A sore throat and discomfort is a common use of papain supplements, especially in combination with other measures.
Some research has shown that a combination of papain and other enzymes before aerobic exercise can reduce muscle soreness.
Papain may be able to manage some of the symptoms caused by shingles. These symptoms primarily include a rash that forms blisters and then scabs over.
Discomfort after an injury is one of the main reasons for needing papain. A sore throat and skin conditions such as rashes may also indicate a need for papain. You may benefit from papain if you exercise for prolonged periods, especially if you ski downhill. Additional indications that papain supplements may help your skin.
Papaya enzyme, papaya proteinase I
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