Papain enzyme supplement health benefit by Ray Sahelian, M.D.
Papain is a protease enzyme found in papaya used in tenderizing meat and other proteins. A second protease, chymopapain, is also present in the fruit papaya.
Benefit of papain
This enzyme is used in preparations of various remedies for indigestion, in tenderizing meat, and in enzyme-action cleansing agents for soft contact lenses.
Papain helps break down tough meat fibers. Papain is available as a component in powdered meat tenderizer, for instance Adolph's Meat Tenderizer. Papain, in the form of a meat tenderizer such as Adolph's, made into a paste with water, is also a home remedy treatment for jellyfish, bee, yellow jacket (wasps) stings. Papain may even be beneficial in the treatment of phytobezoar.
Resolution of a phytobezoar with Aldoph's Meat
Pharmacotherapy. 2007. Baker EL. Department of Pharmacy Services, Hartford Hospital, Hartford, Connecticut.
A 58-year-old man had symptoms of midepigastric pain, flatulence, belching, and shortness of breath. He underwent an ultrasound examination, which revealed cholelithiasis, a laparoscopic cholecystectomy, which revealed chronic gallbladder disease, and esophagogastroduodenoscopy, which revealed gastritis, a hiatal hernia, and a phytobezoar. To treat the bezoar, the patient was given Adolph's Meat Tenderizer 1 teaspoonful in 8 oz of water before each meal for 7 days. Adolph's Meat Tenderizer contains papain. The patient's symptoms resolved with no side effects, and follow-up endoscopy revealed resolution of the phytobezoar. Adolph's Meat Tenderizer appears to be a safe and effective treatment for patients with a phytobezoar.
Traditional use of papaya fruit
The papaya fruit is used in The Gambia at the Royal Victoria Hospital, Banjul in the Pediatric Unit as a component of burns dressings. The pulp of the papaya fruit is mashed and applied daily to full thickness and infected burns. It appears to be effective in loosening necrotic tissue, preventing burn wound infection, and providing a granulating wound suitable for the application of a split thickness skin graft. Possible mechanisms of action include the activity of proteolytic enzymes chymopapain and papain, as well as an antimicrobial activity.
Q. Does the stomach enzyme and acids destroy the enzyme papain of papaya fruit or the papain can go to duodenum intact?
A. To the best of my knowledge, papain, taken orally, is able to be absorbed intact into the blood stream. I don't not know how much of, when ingested, passes through the stomach to the duodenum, but there is good evidence that at least some of it gets into the bloodstream and has systemic effects.