WHEN I was a boy in primary school, I enjoyed spending my holidays with my mother’s mother. Grandma often travelled from Lagos to Okitipupa to buy foodstuff for sale back home. From her travels, she brought back the silkworm which we grandchildren roasted and ate at mealtimes. It was probably a good source of protein for us at that time. But after ‘O’ Level Biology education about insects and the parasites they may transmit to man, I refrained from eating the silkworm and other insects, including the cricket. I reasoned that we ate their intestines along with their good stuff, and that doing this may cause health problems. It wasn’t until my exposure to Alternative Medicine in the 1980s that I realised we had a wonderful boyhood eating insects such as crickets, and the silk worm.

he good news for everyone about the silkworm since the 1980s is serrapeptase, a chemical substance found in the silkworm intestine. The silkworm lives and grows towards maturity in a hard cocoon which is difficult for even humans to break. When the baby silkworm is mature enough in the cocoon to live in the outside world, its intestine produces an enzyme, serrapeptase, which dissolves the hard cocoon, and out it crawls into the larger world. Researchers have found that this enzyme helps to dissolve growths, including uterine fibroids, in the human body. In Nigeria, Serrapeptase is sold under different names, including Serrapeptase. It comes, also, as Serrata, Serrafibro (because it dissolves excess fibrous tissue either in the knee joints or in the lungs) and as NS Fibrin.

Serrapeptase was isolated in the late 1960s from the silkworm intestine. Some other names by which Serrapeptase is known are serralysin, Serratiape etas, serratiapeptidase or Serra peptidase.

Serrapeptase, a proteolytic enzyme, is produced in the silkworm intestine by serratia E-15 bacteria. In commercial product Serratia peptidase is made from the purification of the culture of Serratia E-15 bacteria.

In Japan and Europe, serrapeptidase is sold as a drug, but as a dietary supplement in the United States. In many countries, Serrapeptidase is prescribed and used for painful conditions such as “back pain, osteo arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, osteoporosis, fibromyalgia, carpel tunnel syndrome, migraine headache and tension headache.”

Conditions of pain and swelling are also said to benefit from it. These include “sinusitis, laryngitis, sore throat, ear infections, swelling after surgery, swelling of a vein with the formation of a blood clot and inflammatory bowel diseases (IBS), including ulcerative colitis and crohn’s disease”.

In some cases it is suggested for heart disease and hardening of the arteries, benign breast lumps and breast pain in nursing mothers caused by milk congestion, diabetes, asthma, leg ulcer etc.

Serrapeptase is thought to work by helping the body to break down protein, thereby averting an accumulation of fibrin, a protein which, for example, has been found to build up excessively in the uterine fibroid tissue. Some researchers say serrapeptase is useful in enlarging blocked carotid arteries which surgeons are reluctant to operate. The reluctance is said to be due to the fear that , during such a surgery, debris from the blocked carotid artery may find their way into some blood vessels of the brain. Dr. H.A. Nieper, head of the department of medicine at paracelcus Klink am xilbersee, Germany says: “we therefore, started to apply serrapeptase in cases of severe narrowing of the carotid arteries. Mostly in patients showing severe symptoms due to the narrowing, including amaurosis fugax (intermittent blindness), the therapeutic results are excellent, certainly life-saving. It is however, mandatory for the therapy to be conducted for a very long time. Even after 18 months after the onset of the therapy, the patients are improving. I have also found serrapeptase to be an extraordinary substance for safely removing fibrous blockage from coronary arteries, particularly the carotid arteries found in the neck which supply blood brain”.

Unlike other biological enzymes, serrapeptase acts on only non-living tissue in humans, serrapeptase is said to dissolve only dead tissue, including the fibrous layer which block and narrow arteries space, thereby reducing flow of blood and oxygen to the brain. This should be of interest to people who are grayling rapidly or prematurely to stroke patients or people beset with varying degrees of memory loss. The same goes for hypertension sufferers or people who cannot breathe well because fibrous tissues have congested air spaces in their lungs.

Dr. H.A. Nieper adds: “Very often, surgeons are reluctant or unable to open partially closed carotid arteries using laser surgery. They fear that resulting debris could be pushed into smaller connecting arteries and result in a stroke and possibly death. In cases of severe arteries narrowing, I have used serrapeptase with excellent, even life-saving results. Many of my patients have shown significant improved blood flow through their previously conscripted arteries, as confirmed by ultra sound examination. Unfortunately, orthodox cardiologists do not employ this important method in their practices.”

An avid reader of this column who is challenged with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) for which he was advised of Serrapeptase and other helpful nutritional supplements, should be interested in the case history of one of the beneficiary Dr. Nieper’s  work with Serrapaptase. According to Dennis Gore, a pharmacist in Manchester, England, whose pharmacy specialises in natural medicine supplements, a sick man was brought into the pharmacy in a wheelchair by his wife. He had to breathe from bottled oxygen, “was on antibiotics and had to use steroid sprays to reduce inflammation constantly”. Other bad infections assailed him in addition to side effects of the drugs. This man had listened to a British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) radio interview with Dennis Gore on the ability of serrapeptase to remove “airway and blood vessel obstruction that had accumulated over time”. Mr. Gore gave him a prescription of 20,000 (about five grammes) on an empty stomach four times a day. He was to scale down the dosage as he got better. Three weeks afterwards, the patient walked into the pharmacy. Mr. Gore did not remember having met him. The man reminded Mr. Gore he was the OPD and emphysema patient in a wheelchair. Now, he was no longer on antibiotics or had any need for oxygen cylinder. Two years later, he was still COPD – free and emphysema free. But, naughty man I would say, he was still smoking!

Serrapeptase is thought to work in about three ways:

• It may thin fluid which accumulate around injury sites, causing inflammation and pain. It may also support the drainage of the fluid, thereby clearing the site for speedy tissue repair

•Pain is an expression of inflammation. Serrapeptase may block the release of the pain including amines called bradykinins

•By breaking down fibrins, by-products of protein coagulation serrapeptase breaks down fibrin without any ill effects on living tissue. This takes care of atherosclerosis which supports vascular and heart health. Serrapeptase has been shown, also, not only to stimulate immune function but to also act as a heavy metal scavenger and chelator, and this is reported to do better than EDTA.

Many researchers believe serrapeptase is superior to Non Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) in the treatment of such disease as COPD, fibrocystic breast disease, rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, asthma sinusitis, fibromyalgia and many others.

When I remember Serrapeptase and my boyhood days during which I fed generously on silkworm, I wonder if freedom from many old age diseases, such as arthritis, has anything to do with it. In such moments, I learn to thank the good Lord for the Grace of guidance to healing agents and brace up to add serrapeptase to my food supplements wardrobe.

Homocystein

HYPERTENSION has become a household health challenge in Nigeria, like malaria fever and diabetes. Many challenged people, like their physicians, believe there is no cure for hypertension and that the sufferer has to learn to live with it under a doctor’s management. It is possible, however, that hypertension can be overcome if physicians lay the full picture of this blood malaise before their patients, and if the patients dutifully take charge of their health, schooling themselves on this subject and adopting natural measures for a salvage.

In his book, HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE SOLUTION subtitled NATURAL PREVENTION and CURE with the K FACTOR, Dr. Richard D. Moore, M.D, Ph.D., explains in almost 400 pages how crucial potassium, a food factor, is for the maintenance of normal blood pressure, and how a deficiency of it in the blood of many people may be the cause of their elevated blood pressure. The K FACTOR in his book refers to the chemical symbol of potassium, K, an electrolyte important for heart and blood vessel health and function. Dr. F. Batmanghelidj, author of the revolutionary and paradigm-shifting YOUR BODYS MANY CRIES FOR WATER and YOU’RE NOT SICK, YOU’RE ONLY THIRSTY, explains how cellular dehydration increases cholesterol blood level, a cause of hypertension, heart damage, heart attack and strokes, and takes the opposite view of mainstream medicine which prescribe diuretics for hypertension patients. While mainstream doctors believe it is important to reduce the water volume of the blood in order to reduce the hearts work load, and save it from exhaustion through overwork, Dr. Batmanghelidj believes it is “criminal” to do so, and explains why. Where the regular doctor would advise reduction in salt (sodium chloride) intake, Dr. Batmanghelidj would explain how this would reduce the volume of interstitial fluid, the fluid surrounding the cells, and suggest how this may affect the Sodium-Potassium Pump and the Sodium battery in every cell without which we would not be able to live normal lives. He also has explanations for how mainstream anti-hypertension pharmaceutical drugs may eventually lead to increased blood pressure, which may be the reason hypertension is thought to be incurable. There are testimonials in his books from reputable senior citizens of this Earth of how, by increasing their water intake and using pinchings of salt in every sixth glass of water a day, their cholesterol levels crashed to the amazement of their doctors.

These aspects of possible hypertension cure are not the main concerns of this column today. The concern is the fact that patients are not often, if not always, exposed to as wide a spectrum of checks as possible when they are asked to run laboratory blood tests of the possible causes(s) of their hypertension. What many patients go to run tests for is largely their cholesterol blood level. In many cases, the test covers only total blood cholesterol. In some cases, this test does not include checks for (1) High Density Lipoprotein HDL (2) Low Density Lipoprotein LDL (3) Lipoprotein a (4) Apo lipoprotein A (5) Apoli protein B and (6) Homocysteine.

he lipoproteins are cholesterol fractions. While total cholesterol is not expected to rise beyond 200, HDL, the good cholesterol and LDL, the bad cholesterol, are to be in a certain ratio. Too much LDL means the blood vessels may be inflamed and damaged, the heart may be damaged and disposed to a heart attack, and the brain may be subjected to a stroke from blockage by blood clots of its blood vessels. These cholesterol tests are expensive, and may explain why, in this poverty stricken environment, some doctors do not advise it.

I know of a gentleman who has suffered from angina type chest complaints for many years, but whose cholesterol test results have been giving him a good cardiovascular testimonial. Cardiovascular means the heart (cardio) and blood vessels (vascular). In Angina pectoris, coronary arteries which supply blood to the heart may have become so blocked by the plaque of cholesterol and other substances, including homocysteine, that they are not delivering enough blood to the heart. The heart may not complain much or complain at all unless it is given extra work to do while its ration of energy giving nutrients and oxygen is not increased through increase blood circulation. Climbing the stairs, for example, may be that extra work load which such a heart cannot easily cope with, and this gives rise to that familiar shortness of breath, rapid breathing and pain across the chest region, especially on the left side of the chest and radiations of the pain to the left shoulder blade of the left arm (scapula) and, sometimes, the left arm itself.

As stated above, the gentleman in reference had been happy that his cholesterol couldn’t be the cause of the frightening experience, but he was, nevertheless, restful. Why were the symptoms not abating when the cholesterol levels were normal, and why would his hypertension persist? Well, for a possible part answer to these questions, we should return to Dr. Moore. He says there are two types of hypertension…(a) primary hypertension and (b) secondary hypertension. In primary hypertension, the body may be grossly deficient in such nutrients as potassium, calcium, magnesium, co-enzyme Q10 (CoQ10), and Vitamin C. He says: “A growing body of evidence indicates that low levels of potassium are associated with high blood pressure, and therefore, deserve more attention. This association may be especially strong when the sodium – potassium ratio is high. Some researchers feel that, in some cases, low potassium may play a more significant role on hypertension than high sodium does. In several studies, for instance, potassium supplementation significantly lowered blood pressure without sodium restriction. As some researchers have pointed out, diet restricted in calories, sodium, and cholesterol are often recommended to people with cardiovascular disease. It is unfortunate that such diet also tend to reduce nutrients such as calcium and potassium, which may be essential for maintaining normal blood pressure. Potassium may prove to be of value to the cardiovascular system in other ways, as well. In one animal study, rats were given stroke-inducing diet. The group that was supplemented with potassium suffered a two percent rate of fatal strokes, as compared with the 83 percent rate of the un supplemented group. In another animal study, potassium supplementation was able to protect against the kidney damage resulting from hypertension. In both studies, these remarkable effects occurred even when potassium did not, reduce blood pressure.

This suggests that we consume potassium copiously in the diet from fruits and vegetables and their juices or from dietary supplements. For potassium is needed for a variety of uses. It helps convert glucose into glycogen for storage in the liver; it helps nerve transmission, contraction of muscles and secretion of hormones.

Secondary hypertension is another ball game. It may arise from the congestion of organs such as the kidneys, liver, pancreas or spleen and resist blood flow. When an organ or organs resist blood flow through congestion with impurities, the heart pumps harder and this may cause elevated tension in normal organs, damaging them. One way of tackling this tension is detoxification of the congested organ(s). When the gentleman in reference was advised to run a homocystein test, he was advised by the laboratory that this would cost about N20,000 because his blood sample would have to be flown to South Africa for analysis. He paid, and obtained the result one or two weeks after.