The Health Benefits of Papain

by Dr. Edward Group DC, NP, DACBN, DCBCN, DABFM Published on , Last Updated on

papain enzyme

Papain is a powerful digestive enzyme commonly found and extracted from the papaya fruit (Carica papaya) , it is also referred to as papaya proteinase. The papaya enzyme papain plays a key role in digestive processes involving breaking down tough protein fibers. For this reason, it has been commonly used in its native South America as a digestive support for meat eating.

Science is catching up with the wisdom of traditional healers in South America. Papain can play a significant role in the breakdown of toxins and is a powerful digestive aid and antioxidant.

How Does Papain Work?

The papaya enzyme papain is able to break down larger proteins into smaller proteins or peptides or even into the smallest amino acid subunit by cleaving the bonds in the interior of the protein chain or the end of the chain (endopeptidase and exopeptidase activity, respectively) in a broad pH range.

This gives it a marked ability to enhance the total digestive process and increase the nutrient absorption of protein-based foods. Its ability to hydrolyze (break down) proteins also means that it can play a key role in many normal physiological processes and potentially influence disease processes for the good.

The Health Benefits of Papain

1. Boosts Digestion

One of the key areas in which papain serves the body is in the realm of its protein-digestive properties. The University of Michigan supports its use as an enzymatic support for the intestines, stomach and the pancreas.

2. Skin and Wound Care

Due to papain’s beneficial capacities, it is currently being studied for topical applications on burns, irritations, and wounds. It has also been used for ulcers and bedsores. Traditional cultures in Hawaii and Tahiti made poultices out of the skins of papaya, as this part of the fruit is particularly concentrated in papain. They applied it to the skin to heal wounds, burns, rashes and bug stings.

3. Resistant to Fungus

Studies show that the enzyme papain is also resistant to fungus. A 2010 report from the African Journal of Agricultural Research found that extracts from Carica papaya (papain) could statistically reduce the fungal pathogen causing pawpaw fruit rot.

4. Immune System Support

According to Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, papain may act as an immune support system for cancer treatment, as proteolytic enzymes such as papain help to modulate leukocytes in the immune response.

5. Redness Resistant

Studies confirm that the papain enzyme has powerful resistance to redness and may help reduce joint and prostate irritation. One study from the University of Maryland Medical Center, shows that papain was effective in helping the body reduce the swelling associated with prostatitis.

6. Antioxidant

Papain holds compounds that may aid in protecting the body from cellular damage caused by free radicals. One study published in the Journal of Dairy Science found that papain can offer a potential alternative to chemical additives for increased survival of probiotic bacteria in yogurt due to its oxidation properties. Similarly, it is also a powerful agent commonly used in food preservation, as it reduces bacterial infestations and spoilage due to oxidation.

How to Read the Units of Measurement for Papain

Papain is a plant-source protease measured in PUs (Papain Units). One FCC-PU (Plant Proteolytic Analytical Method) is based on a 60-minute proteolytic hydrolysis of casein substrate at pH 6.0 and 40°C. The FCC notation stands for Foods Chemical Codex and is a division of USP (United States Pharmacopeia). It sets standards for ingredients. In the case of enzymes, FCC is a standard assay used to accurately determine the activity of enzymes. The current compendium is FCC VI.

Where Can I Find The Best Source of Papain?

The product VeganZyme® contains a 100% vegan form of Papain extracted from the Carica papaya. It comes from all vegetarian, non-GMO sources, is kosher certified, gluten free, made in the USA, contains no animal product and is completely suitable for vegetarians and vegans.

VeganZyme is the most advanced full-spectrum systemic and digestive enzyme formula in the world and is free from fillers and toxic compounds. This formula contains digestive enzymes, which help digest fats (lipids), sugars, proteins, carbohydrates, gluten, fruits and vegetables, cereals, legumes, bran, nuts and seeds, soy, dairy, and all other food sources.

VeganZyme may also be used as a systemic enzyme blend to break down excess mucus, fibrin, various toxins, allergens, as well as excess clotting factors throughout your body.


  1. Desser L., Zavadova E., Herbacek I. Oral enzymes as additive cancer therapy. International Journal of Immunotherapy. 2001. vol.17, no.2-3-4, pp. 153-161 (111 ref.).
  2. Desser L, Holomanova D, Zavadova E, Pavelka K, Mohr T, Herbacek I. Oral therapy with proteolytic enzymes decreases excessive TGF-beta levels in human blood. Cancer Chemother Pharmacol. 2001 Jul;47 Suppl:S10-5.
  3. Maurer HR. Bromelain: biochemistry, pharmacology and medical use. Cell Mol Life Sci. 2001 Aug;58(9):1234-45. Review.
  4. Cruz AG, Faria JA, Walter EH, Andrade RR, Cavalcanti RN, Oliveira CA, Granato D. Processing optimization of probiotic yogurt containing glucose oxidase using response surface methodology. J Dairy Sci. 2010 Nov;93(11):5059-68. doi: 10.3168/jds.2010-3336.
  5. Nwinyi Obinna Chukwuemeka, Abikoye Busola Anthonia. Antifungal effects of pawpaw seed extracts and papain on post harvest Carica papaya L. fruit rot (PDF). African Journal of Agricultural Research 2010 June 18. vol.5(12), pp. 1531-1535.

†Results may vary. Information and statements made are for education purposes and are not intended to replace the advice of your doctor. Global Healing Center does not dispense medical advice, prescribe, or diagnose illness. The views and nutritional advice expressed by Global Healing Center are not intended to be a substitute for conventional medical service. If you have a severe medical condition or health concern, see your physician.

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