Inconsistent scientific evidence suggests that proteolytic enzymes may improve digestive problems and reduce pain and inflammation in the body, according to NYU Langone Medical Center. Proteolytic enzymes are produced naturally by the pancreas but are also found in foods like pineapple and papaya. It is not necessary to obtain proteolytic enzymes from food unless health complications have diminished the body's ability to produce the enzymes on its own.
NYU Langone Medical Center notes that conflicting evidence suggests proteolytic enzymes may be helpful for neck pain, osteoarthritis, post-herpetic neuralgia, pain and discomfort following injuries, inflammation caused by surgery, discomfort related to breast engorgement in lactating women and side effects of radiation therapy for cancer. Symptoms of proteolytic enzyme deficiency include abdominal discomfort, gas, indigestion, poor absorption of nutrients, and passing undigested food in the stool.
According to NYU Langone Medical Center, the enzymes naturally found in the pancreas are trypsin and chymotrypsin. These are extracted from the pancreases of various animals in the production of proteolytic enzyme supplements. Bromelain and papain are also extracted from pineapple stems and papayas for supplemental use. Proteolytic enzyme supplements are usually protected with an enteric coating to avoid dissolution in the stomach acids and allow the enzymes to reach the intestines.