Enzyme combination may offer recovery benefits for athletes

By Stephen Daniells contact

- Last updated on GMT

© iStock/mihtiander
© iStock/mihtiander
An oral enzyme combination may reduce exercise-induced fatigue, muscle soreness and damage in endurance athletes, says a new study.

Using the dietary supplement Wobenzym before and after exhaustive eccentric exercise helped maintain strength and reduce pain in less resistance-trained, endurance athletes while showing significant favorable effects in inflammatory, metabolic and immune biomarkers, according to data published in BMJ Open Sport & Exercise Medicine.

Exercise-induced muscle damage (EIMD) and its most common symptom, delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS), can impact an athlete’s training frequency and performance.

“SET [systemic enzyme therapy] administered orally 72 hours before and 72 hours post exhaustive eccentric exercise resulted in higher maximal concentric strength and lower PIP [pressure-induced pain] in subjects who were less experienced in resistance training and in significant favourable [sic] effects on anti-inflammatory and other biomarkers in all subjects,”​ wrote researchers from the Sports School at Fuerstenfeldbruck-Puch Germany.


Wobenzym is a combination of bromelain from pineapple, papain from papaya, pancreatin and trypsin from porcine sources, chymotrypsin from bovine sources, and rutoside trihydrate (Rutin) from Styphnolobium japonicum​ flower bud.

The oral enzyme combination is sold as the product Wobenzym by Atrium Innovations, which offers healthcare practitioner and specialized retail product brands. Mucos Pharma GmbH & Co. KG, Germany, a subsidiary of Atrium, contributed the product used in the study.

Study details

The researchers recruited male athletes aged between 20 and 50 to participate in their randomized, placebo-controlled trial. Participants were randomly assigned to consume either placebo or Wobenzym for three days before and after an exhaustive eccentric exercise day.

Results showed that the enzyme combination helped maintain strength and reduce pain in less resistance-trained, endurance athletes while showing significant favorable effects in inflammatory, metabolic and immune biomarkers in all subjects.

“This study confirms there is a substantial and significant effect of SET on fatigue, muscle soreness and damage, as well as immunological and metabolic markers,”​ explained Tobias Marzin, lead researcher. 

“The use of Wobenzym in this trial showed a significant reduction in inflammatory biomarkers training across all levels, indicating that SET supports normal inflammatory processes for muscle recovery and may be an alternative for clinicians in the treatment of muscle fatigue and soreness.”

Source: BMJ Open Sport & Exercise Medicine
2017; 2:e000191. doi:10.1136/bmjsem-2016-000191,
“Effects of a systemic enzyme therapy in healthy active adults after exhaustive eccentric exercise: a randomised, two- stage, double-blinded, placebo-controlled trial”
Authors: T. Marzin et al.

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