What Is Chymotrypsin?

Aids in digestion and wound repair, and reduces inflammation

Chymotrypsin is a digestive proteolytic enzyme produced by the pancreas that is used in the small intestine to help digest proteins. The enzyme is also used to help create medicines and has been used in clinical healthcare settings since the 1960s.

It is known to help to reduce redness and swelling caused by surgery or infection and help promote speedier healing of wounds/traumatic injury to tissue. The versatile enzyme is also often used in medicines to help loosen phlegm in individuals who have asthma, bronchitis, or sinus infections.

Also Known As

You may see chymotrypsin also called: 

  • A-Chymotrypsin
  • A-Chymotrypsine
  • Chymotrypsinum
  • Quimotripsina
Healthy pancreas
mi-viri / iStock / Getty Images

What Is Chymotrypsin Used For? 

Chymotrypsin is most often combined with other enzymes to provide some potential health benefits. Some of these benefits include: 


Proteolytic enzymes such as chymotrypsin are essential regulators and modulators of the body’s inflammatory system. When taken in combination with other proteolytic enzymes (e.g., bromelain, rutin, trypsin), chymotrypsin may improve the symptoms of osteoarthritis and other degenerative joint diseases. 

In a randomized trial of subjects with moderate-to-severe knee osteoarthritis, individuals who were given Wobenzym (an oral supplement enzyme combination containing chymotrypsin) experienced a reduction in pain and increased joint mobility and function, similar to the relief felt when taking a commonly prescribed nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID).

Some people may notice an improvement within three to seven days when taking chymotrypsin. However, it is most common for those living with chronic conditions such as arthritis to take one to three months before noticing a change.

Wound Healing and Tissue Repair

Chymotrypsin is widely used in clinical settings (given both orally and topically) to help speed up the repair of traumatic, surgical, and orthopedic injuries. Its anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and anti-infective properties help resolve inflammation caused by injury and help facilitate the healing process, particularly for abscesses, ulcers, surgery, or traumatic injuries.

Research shows that when used in combination with the enzyme trypsin, it can be applied topically to the skin to remove dead tissue from wounds and expedite healing. The two enzymes work together to reduce inflammation and reduce pain associated with healing.

A study conducted in India found that chymotrypsin may be helpful in expediting healing after orthopedic surgery. Patients who were given tablets containing chymotrypsin, experienced a significant reduction in pain, reduced swelling, and wound discharge post-surgery.

Aids Digestion

Chymotrypsin is an enzyme that helps break down the protein in the foods we eat and converts them into peptides and amino acids. If your body isn’t producing enough of this enzyme or other digestive enzymes, you may experience discomfort after eating, such as gassiness, cramping, and abdominal pain.

Chymotrypsin enzymes are primarily used by people who could use a little support with digesting and absorbing proteins. There are many supplements available over the counter that contain chymotrypsin and tout its effectiveness in easing digestive issues. It is most often extracted from the pancreas of meat-producing animals and combined with other digestive enzymes.

Possible Side Effects

Chymotrypsin is generally safe and does not cause unwanted side effects when taken by mouth to reduce inflammation and redness following surgery or injury, and when applied topically to the skin to help heal wounds and burns. Some people may experience gastrointestinal discomfort, such as gas, diarrhea, constipation, or nausea.

In rare cases, chymotrypsin may cause allergic reactions in some individuals, causing itching, shortness of breath, swelling of the lips or throat, or loss of consciousness.

It is important to speak with your healthcare provider before supplementing with chymotrypsin, as they can advise you on dosage and its effectiveness for your particular health concern. 

Avoid use of chymotrypsin if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, as not enough is known about the use of chymotrypsin in these populations. 

Dosage and Preparation

The dosage of chymotrypsin you take will depend on the condition being treated as well as age, overall health, and other factors. In all cases, it is important to follow the directions on the label to ensure you are using the correct amount.

Capsules or tablets taken orally should be taken with water to help activate the enzyme in the body. If you are taking it to aid in digestion, be sure to take it either before, during, or just after meals to see improvements in digestion.  

If taken to reduce inflammation in the body, take on an empty stomach. Most notice improvements after three to 78 days of taking the supplement. If you are taking chymotrypsin for a chronic condition (e.g., arthritis), it may take more time (one to three months to notice improvement in symptoms). 

What to Look For

Chymotrypsin is available as a dietary supplement in capsule and tablet forms. It is most typically found in supplements that blend chymotrypsin with other digestive enzymes. When prescribed, it may be applied topically (particularly when treating tissue injuries/burns) or given as an injection when used in clinical hospital settings.

Most supplements are not regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), so it is important to select a product that is well-reviewed and has dosage and ingredients clearly listed on the label. 

When buying chymotrypsin supplements, choose a product that lists its potency. Choose products that are reviewed by third-party agencies, such as the U.S. Pharmacopeia, NSF International, or ConsumerLab.com. 

Other Questions

Can I get chymotrypsin through my diet? 

Chymotrypsin is found in the pancreas of animals (including cattle). Other proteolytic enzymes (such as bromelain and papain) are found in more accessible sources, including fresh fruits and fermented foods. These include: 

  • Papaya
  • Pineapple
  • Ginger
  • Kefir
  • Miso 
  • Sauerkraut
  • Yogurt
6 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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  3. Shah D, Mital K. The role of trypsin: Chymotrypsin in tissue repair. Adv Ther. 2018;35(1):31-42. doi:10.1007/s12325-017-0648-y

  4. Chandanwale A, Langade D, Sonawane D, Gavai P. A randomized, clinical trial to evaluate efficacy and tolerability of trypsin: Chymotrypsin as compared to serratiopeptidase and trypsin:bromelain:rutoside in wound management Adv Ther. 2017;34(1):180-198. doi:10.1007/s12325-016-0444-0

  5. Rawski RI, Sanecki PT, Dżugan M, Kijowska K. The evidence of proteases in sprouted seeds and their application for animal protein digestion. Chem Zvesti. 2018;72(5):1213-1221. doi:10.1007/s11696-017-0341-2

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