Hello again I have chronic glomerulonephritis, with terrible proteinuria. Western treatment options are mainly steroids and powerful immunosuppressive drugs which expose the patient to cancer and fatal viral infections. Therefore, I have opted not to use them. These immune complexes cause inflammation like shards stuck in the skin, destroying the glomerular basement membrane and causing proteinuria. Previously, I asked a retinal specialist (Dr. Rick) whether it would be safe me to take enzymes orally to try and remove the immune complexes stuck in the glomeruli of my kidneys. I mentioned papain, and the specialist said that since the retina is protected by a blood/retinal barrier, the enzyme would not get to the retina. But now, I found an article from 1990 on the Net which specifically states that a combination of dextranase and protease did remove all the immune complexes from the kidney, i.e., IgA, IgG, IgM in a mouse model in which human immune complexes were artificially induced. Therefore, a combination of saccharolytic and proteolytic enzymes can potentially cure this horrible disease normally leading to end-stage renal failure and dialysis. Therefore, I also want to consume a mixture of saccharolytic and proteolytic enzymes on a regular basis. I am taking Chinese herbs for the nephropathy and proteinuria, but progress is very slow, and I imagine that taking enzymes as well may make a rapid and significant improvement. Now, I recently learnt, on the Net, that the blood-retinal barrier is constituted of heparan sulphate glycosaminoglycan, which is a polysaccharide. So this is the material which prevents proteases from reaching the retinal pigment epithelium and the retina. I also learnt that proteases alone can still challenge the retinal barrier, and degrade it. I imagine the challenge would be far worse if I took saccharolytic enzymes as well as the proteases (because the barrier is a polysaccharide), but this is precisely the combination that can save my kidneys. 13 years ago, I had a retinal detachment repaired by cryopexy and scleral buckle, and at that time I already had a small degree of lattice degeneration in the retinas. I am 66 years old, and I imagine my retina is fairly thin. However, I desperately want to try this enzyme combination to see how much improvement I can get of my glomerulonephritis. In fact, although some people say oral enzymes do not get into the bloodstream anyway, there is a study from 2007 wherein `Wobenzym`, which is a proprietary blend of pancreatic enzymes like trypsin with bromelain and papain, "may have therapeutic value in glomerulonephritis". These would be my proteases. For the saccharolytic enzymes, I would drink a warm water extract made from the spores of a fungi we have here in Japan which is used to pickle fish, known as "koji", which is a food substance known to contain 140 saccharolytic enzymes. I don't know exactly which glomerulonephritis I have, but a previous blood panel showed elevation of IgM. That's it. Just how much risk to causing retinal damage am I running by taking this combination of saccharolytic and proteolytic enzymes which potentially could compromise the RPE cell-surface polysaccharide retinal barrier of heparan sulphate glycosaminoglycan? After all, it is not difficult to imagine that the barrier would easily be degraded by saccharolytic enzymes, leaving the retina completely unprotected to attack from the proteolytic enzymes. I don't believe anybody with glomerulonephritis has ever tried this combination of enzymes, no doubt because nobody ever took any notice of this fantastic discovery that a combination of saccharolytic and proteolytic enzymes can remove most, if not all, immune complexes from the kidneys. Admittedly, the enzymes were injected in this study from 1990, but oral administration would probably still allow enzyme fragments with active sites to be absorbed into the bloodstream. Ideally, we would want enzymes that specifically attacked the immune complexes and leave the retina alone, and I am sure they exist, but since we don't know which ones they are and have no access to them, we can only use the broad spectrum of enzymes that we do have access to, such as "koji" and "Wobenzym". We can only expect good things for the kidneys , but what risk to the retina does this pose? Better to be safe than sorry?
Thank you very much for your kind advice.
PS I know the retinal barrier breaks down in diabetes, causing diabetic retinopathy, although at this moment, I have not been diagnosed with diabetes. I also know that the barrier can be strengthened by up-regulating heparan sulfate glycosaminoglycan, which can be done by increasing soluble and insoluble dietary fiber, but that is a slow process which takes many months, and I need to start enzyme therapy ASAP provided there is no retinal risk.