The Benefits of Lumbrokinase

Lumbrokinase is an enzyme sourced from Lumbricus rubellus, a species of earthworm. Sold in dietary supplement form, it's classified as a fibrinolytic enzyme (a substance that promotes the breakdown of blood clots). Supplementing with lumbrokinase is said to offer several health benefits, including better heart health.

Uses for Lumbrokinase

In alternative medicine, lumbrokinase is typically used for the following health conditions:

Benefits of Lumbrokinase

So far, research on the health effects of lumbrokinase is limited. Still, there's some evidence that lumbrokinase shows promise for the treatment of certain conditions. Here's a look at several findings on the potential health benefits of lumbrokinase:

1) Heart Health

Lumbrokinase may aid in the treatment of angina, according to a preliminary study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine in 2009. For the study, researchers assigned 10 patients with both heart disease and angina to one month of treatment with lumbrokinase (in addition to their standard care). By the study's end, anginal symptoms had improved in six of the 10 patients.  

Additionally, a preliminary study published in the Chinese journal Acta Pharmaceutica Sinica in 2006 found that lumbrokinase may shield heart health. In tests on rats, the study's authors determined that lumbrokinase may protect against myocardial ischemia (a condition marked by blockage of the coronary arteries and decreased blood flow to the heart).

2) Stroke

Preliminary research indicates that lumbrokinase may help stave off stroke. In a 2008 study from the European Journal of Pharmacology, for example, tests on human cells determined that lumbrokinase may help guard against cerebral ischemia. (A condition marked by insufficient blood flow to the brain, cerebral ischemia can reduce the brain's oxygen supply and, in turn, lead to stroke.) The study found that lumbrokinase may combat cerebral ischemia in part by preventing the formation of blood clots.

In addition, a small study published in Clinical Hemorheology and Microcirculation in 2000 found that lumbrokinase may be beneficial in the treatment of cerebral infarction (a type of stroke caused by a disturbance in blood flow to the brain). For the study, 31 people with cerebral infarction were treated with lumbrokinase, while another 20 patients were assigned to a control group. Results indicated that lumbrokinase may help treat cerebral infarction in part by decreasing fibrinogen (a protein involved in the formation of blood clots).

3) Diabetes

An animal-based study published in Diabetes Research and Clinical Practice in 2013 suggests that lumbrokinase may help fight diabetic nephropathy (a kidney condition caused in part by poor control of diabetes and blood pressure). In an experiment involving diabetic rats, scientists observed that treatment with lumbrokinase helped protect against diabetic nephropathy (possibly by affecting certain enzymes thought to play a role in the kidney damage associated with this condition).


Since so few studies have tested lumbrokinase's effects in humans, it's too soon to tell whether lumbrokinase is safe for long-term or regular consumption.

There's also some concern that lumbrokinase may trigger a number of side effects, including nausea and bloating.

It's important to keep in mind that supplements haven't been tested for safety and dietary supplements are largely unregulated. In some cases, the product may deliver doses that differ from the specified amount for each herb. In other cases, the product may be contaminated with other substances such as metals. Also, the safety of supplements in pregnant women, nursing mothers, children, and those with medical conditions or who are taking medications has not been established. 

Here are more tips on using dietary supplements safely.

Alternatives to Lumbrokinase

For help in reducing your stroke risk, considering increasing your intake of green tea, black tea, and omega-3 fatty acids. Some studies show that people who consume these substances regularly may have a reduced risk of stroke.

If you're seeking a natural remedy to help treat angina, there's some evidence that taking L-Carnitine  may be helpful for angina patients. Research also indicates that practicing yoga may benefit people with angina.

Where to Find It

Many websites sell lumbrokinase in supplement form. In addition, you can find lumbrokinase in natural-foods stores and stores specializing in dietary supplements.

Using Lumbrokinase for Health

Due to the limited research, it's too soon to recommend lumbrokinase as a treatment for any condition. It should not be used in place of conventional treatment for conditions such as angina and stroke.  If you're considering using it, consult your physician before starting your supplement regimen.


Hwang CM, Kim DI, Huh SH, Min BG, Park JH, Han JS, Lee BB, Kim YI, Ryu ES, Kim JW. "In vivo evaluation of lumbrokinase, a fibrinolytic enzyme extracted from Lumbricus rubellus, in a prosthetic vascular graft." J Cardiovasc Surg (Torino). 2002 Dec;43(6):891-4.

Ji H, Wang L, Bi H, Sun L, Cai B, Wang Y, Zhao J, Du Z. "Mechanisms of lumbrokinase in protection of cerebral ischemia." Eur J Pharmacol. 2008 Aug 20;590(1-3):281-9.

Jin L, Jin H, Zhang G, Xu G. "Changes in coagulation and tissue plasminogen activator after the treatment of cerebral infarction with lumbrokinase." Clin Hemorheol Microcirc. 2000;23(2-4):213-8.

Kasim M, Kiat AA, Rohman MS, Hanifah Y, Kiat H. "Improved myocardial perfusion in stable angina pectoris by oral lumbrokinase: a pilot study." J Altern Complement Med. 2009 May;15(5):539-44.

Sun H, Ge N, Shao M, Cheng X, Li Y, Li S, Shen J. "Lumbrokinase attenuates diabetic nephropathy through regulating extracellular matrix degradation in Streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats." Diabetes Res Clin Pract. 2013 Apr;100(1):85-95.

Sun HL, Jiao JD, Pan ZW, Dong DL, Yang BF. "The cardioprotective effect and mechanism of lumbrokinase." Yao Xue Xue Bao. 2006 Mar;41(3):247-51.

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