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Drugs and Health Products

Monograph: Cellulase

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This monograph is intended to serve as a guide to industry for the preparation of Product Licence Applications (PLAs) and labels for natural health product market authorization. It is not intended to be a comprehensive review of the medicinal ingredient. Notes: (i) Text in parentheses is additional optional information which can be included on the PLA and product label at the applicant's discretion. (ii) The solidus (/) indicates that the terms and/or the statements are synonymous. Either term or statement may be selected by the applicant.

Date: 2012-07-11


Cellulase (IUBMB 2007)

Proper Name(s)

4-(1,3;1,4)-beta-D-glucan 4-glucanohydrolase ( IUBMB 2001 )

Common Name(s)

Cellulase ( IUBMB 2001 )

Source Material

Route Of Administration


Dosage Form(s)

  • The acceptable pharmaceutical dosage forms include, but are not limited to capsules, chewables (e.g. gummies, tablets), liquids, powders, strips or tablets.
  • This monograph is not intended to include foods or food-like dosage forms such as bars, chewing gums or beverages.

Use(s) or Purpose(s)

Statement(s) to the effect of:

Digestive enzyme  (Martindale 2011)



Dose(s): not to exceed 110000 FCC Cellulase Units per day
Directions For Use: Take with food/meal

  • Dose unit information must include the quantities of both the enzyme preparation (mg or ml) and its enzymatic activity (FCC or USP units). When submitting by ePLA, please put the enzymatic activity quantity in the Quantity/Unit fields (field 77) and the quantity of enzyme preparation in mg or ml in the Additional Quantity/Unit fields.
  • One cellulase unit (CU) is defined as the amount of activity that will produce a relative fluidity change of 1 in 5 minutes in a defined carboxymethyl cellulose substrate under the conditions of the assay (FCC 8).

Duration of use

For prolonged use, consult a health care practitioner.

Risk Information

Statement(s) to the effect of:

Caution(s) and Warning(s):
  • If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, consult a health care practitioner prior to use
  • If you have diabetes, consult a health care practitioner prior to use

No statement is required

Known Adverse Reaction(s):
Hypersensitivity/allergy has been known to occur; in which case, discontinue use

Non-medicinal ingredients

Must be chosen from the current Natural Health Products Ingredients Database and must meet the limitations outlined in the database.


  • The finished product specifications must be established in accordance with the requirements described in the NHPD Quality of Natural Health Products Guide.
  • The medicinal ingredient must comply with the requirements outlined in the Natural Health Products Ingredient Database (NHPID).
  • Details of the manufacturing of the enzyme at the raw material stage should include fermentation medium and the isolation process of the medicinal ingredient.
  • The specifications must include testing for enzymatic activity of the medicinal ingredient at appropriate stages of formulation and manufacturing using the assay outlined in the current Food Chemicals Codex (FCC): CELLULASE ACTIVITY.
  • Where published methods are not suitable for use, manufacturers will use due diligence to ensure that the enzymes remain active to the end of their shelf life indicated on the product label.

References cited

  • Bisby F, Roskov Y, Orrell T, Nicolson D, Paglinawan L, Bailly N, Kirk P, Bourgoin T, Baillargeon G, Ouvrard D, editors. Species 2000 & ITIS Catalogue of Life, 15th March 2012 [Internet]. Reading (GB): Species 2000. [Source database Species Fungorum, 9.0, Sep 2010; Accessed 2012 March 28]. Available from:
  • CABI 2012: Centre for Agriculture and Bioscience International. Index Fungorum [Internet]. Wallingford (GB): CABI (Centre for Agriculture and Bioscience International); 2012. [Accessed 2012 March 30]. Available from:
  • CPS 2008: Compendium of Pharmaceuticals and Specialties: The Canadian Drug Reference for Health Professionals. Ottawa (ON): Canadian Pharmacists Association; 2008.
  • FCC 8: Food Chemicals Codex, Eighth edition. Rockville (MD): The United States Pharmacopeial Convention; 2012.
  • Glade MJ, Kendra D, Kaminski MV. Improvement in protein utilization in nursing-home patients on tube feeding supplemented with an enzyme product derived from Aspergillus niger and bromelain. Nutrition 2001;17(4):348-350.
  • IUBMB 2001: IUBMB Enzyme Nomenclature [Internet]. London (GB): Queen Mary, University of London. [cellulase: CAS 9012-54-8, EC created 1961, modified 2001; Accessed 2012 March 28]. Available from:
  • Martindale 2011: Sweetman SC, editor. Martindale: The Complete Drug Reference [Internet]. London (GB): Pharmaceutical Press; 2012. [Cellulase: EC, CAS: 9012-54-8, latest modification: 23-Sep-2011; Accessed 2012 July 11]. Available from:

References reviewed

  • Elms J, Fishwick D, Walker J, Rawbone R, Jeffrey P, Griffin P, Gibson M, Curran AD. Prevalence of sensitisation to cellulase and xylanase in bakery workers. Occupational and Environmental Medicine 2003;60(10):802-804.
  • Evidence for Quality of Finished Natural Health Products, Version 2.0 [Internet]. Ottawa (ON): Natural Health Products Directorate, Health Canada. 2007. [Accessed 2012 March 28]. Available from:
  • Vanhanen M, Tuomi T, Tupasela O, Keskinen H, Tuppurainen M, Hytönen M, Tarvainen K, Kanerva L, Nordman H. Cellulase allergy and challenge tests with cellulase using immunologic assessment. Scandinavian Journal of Work, Environment & Health 2000;26(3):250-256.