Pineapples and More
Bromelain is a proteolytic enzyme found naturally in pineapple stems and juice. Proteolytic means it breaks down protein (and even used as a meat tenderizer) and is thought to have many health benefits. So what’s so special about pineapple bromelain?
Its use as a supplement is approved in Germany for several indications by its Commission E (similar to our FDA) without a prescription for inflammation and a complementary treatment for nasal and sinus conditions. It also helps reduce cough and is being explores as a complementary treatment for cancer.
Bromelain is an anti-inflammatory and reduces pain and swelling following injuries and surgery. There is scientific evidence that bromelain can enhance tissue healing following injuries and surgery. In one study on athletic injuries involving blunt trauma to the musculoskeletal system there was a clear reduction in swelling and pain at rest following administration of bromelain supplements.
It has been also used to prevent muscle soreness following intense exercise, but studies have not shown it to be effective in that regard. But, it is effective when combined with trypsin and rutin to treatment inflammation associated with knee arthritis.
Bromelain also inhibits platelet aggregation which means it can reduce blood clots including those that cause heart attacks. Consequently, it should only be use under physician supervision in individuals already on blood thinners.
Bromelain is more than one enzyme. It’s actually a mixture of enzymes that digest protein. Because it helps digest protein it has been used to treat bloating and irritable bowel syndrome. It sometimes is used along with other enzymes like lipase that breaks down fats and amylase that breaks down carbohydrates, but there is little evidence to show bromelain to be effective for weight loss.
How to Use Bromelain
To aid in digestive disorders bromelain should be taken with a meal. But, it should be taken on an empty stomach when used for its anti-inflammatory properties. It comes in capsule and tablet forms.