Have you ever heard about bromelain? Bromelain is a protein-digesting (proteolytic) enzyme complex found in the fruit and, in higher concentrations, in the stem of the pineapple (Ananas comosus). Put simply, bromelain breaks down protein.
Studies have shown that bromelain has the ability to treat many health issues. Thanks to its anti-inflammatory and anti-swelling properties, bromelain health benefits include the ability to treat digestive disorders, reduce joint pain, fight allergies and even help prevent cancer.
The health benefits of bromelain
Traditionally societies in South America have used pineapples to reduce digestive upset and reduce irritation. Here are some of the other amazing health benefits of this enzyme, as well as the studies that support the benefits of bromelain:
1. May help prevent cancer
In studies, bromelain has been found to have natural anti-cancer effects, including promoting apoptotic cell death and preventing tumor growth. Bromelain is able to induce the production of cytokines that inhibit the development of cancer. Studies have shown a link between bromelain and increased protection against breast cancer and lung cancer.
2. Help treat digestive disorders
Because bromelain is an enzyme, it specifically helps with digesting proteins and has been found to help your body absorb nutrients and even medications more efficiently. Studies have shown that bromelain can decrease inflammation in the colon and help treat ulcerative colitis, inflammatory bowel disease, constipation, Crohn’s disease and diarrhea.
3. Supports quick healing after surgery or injuries
Bromelain was approved in Europe as an effective remedy for swelling after surgery. Research shows that the bromelain enzyme may lower swelling, stop bruising, speed up healing time, and reduce discomfort in individuals following surgical procedures.
Bromelain works as a natural alternative to pain medication, by decreasing swelling and reducing pain. Studies have shown that surgery patients treated with bromelain experienced significantly lower post-operation pain, swelling, and redness, compared to those treated with a generic painkiller.
4. Fights allergies and asthma
Research has shown that bromelain health benefits include the ability to fight allergies and asthma. According to a study published in the journal Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, bromelain was able to reduce allergic sensitization and prevent the development of inflammatory responses in mice suffering from asthma.
The research suggests that bromelain can help prevent asthma and seasonal allergy symptoms by getting to the root of the problem. It helps to prevent an inflammatory response in a hyperactive, oversensitive immune system.
5. Helps prevent and treats sinus infections
There are several studies that suggest bromelain may help reduce coughing and lessen mucus related to sinusitis, as well as reduce the swelling and redness that accompany hay fever. The German Commission E approved the bromelain enzyme for aiding imbalances of the ear, nose, and throat that occur after surgery. It is also approved for reducing general sinus infection swelling.
6. Help reduce joint pain
Due to its powerful anti-inflammatory and analgesic characteristics, bromelain is fantastic for reducing acute or chronic joint pain. In a study published in Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine, researchers treated osteoarthritis with two 650-milligram capsules of bromelain 2-3 times per day. The patients experienced up to a 60 percent decrease in acute pain, and more than a 50 percent decrease in chronic pain.
7. May support weight loss
Research suggests that bromelain health benefits may include the ability to prevent the formation of fat cells and aid in weight loss. Bromelain’s ability to fight inflammation, reduce joint pain and aid in digestion help improve the body’s physical capabilities. According to a 2017 study, bromelain may even work as an anti-obesity alternative medicine.
Bromelain sources and dosage
Eating the core of the pineapple or throwing it into a juicer or blender along with other vegetables is an easy way to consume bromelain. Drinking fresh pineapple juice has been suggested to be a powerful remedy against inflammatory diseases. It is recommended to drink/eat four ounces a day to help prevent digestive issues and up to eight ounces to treat illnesses like ulcerative colitis, inflammatory bowel disease or constipation.
Bromelain supplements/extract and dosage
Taking a natural bromelain supplement or proteolytic enzyme supplement with bromelain can be quite effective if you’re treating a specific inflammatory or chronic disease. If you are trying to improve digestion you should take bromelain supplements with meals, but for all other health conditions, you should take it on an empty stomach.
How much bromelain should you take each day? The most commonly prescribed dosage ranges between 200–2,000 milligrams daily (usually around 500–800 milligrams per day). However, for various conditions, many physicians may recommend other dosages.
Below are suggested bromelain dosages depending on the condition you’re treating:
- To treat arthritis: 400 milligrams taken 1–2 times daily
- To help with allergies: 1,000 milligrams daily of bromelain and quercetin
- For help preventing cancer: 2,000 milligrams daily, ideally take with other proteolytic enzymes
- To improve digestion: 500 milligrams taken 3 times daily with meals; some people choose to mix bromelain powder into water and drink before meals
- For help with surgery recovery: 1,000 milligrams 3 times daily taken between meals