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Bromelain Information | Ingredient Guide

An enzyme found in the stem and juice of the pineapple, bromelain is primarily extracted from stems after the fruit of the pineapple is used for other purposes. In Taiwan, India and Thailand, producers of bromelain supplements peel, crush and then press pineapple stems to obtain soluble bromelain enzymes that are later purified and concentrated.

In addition to being used as a meat tenderizer, bromelain may have strong anti-inflammatory properties as well as the ability to inhibit tumor cell growth and delay the formation of blood clots in cardiovascular arteries.

The U.S. National Institute of Health states that bromelain may be effective for relieving the pain and inflammation of osteoarthritis when bromelain is taken as Phlogenzym, a medication containing bromelain and other proteins.

Some people take bromelain to prevent muscle fatigue following vigorous exercise but as yet, no clinical evidence exists for the efficacy of bromelain as a post-workout aid.

How Does Bromelain Affect the Body?

By influencing synthesis of prostaglandin (hormone-like lipids that regulate pathogenic mechanisms responsible for inflammatory responses), bromelain is able to provide its documented inflammatory effects. In addition, bromelain extract increases fibrinolytic activity in the bloodstream that can expedite wound healing by degrading fibrin, a substance which inhibits blood clotting in open wounds.

Some studies found that bromelain reduces release of proinflammatory cytokines and chemokines that are thought to be the mechanistic chemicals behind Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis and inflammatory bowel disease.

Potential Health Benefits of Bromelain

As an potential anti-inflammatory, bromelain may be used to reduce swelling and inflammation following minimally invasive surgeries involving moist tissues (nose/sinus/oral operations, for example). The American Cancer Society reports that a few studies indicated that bromelain may also help decrease side effects of chemotherapy, such as nausea and fatigue.

Bromelain may also reduce allergy and asthma symptoms in addition to the pain and stiffness of tendonitis, joint pain, ACL tears and sprains.

Potential Side Effects of Bromelain

Intestinal discomfort and diarrhea are the only side effects that have been reported by people using bromelain extract supplements. However, not enough is known about bromelain to make it safe for use by pregnant or breast-feeding women. Those with

Bromelain is known to interact with amoxicillin by increasing concentrations of this antibiotic in the body. Additionally, taking bromelain with other antibiotics like tetracycline may increase side effects caused by these drugs. Blood clotting preventatives such as Plavix and aspirin could also be inhibited by bromelain and induce bleeding and bruising.

Dosage Recommendations

Usual dosage suggestions when taking bromelain supplements is between 250 and 500 milligrams daily, depending on how much is needed to reduce existing inflammatory conditions.