7 Incredible Benefits of Bromelain

by John Staughton (BASc, BFA) last updated -

The use of bromelain for the treatment of certain health conditions is a popular traditional remedy. However, along with the benefits, there are some side effects to using bromelain, which you need to know about.

What is Bromelain?

Bromelain is an enzyme extract that can be sourced from certain fruits in the Bromeliaceae family, most notably from the stems of pineapples. Bromelain is actually a combination of proteolytic enzymes, which are able to digest/metabolize proteins. This can be important for everything from the digestive system to the joints and bones. It has been a part of traditional medicine for hundreds, if not thousands of years, and this pineapple enzyme has been found to have certain health benefits. While there has been a great deal of debate in recent years over the efficacy of bromelain, anecdotal and traditional evidence argue that it has many impressive effects on human health. [1]

Flatline picture of cut pineapples and a glass of juice topped with mint leaves.

The sweet and delicious pineapple holds a host of health benefits. Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Benefits of Bromelain

The many benefits of bromelain are the effects that it can have on asthma, autoimmune diseases, arthritis and joint pain, and digestive disorders, among others.

Ligament Tears

There has been some research on the anti-inflammatory and healing properties of this extract. For those who have suffered a ligament tear, such as the ACL (anterior cruciate ligament), consumption of this extract can speed the healing process and mitigate the pain. [2]

Allergies and Asthma

This enzyme is able to tackle allergic reactions and asthmatic episodes at the source – the immune system. By suppressing unnecessary allergic reactions, this supplement can help boost your quality of life and reduce inflammation throughout the body. [3]

Anticancer Effects

While there is a need for further studies, bromelain has been studied for its potential against cancer. According to the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, research shows that this enzyme might have antitumorigenic and chemopreventive effects against sarcomas, leukemia, and also lung and breast tumors. It could also have positive effects when used in addition to regular cancer therapy. [4] [5]

Inflammatory Bowel Disease

As a powerful anti-inflammatory compound, this extract can help to soothe the gut and reduce many symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease, such as diarrhea, stomach upset, bloating, and cramping. This extract can also help with other digestive disorders. [6]

Sinus Infections

When you have chronic inflammation of the sinuses, it can wreak havoc on your life. But using this supplement can reduce those inflammatory episodes and strengthen your immune response in that part of the body. [7]

Surgery Recovery

Following surgery or injury, your body needs time to rest and recover. Bromelain extract has been found to speed the healing process, both internally and externally.

Arthritis and Joint Pain

For people who suffer from arthritis and joint pain, as well as other conditions like tendonitis, using this supplement can provide analgesic and anti-inflammatory benefits, thus reducing pain and increasing quality of life. [8]

Food Sources of Bromelain

If you want to access more of this substance in your diet, finding a powdered bromelain extract is an easy option. But there are some food sources that also work. The highest concentration of bromelain is found in the core and stem of the pineapple, so eating or pressing this for the juice is a good way to take in some of this enzymatic mixture. If you blend pineapples and then strain out the concentrated juice, you can also get a healthy dose of these enzymes. However, as mentioned, purchasing the extract from the store may be the easiest way to boost your levels.

Side Effects of Bromelain

There are some side effects of consuming this extract either in your food or in supplement form, including complications with the following:

  • Pregnancy: If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, there has not been enough research to know about the risks, so avoid using this extract.
  • Allergies: If you are prone to allergies or have a latex, pineapple, pollen, fennel, wheat or celery allergy, you may respond negatively to this enzyme extract.
  • Gastrointestinal issues: Some people also report diarrhea and stomach discomfort, particularly when they first begin using the extract.
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About the Author

John Staughton is a traveling writer, editor, publisher and photographer with English and Integrative Biology degrees from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana (USA). He co-founded the literary journal, Sheriff Nottingham, and now serves as the Content Director for Stain’d Arts, a non-profit based in Denver, Colorado. On a perpetual journey towards the idea of home, he uses words to educate, inspire, uplift and evolve.

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