The use of bromelain for the treatment of certain health conditions is a popular traditional remedy, but there are some side effects of which you should be aware.
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.
Benefits of Bromelain
There has been some research on the anti-inflammatory and healing properties of this extract, and for those who have suffered a tendon tear, such as the ACL, consumption of this extract can speed the healing process and mitigate the pain.
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.
Some studies have found that this extract is able to reduce the production of cytokines that can increase cancer risk. It may also lead to increased levels of apoptosis – cellular death – and reduce the ability of cancerous cells to metastasize and multiply at such a rapid rate.
Inflammatory Bowel Disease
As a powerful anti-inflammatory compound, this extract can help to soothe the gut and reduce many of the worst symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease, such as diarrhea, stomach upset, bloating, and cramping. This extract can also help with other digestive disorders.
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.
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 regularly 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.
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.