Vitamins, Minerals and Dietary Supplements
What is bromelain? Why do we need it?
Bromelain is a digestive enzyme found in the stem and fruit of pineapples. It is composed of two proteolytic enzymes (bromelain A and B) and a handful of other substances, including perioxidase, acid phosphatase, protease inhibitors and calcium.
Bromelain has demonstrated its effectiveness in treating a wide variety of conditions. As an anti-inflammatory, it can be used to reduce pain and swelling and speed the healing process. As a natural protease inhibitor, it may prove useful in AIDS patients by slowing the proliferation of HIV. It can relieve the symptoms of angina pectoris; stop blood clots from forming; improve digestion; and increase the effectiveness of antibiotics and some forms of chemotherapy.
How much bromelain should I take?
As a digestive aid, most health professionals recommend 500 milligrams of bromelain taken with meals. Other dosages can be taken depending on the condition:
Traumatic injuries: 500mg four times a day on an empty stomach
Cardiovascular disease: 500-750mg three times a day on an empty stomach
Joint inflammation: 500-2,000mg a day, taken in two doses
As always, make sure to consult with your health care provider before taking bromelain supplements.
What are some good sources of bromelain?
Pineapples and other tropical fruits are a natural source of bromelain.
What can happen if I don't get enough bromelain?
No definitive studies have been conducted regarding a lack of bromelain in one's diet.
What can happen if I take too much? Are there any side-effects I should be aware of?
People who are allergic to pineapples may suffer allergic reactions and asthma if they take bromelain supplements. Large amounts may cause nausea, vomiting and diarrhea, but no serious side-effects have been reported in humans.
Bromelain can increase your risk of bleeding if it taken in conjunction with anticoagulants. It can also enhance the effects of antibiotics such as tetracycline. If you have high blood pressure, you may experience an increased heart rate after taking bromelain.
- Bromelain. Alternative Medicine Review August 1998;3:302305.
- Masson M. Bromelain in blunt injuries of the locomotor system. A study of observed applications in general practice. Fortschr Med 1995;113:303306.
- Murray MT, Pizzorno JE. Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine, 2nd ed. Rocklin, CA: Prima Publishing; 1998:208,297298,568,807,829830.
- Taussig SJ, Batkin S. Bromelain, the enzyme complex of pineapple (ananas comosus) and its clinical application. An update. J Ethnopharmacol 1998;22:191203.
- Walker JA, Cerny FJ, Cotter JR, Burton HW. Attentuation of contraction-induced skeletal muscle injury by bromelain. Med Sci Sports Exerc 1992;24:2025.