Picture an ingredient that can reduce pain, swelling, inflammation, allergy symptoms, and indigestion. Now also picture an ingredient that promotes cardiovascular health and fights off cancer. Bromelain is the ingredient that can do all of this! Found in pineapple, Bromelain is an amazing enzyme that is quickly becoming well-known for its health benefits, especially when it comes to digestive health.
In this blog article and video discussing the weekly ingredient, you’ll learn what Bromelain is, how this ingredient supports digestive health, and lastly, you’ll learn about the benefits and uses of this enzyme.
Bromelain, What is it?
Bromelain, which is found in pineapple extracts, is an anti-inflammatory enzyme. It is specifically extracted from the fruit or stem of the pineapple, and it’s a proteolytic enzyme that breaks down proteins into amino acids, thus helping with overall digestion.1 Along with digestive support, Bromelain is used as a dietary supplement for nasal swelling and inflammation, osteoarthritis, cancer, and muscle soreness.2 Topical (applied to the skin) Bromelain is used for wounds and burns.
Bromelain is sold in the form of a powder, cream, tablet, or capsule, and it may be used alone or in combination with other ingredients.2
The effects of Bromelain are abundant, as seen in its demonstration of alleviating pain, swelling, and inflammation. It’s used to help with common issues such as allergies and indigestion to more serious issues dealing with cardiovascular disorders and cancer.
You may be asking yourself how one enzyme can do all of this, so let’s take a closer look at the amazing benefits provided by Bromelain.
Anti-Inflammatory – Bromelain has the ability to decrease the majority of pro-inflammatory mediators and is a powerful anti-inflammatory agent.3 Two contributors to inflammation, COX-2 (a molecule) and PGE-2 (a compound), have been found to be reduced by Bromelain.4 A particular inflammatory disease that Bromelain helps with is ulcerative colitis, which is an inflammatory bowel disease that is characterized by abdominal cramping and pain, diarrhea, and weight loss.5
Fights Allergies and Asthma – Because Bromelain is an anti-inflammatory, it can help with allergies and sinus problems. Studies have shown that Bromelain assists in decreasing nose inflammation and difficulty in breathing, and suggests that it may be helpful with the symptoms of allergies, asthma, and hypersensitivity disorders.6
Anti-Cancer Effects – Recent exciting news is that Bromelain has been found by studies to have natural anti-cancer effects, which include its ability to promote cell death in cancer cells and assist in avoiding future tumor growth.7 Furthermore, Bromelain inhibits key pathways that are integral in supporting cancer growth.3
Reduces Pain and Swelling – Due to its anti-inflammatory properties, Bromelain has become a good natural alternative to taking over-the-counter pain medications for minor injuries, such as sprains, strains, and other trauma.5 Clinical studies have shown it to be effective for pain relief, soft-tissue swelling, and joint stiffness often associated with osteoarthritis,8 and helps with muscle soreness after exercise, mild pain, and pain after surgery.3
Protect the Heart – Several laboratory and animal studies suggest that Bromelain may stop blood platelets from clotting, which is extremely beneficial to heart health because blood clots can increase heart disease.3 In other studies, it’s been shown that Bromelain reduces heart cell death and increases heart cell survival, and it helps with the recovery after a heart attack or stroke.3
Helps Heal Skin – Injuries or trauma to skin can benefit from the healing properties of Bromelain. A study review found that Bromelain, when used as a topical cream, was highly effective at safely removing damaged tissue from wounds and from second- and third-degree burns.8
Supports Digestive Health – The primary way that Bromelain supports digestive health is that it breaks down protein into smaller peptide units or individual amino acids, thus making the digestive process easier.9 Studies also suggest that Bromelain can decrease inflammation in the gut and colon, and that it can heal the tissues found within the gastrointestinal tract.10 All of this can lead to a reduction in bloating, gas, abdominal cramping, diarrhea, constipation, and indigestion. Furthermore, it has been found to be particularly effective when used in combination with other enzymes like amylase (which digests carbohydrates) and lipase (which digests fat).9