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Healthy Diet Plans >>  Dietary Supplements >>  Bromelain


Bromelain is a sulfur-containing protein digestive enzymes found in pineapples. It is classified as an herb and is extracted from the fruit and stem of the pineapple plant. Bromelain acts as an anti-inflammatory agent when taken on an empty stomach, and aids protein digestion when taken with meals.

Health and bromelain

  1. There is good scientific evidence on bromelain to reduce inflammation or pain caused by inflammation when taken orally. It also helps to reduce the swelling and inflammation in patients with sinusitis and improves breathing.
  2. Debridase – a bromelain derived debriding agent may have positive results for patients with deep second degree and third degree burns.
  3. Bromelain may help reduce the swelling, inflammation, and pain following a surgery or any physical injury (sports injury) along with reducing the healing time.
  4. Traditionally bromelain is also used for digestive problems, back pain, blood clot treatment, bronchitis, carpal tunnel syndrome, cough, cold, diarrhea, food digestion, stomach ulcer, menstrual pain, heart diseases, cancer prevention and wound healing. But these uses are based on scientific theories and more research is required in these areas.

Side effects of bromelain

  1. Individuals allergic to pineapple or any other member of bromeliaceous family may get allergic reaction from bromelain consumption and show symptoms like throat swelling and difficulty in breathing.
  2. Common side effects reported with bromelain ingestion include stomach upset, diarrhea, increased heart rate, irritation of mucus membrane, menstrual problems, nausea and vomiting.
  3. Individuals with bleeding disorders or on drugs that increase the risk of bleeding should take bromelain with a word of caution as bromelain may increase the risk of bleeding. Bromelain supplementations is not recommended for people with stomach ulcers, history of bleeding, active bleeding, prior to some surgical or dental procedure or taking medications to keep the blood thin.
  4. Bromelain use is also not recommended for individuals with kidney or liver diseases.
  5. People with heart diseases should also use bromelain cautiously as bromelain may increase heart rate at higher doses.
  6. Ingesting high levels of bromelain can cause abnormal uterine bleeding that can lead to heavy or prolonged menstruation cycle. Due to this it is not recommended during pregnancy or breast feeding as little evidence of its safety in this period is available.
Before starting any supplementation containing bromelain one should consult a health care professional as it may tend to interact with other drugs or herbal or dietary supplements and cause health problems.

Submitted on January 16, 2014