Bromelain for Improved Digestion
Bromelain is a mixture of proteases (protein digesting enzymes) extracted from the fruit or stem of the pineapple plant. Bromelain also contains non-protease enzymes, but its various health effects known mostly come from the role of proteases. Fruit bro
Bromelain from Pineapple
Pineapple is a native fruit to the Americas but now is grown throughout the world in tropical and subtropical regions including Philippines,Indonesia, Thailand, India, Kenya, and Malaysia. The fruit has been used as part of traditional folk medicine since ancient times. Natives of Central and South America used pineapple for a variety of illness including digestive disorders and it has also been also used as a meat tenderizer. Nowadays, people use bromelain as a dietary supplement for nasal swelling and inflammation, muscle soreness, poor digestion, and osteoarthritis while topical (applied to the skin) bromelain is also used for burns and wounds.
Bromelain is a mixture of proteases (protein digesting enzymes) extracted from the fruit and stem of the pineapple plant. Bromelain also contains non-protease enzymes, but its various health effects known mostly come from the proteases. Interestingly, fruit bromelain and stem bromelain contain different enzymatic composition and are prepared differently. “Bromelain” usually refers to the “stem bromelain.”
Both biological and non-biological experiments have shown that the proteases contained in bromelain may have anti-inflammatory (reducing inflammation), anti-edematous (reducing swelling), and anti-thrombotic (reducing blood clotting) activities. While a wide range of therapeutic benefits have been claimed for bromelain, currently more studies are being done to support their use as a supplement.
- Aiding Digestion: Bromelain has been found to serve as effective digestive aids in the breakdown of protein. Therefore it may help us with digestion of meat, fish, chicken, beans and others. The pH of our digestive system varies widely from stomach to intestine and pH determines whether an enzyme can act properly or not. Bromelain has a relatively broad pH range in which it can remain effective (4.5-9.8) and therefore it can provide protein digesting activity in stomach (pH range of 1.5-6.5 depending on the location of the stomach) as well as small intestine (pH range of 7-8.5). For this reason, bromelain has been used as a supplement in cases of digestive enzyme deficiencies and people having trouble with digestion.
- Anti-inflammatory: Studies have demonstrated that bromelain removes cell surface molecules required for leukocyte (a type of white blood cells) migration and activation, resulting in anti-inflammatory activity. A study found that patients with ulcerative colitis (inflammatory bowel disease)who did not respond to conventional treatment showed some improvement after self-treatment with oral bromelain. Another study found that bromelain may be effective for mild knee pain associated with steoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis as oral administration of bromelain to the patients who are otherwise healthy improved the symptoms, physical function as well as overall psychological well-being. Moreover, some studies indicate that bromelain is helpful in relieving symptoms of nasal and sinus inflammation in combination of standard medications.
- Anti-thrombotic: Bromelain has been shown to influence blood clotting by inhibiting the synthesis of fibrin (a protein involved in blood clotting) and preventing fibrin from growing. And it has been suggested that bromelain supplement could reduce risk factors that contribute to the development of cardiovascular diseases including heart attacks and stroke. Evidence from both biological and non-biological studies indicated that bromelain administration could minimize the severity of minor strokes and chest pain related to heart disease. Another study found that episodes of chest pain reappeared following discontinuation of bromelain for up to 2 months.
- Anti-edematous: Clinical trials indicated that administration of bromelain before a surgery may reduce swelling, bruising, and pain after a surgery and thus reduce the average number of days for complete disappearance of pain and inflammation of the surgical site. Another study looking at oral bromelain therapy following oral surgery found that compared with patients who were prescribed an analgesic (painkiller medication) as required, patients who were prescribed bromelain had less swelling and reddening of the surgical wound.
For digestive aid, one capsule of Nutridom Bromelain one or two times a day is recommended. It is best taken with food or meal.
Hale, L. P., Chichlowski,M., Trinh, C. T., & Greer, P. K. (2010). Dietary supplementation with fresh pineapple juice decreases inflammation and colonic neoplasia in IL-10-deficient mice with colitis. Inflammatory bowel diseases, 16(12), 2012-2021.
National Institutes of Health. (2017, September 24). Bromelain. Retrieved from https://nccih.nih.gov/health/bromelain#hed1
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Walker, A. F., Bundy, R.,Hicks, S. M., & Middleton, R. W. (2002). Bromelain reduces mild acute knee pain and improves well-being in a dose-dependent fashion in an open study of otherwise healthy adults. Phytomedicine, 9(8), 681-686.
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