Bromelain, a Compound from Pineapple 

Bromelain is an amazing enzyme found in the pineapple plant, which has many health benefits. It is grown in different tropical countries such as Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines, Malaysia, India, Kenya, and China and used in traditional health regimens. Historically, it has been used for digestive problems in Central and South America. 

Bromelain is a proteolytic enzyme meaning that it helps to break down and digest protein. It has been shown in research to have a number of beneficial effects such as support against inflammation and provides analgesic properties (Brien S et al, 2004). It has been used to support the heart, digestive system, the lungs, joints and sinuses. 

Bromelain Research for Joints 

In the early 1960’s bromelain was reported to have case reports of improvements in joint health (Cohen A, Goldman J, 1964). From that point clinical trials were started to evaluate bromelain alone and with other compounds. 

A randomized, single-blind, active-controlled pilot study was performed with 40 individuals with knee problems (Kasemsuk T et al, 2016). 

The measurement that was used was a common tool in research called the Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Osteoarthritis Index (WOMAC). Also oxidative stress markers were measured. 

Results showed at week 4, there was improvement observed in the total WOMAC scores and discomfort measurements. At week 16, compared to baseline, there were more significant improvements in joint discomfort, stiffness and function. Oxidative stress markers were also reduced at week 16. 

A 6 week study administered bromelain, trypsin, and rutin to a large group of subjects with knee joint problems. The results showed significant reduced inflammation and discomfort (Pavan R et al, 2012). 

Bromelain Research for Sinuses

A 3 month, prospective, open-label observational pilot study was performed administering bromelain to 12 subjects that had problems with their sinuses. A rhinoscopy score questionnaire was provided to subjects and the results showed that bromelain provided good results for the sinuses and it was well tolerated (Büttner L et al, 2013). 

How does Bromelain work? 

Bromelain has been shown to help reduce swelling and proper clotting effects. It has been shown to break down the fibrin coat that surrounds inflamed tissue, releasing fluid and harmful chemicals (Pirotta F, de Giuli-Morghen C, 1978). It also reduces plasma fibrinogen levels and lowers bradykinin levels, which decreases blood vessel permeability, thereby reducing edema and pain (Livio M et al, 1978; Kumakura S et al, 1988; Taussig S et al, 1980). 

When inflammation occurs there is swelling and fibrinogen levels elevate. 

Bromelain has been shown to interfere with the arachidonic acid cascade and inhibit platelets from aggregating. It has been observed to help reduce Prostaglandin PGE2 and thromboxane A2 levels, which is produced by activated platelets (Hale LP, Hayes BF, 1992). 

Prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) promotes inflammatory chemicals and blood vessel constriction. Thromboxane A2 stimulates platelet aggregation and vasoconstriction (Hokama et al, 1981). 

Bromelain has been shown to be safe and is absorbed into the body without loss of its proteolytic activity (Pavan R et al, 2012). 

In general, if an individual has a medical condition and or is on medication it is best to check with their health care practitioner before taking bromelain or other dietary supplements. 

In summary, bromelain is an amazing proteolytic enzyme that has been used for medicinal purposes for many years. Research shows that it has unique mechanisms to help with heart health, respiratory, joints and sinuses.

This article is for educational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. It is not intended to advertise for any products. 

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