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Bromelain: What is it, Properties, Benefits to Improve the Digestion of Proteins

Bromelain: What is it, Properties, Benefits to Improve the Digestion of Proteins

Currently, both scientists and the general population have become interested in having a healthy body and mind. Having a better understanding of our body and its needs is the only way to achieve this. That’s why different studies are about those elements and substances that make up our body, such as enzymes, among which we find bromelain.

Enzyme Bromelain

An enzyme is a protein that enhances the chemical reactions that happen in the body without being consumed in the process.

This interesting fact has drawn the attention toward enzymes such as bromelain. The purpose of many studies is to answer questions like what is bromelain and what are its benefits?

Digestive enzymes

If you suffer digestive problems, taking digestive enzymes will help you improve

What is Bromelain?

Bromelain is a vegetable enzyme with a great molecular weight. Its main function consists of improving the absorption of amino acids, since it is capable of doing so in different pH, from acid to alkaline. Its main feature is its proteolytic action.

This enzyme acts in the digestive system, specifically in the stomach and intestine. However, its benefits affect the entire body.

The stem contains bromelain

Bromelain can be found naturally in pineapple, a tropical fruit that is native to South America. Most of the concentration of this enzyme is found in its stem.

To put it simple, it breaks down all the nutrients of proteins. This has important implications since almost all the food that we eat contains great amounts of protein. The fact that it is a proteolytic enzyme means that it supports the digestive processes of the body. To do so, it breaks down complex protein molecules to form smaller peptide links or individual amino acids.

In the last decades, it has been used to treat 1600 different disorders such as:

  • Connective tissue injuries
  • Ankle sprain
  • Tendinitis
  • Allergies
  • Arthritis, joint pain and y osteoarthritis
  • Digestive problems such as stomach acidity or diarrhea
  • Cardiovascular disorders
  • Asthma
  • Autoimmune diseases
  • Cancer
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Sinus infections, such as bronchitis and sinusitis
  • Surgical trauma and slow wound healing or burns
  • Bad absorption of medicines, especially antibiotics, and symptoms caused by medicines

Bromelain and Pineapple

The inhabitants of tropical areas tend to drink the juice of this fruit to improve their digestions. It also relieves stomach pain, stimulates wound healing processes and improves the skin texture.

As if this was not enough, the enzymes help to destroy tumor cells. They denature the fibrin that hides in cancer cells, so that they can be detected and destroyed more easily. The foods that are rich in enzymes are those that not been processed, raw products, all the small sprouts are excellent sources. This is the case of pineapples.

In general, extracts and supplements are made with the enzymes that have extracted from the stem or core of the fruit. These parts weight more, unlike the pulp, and they have higher concentrations.

It has been widely used as a natural remedy to treat many diseases and disorders, from an indigestion to allergies. However, pineapple also has a great content in vitamin C, vitamin B1, potassium, manganese and phytonutrients. Even if pineapples have so many benefits for our health, its main healing effects are definitely due to its bromelain content.

Importance of Bromelain

Bromelain is a vital enzyme for a proper functioning of the digestive system and for the treatment of certain disorders.

This is due to its properties, most of them were scientifically proven at the end of the 90s by scientists all over the world.

Properties of Bromelain

Bromelain products have different positive properties for our body, especially regarding gastrointestinal problems. Traditionally, it has been regarded as an important element to synthesize proteins in the body.

However, the latest research has reported some information about even more important properties:

  • Relieving the pain
  • Improving the blood flow
  • Preventing and reducing the onset of cellulite
  • Having an anti-inflammatory effect
  • Detoxifying the body
  • Reducing the liquid retention
  • Calming the allergies
  • Improving syndromes like bronchitis, arthritis or asthma
  • Strengthening the immune system
  • Supporting weight loss diets
  • Helping to prevent cancer
Now, we are going to explain all the properties and benefits of bromelain in detail:

Anti-inflammatory

Anti-inflammatory properties
At the beginning, the fame of this enzyme was due to its ability to inhibit the production of inflammatory prostaglandins. That is why it became a useful tool to relieve the inflammation, as well as to improve the bruises and shortening the post-surgery recovery processes.

Moreover, it is also capable of treating muscle injuries such as sprains and tendinitis. There are even some scientists that ensure that this property can help to reduce the inflammation caused by hay fever.

On the other hand, it is recommended for sinusitis, due to the fact that it reduces the inflammation in the paranasal sinuses and the mucosa.

Digestive

Protein
The protein breakdown and its ability to reduce the allergenicity help to lower the chances of suffering an indigestion or stomach burn. Moreover, it can support the elimination of parasites. In addition, it is regarded as a beneficial element for our digestion, since it can calm the appetite and, therefore, help us control our weight.

Its digestive and anti-inflammatory properties are the reason why it is advised to treat flatulence and some leaky gut symptoms.

Sedative

Sedative effect
This property, along with its anti-inflammatory effect, allows this enzyme to relieve the pain and swelling of muscle and joint injuries. This is why it becomes an excellent element to relieve the discomfort caused by arthritis and osteoarthritis.

Anti-bacterial

Anti-bacterial properties
It has the potential to fight against infections that may happen in the intestine and stomach, such as helicobacter pylori. In addition, it has also been proven that it can be useful against bronchitis and pneumonia.

Anti-coagulant

It improves the blod flow

This property is useful to treat cardiovascular problems that can cause varicose veins and hemorrhoids.

The benefits of Bromelain reach the circulatory system, since it helps to prevent clots in the blood vessels. Therefore, this lowers the chances of suffering diseases or conditions such as thrombosis.

Allergies

There are products that can help those who suffer nasal congestion, itchiness, lymphatic glands inflammation or difficulty to breathe.

A study provided some interesting results that point to the fact that bromelain reduce the allergic sensitivity. Thus, this can stop the development of other inflammatory responses that affect the respiratory airways. The truth is that it can help to prevent allergies by treating the problem directly from its root: a hyperactive and hypersensitive immune system. A study proved that CD11c dendritic cells and DC44 antigens were kept on track thanks to bromelain supplementation. This is a sign that this enzyme is capable of attacking the underlying cause of asthma and allergies.

Sinusitis

Researchers from the University of Cologne in Germany conducted a study on twelve patients who had undergone surgery of their paranasal sinuses. They were given bromelain for three months. The results were the following: the symptoms improved, the results of rhynoscopy also improved, their quality of life improved and there were no harmful side effects.

This research brings hope to those who suffer paranasal sinuses chronic problems, due to the fact that surgery can sometimes be ineffective.

Ankle sprains and injuries

Recovery from injuries and surgery

Bromelain has anti-inflammatory properties which can be a great natural alternative to painkillers, such as aspirin.
A study evaluated the wound healing of an oral intervention. Most of those who undergo this surgery experiences significant post-surgery symptoms. Unfortunately, antibiotics and painkillers are not always enough to prevent infections or other discomforts during the healing process. 80 people participated in this study, those who were given bromelain reported “significantly less” pain, inflammation and even redness than the control group.

Weight loss

Some studies have reported that bromelain helps to break down the protein that binds adipocyte fatty acids, the fatty acid synthase and the lipoprotein lipase. It can also inhibit the adipogenesis (cell differentiation that can contribute to the formation of fatty cells) and reduce the triglyceride accumulation.

However, this effect has not been completely contrasted, since there are not many studies that focus on its potential positive effects. But one thing is clear, the specialists tend to advise eating pineapple, the tropical fruit with the highest bromelain content, during weight loss diets.

Weight control

Other Benefits of Bromelain

At a lower level, bromelain has anti-tumor, anti-edema, mucolytic and regulating properties.

Moreover, the results of some studies point to its potential ability to support the balance of stomach acidity and alkalinity in the small intestine. Moreover, it can be used to treat first and second degree burns and to strengthen the immune system.

How to consume Bromelain?

It is important to know that the best way of consuming bromelain is to eat the fruit. This is due to the fact that it provides an ideal dose of this enzyme and it does not have any contraindication for our health.

Sliced pineapple

Due to the all the benefits of bromelain, its intake formats has been improved with the passing of time.

If you choose to eat pineapples, bear in mind that it should not have been processed industrially or chemically.

Dose of Bromelain

The most common dose that is prescribed by specialists is between 500 and 800mg. The dose of bromelain depends on the disorder that you want to treat:
  • 400mg daily for arthritis
  • 1000mg daily for allergies
  • 500mg three times a day to recover from surgery and/or injuries
It is advisable to take this type of products on an empty stomach, unless we want to improve the digestion.

Bromelain Supplements

Currently, there are also bromelain supplements in creams and ointments for its external use. Nevertheless, it is always important to consult a doctor before we start using them.

In the case of capsule supplements, it will depend on what you want to achieve. You may need to treat physical problems such as muscle problems or you may want to improve your digestions.

Bromelain capsules

Its topical use can be used for the treatment of sprains, pain and even burns. Use products with a 2% concentration.

How can we combine Bromelain

If we want to enhance the effects to support our body, some studies have proven that bromelain can be combined with quercetin or turmeric.

Quercetin is an antioxidant flavonoid that is present in drinks and foods such as wine, green tea, cabbage and blueberries. It helps to fight against the free radicals while having anti-viral, anti-microbial, anti-inflammatory and anti-allergic properties.

Turmeric is a powerful anti-inflammatory spice that is used to relieve problems such as arthritis and even in chemotherapy.

Other studies about bromelain

Bromelain also produces natural effects against cancer, stimulating the death of apoptotic cells and preventing the growth of tumors. Some studies with animals have shown that it can trigger the production of different cytokines which have anti-metastatic effects that inhibit that metastasis by reducing the platelet aggregation.

It also has a property that only natural products have: selective cytotoxicity. This means that it kills cancer cells without affecting the rest of healthy cells.

This does not mean that you should stop taking any other treatment against this disease. Bromelain is simply a natural support to prevent cancer.

Contraindications of Bromelain

The studies carried out on bromelain, from what is it to how to use it, should emphasize how important it is to use it properly. A bad use can trigger inconveniences due to its multiple properties.

This enzyme should be taken under medical supervision and advice in order to avoid hemorrhages or the onset of other conditions. For example, its combination with anti-coagulant medicines like aspirin is forbidden.

Stomach discomfort
In addition, it should not be used by those who suffer liver or pancreas dysfunctions as well as allergy to pineapple. This is due to the fact that bromelain tends to be the element that triggers the allergic reaction.

It is important to clarify that this enzyme can trigger some side effects. In this case, you should consult an specialist if you experience nausea, diarrhea, hypersensitivity and metrorrhagia.

Who must not take Bromelain?

In general, bromelain is safe when taken moderately, even though the intake of these products can trigger an increased heart rate.

The following groups should not take it:

  • People with stomach lining inflammation
  • Pregnant or lactating women
  • Children
  • People with renal or hepatic diseases
  • Precaution if you are taking anti-coagulant medicines

Sources

  1. https://www.enbuenasmanos.com/propiedades-de-la-bromelina
  2. “Obtención de bromelina a partir de los deshechos de la piña” Universidad Nacional de Colombia 1992.
  3. https://www.globalhealingcenter.net/salud-natural/bromelina.html
  4. “Biotecnología alimentaria” Noriega Editores 2004
  5. “Técnico especialista en laboratorio de atención primaria” Instituto Catalán de Salud, Editorial: MAD 2006
  6. “La farmacia Natural” James A. Duke, Editorial: Rodale 1997
  7. Kelly, G.S. Bromelain: A Literature Review and Discussion of its Therapeutic Applications. November 1, 1996
  8. Pavan R, Jain S, Shraddha, Kumar A. Properties and therapeutic application of bromelain: a review. Biotechnol Res Int. 2012;2012:976203. doi: 10.1155/2012/976203. Epub 2012 Dec 10.
  9. Maurer HR. Bromelain: biochemistry, pharmacology and medical use. Cell Mol Life Sci. 2001 Aug;58(9):1234-45.
  10. Pillai K, Akhter J, Chua TC, Morris DL. Anticancer property of bromelain with therapeutic potential in malignant peritoneal mesothelioma. Cancer Invest. 2013 May;31(4):241-50. doi: 10.3109/07357907.2013.784777. Epub 2013 Apr 9.
  11. K.Pillai, A.Ehteda, J.Akhter, T.C.Chua, D.L.Morris. Anticancer effect of bromelain alone and in combination with cisplatin or fluorouracil on malignant peritoneal mesothelioma cells. European Journal of Cancer. Volume 50, Supplement 4, May 2014, Page e66.
  12. Hale LP, Greer PK, Trinh CT, Gottfried MR. Treatment with oral bromelain decreases colonic inflammation in the IL-10-deficient murine model of inflammatory bowel disease. Clin Immunol. 2005 Aug;116(2):135-42.
  13. Singh T, More V, Fatima U, Karpe T, Aleem MA, Prameela J. Effect of proteolytic enzyme bromelain on pain and swelling after removal of third molars. J Int Soc Prev Community Dent. 2016 Dec;6(Suppl 3):S197-S204. doi: 10.4103/2231-0762.197192.
  14. Eric R. Secor, Jr., Steven M. Szczepanek, Christine A. Castater, Alexander J. Adami, Adam P. Matson, Ektor T. Rafti, Linda Guernsey, Prabitha Natarajan, Jeffrey T. McNamara, Craig M. Schramm, Roger S. Thrall, and Lawrence K. Silbart. Bromelain Inhibits Allergic Sensitization and Murine Asthma via Modulation of Dendritic Cells. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2013; 2013: 702196. Published online 2013 Dec 5. doi: 10.1155/2013/702196.
  15. Dave S, Kaur NJ, Nanduri R, Dkhar HK, Kumar A, Gupta P. Inhibition of adipogenesis and induction of apoptosis and lipolysis by stem bromelain in 3T3-L1 adipocytes. 2012;7(1):e30831. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0030831. Epub 2012 Jan 24.

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