Bromelain: Addressing the Root Cause of Allergies
With an estimated 30 percent of the population suffering from nasal allergies, you may very well be among them and searching for a non-pharmaceutical way to get some relief. Whether you deal with seasonal allergies and are dreading the upcoming hay fever season or allergies are an all-year-round misery for you, any hope for resolving your sniffling, sneezing, watery eyes, scratchy throat, stuffy nose, headaches, and other awful symptoms sounds like a dream come true. And amazingly, you might be able to achieve this safely with bromelain, a natural substance that addresses the root cause of allergies rather than just treating the symptoms.
Bromelain extract is a mixture of protein-digesting enzymes and several other substances in smaller quantities. The two main enzymes in this mixture are: stem bromelain and fruit bromelain. A potent anti-inflammatory, bromelain is very effective at reducing swelling in the nasal passages. This swelling of nasal tissues—often a defensive gesture by the membranes to an irritant—makes it quite difficult to breathe through your nose when your allergies flare up, along with the copious amounts of thick mucus produced.
As a result, bromelain is helpful when it comes to the congestion problems brought on by allergies. It thins the mucus, making it easier to expel by blowing your nose. When you blow the mucus out, far less of it will drip to the back of your throat—the ever-popular post-nasal drip—which can result in a sore throat and cough.
In fact, bromelain is a very popular supplement in Germany, where it received approval by the Commission E, a governmental regulatory agency that evaluates herbs for human use. It was approved for treating inflammation and swelling of the nose and sinuses after an injury or surgery. Bromelain has also been a common treatment method in Central and South America for several hundred years. People apply pineapple (from which bromelain is derived) to the skin to decrease inflammation and drink the juice to relieve indigestion.
But back to its use for allergies; bromelain is an effective treatment because it can prevent the inflammation that goes hand in hand with many of our allergic symptoms. Bromelain is a cysteine protease, which means it can be helpful when it comes to cell aging and cell death along with certain immune responses. Cysteine proteases play a role in bringing macrophages—the immune system cells that normally help fight infection—back into line when they are misprogrammed. Since allergies are caused by a haywire immune system response in which innocuous materials such as pet dander or tree pollen are seen as potentially harmful to the body, bromelain can be very helpful in setting the immune system straight at the cellular level and preventing those with allergies from having reactions when exposed to their triggers.
While bromelain is derived from pineapples, eating the fruit cannot provide an adequate amount of the enzyme to improve your allergies. Instead, a supplement should be taken daily. An effective dose of bromelain for those with allergies is typically 500 mg, divided into two daily doses. In order for bromelain to not be involved in digesting proteins in your food, but rather make its way into your bloodstream where it can combat allergies, it is best taken between meals on an empty stomach. And the recommended period of use is eight to 10 consecutive days as needed.
Since bromelain comes from pineapples, it is obviously not a good idea for anyone with an allergy to pineapples to use this supplement. Allergic reactions that may occur after taking bromelain include itchy skin, hives, nausea, cramps, vomiting, diarrhea, and even an anaphylactic response.
But for those who can safely take bromelain, it has other applications for health purposes in addition to treating allergies. This supplement was shown in a 2007 study at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, North Carolina to be effective in treating irritable bowel syndrome.1 And a 2007 study at Facultad de Ciencias Medicas in Ciego de Avila, Cuba found bromelain to be associated with cancer fighting properties.2 Other research on bromelain suggests it helps reduce post-surgical swelling, improve sprained muscles, lessen inflammation related to tendinitis, and provide effective arthritis treatment. In addition, it has been found to be successful for burn treatment and preventing infections.
In other words, a good proteolytic enzyme formula that includes bromelain may be very beneficial for your allergies as well as a whole host of other potential health issues, so start your natural cure today!
- 1. Onken, JE; et al. "Bromelain treatment decreases secretion of pro-inflammatory cytokines and chemokines by colon biopsies in vitro." Clinical Immunology. 21 December 2007. Accessed 17 August 2016. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18160345.
- 2. Baez, R; et al. "In vivo antitumoral activity of stem pineapple (Ananas comosus) bromelain." Planta Medica. October 2007. Accessed 17 August 2016. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17893836.