Bromelain is a proteolytic enzyme concentrated in the fruit and stem of the pineapple fruit. As a proteolytic enzyme, it breaks down proteins, which means bromelain can help aid your body digest proteins, especially complex proteins, into small peptide units or amino acids. These smaller units help your body produce protein-based molecules such as muscle and neurotransmitters. While building protein and muscle is essential, bromelain also offers a number of medicinal benefits.
Many of these benefits can be traced to the the fact that bromelain is able to be absorbed intact, which means it can work on all of your internal organs as well as your blood and provide systemic effects such as reducing redness and swelling. In fact, bromelain has been used by Europeans for many years to inhibit inflammatory factors and is approved as an effective remedy for swelling after surgery. Its anti-inflammatory benefits have also resulted in it being used as a popular treatment for sinus issues in European countries.
Studies have shown that bromelain’s anti-inflammatory properties come from its ability to effectively inhibit immune cell migration. As such, it is not surprising that studies have also shown that bromelain can be helpful in reducing swelling and speeding up the healing of surgical wounds, as well as minor sprains, bruises, and sports injuries.
In addition, bromelain has been shown to help in treating osteoarthritis. Note: studies show that its benefit in regard to osteoarthritis is amplified by the presence of rutin and trypsin–all of which are present in our systemic proteolytic enzyme formula, pHi-Zymes. In fact, bromelain is often found as an ingredient in many natural supplements for sore joints and muscles.
Bromelain is backed by upwards of 80 studies over the years that substantiate its efficacy, including studies that support health benefits for…
- Topical applications for removal of dead and damaged tissue after severe burns.
- Topical application to help reduce swelling and discomfort from insect bites and stings.
- Varicose veins and hemorrhoids
- Can help reduce bloating, gas and other symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome, as well as issues of indigestion and heartburn.
- Aid in balancing the acidity of the stomach.
- May boost overall immune strength.
In addition, WebMD credits bromelain as being used to treat a number of conditions including: “hay fever, ulcerative colitis, pulmonary edema, relaxing muscles, stimulating muscle contractions, slowing clotting, improving the absorption of antibiotics, preventing cancer, shortening labor, and helping the body get rid of fat.” And if that’s not enough, research shows that bromelain may help support healthy blood viscosity and blood platelet aggregation, so it should not be surprising that studies show it’s also protective against heart attacks.
While pineapple contains this enzyme, it would be difficult and considerably less practical to consume enough bromelain for medicinal purposes. As a result, you’ll find it in supplement form either in enzyme formulas or in tablet, powder, or capsule form.
Read more on the health benefits of systemic proteolytic enzymes and how they work.