As a type of enzyme found in pineapple, bromelain may have several medicinal properties. For instance, it may aid in digestion, reduce inflammation, and help to break down blood clots. Although there is little scientific evidence to support the effectiveness of this product for most uses, preliminary research suggests promise for a few uses. Possible side effects of the supplement may include stomach upset and allergic reactions.
What Is Bromelain?
Bromelain is a name for enzymes found in pineapple. These enzymes can dissolve protein and are used to tenderize meat and as nutritional supplements. Bromelain is thought to aid in digestion and reduce inflammation. It may also have activity against cancer and blood clots.
Bromelain is a mixture of proteolytic (protein-dissolving) enzymes. It contains substances that may slow down the growth of cancerous cells, decrease the "stickiness" of blood platelets, help to break down blood clots, and help to break down and remove dead, damaged, or infected tissue (such as in burn wounds). It may also affect the way white blood cells function, which may produce anti-inflammatory properties.
Is Bromelain Effective?
In general, there is little scientific evidence to suggest conclusively that the supplement really is effective for most uses. However, early research shows promise for a few different uses (see Does Bromelain Work? for more information).
As with most dietary supplements, there is no well-established standard dosage for this product, although general guidelines may be obtained from a few clinical trials of bromelain products or from information on use in other countries.
Written by/reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last reviewed by: KristiMonson, PharmD;
List of references (click here):
Jellin JM, editor. Pharmacist's Letter/Prescriber's Letter Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database Web site. Available at: http://naturaldatabase.com/. Accessed December 18, 2008.
U.S. National Library of Medicine and National Institutes of Health. Bromelain (January 1, 2008). MedlinePlus Web site. http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/druginfo/natural/patient-bromelain.html/. Accessed December 18, 2008.
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