Bromelain: 11 reasons why you should start adding pineapple to your pizza!


Last Updated June 7th, 2019

What is bromelain?

The enzyme produced from the stem and the fruit of pineapple is called Bromelain.  Pineapple is by far one the most favorite fruit due to the delicious and juicy nature.  Pineapple is native of Paraguay and Brazil.  Pineapple itself is healthy and is widely used by many due to the health benefits it is associated with.  Due to the properties of pineapple, it was further studied upon to obtain the beneficial enzyme available in the fruit as well as the stem.

Bromelain is a natural mixture of proteolytic enzymes that are derived from pineapple stems and has been proposed to be useful for therapy of immune-mediated diseases. It is a powerful insect repellent and also has anti-inflammatory properties. It can also reduce neutrophil migration to sites of infection, thereby reducing pus formation. The anti-inflammatory action of bromelain also helps to ensure that the itchiness at the site of the bite is reduced. In these ways, bromelain is useful for the treatment of chigger bites.

Pineapple is grown in tropical and subtropical regions.  Proteinases and proteases are the active enzymes present in the bromelain enzyme.  It has been in use since ancient times to treat many health conditions such as swelling and inflammation.  There are many other uses of Bromelain to treat numerous health conditions namely heart problems, arthritis, allergies, cancer, gastrointestinal issues, various infections, as well as skin problems.  

Techniques vary during the fruit and stem extraction of Bromelain. The fruit extracted enzyme is prepared using fruit juice which is cooled and then filtered. The stem extracted enzyme is prepared after undergoing different processes namely centrifuging, filtering, lyophilizing, and finally dried by freezing.

Bromelain and its unending list of benefits

Bromelain has numerous health benefits and has been used for a long time due to the medicinal properties it is associated with.  Let us discuss some of the chronic conditions that bromelain can help prevent

Inflammation

Inflammation is a medical condition where a part of the body gets inflamed causing symptoms such as swelling, redness, warmth, and may even be painful.  Bromelain is well known for its anti-inflammatory effects for a long time. The natural process of the immune system is to act against any foreign body which attacks the body.  

The main reason for the inflammation is due to the release of lipids such as COX-2 as well as PGE-2. These lipids, when secreted in large amounts, can suppress the function of the immune system and disable them to function properly.  Bromelain plays an important role in reducing the levels of COX-2 as well as PGE-2 and reducing the effects caused by these lipids on the immune system.

Arthritis

Pain, swelling, joint stiffness, as well as inability to ambulate are some of the symptoms of arthritis.  Many factors such as low absorption of calcium, abnormal diet, as well as failure to lead an active lifestyle may cause arthritis.  Bromelain is well known for its anti-inflammatory effects and due to this reason it is able to lower the production of a cytokine called TGF beta.  Due to this reason, it is helpful in reducing the effects of rheumatoid arthritis.  

It was also tested on patient’s suffering from osteoarthritis such as having symptoms of swelling, pain, and joint stiffness and seemed to provide positive effects in relieving these symptoms.  A combination of bromelain, rutosid, and trypsin used to treat the symptoms of pain associated with arthritis was as effective as the drug diclofenac and was effective in reducing the levels of pain.  There are several studies being conducted to gain more information regarding the usefulness of bromelain to treat arthritis.

Weight loss

The difficulties associated with losing weight are enormous due to the amount of time of energy that needs to be put in.  Bromelain seems to be effective in reducing the weight by directly targeting the adipose tissue accumulated in the body. Bromelain seems to increase the levels of TNF alpha, which helps in the process called as lipolysis.  Lipolysis is the process in which the fat tissues are broken down and this is induced by the secretion of TNF alpha. This causes the accumulated fat in the body to break down at a faster rate and helps in reducing weight.

Immune system

Bromelain has the ability to increase or decrease the levels of inflammatory proteins as per the requirement.  Bromelain is helpful to improve the response of T cells in the immune system to promote adequate functioning of the immune system.  The same process is reversed by Bromelain when T cells are inappropriately activated in the immune system. Due to this ability of Bromelain, it makes one of the best natural supplements a human can get to improve the functioning of the immune system.  This is helpful in bridging the gap which is caused due to an impaired immune system.

Cancer

Bromelain is effective in controlling the growth of cancerous cells.  There are some cancer cells, which mask themselves with platelets, so as to not be identified by the immune system and generally do not get noticed, and this is what happens in the case of brain tumors.  Due to this reason, it becomes difficult to identify such cancer cells and treat them. Bromelain is effective in accomplishing even this task of identifying the cancer cells, which lie beneath the cover of platelets.  

It is already known that Bromelain reduces the levels of PGE-2 in the immune system for the proper functioning of the immune system. Due to this, the immune system is better activated and is able to fight the growth of cancer cells.  Another aspect of Bromelain is to reduce the transmission of ERK-2. ERK-2 is known to help the growth of cancer cells and promote tumor growth. Lower levels of ERK-2 helps in the reduction of cancer cells.

Allergies

There are various allergies affecting a human body such as environment allergy, food allergy, and skin allergy.  Bromelain is helpful in the treatment of allergy symptoms such as sinusitis as well as sinus related issues.  Due to the anti-inflammatory effects of Bromelain, it proves to be the right choice to treat allergy-related diseases such as sinusitis. Bromelain is known to reduce the inflammation in the nose caused by sinusitis and helps in better air circulation through the nose.  Bromelain, when combined with antibiotics, proved to be more effective to treat sinusitis when compared to treatment only with antibiotics.

Pain and swelling

It is caused by a nerve response.  Pain can also occur after a strenuous exercise when the muscles are flexed and contracted rigorously.  The anti-inflammatory property of Bromelain helps the muscle to regain strength and relieve the soreness of the muscles.  Bromelain also proves to be effective in relieving the pain and swelling associated with dental surgery. It has been noted that the effectiveness of Bromelain is attained only when it is administered in higher doses.  As discussed earlier, a combination of bromelain, rutosid, and trypsin is helpful in reducing the pain, which can be compared to the effects of the pain relief drug called diclofenac.

Heart

There are many risk factors associated with damage caused to the heart.  Bromelain is studied extensively due to their property of protecting the heart cells.  The main function of Bromelain associated with heart health is from the activation of Akt-FOXO, which reduces the heart cell death and promotes the longevity of the heart cells.  Another function of Bromelain is in the reduction of clot formation in the blood vessels, which improves the blood flow in the arteries and vessels and prevents heart attack and stroke.

Gut health

A healthy gut is essential to avoid many disorders related to the intestine such as inflammatory bowel disease, etc.  The anti-inflammatory effect of Bromelain comes to the rescue in promoting a healthy gut. Bromelain is known to help the gut in two ways namely by reducing the activity of bacteria, which causes diarrhea.  Secondly, it helps in reducing the intestinal fluid secretion. These properties of Bromelain seem to be effective in promoting a healthy gut.

Skin

Scars may occur due to acne and other skin related problems.  Bromelain is effective in treating these scars by removing the dead tissues present on the wound.  Bromelain contains an ingredient called escharase, which is involved in the removal of dead tissues from the wound and promoting wound healing.  It is also effective in treating a skin condition called pityriasis lichenoides chronica, which causes scaling of skin associated with raised spots.  This skin disease is known to heal when Bromelain is used for long-term.  

Alzheimer’s disease

It is a brain disorder, which causes confusion, loss of memory, and an inability to carry out the daily chores of life.  The plaques which are formed due to the beta-amyloid are known to cause this medical condition. Bromelain consumption reduces the amount of beta-amyloid in the body and helps in reducing the chances of developing Alzheimer disease.

Are there any side-effects?

Bromelain causes minimal to no side effects when consumed in the doses prescribed.  The only major side effect associated with Bromelain may be related to an allergic reaction.  People suffering from pineapple allergy are known to have some side effects namely nausea and vomiting.  In severe cases, they can even cause diarrhea. Bromelain is consumed on an empty stomach to gain the effects of the supplement and this may sometimes cause some irritation to the stomach.  It is also advised to avoid Bromelain during pregnancy and breastfeeding.

Bromelain supplements

Pineapple has a history which dates back to many years.  Bromelain is a protein-digesting enzyme, which is extracted from pineapple.  It is claimed that in 1891 Bromelain was extracted from the pineapple juice and it gained popularity as a therapeutic supplement in the year 1957.  People have been using pineapple due to the various health benefits associated with it. It has been widely used to treat stomach related issues as well as used in dressings to treat skin injuries and swelling.  It is considered to be safe when consumed on a moderate dosage.

The enzyme can be naturally obtained by consuming pineapple. Supplements are also available which can be added to the diet. A dosage of around 500 to 800 mg per day is considered to be safe to consume.  It is advised to avoid by people who are using blood thinning medications. They may also cause an allergic reaction if you have allergies to pineapple. The general rule is that any supplement needs proper medical supervision to obtain the benefits of the supplement.

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