Bromelain, which has made its mark as a popular dietary supplement today especially for treating joint pain, is essentially a group of enzymes found in the stem and root of the pineapple plant. The supplement has been widely used as a therapeutic agent in reducing pain and swelling, mainly in the nose and sinuses, gums and other parts of the body. It has also proved to be very effective in the treatment of osteoarthritis, cancer, digestive problems and muscle soreness. Topical Bromelain has also shown to provide relief on burns. (1)
Studies have revealed that Bromelain facilitates the human body to generate certain substances that can tackle and fight pain and swelling (inflammation). Certain chemicals present in the pineapple-derived compound interfere with the growth of tumour cells and help to prevent blood clotting. (2)
A brief history
A review paper published in the year 2016 in the journal Biomedical Reports states: “Pineapple has been used as part of traditional folk medicine since ancient times and it continues to be present in various herbal preparations”.
Historically, a Venezuelan chemist Vicente Marcano has been credited with the first isolation of Bromelain in 1891 by fermenting the pineapple fruit. The following year, a scientist called Russell Henry Chittenden, assisted by Elliott P. Joslin and Frank Sherman Meara, investigated the matter more intensely and labelled it as ‘bromelin’. Later, the term ‘bromelain’ was introduced and originally applied to any protease from any member of the plant family Bromeliaceae. (3)
Is Bromelain Safe?
The supplement is considered to be relatively safe and is being used globally for its anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties. But like any other medication, it can induce a few side effects and harmful interactions.
Some of the common ones include: (4) (5)
- As an enzyme, it can be harsh on the stomach if one exceeds the prescribed dosage. An outcome of this is usually diarrhoea, nausea and vomiting. Hence, it is crucial to stick to the recommended dosage.
- It can lead to heavier-than-normal menstrual bleeding.
- It can sometimes induce allergic reactions. As a thumb rule, individuals who are allergic to pineapple should avoid Bromelain, even in the supplement form.
- It can interact with certain other medications and supplements, especially with the antibiotic amoxicillin and other medicines that work as blood thinners. Since it works as a blood thinner in itself, it is important to avoid its usage before or after any surgery.
- To avoid any complications, the concerned medical practitioner must be apprised of all other drugs the patient is consuming.
- There isn’t much information to indicate if Bromelain is safe to use during pregnancy or breastfeeding. It is best recommended to consult your doctor before usage.
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Anzen Export’s blog posts have been written with the information gathered from approved medical journals and websites online. Our research and technical teams strive to provide relevant information through such articles. To be best informed, we advise consulting a doctor about an ingredient or medicine before taking it.
- NIH [online] https://www.nccih.nih.gov/health/bromelain
- WebMD [online] https://www.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-895/bromelain
- Proteopedia [online]https://proteopedia.org/wiki/index.php/Bromelain#History
- Creakyjoints [online] https://creakyjoints.org/alternative-medicine/bromelain-for-arthritis/
- Healthline [online] https://www.healthline.com/health/bromelain