Supplement of the Month: Bromelain

What is Bromelain?

Bromelain is an extract from the stem and juice of pineapples. It is a mixture of proteases/proteolytic enzymes, which are enzymes that digests protein. It is used to treat a number of conditions due to its anti-inflammatory effects.

Where is bromelain found?

It is a supplement that comes from pineapples. It is available in tablets and capsules.

What are the benefits of bromelain?

Because of its anti-inflammatory properties, bromelain is frequently used after an injury or surgery to reduce swelling. It may reduce swelling, bruising, healing time and pain after surgery; it also decreases inflammation in minor muscle injuries, sprains, and strains.  Bromelain may also be effect in treating treat ulcerative colitis, arthritis, and muscle soreness after vigorous exercise.  It is also used to help treat sinusitis. Some studies show it may be useful in debridement, which is a process that removes dead tissue from the skin.

Are there interactions between bromelain and medications or foods?

Do not take bromelain with other anticoagulant or antiplatelet medications.

Additionally, it may increase risk of bleeding during surgery and should be stopped 2 weeks prior to any scheduled surgical procedure. Bromelain should not be taken with soybeans or potatoes, since they are inhibitors of proteolytic enzymes and may inhibit bromelain activity.



Are there side effects?

Some people report mild nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea. Do not take bromelain if you are allergic to pineapples, wheat, celery, carrot, fennel, papain, or grass pollen.

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