Bromelain is a type of enzyme that is capable of digesting protein. It is most commonly found in the stem of the pineapple. This substance is commercially used along with papain as an ingredient found in meat tenderizers and is used in households just about every day.

The pineapple has been used by the people of South and Central America for hundreds of years to treat disorders such as indigestion and problems that arose from inflammation. Bromelain was first isolated for use from the stem and pineapple juice sometime in the late 1800’s. This substance seems to be very potent when used to treat inflammation that is caused by injury or associated with an infectious process. In fact, the Germans have approved Bromelain as treatment for problems with swelling or inflammation after surgery.

Bromelain is able to digest proteins without question. Therefore it may be helpful in treating indigestion and heartburn. As stated above people in South and Central America have been using the pineapple for this purpose for centuries. Some studies have shown that when bromelain was combined with lipase and amylase that its effects are much more potent. Lipase and amylase are enzymes that are naturally in the digestive tract that digest starches and fats.

Bromelain has been approved by the Germans to treat swelling of the nasal mucosa and the sinuses. This can be following surgery as noted above or after trauma to the face or nose. Some studies have shown that Bromelain may be helpful in reducing the effects of hay fever. It also has been shown to be effective in slowing down the amount of coughing and runny nose that is associated with sinusitis.

Other inflammatory conditions that can be helped with this supplement include osteoarthritis and some athletic injuries. Some studies showed that Bromelain may be as effective as taking NSAID’s for both of the above conditions. There have been some preliminary studies that showed that Bromelain may be helpful in reducing the pain that is associated with rheumatoid arthritis. Further study is needed before a final determination is made.

There have been both animal and human studies that involved using Bromelain on second and third degree burns. The substance was applied to the burn itself and used as an agent to debride the burns. The preliminary studies both showed that the people and animals that were treated with the Bromelain concoction benefited by the applications. This substance can also be applied to insect stings and bites. Most insect venom is protein in nature. Therefore the Bromelain can break down the venom when it comes into contact with it. This can help reduce the pain and swelling that is associated with insect stings or bites.

Bromelain is now being used to treat the swelling and pain of sports injuries in a lot of clinics that are opting for more natural methods of treatment. Some studies have been done in this area and the results are mixed however there are still many that are using this substance for the treatment of sprains, tendonitis, strains, and other muscle injuries.

Some things to be aware of prior to taking Bromelain include the fact that it may affect the ability of the blood to clot. People who have bleeding disorders or are on medications that affect bleeding times should not take this preparation unless advised to by a physician. There are some sedatives and seizure medications whose effects will be increased when taking Bromelain. These include Dilantin, Elavil, alcohol, Depakote, Xanax, Valium, and all barbituates. Anyone taking medication or who has a chronic medical condition should consult with their physician before taking Bromelain to make sure it is safe to do so.

Last updated on Nov 13th, 2009 and filed under Nutritional Information. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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