What is bromelain?

Bromelain is a group of enzymes that can digest proteins; it naturally occurs in pineapple meat, juice and steam [1].

Bromelain as a Meat Tenderizer

Bromelain in the powdered form is commercially available and used as a meat tenderizer.

Bromelain Supplements

Bromelain as a supplement is extracted from the pineapple stem.

Bromelain Health Benefits

Bromelain is POSSIBLY EFFECTIVE in shortening the duration of symptoms in acute sinusitis [2,3,4].

Bromelain is POSSIBLY INEFFECTIVE in preventing muscle soreness after exercise [1].

There is INSUFFICIENT EVIDENCE [1,2,3] about the effectiveness of bromelain supplements in the prevention or treatment of bronchitis, cancer, hay fever, kidney infection (pyelonephritis), leaky gut syndrome, osteoarthritis [3,6,7], swelling after surgery, multiple sclerosis or ulcerative colitis, or in improving the absorption of antibiotics or inducing labor.

Bromelain Safety: Toxicity, Side Effects

Bromelain is POSSIBLY SAFE for most people when taken by mouth [1,2].

Side effects may include stomach upset, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, skin rash [2].

Individuals allergic to pineapple, wheat, celery, papain, carrot, fennel, cypress pollen, or grass pollen, may be also allergic to bromelain [1].

Bromelain increases the risk of bleeding, so you should stop taking bromelain two weeks before scheduled surgery [1].

Not enough is known about the safety of bromelain supplements during pregnancy and breastfeeding, so women in these periods should avoid them [3].

Bromelain-Drug Interactions

Bromelain supplements may increase the effects and side effects of certain antibiotics (amoxiciline, demeclocycline, minocycline, tetracycline).

Bromelain supplements may increase the risk of bruising or bleeding if taken together with anticoagulant drugs, such as aspirin, clopidogrel, diclofenac, ibuprofen, naproxen, dalteparin, enoxaparin, heparin, indomethacin, ticlopidine or warfarin, or herbs, such as alfalfa, angelica, aniseed, arnica, asafoetida, bladderwrack, celery, chamomile, clove, fenugreek, feverfew, garlic, ginger, horse chestnut, licorice, meadowsweet, poplar, prickly ash, quassia, red clover, or willow [1,2].

  1. Bromelain  WebMD
  2. Pineapple
  3. Bromelain  National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health
  4. Guo R et al, 2006, Herbal medicines for the treatment of rhinosinusitis: a systematic review  PubMed
  5. Karkos PD et al, 2007, ‘Complementary ENT’: a systematic review of commonly used supplements  PubMed
  6. Ameye LG et al, 2006, Osteoarthritis and nutrition. From nutraceuticals to functional foods: a systematic review of the scientific evidence  PubMed
  7. Brien S et al, 2004, Bromelain as a Treatment for Osteoarthritis: a Review of Clinical Studies  PubMed Central

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