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Bromelain Benefits: An Enzyme for Enhanced Digestion

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Inflammation is the body’s worst enemy. It’s the primary source of all cancers, diseases and pain. Bring down inflammation, and you’ll greatly enhance the quality of your life. Instead of heading to your local Walgreens for an over-the-counter inflammation reducer, however, we suggest supplementing with bromelain.

Unfamiliar with bromelain? This is a super-beneficial enzyme that aids your body in ways you are about to find out. Bromelain has numerous health benefits…

Before moving on, we must ask: Do you like pineapple? This post will be music to the ears for pineapple eaters.

Bromelain Benefits 101

Bromelain is a protein-digesting (proteolytic) enzyme that is renowned for its ability to ease digestion by reducing inflammation. It’s found mainly in pineapple, particularly in the flesh and stem. This is why pineapple lovers have reason to rejoice. A food that they normally eat is doing them immense good. This is not just due to the bromelain, but also because of the high vitamin C and B1 content.

On a molecular level, bromelain is made up of several compounds, such as cellulase, peroxidase, glucosidase and protease inhibitors. Though the medicinal properties of bromelain are just starting to receive scientific validity, it has long been an invaluable folk medicine in Hawaii and parts of South America.

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Bromelain Is a Digestive Aid

Bromelain aids in the digestion and breakdown of proteins. It essentially aids in the absorption of nutrients and even medication. We’re not advocating drug use, but if you’re on meds of any sorts, bromelain will up the bioavailability rate.

The studies behind bromelain as a digestive enhancer are strong. One research study suggests that the enzyme may inhibit the production of cytokines, which are notorious for inducing inflammation. Inflammation causes serious damage to the gut lining and is also believed to be a primary cause of autoimmune disease. The study concluded that bromelain may be effective for treating irritable bowel syndrome and ulcerative colitis.

READ MORE: How to Choose a Prebiotic Supplement: Identifying the Best Products for Digestive Health Support

Another study arrived at similar conclusions. The researchers suggest that plant-based proteolytic enzymes like bromelain may be a powerful aid for alleviating various digestive disorders.

You can also supplement with bromelain to treat typical symptoms of bad digestion, such as bloating and gas. There is a belief that citric fruits like pineapple will worsen the symptoms due to the high acidity. However, this is absolutely unfounded.

Bromelain Is a Natural Pain Reliever

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) like aspirin and ibuprofen will relieve a headache, but it also carries risk of side effects. In fact, all NSAID labels warn of potential risk of stroke and heart attack with prolonged use. Instead of popping a pill, eat a few chunks of pineapple to alleviate that migraine.

Athletes and post-surgery patients are also increasingly turning to bromelain as a natural alternative. A study in 2004 revealed that bromelain is effective for treating pain from an ankle injury. In the trial, 73.7 percent of subjects that supplemented with bromelain for seven days reported less pain.

Another study showed that bromelain reduced pain and swelling in patients recovering from post-operative surgery to heal a fracture injury.

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Bromelain Treats Asthma and Allergies

Do you fear the outdoors due to the allergens lingering in the air? Do you suffer from chronic asthma? Bromelain may boost your immune system response and stop the root cause of allergies. One study on asthmatic mice showed that bromelain may reduce allergic reactions that cause the airways to swell and become inflamed.

The immune support may also alleviate associating symptoms, such as nasal decongestion and itchy eyes. It’s believed that bromelain suppresses certain dendritic cells known to trigger asthma.

We’re not suggesting that you toss out your inhaler, but bromelain may reduce your dependency on it and other drugs.

READ MORE: Bromelain Foods to Include in Your Next Grocery Trip

Bromelain Clears Sinus Infections

Being only able to breathe out of one nostril or not being able to breathe from the nose at all just plain sucks. It’s even worse when the problem is accompanied by a runny nose. Instead of reaching for that bottle of Afrin, try bromelain. In one study, patients recovering from nasal surgery saw a vast improvement in symptoms after taking all-natural bromelain tablets. Subjects also reported zero side effects.

Like many other ailments, sinus congestion occurs as a result of the nasal passageways flaring up from inflammation. Bromelain’s inflammation-reducing properties clear up the passageways.

It should also be noted that sinus surgery isn’t always successful. There are also high instances of patients relapsing after going under the knife. We’re not suggesting you should ignore doctor’s recommendations. We’re just saying that it’s worth exploring alternative and natural solutions beforehand.

Bromelain Reduces Arthritis

Both rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis are due to inflammation in the joints. In case you haven’t guessed already, inflammation is the recurring theme here. One study concluded that while further research is needed, bromelain shows promise for treating arthritis pain in the knees and shoulders. The study also concluded that it reduced acute pain by up to 60 percent in patients suffering from pain in the spinal region.

READ MORE: Slippery Elm: The Key to Digestive Relief?

If arthritis is a major issue for you, then we recommend bromelain in conjunction with type 2 collagen. You’ll find this in poultry; it’s a terrific source for reinforcing joint strength.

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How to Get More Bromelain

Eat more pineapple to get more bromelain benefits; that’s pretty straightforward. However, as mentioned, much of the bromelain is concentrated in the stem. That’s the center of the pineapple. Some people avoid eating the stem because it’s rougher and less sweet, preferring instead to just consume the outer part. If you want the full health benefits of bromelain, then you got to eat the center.

On a side note, we also recommend drinking some water or swishing some H2O in your mouth after eating pineapple. The citric acid can erode the enamel in your teeth.

If you just don’t like citrus fruits, then you can always get bromelain in supplement form. We included it in our Digestive Refresh supplement since it’s such a proven and effective compound.


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Ryan Tronier

Ryan Tronier is a writer and editor who has worked with NBC, ABC, and USA Today.
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