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Bromelain for health

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Bromelain is an enzyme that gives pineapple its reputation as a fruit with excellent health benefits and a remedy for many illnesses. If you like fresh pineapple, you’ve probably experienced that strange sensation in your mouth, which feels like dryness on the inside of your cheek. After a few minutes, this effect disappears, but do you know why it happens?

In fact, here’s what’s happening: the fresh pineapple and its juice were nibbling away at your mouth, because this fruit is a protein eater! The culprit? Bromelain.

What exactly is bromelain?

Bromelain is extracted from pineapple, mainly from the stems and leaves, although the fruit contains a small amount.


Pineapple is a fruit of the Bromeliaceae botanical family, which is where the name of this enzyme comes from: bromelain. It’s an enzyme, which means it has properties that make it capable of breaking down a substance or activating a chemical reaction in the body.

It has the ability to break down proteins, making it a protease enzyme. Other fruits, such as papaya and kiwi, contain protease enzymes. This is also why you feel an astringent effect after eating papaya.

This is not an anecdote: in pineapple fields, some growers who have been in contact with pineapple sap for a long time have seen their fingerprints disappear!
The explanation is that the bromelain has simply “eaten” the proteins in their skin. Careful farmers wear gloves to protect their hands, but if they don’t lose their fingerprints, they risk having their skin badly damaged.

The entire pineapple plant contains bromelain; the stems and leaves are richer in bromelain than the fruit itself. Bromelain’s proteolytic properties enable it to be used in a number of culinary applications. Fresh pineapple juice or pineapple leaf juice are effective for tenderizing meat.

At the same time, avoid making jellies with fresh pineapple or its juice. The jelly will never hold together: made up of proteins, it will be broken down before it can consolidate. This reaction is well known to pastry chefs, who heat pineapple juice before using it.

Benefits of bromelain

This enzyme has a number of health benefits, some of which have been scientifically proven. Laboratory studies have corroborated these benefits, while others remain to be elucidated.

Action against stomach ache

Thanks to its ability to digest proteins, bromelain is an excellent remedy for problems caused by poor digestion. A hearty meal rich in protein is quickly resolved with a dose of bromelain. To combat bloating and digestive discomfort, it improves stomach motricity for better emptying.

Bromelain helps the elderly to digest better, and replaces stomach protein-digesting enzymes such as trypsin.

In short, bromelain, derived from pineapple, can help considerably improve digestive comfort at any age. This enzyme is said to have a beneficial effect on the intestinal spasms frequent in cases of irritable bowel disease.

Anti-inflammatory effect

Bromelain has an undeniable effect on various types of inflammation. Its effect has been studied by researchers, who have demonstrated its action on trauma, arthrosis and all diseases of inflammatory origin.

Benefits of pineapple juiceConsuming bromelain relieves joint and muscle pain, particularly in the knee and tendon structures.

Bromelain is effective as an anti-pain agent and to facilitate healing after surgery. Even bruises caused by injury are considerably reduced.

As a natural anti-inflammatory, bromelain is much better tolerated than industrial anti-inflammatories, which have numerous serious side-effects, such as ulcers and heart problems.

Scientific trials are testing the use of bromelain in respiratory inflammations such as sinusitis.

Encouraging results are prompting further research to determine the doses and duration of use needed to deliver the best benefits in this highly troublesome condition.

Anti-cancer action

Bromelain has a very good chance of becoming an anti-cancer drug.
Serious studies and personal experience report effects on cancer cell proliferation.

The explanation (as yet unconfirmed) is bromelain’s power to eliminate the substances that envelop and protect tumour cells.

Cancer cells are exposed and easily killed by white blood cells. In this way, bromelain can act as a facilitator in the chain of cancer cell destruction.

The doses of bromelain required for this action are quite high and difficult to find on the market.

Slimming action

Eating pineapple is not directly slimming. The fruit is very rich in vitamins and antioxidants, which help to eliminate toxins and provide vitality. Bromelain, which has slimming “helping” properties, is most concentrated in the tough stems and leaves of pineapple.

Through its anti-inflammatory effect, bromelain acts on encrusted cellulite, as the proteolytic effect breaks down the collagen fibers that protect fat cells.

This action can only be effective as part of a comprehensive program combining healthy nutrition and physical exercise. But don’t be fooled into thinking that bromelain will destroy fat deposits effortlessly.

Anti-cellulite pineapple

Eating fresh pineapple, which contains a low dose of bromelain, has a diuretic effect that facilitates the elimination of aqueous cellulite, thus improving the external appearance of the skin.

Bromelain is a protein-eating enzyme, not a fat-eating one. It is therefore not a fat burner.

That said, bromelain’s action on digestion, the reduction of oedema and cellulite, improves the general appearance of the silhouette, and necessarily combined with a balanced diet, contributes to improving general health.

How bromelain works

This protease-like enzyme is capable of breaking down the amino acid chains that make up proteins. Its power comes from the fact that it is not destroyed in the stomach, unlike most enzymes of external origin. This property enables it to pass into the bloodstream and have a broad and significant action.

During inflammation, substances called prostaglandins are released in large quantities into the bloodstream. These are the mediators of inflammation, responsible for edema and respiratory and joint discomfort.

Bromelain inhibits the action of prostaglandins, reducing symptoms of inflammation such as respiratory discomfort and joint pain. It has a systemic action: in other words, whenever inflammation is present, bromelain is able to combat it, even improving the immune system.

Secondary effect dose

Pineapple BromelainThe bromelain content of fresh pineapple does not provide anti-inflammatory effects, but it can be expected to improve digestion, particularly when meat is overdone.

Rich in vitamins and fiber, pineapple is an essential health food. For more interesting effects, bromelain is available in capsule form, alone or with other natural compounds.

Bromelain doses vary from one to several capsules a day, depending on the expected or desired effect. For supposed anti-cancer effects, doses can be impressive: several dozen capsules a day!

Bromelain is generally well tolerated and does not cause any adverse effects, except in cases of allergy. People who cannot tolerate pineapple should be aware that bromelain is not recommended for them. Pregnant women should not consume bromelain.

Last updated on 23 March 2024.
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