Among other popular sources of medicinal plants, bromelain enzyme extracted from pineapple plant is one of the alternative remedies that shouldn’t be left behind. It is known to have a lot of various medical uses and health benefits, including as a supplement for inflammation treatment. So, why don’t we take full advantages of this pineapple enzyme that has anti-inflammatory support?
What is Bromelain Enzyme?
While just a plant extract to most, it is the name given for a group of protease enzymes from the family of Bromeliaceae, the tropical American plants of order Xyridales.
Pineapple is a member of this family and the bromelain type studied the most comes from the pineapple plant, with the highest concentration of the enzymes occurring in the lower, stem portions of a mature pineapple plant. However, it also stays present in sumptuous quantities in the leaves and fruits of the plant.
- Stem bromelain; catalyzes basic protein.
- Fruit bromelain; catalyzes acidic protein.
Pineapple has been in use for centuries by traditional communities to treat digestive problems and reduce inflammation.
How Does It Work?
Basically, it works in the body by inducing production of substances that fight pain and inflammation.
It is chiefly absorbed through gastrointestinal tract and then, into the bloodstream. Thus, it elevates the fibrinolytic and proteolytic activities of the blood for extended periods of time and interacts with the body’s molecules and pathways responsible for the inflammatory, cell signaling, immune and coagulation systems.
It affects the cell surface antigens and inhibits pro-inflammatory prostaglandin synthesis directly.
This enzyme is also known as a natural anticoagulant. It thins blood and slows blood clotting. Besides that, it contains chemicals that reduce the growth of tumor cells as well.
Health Benefits and Uses
As one of the recommended anti inflammation supplements, the usage is effective in reducing swelling and inflammation particularly for these conditions:
- Injuries and Infection
It is often used in speeding up the healing of muscle injuries of low to moderate intensity such as pulls, strains, sprains, tendinitis (inflammation of tendon).
- After Surgeries (especially sinuses or nose surgery)
In Germany, the Commision E has approved this pineapple enzyme uses for complementary treatment in reducing inflammation and swelling of sinus and nasal after nose, ear and throat surgery.
- Arthritis (osteoarthritis) pain and knee function
When it is combined with trypsin and rutin, it is said to be comparable to some NSAIDs as painkillers. Some of the NSAIDs are ibuprofen (Motrin or Advil), diclofenac (Voltaren), and naproxen (Aleve), and as painkillers.
Other possible conditions that can be treated with bromelain enzyme are including:
- Swelling and inflammation caused by Hay Fever (Allergic Rhinitis - an allergy of the nasal lining)
- Ulcerative Colitis (bowel disorder which causes swelling and ulceration inside the body)
- Sinusitis by reducing cough and nasal mucus related to this sinus inflammation
- Asthma and Chronic Bronchitis by thinning mucus.
- Wounds. When it is applied topically
- Chronic inflammations that might lead to cancer
Apart from these, the presence of quercetin (a plant pigment) in bromelain supplements compliments the action of this enzyme, which also increases quercetin absorption into the body increase and speeds up the enzymes anti-inflammatory actions.
Beside all those bromelain benefits for inflammatory diseases treatment, it is also a great aid to digestion. The enzyme heightens the effects of trypsin and pepsin, the naturally occurring digestive enzymes in the body. The results are often seen through relieve in heartburns and moderate diarrhea, the latter if caused by a lack in the digestive enzymes.
This supplement for inflammation is usually safe for most people in optimum amounts. It may cause some mild side effects, such as diarrhea and stomach discomfort. It may also cause allergic reactions, especially in people who have other allergies. If you have allergies to pineapple products, wheat, celery, papain, carrot, fennel, cypress pollen, or grass pollen avoid bromelain or check with your doctor before taking it.
Bromelain enzyme might slow blood clotting like aspirin, clopidogrel, diclofenac, heparin and warfarin. Taking this type of anti -inflammatory supplement with anti-clotting medications might increase the chances of bleeding. It also increases absorption of tetracycline group of antibiotics and increase both their effects and side effects.