Bromelain (Ananas comosus) are a family of sulfhydryl proteolytic (protein digesting) enzymes derived from the stem and juice of the pineapple plant. The pineapple plant is grown and harvested in the American Tropics, southern Brazil, Paraguay, Japan, Hawaii and Taiwan.
Sufficient amounts of Bromelain can not be obtained from dietary sources.
What does it do and what scientific studies give evidence to support this?
Bromelain is a versatile group of enzymes that are used by the body for a wide variety of physiological purposes.
Although bromelains chief use is as a blood thinning agent due to its ability to prevent blood clotting1, its use is not limited to this application.
Bromelain has long been used as an antiinflamatory1 and a digestive aide7.
Bromelain is known to increase immune function through an increase in white blood cell count9,10 and because of this it has been used as a post-surgery and injury wound healing agent.11
When used in conjunction with antibiotic therapy, bromelain has been shown to increase antibiotic effectiveness and absorption.12,13,14
Who needs it and what are some symptoms of deficiency?
Bromelain is a diverse group of powerful enzymes, and as such all persons can derive benefit from bromelain supplementation. Athletes and persons with compromised immune function can derive particular benefit from bromelain supplementation.
Symptoms of deficiency can include compromised immune function and slower recovery times associated with injury and surgery.
How much should be taken? Are there any side effects?
All persons should strictly adhere to label directions.
Although bromelain has a very low toxicity, some people are allergic to bromelain, and symptoms of overdose can include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and menorrhagia (excessively heavy menstrual flow).
Persons with a bromelain allergy should refrain from bromelain supplementation and persons on blood thinning medications or those supplementing with ginkgo biloba or garlic should also avoid supplementation.