Bromelain, The Proteolytic Enzyme

by Natural Health

Bromelain, The Proteolytic Enzyme

Most people are familiar with pineapple (Ananas comosus), but did you know it contains proteolytic enzymes? These enzymes can break down proteins, and bromelain is one of these. Bromelain is considered pineapple’s most active constituent, and has been used as a medicine in some tropical and subtropical cultures where the plant grows. Discovered in the late 1800’s, it took several years to thoroughly understand the enzyme. It can be isolated from the whole pineapple plant but is most concentrated in the stem and fruit. It may be most well-known for being anti-inflammatory and helpful with sports injuries, but there is so much more to it.

Bromelain is antibacterial and has been used on oral and intestinal pathogens with positive results. It also exhibits anti-cancer qualities, is useful with wound cleaning, and can be helpful with edema. This enzyme can also help reduce pain from arthritis, exhibiting analgesic properties. It has been used in research to support cardiovascular disease as well. It helps break down blood clots as well as prevent platelet build-up in the arteries. Additionally, bromelain shows a lot of promise in the dental field where research is still ongoing.

Bromelain has been consumed in large amounts up to twelve grams per day with no noted ill effects. Rarely, digestive upset or mouth sores are possible due to allergy or consuming too much fruit. To take advantage of the enzymatic action it’s best to take it in between meals. It can be taken as a supplement in 40 mg three to four times a day between meals but keep in mind it typically comes in 500 mg capsules. You can also eat pineapple–100 grams contains 0.1-1 gram of bromelain. A higher concentration is present in the core of the fruit, so that can be added to a smoothie or carefully chewed to get the most bromelain.


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