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Bromelain: Benefits and Side Effects


Bromelain (Ananas comosus), a mix of enzymes from the stem of the pineapple plant, was first introduced in 1957. It has been shown to lessen inflammation and reduce types of swelling, making this especially useful in the treatment of arthritis and sports related injuries. These enzymes block the production of kinins that form during inflammation. Bromelain supplements may be as effective as some nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID) medications (like ibuprofen) for reducing pain associated with osteoarthritis. Early studies suggest that bromelain may also help in pain reduction for rheumatoid arthritis. The enzyme could be used in connective tissue disorders as well.

A normal dose of bromelain for these will range (for adults) from 250-750 mg three times a day. The German Commission E recommends 80 to 320 mg two to three times per day. For specific conditions, higher doses may be prescribed as follows:

* Digestive aid (500 mg in divided doses with meals),
* Traumatic injuries (500 mg four times a day on empty stomach), and
* Joint inflammation (500-2000 mg a day in two divided doses).

Other possible applications of bromelain are for cancer, dysmenorhea, atherosclerosis, infection, wound healing, and scleroderma. There is no known pediatric use of bromelain and therefore no dose of this in children is recommended.

The allergic reaction symptoms of taking it are nausea, vomiting, diarrhea,menorrhagia (heavy menstrual bleeding), and metrorrhagia (non-menstruation bleeding from uterus). Care should be taken and bromelain not used for more than 8-10 days in a row.

People who have had an allergic reaction in the past to pineapple shouldn’t take bromelain. Pregnant or nursing women, those with bleeding disorders, high blood pressure, or liver/kidney disease should not take bromelain. Those on antibiotics should also not take this. Talk to your healthcare provider about this enzyme and whether it is right for your situation.

Article by Tina Samuels.

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