Bromelain is an enzyme in pineapple that can help athletes recover faster. Also, bromelain help soft tissue heal from injuries faster and relieve from shoulder or knee pain. Did you know that pineapple is the only dietary source of bromelain?
What is bromelain?
Bromelain is an enzyme extract. Enzymes are biological molecules. They are responsible for chemical reactions in cells. For instance, enzymes are vital for body functions, such as digestion and metabolism.
Bromelain is obtained only from pineapple. Don’t throw away stems of pineapples. Use them in smoothies, instead. They’re particularly rich in bromelain.
Most noteworthy, bromelain in pineapple has powerful antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and antifungal properties.
How much bromelain in pineapple?
Pineapple is the only dietary source of bromelain. Every part of the pineapple plant has bromelain. Certainly, the stem is the richest part in bromelain, though.
Therefore, don’t throw away the core of the pineapple. You can use a juicer to extract the liquid from the core, or add a small piece into your smoothie. In any case, cut the pineapple stem in small pieces with a knife. Otherwise, most blenders or juicers will fail to process it.
How much bromelain a day?
Firstly, bromelain is measured in “mg”. That’s the amount of bromelain in a pill. Usually, bromelain supplements contain 250-1000 mg of bromelain per pill.
Secondly, bromelain supplements have another index, called, GDU. That stands for “Gelatin Digesting Unit”. GDU measures how concentrated the enzymes are in a formula. In other words, the higher GDU, the better. For instance, enzyme activity of 3000 GDU is better than 2400 GDU.
Speeds up recovery from injuries & surgery
Bromelain may help recover faster from an injury or even from surgery. The main reason is that bromelain has powerful anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties. Most noteworthy, bromelain can be used instead of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (2). So, eating pineapple may be a healthy alternative to drugs, such as aspirin and ibuprofen.
Furthermore, bromelain is used for fighting inflammation in tissues, due to sports injuries (2).
On the other hand, pineapple is the only known dietary source of bromelain. Eating a few pieces a day may help relieve athletes from shoulder pain after a workout.
Intense exercise generates free radicals in your body. For faster recovery eating foods high in antioxidant is vital. Moreover, you should consume lots of foods high in omega-3 fatty acids, in order, to relieve from joint pain and boost athletic performance. More about the importance of omega-3s in sports here.
Furthermore, bromelain may inhibit swelling, as well. In an injury, small blood vessels leak fluid into nearby tissues, causing swelling. Bromelain can reduce the swelling and speed up recovery. Additionally, bromelain can reduce the pain, improve circulation, and speed up wound healing (2,3).
Although, the side effects of bromelain supplementation are minimal, better consult your physician before taking any supplement. Especially, if you’re on medication.
Helps with knee & shoulder pain
Studies have shown that bromelain can help to reduce soft tissue swelling, and joint stiffness (2). Also, scientists have studied the use of bromelain for the treatment of osteoarthritis for many decades, with good results (2). Especially of 2 joints, such as the knees and the shoulder.
Knee and shoulder pain or stiffness is common among athletes. Bromelain may reduce symptoms of pain and swelling. Also, bromelain can help you move your knee or shoulder through its full range of motion effortlessly. Scientists believe that bromelain is so powerful, that it could be used in many musculoskeletal disorders (2).
Finally, bromelain could be useful in the treatment of several chronic inflammatory disorders. For instance, for the treatment of osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis (1).
Bromelain in pineapple may relieve us from pain
Moreover, bromelain has analgesic properties (2).
Firstly, bromelain may influence pain mediators, such as bradykinin. Bradykinin is a compound released in the blood and plays an important role in chronic pain. Secondly, bromelain can reduce pain in athletes or elderly patients, due to its anti-inflammatory properties. Certainly, the main mechanism that bromelain in pineapple relieves us from pain, is due to the reduction of swelling.
There are reports that the pain reduction was up to 80%.
As a rule of thumb, a dose of 400 mg was enough. Nevertheless, in most studies patients consumed 60-1890 mg of bromelain daily with great results (2).
Bromelain speeds up wound healing
Moreover, bromelain is good for wound healing. Bromelain cream can be used on damaged tissue or on second & third degree burns. Bromelain cream can speed up the healing process (4).
For better results, use a cream with at least 35% bromelain. Additionally, better eat lots of food high in vitamin C and vitamin A. These vitamins are vital for natural collagen production. Collagen is found in the connective and soft tissue.
Is it good to eat pineapple every day?
Bromelain is safe for daily consumption. In studies, people consumed up to 2,000 mg of bromelain per kg of body weight per day. There wasn’t observed any toxicity, even for prolonged periods of time (1).
- Efficacy of proteolytic enzyme bromelain on health outcomes after third molar surgery. Systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized clinical trials
- University of Southampton: Bromelain as a Treatment for Osteoarthritis: a Review of Clinical Studies
- Biomedical Reports: Potential role of bromelain in clinical and therapeutic applications
- Institute of Biomedical Education and Research: Properties and Therapeutic Application of Bromelain: A Review.