Bromelain is an highly-researched anti-inflammatory enzyme that is sourced from pineapple stems and taken as a nutritional supplement.
It is a type of a proteolytic enzyme that is often combined in supplement formulas for use as a digestive and anti-inflammatory aid.
Bromelain may decrease inflammation by directly preventing certain immune cells from migrating to the injured area. It may also help block general activation of inflammatory responses via interactions with proteins located on the surface of your cells (1; 2).
More are turning to bromelain supplementation as it may be a safe and effective substitute to NSAIDS for osteoarthritic pain of the knee (3).
We are still learning of its potential benefits for heart health.
Bromelain may help reduce platelet aggregation (clotting), promote favorable blood thickness. It may also help lessen the damange from "ischemia-reperfusion injury" - an inflammatory phenomenon that occurs when blood flow is blocked from an area such as from a clot and then suddenly allowed to rush back in (4; 5).
When taken with food, bromelain may act more as a digestive aid, but when taken between meals, it is adequately absorbed into the bloodstream and able to exert systemic effects.
On the exciting front, bromelain may help interfere with cancer growth, and even promote skin health by helping to remove dead skin cells from injuries areas such as burns. It may also help enhance the absorption of certain drugs (5)
The more bromelain you take, it seems the better the effects.
It also does not appear to increase bleeding or interfere with proper wound healing - and so is largely considered safe (6). As always, check with your health professional before experimenting with new protocols - bromelain is often combined with other enzymes or components that may be contraindicated with certain medications or clinical conditions - an example is popular and well-researched formulation known as Wobenzym.
Enzyme therapy with proteolytic enzymes such as bromelain are becoming increasingly popular for general wellness and anti-aging, as well as cardiovascular and inflammatory health. As more are learning about their genetics through services like 23andMe.com, some are also looking for daily supplements that may help reduce clotting potential for instance.
Proteolytic enzymes like bromelain are commonly used in infectious disease protocols aside compounds like monolaurin & detox compounds like activated charcoal.
In high doses, enzymes like bromelain may be a useful and safe adjunct to cancer care and inflammatory disorders.
My most popular bromelain-containing supplement is Myomend by Enzyme Science.