TL; DR Summary:
Bromelain is an enzyme extracted from pineapples. It is touted to have many health benefits – but which ones are backed by evidence? Does bromelain really work? According to the available data, bromelain has a solid amount of evidence showing the enzyme can aid your digestion (by helping with the breakdown of nutrients from food), reduce inflammation in your joints, and even potentially help alleviate nasal congestion and swelling. The effects may not be potent, but for some people, it can mean a difference between intolerable and tolerable symptoms.
Bromelain – The Basics
Bromelain is a digestive enzyme from pineapple that has been shown to be anti-inflammatory, anti-arthritic, and anti-bacterial.
- It can help dissolve substances in your body such as protein or fibrin which can help you digest foods better. There are studies showing it might be able to treat osteoarthritis and other conditions associated with inflammation like asthma.
Bromelain may also prevent the side effects of cancer treatment like radiation or chemotherapy by reducing swelling in the area of treatment.
Pineapple is a good source of bromelain and you should eat it raw or in a juice form. More specifically, the white flesh of the fruit contains bromelain. You will also find it in pineapple stems and leaves so don’t be afraid to eat them either!
What do Studies Say About Bromelain?
So, does bromelain really work? The best way to get a complete picture is by looking at the available evidence.
Lots of studies have been done on bromelain. This article is going to summarize some of the findings and give a short conclusion.
Bromelain can reduce inflammation and swelling in the nose by blocking certain reactions in the body that cause pain. Here’s a closer look at bromelain’s studied benefits:
- Anti-Inflammatory Effects: Bromelain has shown potential anti-inflammatory properties. It may help reduce inflammation markers, such as C-reactive protein (CRP) levels, indicating its ability to alleviate inflammatory conditions. 
- Digestive Aid: Bromelain has been studied for its potential digestive benefits. It may aid digestion by promoting the breakdown of proteins and improving nutrient absorption in the intestines.
- Sinusitis Relief: Research suggests that bromelain may provide relief for sinusitis symptoms. It may help reduce sinus inflammation and congestion, potentially offering a natural alternative for managing sinusitis. [2, 3]
- Wound Healing: Bromelain has been investigated for its potential to accelerate wound healing. It may possess properties that promote tissue repair and reduce inflammation, potentially aiding the healing process. 
- Immune Support: Some studies suggest that bromelain may have immune-modulating effects. It may help support the immune system by promoting the activity of certain immune cells and modulating immune responses. 
It’s important to note that while these potential benefits have been observed in various studies, more research is needed to establish definitive conclusions. Additionally, bromelain supplements may interact with certain medications or cause allergic reactions in some individuals. It’s always advisable to consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new supplement regimen to ensure it is safe and appropriate for your specific health needs.
- Bromelain’s Optimal Dosage for Digestion
- How much bromelain to take for inflammation
- How Long does it Take for Bromelain to Work?
- Agrawal P, Nikhade P, Patel A, Mankar N, Sedani S. Bromelain: A Potent Phytomedicine. Cureus. 2022 Aug 11;14(8):e27876. doi: 10.7759/cureus.27876. PMID: 36110474; PMCID: PMC9463608.
- Pavan R, Jain S, Shraddha, Kumar A. Properties and therapeutic application of bromelain: a review. Biotechnol Res Int. 2012;2012:976203. doi: 10.1155/2012/976203. Epub 2012 Dec 10. PMID: 23304525; PMCID: PMC3529416.
- Chakraborty AJ, Mitra S, Tallei TE, Tareq AM, Nainu F, Cicia D, Dhama K, Emran TB, Simal-Gandara J, Capasso R. Bromelain a Potential Bioactive Compound: A Comprehensive Overview from a Pharmacological Perspective. Life (Basel). 2021 Apr 6;11(4):317. doi: 10.3390/life11040317. PMID: 33917319; PMCID: PMC8067380.
- Soheilifar S, Bidgoli M, Hooshyarfard A, Shahbazi A, Vahdatinia F, Khoshkhooie F. Effect of Oral Bromelain on Wound Healing, Pain, and Bleeding at Donor Site Following Free Gingival Grafting: A Clinical Trial. J Dent (Tehran). 2018 Sep;15(5):309-316. PMID: 30833977; PMCID: PMC6397736.
- Rathnavelu V, Alitheen NB, Sohila S, Kanagesan S, Ramesh R. Potential role of bromelain in clinical and therapeutic applications. Biomed Rep. 2016 Sep;5(3):283-288. doi: 10.3892/br.2016.720. Epub 2016 Jul 18. PMID: 27602208; PMCID: PMC4998156.