Pineapples, more than just a tropical fruit! - Blog

Pineapples, more than just a tropical fruit!

Pineapples, sweet, juicy and the colour of sunshine. This tropical fruit is not only delicious, but it is also the source of the health supporting enzyme bromelain. Those in the plant know will see the link with the name – pineapples are of course part of the bromeliad family, native to Central and South America. Pineapple has a long historic use for many health challenges, perhaps the best know is its ability to support digestive health through its proteolytic enzyme activity (helps to digest proteins).

Research has found that bromelain can help with much more than digestion, it also has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant actions and has been studied for reducing pain associated with osteoarthritis, endometriosis and dental surgery. Sinusitis and other mild allergies have also been shown to improve with bromelain and topically it’s been studied for its ability to heal wounds, specifically burns.

Interestingly, it is the proteolytic enzyme action that is the mechanism of action for more than just the digestive supporting benefits of bromelain. Proteolytic enzymes have analgesic (pain-relieving) effects, anti-inflammatory and oedema-reducing properties. These analgesic effects are based on the inhibition of inflammation as well as some direct influences on pain receptors. There are studies showing intervention with enzymes is just as effective as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory diclofenac (voltaren) at reducing pain scores in subjects with osteoarthritis. While there are studies on bromelain as the sole intervention, there are a lot more studies that use it in combination with other plant extracts for even more benefit. This makes a whole lot of sense as we know that single extracts from plants have a different effect compared to when a number of nutrients are combined – which is of course why many natural supplements combine a number of nutrients for maximum support.

The other great thing about bromelain is that, unless you have an allergy to pineapples, you are very unlikely to experience negative side effects. The therapeutic dose ranges from 160mg up to 1,000mg per day with research showing huge doses of 750mg/kg of body weight, per day causing no toxic effects over a six-month period – meaning you’d have to take an awful lot to overdose, though higher doses may cause stomach upset. Caution is advised in people taking blood thinning medication due to the potential action of reducing platelet aggregations and when combining with certain antibiotics.