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Bromelain is an enzyme extracted from pineapples. It can reduce heart burn and act as a nasal decongestant.

Our evidence-based analysis on bromelain features 69 unique references to scientific papers.

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Summary of Bromelain

Primary information, health benefits, side effects, usage, and other important details

Bromelain, also called ‘pineapple extract,’ is a combination of several compounds, including a large amount of a special protein-digesting enzyme. This enzyme is able to be digested and thus affect the blood and body, rather than just the stomach and intestines.

When Bromelain is in the stomach, it will help the body break down and digest protein. Supplementation of bromelain can also reduce nasal inflammation, meaning it acts as a decongestant.

If taken between meals, bromelain can benefit the immune system and protect the body from cancer. Bromelain’s effects on fat cells are also under investigation, with promising preliminary evidence.

Bromelain’s anti-inflammatory properties are responsible for several of its effects, including its ability to decongest the nasal cavity. Further research is needed to determine the mechanism through which bromelain survives the digestive system.

There are many anecdotes that say bromelain supplementation will cause semen to taste like pineapple, but no studies have tested this claim.

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How to Take

Recommended dosage, active amounts, other details

The standard dose for bromelain depends on the goal of supplementation. If the goal is to aid digestion, the standard dose is between 200 – 2,000mg, taken with a meal.

If the goal of supplementation is not digestion related, does range from 200 - 800mg.

Bromelain is typically taken between meals to avoid potential degradation in the stomach. The large range for the standard dose is due to the variations in the enzymatic potential of bromelain, which is standardized by milk clotting units (MCU), or gelatin dissolving units (GDU).

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Human Effect Matrix

Unlocked for Examine members

The Human Effect Matrix summarizes human studies to tell you what effects Bromelain has on your body, how much evidence there is, and how strong these effects are.

Full details are available to Examine members.
Grade Level of Evidence
Robust research conducted with repeated double-blind clinical trials
Multiple studies where at least two are double-blind and placebo controlled
Single double-blind study or multiple cohort studies
Uncontrolled or observational studies only
Level of Evidence
? The amount of high quality evidence. The more evidence, the more we can trust the results.
Outcome Magnitude of effect
? The direction and size of the supplement's impact on each outcome. Some supplements can have an increasing effect, others have a decreasing effect, and others have no effect.
Consistency of research results
? Scientific research does not always agree. HIGH or VERY HIGH means that most of the scientific research agrees.
grade-c Minor - See 2 studies
It is possible bromelain might reduce muscle soreness, but currently the evidence does not support this claim (although the trial to note a failure of bromelain also noted a failure with Ibuprofen, a known active drug)
grade-c - - See study
grade-c - - See study
No significant influence on symptoms of osteoarthritis when tested
grade-d Minor - See study
Requires more evidence, but at the moment appears somewhat effective
grade-d Minor - See study
The potency at this moment in time does not appear remarkable.
grade-d Minor - See study
Minor improvements in well being secondary to reducing joint pain

Studies Excluded from Consideration

  • Confounded with Trypsin and Rutin (as rutoside dihydrate)[1][2][3][4]

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Things to Note

Is a Form Of

Primary Function:

Also Known As

Pineapple extract

Goes Well With

  • Certain anti-biotics (see Nutrient-Nutrient Interactions), may increase bioavailability

  • Dietary protein (if suffering from dyspepsia)

  • Pineapple makes semen taste like pineapple according to anecdotes; Bromelain contains pineapple aromatics and may do this as well

  • Depending on why you are supplementing Bromelain, you may want to take it with a meal or without; please take note of the 'How to Take' section for dosing

  • If left in solution for too long, Bromelain might auto-digest. It would not be advisable to mix it into a drink and leave it alone for prolonged periods of time

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Click here to see all 69 references.