Bromelain is a proteolytic, or protein-digesting, enzyme naturally found in the pineapple plant and fruit. Along with papain, a proteolytic enzyme from papaya fruit, bromelain is a common active ingredient in meat tenderizer. However, its benefits go far beyond the culinary. Taking bromelain tablets as a supplement can have many benefits for your health.
Because it breaks down protein, taking bromelain can be an effective way to speed up digestion and prevent indigestion. Due to its ability to aid food breakdown, the enzyme may also enhance the body's uptake of nutrients.
Another popular use for bromelain is in the treatment of various kinds of pain. A neurotransmitter called Substance P carries pain signals to the brain. However, enzymes like bromelain have been shown to help degrade Substance P, and thereby reducing pain. This powerful enzyme also functions as an antioxidant, which helps to control inflammation. Bromelain has even been credited with accelerating wound healing. It's important to note that bromelain's effectiveness for this purpose is dependent on having an empty stomach.
In addition, some research has suggested that taking bromelain regularly can help thwart seasonal allergies by interfering with inflammation processes. If you spend most of the year struggling with a stuffy nose and itchy eyes, you might want to try adding the enzyme to your supplement regimen.