Peer Reviewed

Pineapple with slices

Bromelain is an enzyme extracted from pineapples. Enzymes are catalysts that accelerate thousands of biochemical reactions necessary for life.

This enzyme may benefit the vascular, respiratory, gastrointestinal, and musculoskeletal systems (as an anti-inflammatory). For example, bromelain may break down plaque buildup in arteries, improve lung function by decreasing bronchial secretions in patients with upper respiratory infections, heal gastric ulcers, and reduce joint inflammation caused by trauma, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and sciatica.

Bromelain may help reduce swelling of the nose and sinuses after surgery or injury. This enzyme may help to heal wounds (eg, from burns), and accelerate the action of antibiotics and chemotherapy drugs.

Sources of Bromelain
It is available in either 500-mg tablet or capsule form.

Guidelines and Cautions

  • Pregnant and breastfeeding women should avoid use of bromelain
  • Bromelain should not be taken for more than a week to 10 days.

Listed below are guidelines for taking Bromelain. Talk with your healthcare provider before taking Bromelain.

guidelines for taking BromelainConsult with a medical professional prior to taking bromelain, especially if any of the following conditions exist:

  • Blood-clotting disorder
  • Pregnancy
  • Allergy to pineapples
  • High blood pressure (hypertension)
  • Liver disease
  • Kidney disease
  • Bromelain can increase the effects of antibiotics (tetracycline)

Because bromelain slows blood clotting, taking it with medications that also reduces blood clot formation may increase the risk of bruising and bleeding. Medications that slow clotting include aspirin, naproxen (Anaprox, Naprosyn), enoxaparin (Lovenox), heparin, and warfarin (Coumadin).

  • Stop using bromelain at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery, because the supplement may increase the risk of bleeding during and after surgery.
  • Seek the advice of a medical professional if taking prescription medication.
  • This enzyme may cause vomiting, diarrhea, nausea, and heavy menstrual bleeding.
  • If allergic to pineapples, latex, wheat, grass pollen, celery, papain, carrot, fennel, or cypress pollen, a reaction may occur.

Disclaimer: Many people report feeling improvement in their condition and/or general well-being taking dietary, vitamin, mineral, and/or herbal supplements. The Editorial Board of, however, cannot endorse such products since most lack peer-reviewed scientific validation of their claims. In most cases an appropriate diet and a "multiple vitamin" will provide the necessary dietary supplements for most individuals. Prior to taking additional dietary, vitamin, mineral, and/or herbal supplements it is recommended that patients consult with their personal physician to discuss their specific supplement requirements.

Updated on: 03/15/16
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Brewer's Yeast
Mark R. McLaughlin, MD
While I have had some patients that describe improvement of their symptoms from various dietary supplements, there is little scientific evidence that they work. In small amounts, I do not believe they are harmful, but I am not convinced they are any more effective than adhering to a healthy, well-balanced diet. On the contrary, there is strong scientific evidence showing that patients with a poor overall nutritional status have higher complication rates from surgery.
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