Last updated: August 11, 2021

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In the case of joint pain or inflammation, people are quick to resort to conventional medicines. However, there are a number of beneficial natural products that also promise relief. One of them is the pineapple enzyme bromelain. Due to its anti-inflammatory and decongestant effect, it is often used as a supplement to conventional therapies.

In our big pineapple enzyme test 2021 we explain these criteria to you and also give you our editors' purchase recommendations. It is important to note that there are not yet enough studies that have dealt with bromelain. Therefore, the intake should always be discussed with your family doctor beforehand.




The most important facts

  • The pineapple enzyme bromelain is extracted from the stem of the unripe pineapple plant. The enzyme is hardly found in ripe pineapple fruit.
  • Bromelain has anti-inflammatory and decongestant effects, which is why it is often recommended in addition to conventional therapies.
  • The recommended daily dose of bromelain is 80 - 320 milligrams. This is 200 - 800 FIP units.

The Best Pineapple enzyme: Our Picks

Buying and evaluation criteria for bromelain

When buying bromelain, you can look at various aspects, such as:

Dosage form

The pineapple enzyme bromelain is available in various forms. You can buy it as a gel, capsule or tablet in the pharmacy or drugstore. As a gel, it is suitable for burns and accelerates wound healing.

Bromelain in tablet form is used as an anti-inflammatory or digestive medicine. It has proven to be particularly helpful for joint pain or inflammation.

Dosage

The dosage of bromelain depends on age. It is not recommended for children under 12 years of age, nor for pregnant or breastfeeding women. For teenagers or adults, a daily dose of 80-320 milligrams is recommended.

Note: Check with your GP to find the right dose for you.

Since bromelain is an enzyme, the unit is also given in FPI. Converted, this is 200-800 FPI units. It is best to take bromelain half an hour before eating, as this is easier on the stomach.

Indications for use

Some bromelain tablets are prescribed after operations or for sinus problems. Other bromelain tablets are more likely to help with muscle or joint pain or digestive problems.

For burns, gels are generally recommended rather than tablets. Depending on the bromelain product and its composition, you should take care when buying which product is suitable for you.

Package size

Pineapple enzyme is also available in larger packs. This may not save space, but it is still better value for money. If you want to try bromelain first, it is advisable to go for a smaller pack.

Guide: Questions you should ask yourself before buying bromelain

Here we have collected some basic background information about the pineapple enzyme for you. In the following, we have summarised and answered the most frequently asked questions related to the topic of bromelain.

What is bromelain and how does it work?

The enzyme bromelain is extracted from the pineapple plant, or rather the stem of the pineapple plant.
Bromelain is a protease, i.e. an enzyme that breaks down proteins.

It is made up of 2 protein-cleaving enzymes. It has an anti-inflammatory and digestive effect, and also influences blood clotting and helps to reduce swelling and inflammation.(1, 11)

So far, there are only a few scientific studies that have looked at the natural healing product. However, the studies that have been conducted look promising. Bromelain seems to be suitable as a supplement to conventional therapeutic approaches. (1, 2, 3)

Anti-inflammatory effect

Bromelain is a protease, which means it breaks down proteins, which is also the reason for its healing effect. It inhibits inflammation and promotes blood circulation by breaking down the protein molecules that penetrate the damaged tissue during injury. This prevents swelling from developing.

Furthermore, bromelain stimulates the blood circulation, which accelerates the healing process because the unwanted substances are removed more quickly.

Due to its healing effect, bromelain is often used as a supplement to antibiotics.(1, 3)

Effect on burns

In the case of a burn, bromelain is not administered as a tablet or capsule, but as a cooling gel, which is supposed to accelerate the healing of the wound.

It is applied directly to the burned skin and dissolves all the destroyed tissue, which makes a more targeted treatment of the burn possible. The healthy tissue remains intact and blood loss is reduced.(1, 11)

How can I tell if I should take bromelain?

In principle, enzymes or preparations should not be taken carelessly. This should be clarified with the family doctor beforehand. (3, 6, 8)

Bromelain can be used as a supportive therapy, but not enough research has been done on the suitability of this natural product as a sole therapeutic agent. It is therefore recommended to use bromelain as a supplement to conventional therapy. (3, 6, 8)

Ananas Enzym-1

Bromelain is available in capsule and tablet form and also as a gel.
(Image source: Image by Stevepb/pixabay)

Below is an explanation of the complaints for which the intake of bromelain can be helpful. (3, 6, 8)

What is the daily requirement of bromelain?

The daily requirement of bromelain for adults and adolescents over 12 years of age is about 80 to 320 milligrams per day. This is equivalent to 200 to 800 FIP units.(1, 2)

Age Intake
Children under 12 years of age No intake
Pregnant or breastfeeding No intake
Adults 80-320 milligrams per day

However, you should discuss the intake with your family doctor beforehand and without medical supervision, the intake duration should not be longer than 5 days.(1, 2)

What should I bear in mind when taking bromelain?

Bromelain is a natural product and therefore the recommended daily dosage should be observed. This is given as the FIP unit, which is a standardised unit for enzyme products.(7)

As bromelain stimulates blood clotting, it is not recommended to take it in combination with other anticoagulants.

Otherwise, this greatly increases the tendency to bleed. (7)

There are no adequate studies on the use of bromelain during pregnancy. It is therefore not recommended to take it.

Against which complaints can I use bromelain?

The use of the pineapple enzyme bromelain should always be discussed with a doctor beforehand. As a supportive therapy option, the enzyme has proven useful for the following complaints(2, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10)

  • Gastrointestinal problems
  • After wisdom tooth extraction
  • Water retention
  • Rheumatic diseases
  • Swelling
  • Accompanying cancer therapy
  • Sinusitis
  • For severe burns

Note: In principle, people who are allergic to pineapple, kiwi, melon or papaya should not use bromelain.

What types of bromelain are there?

Tablet

You can use bromelain either as a capsule, tablet or gel. The tablet is administered as an enteric-coated tablet, which means that the stomach acid cannot break down the tablet and the active ingredients are only released in the intestines.(1, 2)

Advantages
  • Effective against digestive disorders
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Effective during dental surgery
Disadvantages
  • May cause allergy
  • May cause gastrointestinal problems

Gel

The gel is used for burns and is applied externally to the skin. This accelerates the healing of the wound and the healthy tissue is spared.(1)

Advantages
  • Burns used
  • Cooling
  • Protects the tissue
Disadvantages
  • Not readily available

What are the side effects of bromelain?

The following side effects may occur when taking bromelain(1, 2, 10)

reaction frequency of occurrence
skin rash Any 10 to 100
indigestion Any 10 to 100
vesicles on the tongue Any 10 to 100
itching in the mouth Any 10 to 100
stomach upset Any 100 to 1000
diarrhoea Any 100 to 1000
asthma-like reaction Any 100 to 1000

If these symptoms occur, you should stop the therapy and contact your doctor.

What are the alternatives to bromelain?

If taking the pineapple enzyme bromelain is out of the question because you have an allergic reaction, for example, we have put together some other herbal and conventional alternatives for you.(4, 11)

Alternative Description
Fish oil Fatty fish contain a lot of omega-3 fatty acids, which can also be found in fish oil capsules. They are very helpful for joint and muscle pain.
Ginger Ginger contains a substance called 6-gingerol. This inhibits the production of certain substances that promote inflammation. Ginger is also available as an extract, capsule or tablet.
Willow bark Willow bark cashews contain an anti-inflammatory substance called acetylsalicylic acid, which has been shown to be very effective for back pain. You can buy it in capsule form at the pharmacy.
Capsaicin Capsaicin is the pungent component of chilli peppers. You should always wear gloves when applying the cream and wash your hands thoroughly afterwards. If capsaicin gets into the eyes or mucous membranes, it can burn quite unpleasantly.

Image source: Pattanasoponpong/ 123rf.com

References (11)

1. Ramli AN, Aznan TN, Illias RM. Bromelain: from production to commercialisation. J Sci Food Agric. 2017;97(5):1386-1395. doi:10.1002/jsfa.8122
Source

2. Maurer HR. Bromelain: biochemistry, pharmacology and medical use. Cell Mol Life Sci. 2001;58(9):1234-1245. doi:10.1007/PL00000936
Source

3. de Lencastre Novaes LC, Jozala AF, Lopes AM, de Carvalho Santos-Ebinuma V, Mazzola PG, Pessoa Junior A. Stability, purification, and applications of bromelain: A review. Biotechnol Prog. 2016;32(1):5-13. doi:10.1002/btpr.2190
Source

4. Cupido GF, Gelardi M, La Mantia I, Aragona SE, Ciprandi G, et al. Italian Study Group on Inflammatory Otorhinolaryngological Disorders. Aielli Federica, Albanese Gianluca, Allosso Giuseppe, (bromelain, escin and selenium), oral nutraceutical, monotherapy in patients with inflammatory otorhinolaryngological disorders. J Biol Regul Homeost Agents. 2019;33(2):609-615.
Source

5. Secor ER Jr, Szczepanek SM, Castater CA, et al. Bromelain Inhibits Allergic Sensitization and Murine Asthma via Modulation of Dendritic Cells. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2013;2013:702196. doi:10.1155/2013/702196
Source

6. Italiano G, Raimondo M, Giannetti G, Gargiulo A. Benefits of a Food Supplement Containing Boswellia serrata and Bromelain for Improving the Quality of Life in Patients with Osteoarthritis: A Pilot Study. J Altern Complement Med. 2020;26(2):123-129. doi:10.1089/acm.2019.0258
Source

7. Ramli ANM, Manas NHA, Hamid AAA, Hamid HA, Illias RM. Comparative structural analysis of fruit and stem bromelain from Ananas comosus. Food Chem. 2018;266:183-191. doi:10.1016/j.foodchem.2018.05.125
Source

8. Muhammad ZA, Ahmad T. Therapeutic uses of pineapple-extracted bromelain in surgical care - A review. J Pak Med Assoc. 2017;67(1):121-125.
Source

9. Praveen, N., Rajesh, A., Madan, M., Chaurasia, V., Hiremath, N., & Sharma, A. (2014). In vitro Evaluation of Antibacterial Efficacy of Pineapple Extract (Bromelain) on Periodontal Pathogens. Journal of International Oral Health : JIOH, 6(5), 96-8.
Source

10. Moffa A, Fraccaroli F, Carbone S, et al. Bromelain after oral or dental procedures: an update. J Biol Regul Homeost Agents. 2019;33(5):1629-1634.
Source

11. Orsini RA; Plastic Surgery Educational Foundation Technology Assessment Committee. Bromelain. Plast Reconstr Surg. 2006;118(7):1640-1644. doi:10.1097/01.prs.0000242503.50548.ee
Source

Why you can trust me?

Wissenschaftliche Studie
Ramli AN, Aznan TN, Illias RM. Bromelain: from production to commercialisation. J Sci Food Agric. 2017;97(5):1386-1395. doi:10.1002/jsfa.8122
Go to source
Wissenschaftliche Studie
Maurer HR. Bromelain: biochemistry, pharmacology and medical use. Cell Mol Life Sci. 2001;58(9):1234-1245. doi:10.1007/PL00000936
Go to source
Wissenschaftliche Studie
de Lencastre Novaes LC, Jozala AF, Lopes AM, de Carvalho Santos-Ebinuma V, Mazzola PG, Pessoa Junior A. Stability, purification, and applications of bromelain: A review. Biotechnol Prog. 2016;32(1):5-13. doi:10.1002/btpr.2190
Go to source
Wissenschaftliche Studie
Cupido GF, Gelardi M, La Mantia I, Aragona SE, Ciprandi G, et al. Italian Study Group on Inflammatory Otorhinolaryngological Disorders. Aielli Federica, Albanese Gianluca, Allosso Giuseppe, (bromelain, escin and selenium), oral nutraceutical, monotherapy in patients with inflammatory otorhinolaryngological disorders. J Biol Regul Homeost Agents. 2019;33(2):609-615.
Go to source
Wissenschaftliche Studie
Secor ER Jr, Szczepanek SM, Castater CA, et al. Bromelain Inhibits Allergic Sensitization and Murine Asthma via Modulation of Dendritic Cells. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2013;2013:702196. doi:10.1155/2013/702196
Go to source
Wissenschaftliche Studie
Italiano G, Raimondo M, Giannetti G, Gargiulo A. Benefits of a Food Supplement Containing Boswellia serrata and Bromelain for Improving the Quality of Life in Patients with Osteoarthritis: A Pilot Study. J Altern Complement Med. 2020;26(2):123-129. doi:10.1089/acm.2019.0258
Go to source
Wissenschaftliche Studie
Ramli ANM, Manas NHA, Hamid AAA, Hamid HA, Illias RM. Comparative structural analysis of fruit and stem bromelain from Ananas comosus. Food Chem. 2018;266:183-191. doi:10.1016/j.foodchem.2018.05.125
Go to source
Wissenschaftliche Studie
Muhammad ZA, Ahmad T. Therapeutic uses of pineapple-extracted bromelain in surgical care - A review. J Pak Med Assoc. 2017;67(1):121-125.
Go to source
Wissenschaftliche Studie
Praveen, N., Rajesh, A., Madan, M., Chaurasia, V., Hiremath, N., & Sharma, A. (2014). In vitro Evaluation of Antibacterial Efficacy of Pineapple Extract (Bromelain) on Periodontal Pathogens. Journal of International Oral Health : JIOH, 6(5), 96-8.
Go to source
Wissenschaftliche Studie
Moffa A, Fraccaroli F, Carbone S, et al. Bromelain after oral or dental procedures: an update. J Biol Regul Homeost Agents. 2019;33(5):1629-1634.
Go to source
Wissenschaftliche Studie
Orsini RA; Plastic Surgery Educational Foundation Technology Assessment Committee. Bromelain. Plast Reconstr Surg. 2006;118(7):1640-1644. doi:10.1097/01.prs.0000242503.50548.ee
Go to source
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