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Bromelain and Papain – Benefits and Side Effects

Updated on January 15, 2015

Bromelain and Papain are two plant-based, protein digesting enzymes that have been championed as a cure for many different ailments by natural health practitioners in recent years. So what is all the fuss about and do Bromelain and Papain have any known side effects? In this article I’ll give my own take on the benefits I experienced from taking Bromelain and Papain and discuss the possible side effects – even though I didn’t feel any myself.

The Benefits I Experienced

I’ll start with the benefits I personally felt from taking Bromelain and then discuss some of the other known benefits.

I personally decided to give Bromelain a try when I went for an allergy test. I had felt unwell for years and the reasons why became very apparent as we went through the test. It turned out that I was having a bad reaction to almost anything acidic or anything difficult to digest so wheat, coffee, acidic fruits, dairy and many other things were quickly off the daily menu. The lady who did the test was convinced that I was suffering from Candida Albicans but being the sceptical person that I am I wasn’t as convinced so I went away deciding to try cutting out the culprit foods first. Although this made a big difference to my health, in all honesty I just struggled to keep up with the strict diet. After relating my experience to a friend whose allergy test had produced similar results he suggested that I give Bromelain and Papain a try, so I did. Did I see any benefits from taking Bromelain? Well actually I did, but not necessarily the benefits I was expecting.

The Idea behind taking Bromelain was that – coupled with a course of acidophilus, B-vitamins and L-Glutamine – proper digestion would be restored and any existence of leaky gut syndrome would be given a chance to repair bringing the candida under control. After taking the suggested pills for a while I noticed that the only thing that seemed to make a difference to how I felt was the Bromelain, so I decided to cut the other things out and stick to that. The results were astounding.

One of the main reasons I went for an allergy test in the first place was that I had suffered with sinus problems for the majority of my life. After taking Bromelain the sinus problems almost disappeared completely, but only for a short period of time. I’d also suffered with joint pain and fungal nail/feet infections, these also disappeared. In fact, my worst affected nail on my big toe fell off completely as a new healthy nail grew underneath it. As much as I was pleased with the results, when I stopped taking the Bromelain the symptoms returned and the sinus relief was as I said, only temporary. I should also mention that general digestion was certainly improved.

So why did I stop taking Bromelain? Although I didn’t feel any major side effects from taking Bromelain, I had read that you shouldn’t stay on it on a permanent basis as it can cause problems which we’ll discuss in a moment. I’m also a great believer that if you stay on a supplement permanently then it can start to lose its effect.

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Other Known Benefits

Before we discuss the possible side effects of Bromelain I thought we should give a quick mention to the other believed health benefits of Bromelain:

  • Bromelain is known for its anti-inflammatory properties so it can be beneficial for those suffering with arthritis and inflammatory sports injuries.
  • It can be used to treat burns, stings and insect bites.
  • Bromelain is believed to enhance T-Cell production and as a result can give a boost to the immune system.
  • Bromelain can improve Digestion, reduce bad cholesterol, help regulate menstruation, treat warts and it can also help those with respiratory diseases.
  • Bromelain can be used as a natural blood thinner

I feel the last point on that list about Bromelain being a natural blood thinner was likely the source of many of the health benefits that I myself experienced. On top of all of the other health problems I mentioned earlier in this article, I have also suffered a great deal with poor circulation. I believe that this poor circulation was actually the cause of most – if not all – of my other health ailments, which is why I think I found Bromelain to have such a positive overall effect on my health. As a natural blood thinner I believe that Bromelain allowed the blood to flow more freely around my body and help the body to repair itself.

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The Possible Side Effects of Bromelain

Although I didn’t feel any myself, Bromelain does have some reported side effects. Most of these side effects involve the blood thinning action of Bromelain, so if you have been told to avoid blood thinners then you should almost certainly avoid Bromelain. This is especially applicable to pregnant women and those who are breast feeding.

You should also avoid Bromelain if you are going into surgery in the near future as Bromelain’s blood thinning qualities can increase the risk of bleeding during and after surgery. As a general rule you should avoid taking Bromelain for 2 weeks either side of surgery.

As Bromelain is derived from Pineapple those with an allergy to pineapple or any of the following foods should approach Bromelain with care as you might have an allergic reaction. (Wheat, celery, papain, fennel, carrot, cypress pollen and grass pollen)

So Is Bromelain Worth Taking?

From my own experience I would say that Bromelain is worth taking but I would only take it in short courses to give your system a boost and allow your body to repair rather than taking Bromelain permanently.

Do you take or have you taken Bromelain and Papain? Have you experienced any health benefits or side effects? Please consider leaving a comment so that others can benefit from your experience.


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      Naas van der Walt 3 years ago

      Pineapple (active ingredient bromelain) has helped me overcome the following problems:-

      1. Loss of hearing.

      I used hearing Aids for 9 years, and eventually the Audiologist could not turn them any louder, and the ENT suggested a cochlea implant. I started eating a pineapple a day, and after 3 weeks I realised that I do no longer need the hearing Aids. I continued eating a pineapple a day, and felt no need to use my hearing aids over the past 2 years.

      2. I use to suffer from gout about once a month. Since I am eating a pineapple a day, I do no longer suffer from gout attacks.