6 Unbelievable Health Benefits of Bromelain

Health Benefits Bromelain titleIn this article, you are going to learn the many uses and benefits of bromelain, but first, let’s talk about where this super enzyme comes from.

With its sharp leaves and thick skin, the pineapple is as intimidating as a porcupine, yet equally intoxicating because of its juicy, sweet golden flesh.

What most people don’t realize about this tasty fruit, however, is that it’s infinitely more useful to humans than just as a garnish for tropical drinks. It’s literally true medicine!

Pineapple is a South American native and a cherished part of Hawaiian folk medicine. Used widely as a natural remedy to treat everything from indigestion to allergies, it is brimming over with vitamin C, B1, potassium and manganese.

In addition to these phytonutrients, it appears that the secret to its almost supernatural healing power comes from a protein-digesting enzyme called bromelain. In fact, pineapple is one of the richest sources of bromelain in the world.

Bromelain Health Benefits

In the medical world, this fascinating compound has traditionally been used as a potent anti-inflammatory and anti-swelling agent. Additionally, recent studies have showed us that it stops lung metastasis in its tracks, which suggests that bromelain can be used to treat a wide variety of diseases.

Also, because it’s commonly used as a meat tenderizer, bromelain can also help soothe and relaxes tense, inflamed muscles and connective tissue. The widespread healing power of this enzyme is truly remarkable!

When I looked at the scientific literature, I found that bromelain has been used to treat a wide range of health problems including:

  • ACL tears
  • Allergies
  • Arthritis and joint pain
  • Asthma
  • Autoimmune diseases
  • Cancer
  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease
  • Sinus infections
  • Sprained ankles
  • Tendonitis

Of the 1,600 + articles evaluating the medicinal benefits of bromelain, I decided to narrow down this brief review to some of the more important topics because of their prevalence in our society and because of the sheer volume of research that supports its use.

1. Cancer

Not just an effective treatment against lung cancer, the journal Anticancer Drugs published the results of a clinical trial this past February that evaluated how bromelain affects malignant peritoneal mesothelioma (MPM) – a rare cancer caused by asbestos exposure.

According to the study, it was uncovered that “The addition of bromelain increased the die off of cancer cells (cytotoxicity) significantly… Bromelain has the potential of being developed as a therapeutic agent in treating malignant cancer.”

To learn more about the Bromelain Cancer treatment, check out my article on the top 10 natural cancer therapies.

2. Digestive Disorders

Because it’s an enzyme that specifically digests proteins, bromelain has been found to help your body digest food and absorb nutrients more efficiently, as well as being extremely effective at healing issues in the gastrointestinal tract:

  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease
  • Ulcerative Colitis
  • Dyspepsia
  • Colon Cancer
  • Constipation
  • Crohn’s Disease

3. Faster Recovery from Surgery and Injury 

Just this past July, a study was published that evaluated bromelain’s ability to treat patients just had impacted 3rd molars extracted. Most patients who undergo this surgery experience significant post-operative pain and swelling. Unfortunately, antibiotics and painkillers are not only quite ineffective; they bring with them a slew of side effects.

Of the 80 people participating in the study, those who were prescribing bromelain reported “significantly lower” post-operation pain, swelling and even redness compared to the control group that were prescribed a generic pain killer.

Bromelain’s anti-inflammatory properties make it a great natural replacement to harmful medications like aspirin.

4. Allergies and Asthma

Last year, the journal Evidenced-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine highlighted the results of a study that investigated how bromelain affected mice with asthma. The study produced some interesting results. In addition to showing that bromelain reduces allergic sensitization, it was discovered that the development of allergic airway disease was also markedly decreased.

This is actually quite profound because it suggests that bromelain helps modulate the entire immune system. It was observed in the study that CD11c (+) dendritic cells and DC44 antigen-presenting cells were kept at bay, which proves that bromelain does more than mask the primary immune response that most people suffering from allergies experiences (stuffy/runny nose, itchy eyes and skin, etc.). It can bring actually prevent allergies by addressing the root cause – a hyperactive, over-sensitive immune system!

5. Sinus Infections (Rhinosinusitis)

To see whether or not a daily dose of bromelain (300 FIP units)(600 mg tablet) could help people suffering from chronic sinusitis (inflammation of the sinuses), University of Cologne, Germany researchers recently took 12 patients who had already had sinus surgery and treated them with bromelain for 3 months. They discovered the following bromelain benefits:

  • Total symptom scores improved.
  • Total rhinoscopy scores improved.
  • Overall quality of life was enhanced.
  • And no adverse affects were reported.

Because surgery can oftentimes be ineffective at treating sinusitis, this research brings a lot of hope to people suffering from irretraceable sinus problems!

6. Joint Pain

Due to its powerful anti-inflammatory and analgesic characteristics, bromelain is fantastic for acute or chronic joint pain. This past winter, the journal Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine published a research trial that evaluated 42 osteoarthritis patients with degenerative spine or painful joint conditions.

Two 650 mg capsules of bromelain were given to the patients 2 – 3 times each day on an empty stomach (depending on whether they had acute or chronic pain) and it was discovered that pain decreased up to 60% for acute situations and more than 50% for chronic disorders!

Bromelain Supplements and Diet

There are 3 primary ways to incorporate bromelain in your natural health regimen:

  1. Eating the fiber-rich core of a juicy, ripe pineapple is the best way to consume natural sources of bromelain. Keep in mind that the riper the fruit is, the softer the core will be. So, make sure you keep it out on your counter an extra day or two to make sure that you’re not gnawing on a tough stem! Note that the flesh of a pineapple is also good for you, but doesn’t have the high bromelain content like the core does.
  2. Juicing the core of the pineapple or throwing it into a smoothie along with other vegetables like cucumber.  Drinking fresh pineapple juice has been shown to be a powerful remedy against inflammatory diseases. I recommend drinking 4 ounces a day to help prevent digestive issues and up to 8 ounces to treat illnesses like ulcerative colitis, inflammatory bowel disease or constipation.
  3. Taking a natural bromelain supplement or proteolytic enzyme supplement with bromelain can also be quite effective if you’re targeting some specific inflammatory or chronic disease. If you are trying to improve digestion you will take it with meals but for all other health conditions you will take it on an empty stomach.

Bromelain Dosage and Uses

The most common prescribed dosage for Bromelain is 500mg daily.  However for various conditions, many physicians may recommend:

Arthritis – 400mg 1-2x daily

Allergies – 1000mg daily of Bromelain + Quercitin

Cancer – 2000mg+ daily of Bromelain with other proteolytic enzymes

Digestion – 500mg with meals

Surgery Recovery – 1000mg 3x daily between meals

Bromelain should be taken on an empty stomach, unless you are taking it to improve digestion.

Bromelain Side Effects

Because it helps prevent blood clots, be especially careful when consuming extra pineapple or a bromelain supplement if you’re taking blood thinners.

Make sure you get your platelet counts regularly checked by your natural healthcare provider and keep your iron levels up so that you don’t develop a blood thinning disorder.

How about you? Have you used pineapple or bromelain to treat a health condition? How did it work?

†The information in this article is NOT intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and is not intended as medical advice.


From the sound of it, you might think leaky gut only affects the digestive system, but in reality it can affect more. Because Leaky Gut is so common, and such an enigma, I’m offering a free webinar on all things leaky gut. Click here to learn more about the webinar.


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Sources & References:

  • Therapeutic efficacy of bromelain in impacted third molar surgery: A randomized controlled clinical study. Ordesi P, et al. Quintessence Int. 2014 Jul 10.
  • Pillai K, et al. Anticancer effect of bromelain with and without cisplatin or 5-FU on malignant peritoneal mesothelioma cells. Anticancer Drugs. 2014 Feb;25(2):150-60.
  • Büttner L, et al. Efficacy and tolerability of bromelain in patients with chronic rhinosinusitis--a pilot study. B-ENT. 2013;9(3):217-25.
  • Conrozier T, et al. A complex of three natural anti-inflammatory agents provides relief of osteoarthritis pain. Altern Ther Health Med. 2014 Winter;20 Suppl 1:32-7.
  • Báez R, et al. In vivo antitumoral activity of stem pineapple (Ananas comosus) bromelain. Planta Med. 2007 Oct;73(13):1377-83.
  • Secor ER Jr, et al. Bromelain Inhibits Allergic Sensitization and Murine Asthma via Modulation of Dendritic Cells. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2013;2013:702196.
  1. ana says:

    Hi Dr. Axe,
    I have issues with digestion for almonst 3 yrs but this yr has gotten worse. My stomach is constantly inflammed on the upper side I also wake up with sour mouth and every time I eat I get bloated and also constipated. I saw two GI doctors but has not help me. The second one diagnose me with acid reflux and prescribed omeprazole before meals but I’m not taking it because I want to do it the healthy way. Right now I’m taking L-glutamine and some probiotic, it had helped me a little bit with the bowel movement but I’m still bloated. I’m also trying to find out which food upset my stomach and which not. I started the gluten free and sprouted products but I’m still not sure of what to do. Please help me, I’m so desperate in getting better. I’ll have colonoscopy and endoscopy perform in two weeks.
    Sincerely,

    Ana Viana

    • I would do the GAPS diet, you can check that out here: https://draxe.com/gaps-diet-food-list/
      Also take a look at these natural remedies for acid reflux here: https://draxe.com/acid-reflux-remedies-natural-cures/

    • smcgann says:

      Get the book The Paleo Approach By Sarah Ballantyne. Follow her autoimmune diet recommendations, they are simular to GAPS. Look at Dr. Axe’s info on bone broth, Sarah Ballantyne discussed this as well. The type of pro-biotic is important look at Prescript Assist and/or Garden of Life Primal Defense, Get a good digestive enzyme. Take the digest enzyme and pro-biotic consistently. It takes time to heal and repair the gut so be patient and consistent. If it seems like it’s not working or you can afford it get tested for intestinal over overgrowth and/or parasites. A good “Functional Doctor or Functional Nutritionist” should be able to help. I have work with Chistopher Kelly at Nourish Balance Thrive. I had sever indigestion and acid reflux about 10 years ago. I followed the advice from a book called The Fungus Link by Doug Kaufmann. Took about a year but I have had zero indigestion or acid reflux in the last 6 or 7 years. Also look at the Beyond Organic Amasi that Dr. Axe also mentions from time to time, good stuff.

  2. Debbie says:

    I actually have been taking bromelain for quite some time. I just found out that I am allergic to pineapples. If I’m allergic to pineapples, would I also be allergic to bromelain? Thank you.

  3. Kim says:

    Do you think this will help asthma, if so how much should I take and where do I get this? Are you saying regular pineapple from the grocery has the same effect?

  4. Elisheva Kosmerl says:

    Greetings Dr Axe, as always your information is spot on and presented in an easy to understand format. I have Lyme disease and after a seven week round of antibiotics that did not work decided to go the natural route. That was 5 years ago and I am doing fairly well. I am a personal trainer, chef and health coach. I would like to work with clients that are looking to heal from this disease. For me i feel the best way to go is vegan/gluten free, I am blood type A. Lyme feeds on gluten and sugar so this makes sense to me. I would love to see your thoughts on this and a plan to help detox and address the muscle wasting that can go along with this disease. Be well, G*D bless~Elisheva Kosmerl

  5. linda says:

    Is it okay to eat my fruits with my meats?

  6. Dale says:

    Ana, also drink 1-2 tablespoons of organic apple cider vinegar in a full glass of water about 15 minutes before each meal. That should help significantly.

  7. Krista says:

    Thank you, Dr. Axe. Would you please indicate the amount of supplementation you recommend for IBD, both Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis? Thank you so much for this helpful information!

  8. Jon Woodward says:

    I have been dealing with acid reflux, chronic pain, and fatigue for several years. I am currently taking Prevacid, which definitely helps my symptoms, but would like to eliminate it if possible. I also take Garden of Life Probiotics, enzymes, and Raw Meal. What do you think about the Paleo diet? I am willing to try anything to improve my health.

    Thank you for your help!

  9. Kristen says:

    Interesting! I’ve seen supplements that combine HCL with bromelain for digestion, is this also ok to combine?

  10. dawn beaven says:

    Can you recommend anything for emphysema I am on nebuliser twice a day three inhalers and a liquid oxygen supplement
    I was in hospital in febRuary and nearly died I don’t seem to be bouncing back my oxemeter reading is 88 to 96 but am always breathless thanx dawn

  11. Vivian says:

    Taking quercetin with bromelein 3x/day has eliminated most of my allergies.

  12. Beth says:

    Dr. Axe,

    I’ve heard that bromelein helps with cellulite. Have you heard this before and is it true? Thanks!

  13. Lela says:

    Hi doc!!
    I have a terrible problem with building a tolerance to anything I take. Whether it is natural remedies such as herbs or food, or even medications for any problem I have. They all work for a while long or short….then they don’t work at all anymore. If I hold off for several days or sometimes I have to for weeks or months, then it will work again. My mother had the same problem of tolerances. Is that a somewhat common thing? My most serious situation is….I have had constipation problems since childhood and have not been able to regulate it on a steady basis no matter what I take. HELP!!

    • That can happen. You don’t need herbs or medications to heal, instead I would focus on foods at this point. I would try to incorporate these 5 things into your daily lifestyle:
      1. Probiotics, 2x/day
      2. 1 tbsp Flax oil, 3x/day
      3. Magnesium, 2x/day
      4. Raw fiber supplement from GOL, 2x/day
      5. Get regular adjustments from a chiropractor

      You can also check out this great resource: https://draxe.com/natural-constipation-relief-remedies/

  14. Kathy Thomas says:

    I was in a car accident 3-1/2 weeks ago and have a lot of bruises, contusions and inflammation. I have been following your whole protocol for healing bruises, which includes using bromelain. My chiropractor is amazed how quickly I am healing. Thanks for all the information you provide.

    • Sandy says:

      I had an car accident. My rib bone/bones showed bruises in xray but I was doubting fracture. I was healed with epsom salt with lavender essential oil tub bath. But since some pain sometimes I was taking ibuprofin, but then I was looking for natural pain killer and came across on earth clinic and learnt that I can take ibuprofin 80 mg I did not find any 80 mg but only 500 mg was available in any health store. I took 500 mg but I feeling light headed and somewhat funny in my mind. So I stopped it immediately and slowly became alright with epsom salt bath sometimes and milk with turmeric. But again after 3 plus months, as the weather started better I did some work in garden and again I was in pain. This time again I found only 500 mg capsul, opened the capsure and made six portion of the powder, and taking for the past 4 days and feeling better. Please tell me, is it the right way? or where can I find 80 mg bromalain?

  15. M fernandes says:

    I’m planning to get my tooth extracted should I stop taking bromelein I take quercetin and bromelein and it helps my allergies but I’m getting one of my wisdom teeth a removed and was wondering how to prevent the sinusitis I suffer without taking bromelein befor surgery .

  16. Sharon says:

    Do you have to get this specifically from the core?

  17. Anne McKillop says:

    My consultant thinks I have Pelvic Venous Congestion Syndrome would taking Bromelain help with the pain of this?

  1. ana says:

    Hi Dr. Axe,
    I have issues with digestion for almonst 3 yrs but this yr has gotten worse. My stomach is constantly inflammed on the upper side I also wake up with sour mouth and every time I eat I get bloated and also constipated. I saw two GI doctors but has not help me. The second one diagnose me with acid reflux and prescribed omeprazole before meals but I’m not taking it because I want to do it the healthy way. Right now I’m taking L-glutamine and some probiotic, it had helped me a little bit with the bowel movement but I’m still bloated. I’m also trying to find out which food upset my stomach and which not. I started the gluten free and sprouted products but I’m still not sure of what to do. Please help me, I’m so desperate in getting better. I’ll have colonoscopy and endoscopy perform in two weeks.
    Sincerely,

    Ana Viana

    • I would do the GAPS diet, you can check that out here: https://draxe.com/gaps-diet-food-list/
      Also take a look at these natural remedies for acid reflux here: https://draxe.com/acid-reflux-remedies-natural-cures/

    • smcgann says:

      Get the book The Paleo Approach By Sarah Ballantyne. Follow her autoimmune diet recommendations, they are simular to GAPS. Look at Dr. Axe’s info on bone broth, Sarah Ballantyne discussed this as well. The type of pro-biotic is important look at Prescript Assist and/or Garden of Life Primal Defense, Get a good digestive enzyme. Take the digest enzyme and pro-biotic consistently. It takes time to heal and repair the gut so be patient and consistent. If it seems like it’s not working or you can afford it get tested for intestinal over overgrowth and/or parasites. A good “Functional Doctor or Functional Nutritionist” should be able to help. I have work with Chistopher Kelly at Nourish Balance Thrive. I had sever indigestion and acid reflux about 10 years ago. I followed the advice from a book called The Fungus Link by Doug Kaufmann. Took about a year but I have had zero indigestion or acid reflux in the last 6 or 7 years. Also look at the Beyond Organic Amasi that Dr. Axe also mentions from time to time, good stuff.

  2. Debbie says:

    I actually have been taking bromelain for quite some time. I just found out that I am allergic to pineapples. If I’m allergic to pineapples, would I also be allergic to bromelain? Thank you.

  3. Kim says:

    Do you think this will help asthma, if so how much should I take and where do I get this? Are you saying regular pineapple from the grocery has the same effect?

  4. Elisheva Kosmerl says:

    Greetings Dr Axe, as always your information is spot on and presented in an easy to understand format. I have Lyme disease and after a seven week round of antibiotics that did not work decided to go the natural route. That was 5 years ago and I am doing fairly well. I am a personal trainer, chef and health coach. I would like to work with clients that are looking to heal from this disease. For me i feel the best way to go is vegan/gluten free, I am blood type A. Lyme feeds on gluten and sugar so this makes sense to me. I would love to see your thoughts on this and a plan to help detox and address the muscle wasting that can go along with this disease. Be well, G*D bless~Elisheva Kosmerl

  5. linda says:

    Is it okay to eat my fruits with my meats?

  6. Dale says:

    Ana, also drink 1-2 tablespoons of organic apple cider vinegar in a full glass of water about 15 minutes before each meal. That should help significantly.

  7. Krista says:

    Thank you, Dr. Axe. Would you please indicate the amount of supplementation you recommend for IBD, both Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis? Thank you so much for this helpful information!

  8. Jon Woodward says:

    I have been dealing with acid reflux, chronic pain, and fatigue for several years. I am currently taking Prevacid, which definitely helps my symptoms, but would like to eliminate it if possible. I also take Garden of Life Probiotics, enzymes, and Raw Meal. What do you think about the Paleo diet? I am willing to try anything to improve my health.

    Thank you for your help!

  9. Kristen says:

    Interesting! I’ve seen supplements that combine HCL with bromelain for digestion, is this also ok to combine?

  10. dawn beaven says:

    Can you recommend anything for emphysema I am on nebuliser twice a day three inhalers and a liquid oxygen supplement
    I was in hospital in febRuary and nearly died I don’t seem to be bouncing back my oxemeter reading is 88 to 96 but am always breathless thanx dawn

  11. Vivian says:

    Taking quercetin with bromelein 3x/day has eliminated most of my allergies.

  12. Beth says:

    Dr. Axe,

    I’ve heard that bromelein helps with cellulite. Have you heard this before and is it true? Thanks!

  13. Lela says:

    Hi doc!!
    I have a terrible problem with building a tolerance to anything I take. Whether it is natural remedies such as herbs or food, or even medications for any problem I have. They all work for a while long or short….then they don’t work at all anymore. If I hold off for several days or sometimes I have to for weeks or months, then it will work again. My mother had the same problem of tolerances. Is that a somewhat common thing? My most serious situation is….I have had constipation problems since childhood and have not been able to regulate it on a steady basis no matter what I take. HELP!!

    • That can happen. You don’t need herbs or medications to heal, instead I would focus on foods at this point. I would try to incorporate these 5 things into your daily lifestyle:
      1. Probiotics, 2x/day
      2. 1 tbsp Flax oil, 3x/day
      3. Magnesium, 2x/day
      4. Raw fiber supplement from GOL, 2x/day
      5. Get regular adjustments from a chiropractor

      You can also check out this great resource: https://draxe.com/natural-constipation-relief-remedies/

  14. Kathy Thomas says:

    I was in a car accident 3-1/2 weeks ago and have a lot of bruises, contusions and inflammation. I have been following your whole protocol for healing bruises, which includes using bromelain. My chiropractor is amazed how quickly I am healing. Thanks for all the information you provide.

    • Sandy says:

      I had an car accident. My rib bone/bones showed bruises in xray but I was doubting fracture. I was healed with epsom salt with lavender essential oil tub bath. But since some pain sometimes I was taking ibuprofin, but then I was looking for natural pain killer and came across on earth clinic and learnt that I can take ibuprofin 80 mg I did not find any 80 mg but only 500 mg was available in any health store. I took 500 mg but I feeling light headed and somewhat funny in my mind. So I stopped it immediately and slowly became alright with epsom salt bath sometimes and milk with turmeric. But again after 3 plus months, as the weather started better I did some work in garden and again I was in pain. This time again I found only 500 mg capsul, opened the capsure and made six portion of the powder, and taking for the past 4 days and feeling better. Please tell me, is it the right way? or where can I find 80 mg bromalain?

  15. M fernandes says:

    I’m planning to get my tooth extracted should I stop taking bromelein I take quercetin and bromelein and it helps my allergies but I’m getting one of my wisdom teeth a removed and was wondering how to prevent the sinusitis I suffer without taking bromelein befor surgery .

  16. Sharon says:

    Do you have to get this specifically from the core?

  17. Anne McKillop says:

    My consultant thinks I have Pelvic Venous Congestion Syndrome would taking Bromelain help with the pain of this?