If you’re preparing yourself for an upcoming surgery, are into biohacking, or simply care about healthy living; it’s safe to say you’ve learned how important nutrition is to maintaining the human body.
Throughout your research, you've probably learned the importance of optimizing your nutritional state for surgery and injury recovery. In particular, there is one special ingredient, Bromelain, that can help ease pain, swelling, and bruising after a surgery, injury, or sporting overexertion.
It’s no secret that Bromelain is great for swelling and pain control, but do you know why or where it comes from? Read on to learn more about its origins, applications, and importance in your injury or surgery recovery.
From the stem of a South American pineapple to Germany’s hospitals
Bromelain is an enzyme extracted from a pineapple stem. For hundreds of years, inhabitants of Central and South America used it medicinally, until 1957’s when it was introduced as a supplement in the US.
Later, in 1993, Germany’s Commission E (the country’s governmental regulatory agency comparable to the US FDA) approved the use of Bromelain for post-surgery pain and healing benefits.
Over the past few decades, several human clinical studies revealed that bromelain-based formulations are as effective, and potentially more effective, than anti-inflammatory prescription drugs at relieving pain and inflammation, often with fewer side effects.
Where have I heard of Bromelain before?
Due to its overwhelming benefits and clinical trials, bromelain is finally gaining recognition.
There have been several studies showing that bromelain provides powerful anti-inflammatory properties without the noted problems associated with conventional drug therapy.[1-3]
For reference, chronic use of NSAIDS (painkillers) can cause gastric ulcers and liver-kidney problems. Bromelain on the other hand is a powerful proteolytic digestive enzyme, which is beneficial for the GI tract and gastric mucosa.
At this point, you may be asking yourself, why haven’t I seen more of this in America?
One reason might be that it’s quite difficult to produce a patent around an extract that has been around for hundreds of years and then sell it for big money, so there seems little financial return on the investment for pharmaceutical companies.
And as for your doctor? Well, she probably hasn’t been reading our blog. This information is not in a medical school curriculum - but don’t get me started on that issue.
How well does Bromelain work?
Bromelain’s efficacy is continually being studied and happens to be producing excellent results.
In an observation study of 59 patients who had suffered blunt trauma to the musculoskeletal system, an orthopedist supplied some patients with conventional therapeutics plus bromelain for 1-3 weeks.
The treatment with Bromelain resulted in a clear reduction of swelling, pain at rest and in motion, and tenderness at the site of injury. Both swelling and pain symptoms had improved appreciably at all evaluation time points as compared with baseline. Plus the tolerability and patient compliance of the preparation was very good. 
In fact, a separate group of researchers showed that Bromelain works so well that it can even replace the need for pain medications.
In a double-blinded prospective randomized clinical trial, investigators took 90 patients with osteoarthritis of the hip, treated 45 with a prescription grade NSAID (diclofenac) versus 45 with Bromelain.
At 6 weeks they investigated stiffness, physical function, pain, and patient assessment of efficacy, and found that bromelain performed at least as well as the prescription medication.
With respect to injuries, bromelain may offer similar support for healing and pain relief after surgery.
Researchers administered a combination of pain meds with bromelain to patients for two weeks following long bone fracture surgery.
Compared with surgical patients who did not receive the supplement, the bromelain-treated group showed a remarkable reduction in postoperative swelling and required less pain medication.
These are strong data points indicating a significant analgesic effect leading to more rapid and comfortable recovery.
Bromelain can aid injuries and overexertion from sports, chores, and colds
Professional and amateur athletes alike are increasingly turning to bromelain to aid their recovery from sports surgeries, injuries, and over-exhaustion to help get back on their feet. [5,8]
Among non-injury situations, bromelain holds further promise in managing a variety of conditions from sinusitis to inflammatory bowel disease![6,7]
Among therapeutic benefits, research has shown aid in: reversible inhibition of platelet aggregation, angina pectoris, bronchitis, sinusitis, surgical traumas, thrombophlebitis, pyelonephritis, burn healing, and enhanced absorption of drugs, particularly antibiotics.
Lastly, in addition to all these benefits, scientists have recently discovered that bromelain even exhibits tumor-fighting properties which are now being explored in the hope of finding a new anti-cancer drug.
Bromelain: An essential part of a complete recovery
If you are going under the knife, for either cosmetic plastic surgery, bariatric surgery, or to repair something you broke; we highly advise that you seriously consider adding Bromelain to your post-surgery or injury recovery!
Bromelain is so important, it's one of the key ingredients in our Post-Surgery and Injury Recovery formula. It will aid you in preventing bruising as well as reducing pain and inflammation.
In short, as you have read above, there is little downside to adding it to your post-surgery preparation as shown in the numerous clinical studies with positive results.
1. Brien S, Lewith G, Walker A, Hicks SM, Middleton D. Bromelain as a treatment for osteoarthritis: a review of clinical studies. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2004 Dec;1(3):251-7.
2. Klein G, Kullich W, Schnitker J, Schwann H. Efficacy and tolerance of an oral enzyme combination in painful osteoarthritis of the hip. A double-blind, randomised study comparing oral enzymes with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Clin Exp Rheumatol. 2006 Jan-Feb;24(1):25-30.
3. Akhtar NM, Naseer R, Farooqi AZ, Aziz W, Nazir M. Oral enzyme combination versus diclofenac in the treatment of osteoarthritis of the knee—a double-blind prospective randomized study. Clin Rheumatol. 2004 Oct;23(5):410-5.
4. Masson M. Bromelain in blunt injuries of the locomotor system. A study of observed applications in general practice. Fortschr Med. 1995 Jul 10;113(19):303-6.
5. Kamenícek V, Holán P, Franĕk P. Systemic enzyme therapy in the treatment and prevention of post-traumatic and postoperative swelling. Acta Chir Orthop Traumatol Cech. 2001;68(1):45-9.
6. Braun JM, Schneider B, Beuth HJ. Therapeutic use, efficiency and safety of the proteolytic pineapple enzyme Bromelain-POS in children with acute sinusitis in Germany. In Vivo. 2005 Mar-Apr;19(2):417-21.
7. Kane S, Goldberg MJ. Use of bromelain for mild ulcerative colitis. Ann Intern Med. 2000 Apr 18;132(8):680.
8. Kerkhoffs GM, Struijs PA, de Wit C, Rahlfs VW, Zwipp H, van Dijk CN. A double blind, randomized, parallel group study on the efficacy and safety of treating acute lateral ankle sprain with oral hydrolytic enzymes. Br J Sports Med. 2004 Aug;38(4):431-5.
9. Baez R, Lopes MT, Salas CE, Hernandez M. In vivo antitumoral activity of stem pineapple (Ananas comosus) bromelain. Planta Med. 2007 Oct;73(13):1377-83.
General Disclaimer: All information here is for educational purposes only and is not meant to cure, heal, diagnose nor treat. This information must not be used as a replacement for medical advice, nor can the writer take any responsibility for anyone using the information instead of consulting a healthcare professional. All serious disease needs a physician.