When tenderizer powder remains on meat for too long, it turns into mush. The main ingredient responsible for this process is bromelain. Similar to digestion, it softens meat by splitting up their protein bonds. If this is true, bromelain may also be a gout-fighting enzyme that helps break up purines found in protein.
It is important to mention there are many different conclusions on the effects of bromelain. This article investigates the potential benefits of bromelain regarding your general health and gout.
What Is Bromelain?
Bromelain is a group of proteolytic enzymes that activates the breakdown of proteins in foods. These enzymes posses therapeutic properties for improving digestion, boosting the immune system, and reducing inflammation.
The only natural food source of bromelain is pineapple. Extracted from the pineapple, it has been used as a traditional folk remedy for hundreds of years. Furthermore, bromelain isolated from the pineapple plant has been used extensively in food and pharmaceuticals.
For more details about the fruits with the best vitamins and nutrients to fight gout, read: Top 24 Fruits For The Kidneys And Gout
What Are The Health Benefits And Uses Of Bromelain?
Decreases Joint Pain
Several doctors and arthritic patients claim bromelain eases symptoms of arthritis. Its role to initiate anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving immune responses may be helpful in reducing acute joint pain.
In a study on osteoarthritis, bromelain capsules were given to subjects daily. As early as three days, patients started to experience less joint pain.
A 2016 clinical study found combining bromelain, trypsin and rutoside enzymes reduced knee pain and swelling like nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).
Reduces Inflammation and Heals Wounds
Bromelain may reduce swelling, bruising, healing time, and pain after surgery or physical injuries. Many medical professionals recommend it to reduce inflammation for tendinitis, sprains, and other minor muscle injuries.
A study on patients after having oral surgery provided another encouraging example. When taken with an antibiotic, bromelain improved healing time and reduced swelling.
Helps Respiratory System & Treat Sinus Infections
Along with reducing inflammation of tendons and muscles, bromelain might improve sinus and respiratory functions. Not all studies share the same conclusions on this topic.
A lab study saw bromelain act as a decongestant for asthma. Also, airways remained open because of a lower immune response that reduced nasal mucus production.
In a three-month pilot study, symptoms of sinusitis improved in patients taking bromelain daily. Additionally, it can be a therapeutic agent when taken with standard antihistamines and decongestants.
Lab animal research suggests bromelain has natural anti-cancer effects. Its enzymic properties can enhance chemotherapy drugs and activate immune responses in preventing tumor growth.
A 2020 study showed bromelain might initiate antitumor activity for pancreatic cancer. Hence, these preliminary findings set a feasible foundation for comprehensive clinical trials.
Relieves Indigestion and Gastrointestinal Disorders
Physicians and nutritionists may recommend that you take bromelain if you suffer from indigestion, constipation, gastrointestinal disorder or minor inflammatory bowel disease. Various digestive enzymes break down proteins, carbohydrates and fats to promote optimal absorption in the small intestine.
A bromelain supplement can be helpful for individuals whose pancreas cannot make enough digestive enzymes. The lab study identified more food converted to smaller and soluble substances due to the higher amounts of bromelain.
Additionally, past studies suggest bromelain lowers colon inflammation by limiting the release of specific inflammation-fighting cytokines for gastrointestinal disorders. Supporting this analysis, an animal study concluded bromelain aids in healing tissues within the intestinal tract by weakening harmful bacteria.
Can Bromelain Ease Gout Symptoms?
The studies mentioned earlier were included to highlight the anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving effects of bromelain. This is relative to gout sufferers because they are the two major symptoms of a gout attack.
- The anti-inflammatory properties shown to reduce swelling in soft tissues and decongest sinuses can help when your ankle or foot swell up from gout. Bromelain can thin out the blood and act like NSAIDs; aspirin, ibuprofen and naproxen.
- Bromelain’s influence in relieving pain for osteoarthritis and healing wounds after surgery can apply to aching gout victims. Its enzymic activity potentially links immune responses the nervous system. Bromelain can act similar to acetaminophen (Tylenol).
Let’s be perfectly clear here, bromelain is not as strong as your over-the-counter drugs like Advil, Alleve, and Tylenol. It may have similar properties but to a much lesser degree.
Can Bromelain Help Prevent Gout?
Bromelain may not only treat the symptoms of gout, but may assist in preventing the cause. This section elaborates on the potential ways bromelain can lower uric acid to less-threatening gout levels.
Enzyme Activity Can Change The Purine Structure
Many enzymes regulate the metabolism of purines. Any deficiency of one or more enzymes may cause an increase or decrease of uric acid levels.
The enzyme responsible for purine metabolism is uricase or urate oxidase. It stimulates the oxidation of uric acid to a more soluble compound called allantoin.
Unfortunately, humans cannot produce uricase. Therefore, the next best gout-fighting enzymes might be proteolytic enzymes or proteases found in bromelain.
Protease is the digestive enzyme that breaks down protein compounds and converts them into amino acids and peptides. Since proteins consist of purines, the molecular structure of purines may be altered from the proteolytic activity during digestion. A slight change of the purine structure can lead to producing harmless amino acids instead of gout-causing uric acid.
Enzyme Activity Can Limit Uric Acid Production
Proteases may prevent the activity of xanthine oxidase, the enzyme responsible for activating the purine to uric acid process. This is similar to what allopurinol does. Less active xanthine oxidase means fewer purines turn into uric acid.
In a 2017 human study, scientists found a reason to believe amino acids contribute in breaking up purines and forming uric acid. Data showed concentrations of certain amino acids changed in patients with gout. For this reason, different enzyme combinations may affect the conversion of purines to uric acid.
This subject requires further research on various people and diets on a broader scale to determine exactly how bromelain affects purines and uric acid production. However, these preliminary studies theorize bromelain as a gout-fighting enzyme due to its involvement with proteins, amino acids, and purines.
Improves the elimination of uric acid
Besides being a powerful digestive enzyme, bromelain has alkalizing effects. This is not the same as alkaline (base) or acidic regarding the pH scale. Fresh pineapples are acidic (in pH) from its ascorbic acid. However, it becomes alkalizing when metabolized in the digestive tract.
Pineapple is more alkalizing than most citrus fruits because of bromelain. The PRAL (Potential Renal Acid Load) score of pineapple is negative which means it is alkalizing. The PRAL measures the alkalizing effect of a food after being metabolized.
For a better explanation on the PRAL score and how alkaline foods can help with your gout, read: The Truth About A Plant-Based Diet For Gout
Keep in mind, alkalizing foods have little effect on blood pH, but can change the pH significantly in the stomach, skin and urine. Normally, uric acid dissolves in the blood and passes through the kidneys and into the urine for elimination.
Eating alkalizing foods will make urine less acidic. This is certainly relevant to gout sufferers because more uric acid is flushed out when urine is less acidic.
How Much Bromelain Should You Take?
To get the highest amount of bromelain, it is better to take a dietary supplement. Bromelain supplement tablets or capsules do not contain high enough doses to have immediate effects like medicine. Moreover, any benefit from a supplement can only be determined by its long-term effects.
Note, bromelain is not FDA-approved for any condition, so there is no official recommended dosage. Supplement manufacturers list unofficial doses based on independent studies.
Devouring a bunch of pineapples or drinking its juice will have little effect. This is because most of the bromelain extract comes from the pineapple stem, which is difficult to eat.
However, this should not stop you from including it in your regular diet. Pineapple is among the healthiest fruits for your body, and one of the best to fight gout.
Bromelain’s influence to thin the blood and aid absorption of nutrients and medications offers plenty of benefits. However, it can counteract or intensify with certain blood thinners, antibiotics and sedatives.
Always discuss with a doctor before taking bromelain, or any supplement.
There is still so much more to understand about bromelain’s relationship with the immune system and as a gout-fighting enzyme. Lab studies and experimental data continue to reveal many probable health benefits of this unique enzyme. Bromelain playing a role in lowering uric acid is a promising concept.
For gout sufferers, please don’t think loading up on bromelain supplements or eating pounds of pineapple will eliminate your gout. If you do, and it works, fantastic! You can hang with the fortunate individuals who eat thousands or cherries to keep gout away. (sarcasm)
Bromelain has the ability to fortify and support nutrients from a healthy diet and vitamin from supplements. However, it will have little to no effect if your diet is mostly junk food, processed meats and beer.
Back in the day, I had an impressive stock of supplements meant for gout. Attacks still hit me hard every couple of months because of all the crap I was unconsciously consuming.
If you’re not a supplement person, then try adding pineapples to your regular diet. It does not have the notoriety as cherries for gout, but can have similar effects. Pineapples taste better in my opinion.
It may or may not be the bromelain breaking up the purines. However, you just might find pineapples as a worthy addition to your defenses in becoming GOUTPROOF!