Using Bromelain to Ease Arthritis

Bromelain is a resource provided by the sweet, tropical pineapple fruit and its stem. It is made up by a group of enzymes found in the plant. These enzymes have the ability to digest protein and have long been touted as a holistic cure for various maladies. More recently, however, this mindset has become more than an “old wives tale” and bromelain has become a front runner in assisting those who suffer with arthritis, amongst other illnesses and inflammation-related discomfort.

1. Arthritis is a debilitating disease when left untreated. Over 50 million people in the United States report that they suffer a form of arthritis in their body at some point. This includes 20 percent of adults as well as hundreds of thousands of children who are affected by this disabling disease. Also referred to as joint inflammation, arthritis occurs when discomfort, pain and stiffness are present due to irritation, swelling, and tenderness -- each related to inflammation.  While arthritis can be situational due to a trauma of sorts, it is often a long-term issue and becomes more prevalent as the patient ages, remaining a constant in day-to-day life. One of the most debilitating types of arthritis is when it occurs in the knee region, creating difficulty in walking and general movements. However, it can be present in any joint area and can be aggravated due to weight gain and smoking, along with other lifestyle behaviors. Age and hereditary characteristics can also result in increased arthritic issues.

2. Clinical studies have shown that bromelain eases arthritis. Studies focusing on bromelain and arthritis have been presented since as early as 1964 touting its beneficial properties. Yet another study based in the United Kingdom and published in 2004 continued to support theories that bromelain has the potential to be used as a non-invasive treatment to ease arthritic symptoms and pain while being a safe alternative to many of the more invasive measures currently being used. Bromelain provides relief to inflammation due to variety of effects it has on the body when ingested. It affects fibrinogen levels, which is a glycoprotein instrumental in coagulation, as well fibrinolytic activity and bradykinin levels. It also affects the pathogenesis, or development, of arthritis. Bromelain also is shown to contain analgesic properties, meaning it can help provide pain relief from inflammation and discomfort that is present during flare-ups whether by directly reducing pain or indirectly by its reduction in pain-causing issues.

3. Bromelain offers numerous other benefits. While bromelain has been shown to be helpful in fighting arthritis, that is not the sole area where it can be helpful. It can also be used to treat allergies, asthma, sinus infections, and other respiratory ailments, as well as inflammatory bowel disease, constipation, Crohn’s disease, and skin infections. It can also assist with healing ligament tears, tendonitis and sprained ankles. Bromelain has shown medicinal benefits in the treatment of cancer and autoimmune diseases. Since bromelain is also known to be used as a meat tenderizer, it is of no surprise that in can be conducive in soothing inflammation in muscles and connective tissue. Its anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties also make it a handy pain killer during post-surgical recuperation, especially after a tooth has been pulled and other oral procedures.

4. Bromelain can be ingested as a supplement. The dosage of bromelain can vary based on the level of pain and inflammation present. A dose can range anywhere from 40 milligrams to 400 milligrams, with some being taken multiple times throughout the day. Bromelain can be ingested in the form of a supplement, which is created by procuring an extract of the enzymes, and can ensure that the full dosage that should be taken has been. In addition to the benefits of bromelain, supplements also often include other extracts that are beneficial to the body in treating the targeted issue, allowing you to fight the problem from multiple angles and with proper dosages of each. For arthritis-specific problems, a supplement may provide anti-inflammatory and analgesic options while also including enzymes that increase lubrication to the area and assists in the reduction of aggravation. Bromelain supplements often work well without food, but it is best to gauge your own body and how it reacts after the first one or two to avoid unnecessary nausea or other discomfort.

5. Only one food offers a natural form of bromelain. The only known natural form of bromelain is found in the stem, leaves, and fleshy fruit of a pineapple, which is rich in the enzymes. While the stem and leaves are usually used to obtain extracts for supplements, they are not usually the source for direct consumption of the nutrients. Stick to a couple slices of fresh pineapple for a solid dose or drink fresh juice. However, leave the boxed or canned versions of the fruit on the shelves, as the beneficial enzymes are compromised and often destroyed during processing. Avoid cooking the pineapple as the heat does not fare well for bromelain. You can, however, freeze it without compromising the enzymes.

6. Bromelain does have a few minor side effects and risks to consider. While bromelain is associated with a low rate of adverse side effect and risks, it is possible to be sensitive to it or to introduce too high of a dose too quickly. Diarrhea, nausea, and skin irritation may be associated with it as is an upset stomach resulting from excessive fruit intake. It can interfere with some types of anti-biotics and blood thinning prescriptions, so it is best to take all your medications into consideration beforehand.

Bromelain is a natural remedy that boasts a slew of medicinal benefits without the risks that often accompany synthetic pharmaceuticals prescribed for the same problems. Bromelain and arthritis go hand in hand when it comes to easing your inflammation and pain and allowing you to maintain an active and healthy lifestyle.

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