Bromelain: What Is It? How Will It Affect Your Health?

Bromelain: What Is It? How Will It Affect Your Health?

What is bromelain?

Bromelain is a digestive enzyme derived from the stem and fruit of pineapples. It's used to help reduce swelling after surgery or injury.* 

Should I consider taking a bromelain dietary supplement?

Bromelain is typically taken for a short time to help promote healing.* It can reduce minor swelling and bruising following injury or surgery.* Bromelain might promote faster reabsorption of a collection of blood that causes bruising and swelling (hematoma).* 

What are the dietary sources of bromelain?

Bromelain is found in the pineapple plant. It is mostly concentrated in the parts you don't eat, especially the stem. To obtain the best health benefits from bromelain, it may be easier to take a dietary supplement.

How can bromelain a­ffect my health?

Supplemental bromelain can help you in several ways:

  • Promotes healing after trauma or surgery* 
  • Reduces bruising* 
  • Decreases swelling after injury* 
  • Reduces tenderness after acute injury*

How much bromelain should I take?

Bromelain has shown health benefits at doses as low as 160 milligrams (mg) a day. For most conditions, research suggests that the best results occur at doses of 750 to 1,000 mg a day.* This is usually split into more than one dose, such as 500 mg taken twice daily. 

Are there any side effects from taking a bromelain dietary supplement?

Most studies in humans report few side effects. However, one study showed an increased heart rate in individuals with high blood pressure who were taking a high dose of bromelain. If you have high blood pressure, consult with your health-care professional before taking a bromelain supplement. 

It's also possible to have an allergic reaction to bromelain. If you develop breathing problems, stop taking bromelain and seek medical help. 

Is it safe to take a bromelain dietary supplement with other medications? 

Bromelain can inhibit blood clotting, so it should be avoided if you take a blood-thinning medication (anticoagulant), such as aspirin, clopidogrel (Plavix®), ibuprofen (Advil®, Motrin IB®), heparin, warfarin (Coumadin®, Jantoven®) and others.

If you are considering taking a bromelain supplement, check with your health-care professional first, especially if you are pregnant or have a health condition.


  • Bromelain. Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database. Accessed March 8, 2016.
  • Pavan R, Jain S, Shraddha, Kumar A. Properties and therapeutic application of bromelain: a review. 
  • Biotechnol Res Int 2012;2012:976203. doi: 10.1155/2012/976203.
  • Bromelain. In: Pizzorno J, Murray M, eds. Textbook of Natural Medicine. 4th edition. St. Louis, MO: Churchill Livingston; 2013:620-626.
  • Bromelain Monograph. Altern Med Rev 2010;15(4):361-368. 
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