Much of the medicinal value of pineapple (Ananas comosu) is due to bromelain. It is a mixture of protease enzymes, primarily, which are anti-inflammatory, anti-thrombotic, fibrinolytic (breaks up clots) and anticancer. This article is a review of the known anticancer information about bromelain.
Bromelain is a traditional anticancer medicine of Southeast Asia. It is a water extract of pineapple. Protease is believed to be the reason for the anticancer activity of bromelain. Bromelain is easily absorbed in the gastrointestinal tract. Antacids preserve bromelain’s proteolytic activity. Doses up to 3 g/day are well tolerated. Doses of 1-2.4 g/day are effective. (Bromelain is a component of the anti-inflammatory product Wobenzym.)
There are very few clinical trials of bromelain in cancer. Most studies of bromelain have been of anti-inflammatory activity. In studies of chemically-induced skin tumors in mice, bromelain reduced the formation of tumors, reduced tumor volumes and induced cellular apoptosis (natural cell death.) Bromelain has been reported to reduce metastasis of cancers.
The mechanism by which bromelain works against cancer is not fully known. Bromelain has shown benefit against a number of cancers. Bromelain’s anti-platelet activity could be part of its benefit against breast, ovarian and colorectal cancers. Anti-bromelain antibodies cross-react with melanoma cells. This may be evidence for benefit of bromelain against melanoma cancer.
It is, now, believed that “chronic inflammation contributes to the development of cancer…” and “the leading viewpoint suggests that control of chronic inflammation could reduce the incidence of cancer as well as inhibit cancer progression.”
CONCLUSION: “…bromelain can be a promising candidate for the development of future oral enzyme therapies for oncology patients.” Its anti-inflammatory activity may be how bromelain works.
NOTE: Pineapple contains high amounts of arginine amino acid. Read about other foods that are high in arginine.
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