Bromelain (Pineapple / Enzymes) - Tendonitis Support / Benefits

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Bromelain (Pineapple / Enzymes) - Tendonitis Support / Benefits
by Dusty R. Green, M.Ed., Research Scientist & Author of Smart Eats, Smart Supplements, and Smart Exercise

Bromelain is a proteolytic enzyme found in raw pineapple.  Bromelain aids in the digestion of protein rich foods.  It is also a vegetarian alternative to animal sourced enzymes.  Papain (which comes from papaya), another enzyme like bromelain, is one of the main ingredients found in meat tenderizers.  It may help with damaged protein (internal scars) and appears to speed the healing rate of bruises.  Some holistic Dentists recommend it in pill form orally after oral surgery.

Bromelain is classified as a proteolytic enzyme because of its ability to digest proteins.  Bromelain affects protein turnover in the body including proteins found in joint tissue.  Bromelain can also enhance absorption of nutrients such as glucosamine, citrus bioflavonoids, and sulfur related compounds such as n-acetyl l-cysteine and MSM.

Bromelain For Tendonitis Support
Over the past twenty years, I have had tendonitis in various parts of my body.  Participation in racquet sports, weightlifting, and other body pounding activities such as running and other aerobic activities are considered by experts as main causes.  Tendonitis is the result of the sharp pain associated with a tendon and/or the insertion point of tendon(s) to muscle or bone caused by excessive pounding activities.

In December 1993, I developed severe wrist tendonitis (the kind that keeps you awake at night).  I have been playing/teaching racquetball and tennis since 1976.  I wasn't about to be "side-lined" and had a feeling (due to research in natural/alternative medicine) there was a better way to deal with the the issue.  At this point in my life, I had found many solutions to health issues from natural means.  My research led me to sources stating that bromelain is a natural pain support supplement and digestive aid for protein.  In short, I surmised, based on all evidence discovered that tendonitis created an internal wound resulting in scar tissue (fibrous material composed of calcium ions and protein).  I then theorized that my condition could be helped by ingesting bromelain, but couldn't find how much to take.  I became my own "guinea pig" for this project in addition to other health related projects I've dealt with in the past.

I began taking 750 mg per day in divided doses and felt a bit of relief after a week.  The 750 mg dose helped but not completely.  At that point, I decided to increase the dose to 1,500 mg/day/divided doses.  The 1,500 mg/day apparently did the job.  On demand, my body was moving through space as freely as when I was a child.  Since then, tendinitis is an issue I no longer dread.  There appears to be approximately an eighty percent success rate based on counseling sessions I've had with clients.  Factors that may account for the other twenty percent are:

  • Mis-diagnosis (they may have carpal tunnel syndrome -- consider 2000 mg/day of vitamin B6 for carpal tunnel support) or other joint related issues,
  • Low levels of other co-nutrients in their system that supports bromelain in doing its job.

The combination of "dousing-the-fire" of tendonitis and protein dissolving abilities enables bromelain to do its job.  It appears that significant amounts of vitamins C, E, beta-carotene, bioflavonoids, calcium, vitamin D, magnesium, and zinc, (similar to the amounts found in Life Extension Mix -- LEM) are helpful as synergistic agents -- Life Extension, pg. 237, Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine, pg. 513 and Hiroshima Journal of Medical Science, 1975, 24:185, and Medical Hypothesis, 1960, 6:99.  Most people do not take a high quality multi-formula.  Unlike LEM, most commercial and multi-level varieties contain insignificant amounts of co-nutrients needed to aid bromelain.  This could be a part of the explanation for the 20% who do not find relief.  I happen to take LEM (full menu) and did before the onset of tendinitis and still take it to this day.  Therefore, I had to surmise that bromelain was a significant contributor to the resolution of the issue.

Another Note on Vitamin C
In addition, Vitamin C has been researched extensively concerning connective tissue strength (tendons, ligaments, arterial, and vein strength).  Vitamin C is crucial for the proper function of the enzyme protocollagen hydroxylase.  Protocollagen hydroxylase produces collagen, the primary constituent of the granulation tissue and the key component in blood vessel walls.  Vitamin C must be replenished daily since it is water-soluble, and any excess is excreted rather than stored.  The scientific literature is replete with information recommending Vitamin C in amounts of at least 3 grams per day (divided doses throughout the day are best).  Less than 3 grams per day consumption does not show significant benefits.

Recommended Dose: One to six tablets of bromelain daily in divided doses or as directed by your qualified health consultant.  Swallow quickly with a full glass of liquid.  Take with meals or between meals.

Caution:  Individuals who are taking blood-thinning medications should consult with their health care provider before taking bromelain.

Warnings Information:

  • Do not use if allergic to pineapples, honeybee stings or olive pollen,
  • For dietary supplement use only,
  • Keep out of reach of children,
  • Do not exceed recommended dosage,
  • If you have a bad reaction, discontinue use immediately,
  • When using , please inform your physician,
  • If you are pregnant, lactating or have a medical condition, consult your health care professional before using this or any other nutritional supplement,
  • If the effects of allergic reaction occurs, discontinue bromelain enzymes by Jarrow immediately.

Order:  Bromelain Enzymes

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