What Bromelain Is:
How Bromelain Is Used:
Bromelain is an anti-inflammatory, but there is not much research to support its use in either Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis. There is a case report of two patients with ulcerative colitis who responded well to treatment with bromelain. Bromelain has not been studied on humans with IBD, but there is one study that was done on the biopsy tissue taken from the intestine of people with Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis. The tissue did appear to respond positively to the bromelain, and showed fewer IBD markers than the tissue that was not treated with bromelain.
Eating large amounts of the fruit of the pineapple will not give the same effect as taking a bromelain supplement. Bromelain is primarily found in the stem of the pineapple, which is not normally eaten.
Interactions With Other Drugs and Supplements:
Bromelain also has an effect on the blood, and may affect the ability of the blood to clot. Therefore, it should not be taken along with any drugs or supplements that also thin the blood or that increase the risk of bleeding, including:
- Coumadin (warfarin)
- Ginkgo biloba
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs), including aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen
- Plavix (clopidogrel)
- Saw palmetto
Bromelain also may increase the effects that sedatives have on the body. This includes both drugs and supplements that are used as sedatives and those that have a sedating effect. Some examples are:
- Anticonvulsants, including Dilantin (phenytoin) or Depakote (valproic acid)
- Barbiturates, including phenobarbital
- Benzodiazepines, including Ativan (lorazepam), Xanax (alprazolam) and Valium (diazepam)
- Kava Kava
- Narcotics, including codeine
- Sleep-inducers, including Ambien (zolpidem), Lunesta (eszopiclone), Rozerem (ramelteon), and Sonata (zaleplon)
- Tricyclic antidepressants, including Elavil (amitriptyline)
Bromelain may cause adverse effects, including:
- Increased menstrual bleeding or abnormal uterine bleeding
- Increased heart rate
- Stomach upset
Use During Pregnancy:
OverallEven though bromelain is approved for some uses in Germany, it is not currently approved in the U.S. to treat any condition. The evidence for its use in IBD is mounting, but is currently not robust enough to recommend its widespread use. Tell your doctor if you are considering the use of bromelain, or if you are currently taking bromelain.
Kane S, Goldberg MJ. "Use of bromelain for mild ulcerative colitis." Ann Intern Med 18 Apr 2000;132:680. 14 Sept 2013.
Onken JE, Greer PK, Calingaert B, Hale LP. "Bromelain treatment decreases secretion of pro-inflammatory cytokines and chemokines by colon biopsies in vitro." Clin Immunol Mar 2008;126:345-352. 14 Sept 2013.
Tinozzi S, Venegoni A. "Effect of bromelain on serum and tissue levels of amoxicillin." Drugs Exptl Clin Res 1978;4:39-44.