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Bromelain is an enzyme (technically it’s a mixture of enzymes) with an interesting and unusual characteristic: it is found in only one place—pineapple.
There are two types of bromelain in each pineapple, but the two are chemically quite similar. One is found in the juice, the other in the stem. The form generally used in supplements is taken from the stem because stems are so much more plentiful after crops are harvested.
Stem bromelain is converted into a yellow powder using either organic solvents, or a sophisticated filtration system. On the other hand, if the juice of the pineapple will be the source, the bromelain is processed using a centrifuge or by freeze-drying the juice.
A Venezuelan chemist first isolated bromelain in 1891, but it wasn’t generally available to the American public for therapeutic use until 1957. For obvious reasons, the first scientific studies of bromelain were conducted in Hawaii, but pineapples have long been cherished for health reasons in South and Central America.
- Bromelain helps synthesize protein by breaking up long chains of molecular protein into shorter, bite-sized pieces. For this reason, bromelain is classified as a proteolytic enzyme. This process helps support joint comfort and normal cell growth.
- Bromelain has many commercial applications beyond being a popular nutritional supplement. It has been used to chill-proof beer, tenderize meat, and treat sausage casings.
The structure function claims made on this website have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These dietary supplement products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.