Bromelain, a protein-digesting enzyme derived from pineapple, demonstrates promise as a naturopathic remedy for treating many diseases and conditions. Bromelain may ease symptoms of arthritis, inflammation, hay fever, burns and knee pain. Although generally safe when used as directed for relatively short periods of time, bromelain is not right for everyone. There are some bromelain contraindications– circumstances under which the product should not be taken.
If you fall into any of the following categories, do not use bromelain supplements. They could cause serious problems, and their benefits do not outweigh their risks.
No studies have investigated bromelain’s effects on pregnancy, and it may be harmful to expectant mothers and developing fetuses. In theory, bromelain may increase the risk of bleeding, preterm labor or miscarriage in pregnant women. It can also increase the risk of surgical complications if you require a C-section to deliver your baby.
People with Pineapple Allergies
If you are allergic to pineapple, you should not take bromelain. Trace amounts of allergy-inducing compounds may remain after bromelain is isolated from pineapple fruit. Do not take bromelain or any product containing it if you have had an allergic reaction to pineapple fruit. It could trigger anaphylaxis, a life-threatening allergic reactin.
People who will need Surgery
If you will have surgery within the next two weeks, do not take bromelain. It acts as a weak anticoagulant, slowing the activity of platelets that stop bleeding. If you use bromelain and then have surgery, you are at an increased risk of experiencing hemorrhage during surgery. If you need emergency surgery– even a minor procedure such as a tooth extraction– be sure to tell your health care provider that you use bromelain supplements.
There may be other bromelain contraindications. If you have a medical condition or take any medication, it is prudent to consult a qualified physician before taking any supplement or naturopathic remedy.
Visit the National Institutes of Health for more information about bromelain contraindications.