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Bromelain supplements provide the body with digestive enzymes. Naturally found in pineapples, both the juice and the stems, these enzymes aid the body in protein digestion. Additionally, bromelain works as an anti-inflammatory substance. Its effect may depend on whether or not it is taken with food. When taken along with food, the body uses it for the digestion of protein. If taken on an empty stomach, however, its anti-inflammatory properties are demonstrated instead.
A person who wants to take bromelain supplements can usually find them as either capsules or tablets. Bromelain may also be used topically in treating burn victims. This use is still experimental, however. Sometimes bromelain is even sold in supermarkets, where its protein-digestion properties make it marketable for tenderizing meats.
A person who has digestive problems may take bromelain supplements to enjoy at least a measure of relief. For example, this supplement may be helpful when a person is struggling with gas or indigestion. It may also prove helpful for people who have irritable bowel syndrome. Since bromelain works for the digestion of proteins, a person may combine it with other enzymes for a more complete digestive solution. Sometimes people take it along with an enzyme called lipase, for instance.
Sometimes people take bromelain supplements for the treatment of sinus infections. When used in this manner, the supplements may help lessen congestion and reduce swelling of the nose and sinuses. It may also prove helpful after a person has undergone surgical procedures on the ears, throat, or nose. Both of these uses are examples of employing bromelain for its anti-inflammatory effects.
Though bromelain supplements are often used to aid digestion, many of their potential side effects also involve the digestive process. For example, these supplements may cause such conditions as nausea and diarrhea. Some people may even develop indigestion as well. In rare cases, a person may experience vomiting and abnormal heart rhythms when taking bromelain. Heavy menstrual bleeding and tiredness may develop as well.
While allergic reactions to bromelain supplements are not common, they can be serious when they occur. Some people may have asthma symptoms in relation to bromelain supplementation. Throat constriction, hives, and itching are also symptoms of a bromelain allergy. People who have allergies to celery, carrots, grass, and certain types of pollen may be more likely to develop bromelain allergies. Those with latex allergies may have allergic reactions to this nutrient as well.
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