Wednesday, July 18, 2012

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Healthy Food Tip
Can you tell me more about the health benefits of the bromelain enzyme found in pineapple including whether it helps with protein digestion?

Bromelain is a complex mixture of substances that can be extracted from the stems and core fruit portion of pineapples. Among dozens of components known to exist in this crude extract, the best-studied components are a group of protein-digesting enzymes (called cysteine proteinases). Originally, researchers believed that these enzymes provided the key health benefits found in bromelain and that these benefits were primarily limited to aid with digestion in the intestinal tract.
Studies have also shown that bromelain has a wide variety of health benefits and that many of these benefits may not be related to the different proteinase enzymes found in the crude extract. Excessive inflammation, excessive coagulation of the blood and clot formation, and certain types of tumor growth may all be reduced by therapeutic doses ofbromelain when taken as a dietary supplement. Studies are not available, however, to show these same potential benefits in relationship to normal intake of pineapple within a typical diet.
Bromelain extracts can be obtained from both the fruit core and the stems of pineapple. Potentially important chemical differences appear to exist between extracts obtained from the stem versus the core fruit. However, the practical relevance of these differences is not presently understood. However, most of the laboratory research on bromelain has been conducted using stem-based extracts.
Although healthcare practitioners have reported improved digestion in their patients with an increase in pineapple as a "fruit of choice" within their patients' diets, I haven't seen published studies that document specific changes in digestion following consumption of the whole fruit. However, I've seen plenty of evidence to consider pineapple as a World's Healthiest Food, and I suspect that the extracts obtained from the core fruit will turn out to have some uniquely health-supportive properties, including possible digestion-related benefits.
Gaspani L, Limiroli E, Ferrario P, et al. In vivo and in vitro effects of bromelain on PGE(2) and SP concentrations in the inflammatory exudate in rats. Pharmacology 2002 May;65(2):83-6.
Hatano K, Kojima M, Tanokura M, et al. Primary structure, sequence-specific 1H-NMR assignments and secondary structure in solution of bromelain inhibitor VI from pineapple stem. Eur J Biochem 1995 Sep;232(2):335-43.
Hatano K, Sawano Y, Tanokura M. Structure-function relationship of bromelain isoinhibitors from pineapple stem. Biol Chem 2002 Jul-2002 Aug;383(7-8):1151-6.
If you have any questions about today's Healthy Food Tip Ask George Your Question

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