Skip Navigation

Search Knowledgebase

Bromelain for Sports & Fitness

Why Use

Bromelain

Why Do Athletes Use It?*

Some athletes say that bromelain helps to reduce pain associated with sports injuries, such as sprains and strains.

What Do the Advocates Say?*

Bromelain is most effective for injuries in which there is a congestion of blood or heavy bruising. Because it is a protein digestive agent, bromelain digests trapped blood byproducts. It is more effective for sprains and strains than it is for joint pain.

When using bromelain, continue to take it until the swelling and blood stagnation is gone; this can last anywhere from a few days to a few weeks.

*Athletes and fitness advocates may claim benefits for this supplement based on their personal or professional experience. These are individual opinions and testimonials that may or may not be supported by controlled clinical studies or published scientific articles.

Dosage & Side Effects

Bromelain

How Much Is Usually Taken by Athletes?

Typically, 2 to 4 tablets or capsules are taken several times per day. Other uses of bromelain for sports and fitness have not been studied.

Side Effects

Bromelain is generally safe and free of side effects when taken in moderate amounts. However, one preliminary report indicates increased heart rate with the use of bromelain.1 In addition, some people are allergic to bromelain. One woman reportedly developed a hives and severe swelling after taking bromelain, even though she had tolerated bromelain on two other occasions previously.2

Interactions with Supplements, Foods, & Other Compounds

Because bromelain acts as a blood thinner and little is known about how bromelain interacts with blood-thinning drugs, people should avoid combining such drugs with bromelain in order to reduce the theoretical risk of excessive bleeding.

Interactions with Medicines

Certain medicines interact with this supplement.

Types of interactions: Beneficial Adverse Check

Replenish Depleted Nutrients

  • none

Reduce Side Effects

  • none

Support Medicine

  • Amoxicillin

    When taken with amoxicillin, bromelain was shown to increase absorption of amoxicillin in humans.3 When 80 mg of bromelain was taken together with amoxicillin and tetracycline, blood levels of both drugs increased, though how bromelain acts on drug metabolism remains unknown.4 An older report found bromelain also increased the actions of other antibiotics, including penicillin, chloramphenicol, and erythromycin, in treating a variety of infections. In that trial, 22 out of 23 people who had previously not responded to these antibiotics did so after adding bromelain taken four times per day.5

    Doctors will sometimes prescribe enough bromelain to equal 2,400 gelatin dissolving units (listed as GDU on labels) per day. This amount would equal approximately 3,600 MCU (milk clotting units), another common measure of bromelain activity.

  • Erythromycin

    One report found bromelain improved the action of antibiotic drugs, including penicillin and erythromycin, in treating a variety of infections. In that trial, 22 out of 23 people who had previously not responded to the antibiotics did so after adding bromelain four times per day.6 Doctors will sometimes prescribe enough bromelain to equal 2,400 gelatin dissolving units (listed as GDU on labels) per day. This amount would equal approximately 3,600 MCU (milk clotting units), another common measure of bromelain activity.

    The interaction is supported by preliminary, weak, fragmentary, and/or contradictory scientific evidence.
  • Penicillamine

    One report found bromelain improved the action of antibiotic drugs, including penicillin and erythromycin, in treating a variety of infections. In that trial, 22 out of 23 people who had previously not responded to the antibiotics did so after adding bromelain four times per day.7 Doctors will sometimes prescribe enough bromelain to equal 2,400 gelatin dissolving units (listed as GDU on labels) per day. This amount would equal approximately 3,600 MCU (milk clotting units), another common measure of bromelain activity.

  • Penicillin V

    One report found bromelain improved the action of antibiotic drugs, including penicillin and erythromycin, in treating a variety of infections. In that trial, 22 out of 23 people who had previously not responded to the antibiotics did so after adding bromelain four times per day.8 Doctors will sometimes prescribe enough bromelain to equal 2,400 gelatin dissolving units (listed as GDU on labels) per day. This amount would equal approximately 3,600 MCU (milk clotting units), another common measure of bromelain activity.

    The interaction is supported by preliminary, weak, fragmentary, and/or contradictory scientific evidence.

Reduces Effectiveness

  • none

Potential Negative Interaction

  • none

Explanation Required

  • Warfarin

    In theory, bromelain might enhance the action of anticoagulants. This theoretical concern has not been substantiated by human research, however.9

More Resources

Bromelain

Where to Find It

Bromelain is found mostly in the stems of pineapples and is available as a dietary supplement.

Resources

See a list of books, periodicals, and other resources for this and related topics.

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.

Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.