As the demand for natural hair care products grows, so does interest in the various nutritional supplements that may influence on hair growth.
What is Bromelain?
Bromelain--also known as pineapple extract--is a digestive enzyme extracted from the fruit and stem of a pineapple plant. It is a proteolytic enzyme, meaning that it helps with the digestion of protein.
Bromelain and Hair
Hair is made of protein, and it’s known that people with low-protein diets are prone to hair thinning and hair loss.
It’s thought that since bromelain may help to breakdown protein, the increased absorption of protein in the bloodstream benefits other body systems, such as skin and, by extension, follicle health and hair. The result may be faster hair growth.
The positive or negative effects of bromelain on hair are still being considered. It stands to reason, however, if you experience negative side effects from the use of bromelain, that it may negatively also effect the skin, hair follicles and hair.
People use bromelain for a variety of reasons: as an anti-inflammatory, for sinus problems, digestive problems, to treat burns and rashes, muscle soreness and osteoarthritis, and as a nutrition supplement.
According to the National Institutes of Health, the scientific evidence proving the effectiveness of bromelain is unclear. The NIH rates the evidence supporting bromelain’s use as an anti-inflammatory as "good."
As with anything ingested or used topically, allergies are possible. Other side effects include stomach upset, diarrhea, increased chance of bleeding and drowsiness.
Do not take or use bromelain if you are prescribed any blood thinners, anti-inflammatory drugs (including aspirin, ibuprophen, naproxen), anti-platelet medications, benzodiazepines or alcohol. It does not interact well with ginko beloba, garlic, saw palmetto, zinc or tobacco.
Bromelain is not recommended for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.
Before taking bromelain, talk with your doctor; especially if you have a medical condition or are take medication.