Bromelain’s Tissue Healing Properties
Byron J. Richards, Board Certified Clinical Nutritionist
Bromelain is a cysteine-protease nutrient, helping your body clean up damaged structures by “digesting” them. It is also known to have germ-killing, anti-inflammatory, and anti-swelling effects – all contributing to better healing following injury or surgery. The current study demonstrates how bromelain improves the healing of soft tissue injuries.
When injury occurs in soft tissue, cells are triggered into action to repair the injury. This results in cells such as fibroblasts (tissue carpenters) and endothelial cells of the circulation in the injured area increasing their activity. The first step is to lay down scar-like material to construct scaffolding, and then fill in the injured area with new tissue formation. A common problem in healing is excessive activity of these types of cells in an effort to repair, leading to excessive amounts of scar-like fibrolytic material forming. In other words, the scaffolding is excessive and interferes with the formation of new and proper tissue, leading to poor quality of healing with excessive abnormal tissue that contains excess scar tissue.
The researchers proved that bromelain was able to manage the fibroblasts and endothelial cells so that a more appropriate amount of repair material is produced. Importantly, bromelain did not kill these cells it just told them to relax. This enables better quality of soft tissue healing.
While this mechanism applies to any healing it is of specific value following cosmetic surgery. The most undesirable and common side effect from such surgery is the excess scar tissue that forms in response to healing – something a surgeon has no control over and never knows when it will happen. The mechanism of bromelain activity described in this study supports the idea that bromelain could help quality of healing following elective surgeries.
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