Bromelain is an enzyme mixture derived from pineapple. It has a long history of use for daily health and can be taken as a supplement to improve the flavor of ejaculate in men and vaginal fluid in women.
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Bromelain is a protein-digesting enzyme mixture derived from the stem, fruit, and juice of the pineapple plant. It has a centuries-long history of being used to treat medical ailments, primarily throughout Central and South America.
It was first isolated in 1891 and formally named in 1892 (1). It is present in all parts of the pineapple plant, but the stem is the most common commercial source (2).
Bromelain promotes general wellness through several immune-modulating and anti-inflammatory mechanisms. This means that bromelain can be useful both for keeping you healthy, and for recovery after sickness or strenuous physical activity.
Bromelain is also a popular ingredient used in sexual health supplements for its properties as a flavor enhancer. Bromelain is often supplemented in conjunction with other sexual health supplements such as lecithin and pygeum.
Scientific studies have investigated the possible application of bromelain in treating cardiovascular* and blood-clotting diseases, reducing inflammation, and in the treatment certain cancers (3).
Bromelain shows particular promise as an inhibitor of metastatic cancers (4).
Bromelain is also taken as a supplement to improve the taste of male ejaculate ("precum" and "cum"). Regular supplementation imparts a sweet or lightly fruity flavor. This effect is well-documented anecdotally with a great amount of discussion surrounding the best way to improve semen flavor through bromelain supplementation.
While consumption of pineapple alone can improve the flavor of semen, it is generally cheaper and more convenient to supplement bromelain directly. Getting the sexual benefits of pineapple is made significantly easier through supplementation as compared to eating large amounts of pineapple fruit daily.
The improvement in ejaculate flavor from bromelain is thought to be the result of flavor and aroma compounds found in pineapple (5). More peer-reviewed research is needed to establish the exact mechanism of this effect.
Bromelain has more recently started to gain popularity as a supplement to improve the taste of vaginal fluid. Similar to the way that bromelain improves semen taste, regular supplementation reportedly imparts a sweet or lightly fruity flavor to vaginal fluid.
As with ejaculate flavor, the improvement in the flavor of vaginal fluid is thought to come from the flavor and aroma compounds in pineapple (5).
Bromelain is generally recognized as a safe substance (GRAS) by the FDA (6). Research into clinical applications of bromelain have shown it to be non-toxic and low in side effects (7).
Nevertheless, two groups should exercise caution when supplementing bromelain:
A doctor or other healthcare professional should be consulted before taking any new supplements or medications. They can help you understand better any potential interactions and recommend appropriate changes.
1. Chittenden RH, Joslin EP, Meara FS (1892). "On the ferments contained in the juice of the pineapple (Ananassa sativa): together with some observations on the composition and proteolytic action of the juice". Transactions of the Connecticut Academy of Arts and Sciences. 8: 281–308.
2. Arshad, Z.I.M., Amid, A., Yusof, F. et al. Bromelain: an overview of industrial application and purification strategies. Appl Microbiol Biotechnol 98, 7283–7297 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00253-014-5889-y
* If specifically looking to reduce cholesterol levels consider a supplement with lecithin.
3. Hikisz P, Bernasinska-Slomczewska J. Beneficial Properties of Bromelain. Nutrients. 2021 Nov 29;13(12):4313. doi: 10.3390/nu13124313. PMID: 34959865; PMCID: PMC8709142.
4. Maurer, H. Bromelain: biochemistry, pharmacology and medical use. CMLS, Cell. Mol. Life Sci. 58, 1234–1245 (2001). https://doi.org/10.1007/PL00000936
5. Examine.com. “Bromelain Research Breakdown.” Examine.com, 10 Jan. 2022, https://examine.com/supplements/bromelain/research/#seminal-implications.
6. "Food Additive Status List". US Food and Drug Administration. 26 August 2021. Retrieved 4 April 2022
7. Maurer HR. Bromelain: biochemistry, pharmacology and medical use. Cell Mol Life Sci. 2001 Aug;58(9):1234-45. doi: 10.1007/PL00000936. PMID: 11577981.