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Bromelain reduces asthma in mice
Bromelain, a proteolytic enzyme found in pineapple, was shown to reduce the inflammation associated with asthma in mice. The findings were presented during the 19th annual convention of the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians, held in 2004 in Seattle, and are scheduled for presentation at the American Thoracic Society’s Convention in May of this year.
Eric R Secor Jr, ND, MS, of the University of Connecticut in Farmington and colleagues treated mice in whom acute asthma was induced with a regimen of 2 milligrams per kilogram body weight bromelain, 6 milligrams per kilogram bromelain, or saline. After 8 days, the researchers examined blood, lung tissue and lung lavage samples and found that bromelain significantly reduced total white blood cell count, which is elevated with the onset of asthma, compared to the saline group. They also found that eosinophils, a type of white blood cell that is a cell marker for the disease, were lowered by 50 percent in the animals who received bromelain. Mice who received the higher dose of bromelain experienced the greatest response.
Bromelain modifies the production of compounds produced in the body that cause swelling and pain. By reducing inflammation, blood more readily circulates in an injured area, which reduces pain and accelerates healing. Bromelain also breaks down fibrin, a protein involved in blood clotting.
Dr Secor told Life Extension Update, “Clinical trials with bromelain will provide the data necessary to prove effectiveness in a number of inflammatory conditions such as asthma, arthritis and autoimmune disease.”
In a study of people age 16-50 carried out in London, researchers found that selenium protected against asthma and that the intake of this mineral has been declining in Britain (Shaheen et al. 2001). The decline in blood selenium concentration in the United Kingdom and other European Union countries may be leading to increased rates of asthma. Selenium helps to deregulate the inflammatory mediators in asthma (Brown and Arthur 2001). Magnesium intake is also related to asthma. With lower levels of intake, the incidence of allergies and asthma increases. A dose of 1000 mg a day of magnesium is recommended (Hijazi et al. 2000). Zinc is another helpful mineral in the fight against asthma (Miller 2001).
Leukotrienes are regulators of allergic and inflammatory reactions. In asthma and allergy patients, leukotrienes are overexpressed, leading to bronchial constriction and other respiratory reactions. Tocopherol (vitamin E) and tocopherol acetate inhibit the formation of leukotrienes, thus suppressing an antibody response (Centanni et al. 2001). Higher concentrations of vitamin E intake are also associated with lower blood IgE concentrations and a lower frequency of allergen sensitization (Fogarty et al. 2000).
Vitamin C levels in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BAL) are directly correlated to the levels in the blood and work to protect bronchial tissues from oxidative damage, which is one cause of asthma. Vitamin C also rids the body of excess histamine, which is a factor in asthma. A dose of several grams per day is recommended (Schock et al. 2001). Asthma patients have lower blood levels of vitamin C than people without this disease (Vural et al. 2000).
Supplementation with both N-acetyl-L-cysteine (NAC) and glutathione helps balance humoral and cell-mediated immunity by lowering levels of IL-4 and enhancing T-cell proliferation (Bengtsson et al. 2001). Glutathione binds with nitric oxide (NO), which increases airway inflammation and creates nitrosothiols (RS-Nos), which are related to insufficient oxygen reaching the blood (hypoxia) (Corradi et al. 2001). Glutathione, NAC, and other antioxidants also counter cellular oxidative damage, which occurs at high levels in asthma (Willis et al. 2001).
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Bromelain is a proteolytic digestive enzyme that can enhance absorption of protein. It may also affect protein turnover in the body including proteins found in joint tissue. The strength of enzymes is often expressed as milk-clotting units (MCU) and gelatin-digestive units (GDU) per gram. The bromelain used in this powder has a strength of 1207 MCU or 690 GDU per gram.
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