A recent study reported in Cancer Letter reports that Bromelain, a mixture of enzymes found in pineapple fruits and stems, has anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties. Pre-treating rats with Bromelain resulted in fewer tumors in rats, and a 65% decrease in tumor size. Bromelain also activated an anti-cancer gene, and blocked inflammatory responses. This squares with other research that has shown Bromelain (and other protein-digesting enzymes) to be an effective anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory substance (see this study which shows that when enzymes are given preventatively, cancer does not develop).
Bromelain is relatively inexpensive, and I take it regularly on an empty stomach before exercising, because of its anti-inflammatory activity. Most experts recommend supplementing with Bromelain and other enzymes between meals, because if taken with meals, they will digest food rather than be absorbed by the body as anti-inflammatory agents. Because enzymes are large molecules, and poorly absorbed, therapeutic dosages of enzymes tend to be rather high. The study I mentioned above used 45 mg of proteololytic (protein-digesting) enzymes per kilogram of body weight. I weigh 72 kilograms, so this means I would need 3.2 grams of proteolytic enzymes to have the effect, which is not a huge amount, but more than I currently take. I have been fascinated by therapeutic enzymes since I first read about the science behind them in high school. The “gold standard” of therapeutic enzymes is Wobenzym, and it includes Bromelain.