The overlooked link between cancer and digestive problems

July 18, 2011
Volume 2    |   Issue 20

Cancer kills more people every year than any other cause except heart disease. Digestive problems among Americans are escalating fast, sales for antacids and other digestive drugs are well over $10 billion annually. Is there a connection?

What if I told you the connection may be a simple enzyme that comes from pineapple? And what if I told you this enzyme can make your tummy feel better and fight cancer at the same time? Interested?

Well, new research says the enzyme bromelain can do just that.

The journal Cancer Letters recently published a study that examined the existing evidence for bromelain’s cancer-fighting abilities. The researchers found that “bromelain has the capacity to modulate key pathways that support malignancy. It is now possible to suggest that the anti-cancer activity of bromelain consists in the direct impact on cancer cells.” They also said the enzyme has strong immune-boosting and anti-inflammatory qualities.

Another study, this one from Europe, showed how digestive enzymes such as bromelain can help reduce the side effects from breast and colon cancer and their treatments. In this study, the researchers found that enzymes reduced “nausea, gastrointestinal complaints, fatigue, weight loss, and restlessness and obviously stabilized the quality of life.” It works so well, many oncologists use bromelain in conjunction with chemotherapy.

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But does bromelain work on its own? A new study that appears in Molecular Carcinogenesis says yes.

The researchers in this study wanted to find out if bromelain can fight cancer all by itself. They tested the enzyme in the lab against skin cancers cells (carcinoma and melanoma). They found that bromelain’s anti-inflammatory properties kept the cancer cells from growing. It also significantly reduced cellular free radical damage, which forced the cancer cells to go through normal cell death (apoptosis).

The conclusion of the researchers was astounding: “Bromelain afforded substantial anti-cancer potential in these settings; hence we suggest it as a potential prospect for anti-cancer agent besides only an additive in chemotherapy.”

As many researchers do with natural therapies, they stopped short of recommending its use. All they said was that it needs more research. But there’s no need to wait for more research or a bromelain drug. Bromelain enzymes are perfectly safe for you to take right now.

If you have cancer, your doctor may have you taking bromelain already. If not, ask him how much you can take to fight the cancer and reduce the impact of chemotherapy.

If you don’t have cancer, bromelain is a supplement you can take with your meals to aid in digestion and keep yourself free from cancer. You can find bromelain supplements at any health food stores and on the Internet. The typical dose is 500-1,000 mg daily.

Your insider for better health,

Steve Kroening

Steve Kroening is the editor of Nutrient Insider, a twice-a-week email newsletter that brings you the latest healing breakthroughs from the world of nutrition and dietary supplements. For over 20 years, Steve has worked hand-in-hand with some of the nation's top doctors, including Drs. Robert Rowen, Frank Shallenberger, Nan Fuchs, William Campbell Douglass, and best-selling author James Balch. Steve is the author of the book Practical Guide to Home Remedies. As a health journalist, Steve's articles have appeared in countless magazines, blogs, and websites.


Chobotovaab, Katya, Ann B. Vernallisc, and Fadzilah Adibah Abdul Majidb. “Bromelain’s activity and potential as an anti-cancer agent: Current evidence and perspectives,” Cancer Letters, Volume 290, Issue 2, Pages 148-156 (28 April 2010).

Integr Cancer Ther December 2008 vol. 7 no. 4 311-316.

Molecular Carcinogenesis, 22 March 2011.

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