Q&A: Bromelain Dose for Anti-Inflammatory Effect

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Q: Ever since you wrote about bromelain I’ve wanted to try it, as you suggested, instead of aspirin or ibuprofen. I’m managing my heel spur pain well with the help of my physical therapist, but she encourages me to take an anti-inflammatory when I have pain. Would you tell me what dose of bromelain I should use? Also, does it work for arthritis?

A: First, just to review, bromelain is an enzyme that has both anti-inflammatory and pain reduction properties. It’s usually very helpful in treating acute injuries that have an inflammatory component, like a sprain. Bromelain has been clinically compared to over-the-counter anti-inflammatories and some prescription medications with excellent results.

I recommend you try bromelain for a trial period of 3 to 4 weeks with this dose: two capsules, three times a day, taken between meals. Especially with more chronic problems like your heel spur, I sometimes recommend initially taking over-the-counter ibuprofen for a couple of days along with the bromelain to jump start your body’s anti-inflammatory mechanisms. Physical therapy should remain a part of your healing plan as long as needed.

Dosing for other chronic conditions such as arthritis starts this way: for five days take a “loading dose” of two capsules three times a day. This gets enough bromelain into the body for a more immediate effect. After that, take one capsule three times a day between meals.

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