What Is It?
When dealing with inflammatory conditions (such as eczema or allergies), there are several good reasons to consider products that combine bromelain, a natural anti-inflammatory derived from pineapples, and quercetin, a plant pigment (or flavonoid) prominent in apples and onions.
The main advantages of using combination bromelain/quercetin capsules are cost and convenience. Taking them together is also a smart move because they enhance each other’s anti-inflammatory actions. In addition, bromelain seems to increase the absorption of quercetin into the bloodstream.
With a combination product, the inflammation and itching of eczema may respond more rapidly than when either supplement is used alone. The same positive dynamic occurs when treating common allergy symptoms. Quercetin, a natural antihistamine, may be particularly helpful in relieving hay fever and other allergic reactions.
As a rule of thumb when calculating a combination dosage, try to get approximately the same number of milligrams of quercetin and bromelain. Finding a product that provides this balance may be a little tricky, so an approximation is just fine.
For more information on bromelain or quercetin, see the separate entries in the WholeHealth Chicago Reference Library.
Although no problems have ever been reported, theoretically you should use caution when combining bromelain with anticoagulants (blood thinners), such as coumadin or warfarin; as an extremely mild blood-thinner itself, bromelain increases the effect of a second blood-thinner. The best approach for anyone concerned about possible interactions with a specific drug or dietary supplement is to refer to the separate bromelain or quercetin entry in our WholeHealth Chicago Reference Library.
While bromelain and quercetin are generally considered safe, even at high doses, avoid taking this combination if you have an active gastric or duodenal ulcer. In addition, bromelain can actually cause an allergic reaction (red or itchy eyes, sneezing, running nose, throat irritation) in people who are sensitive to pineapples.
Check with your doctor before taking bromelain if you’re on prescription anti-inflammatory medication.
Allergies 100-200 mg bromelain and 400-500 mg quercetin 3 times a day between meals
Eczema 300 mg quercetin 3 times a day and 500 mg bromelain twice a day between meals (supplying 4,000 GDU or 6,000 MCU daily)
David Edelberg, M.D.
Many people with allergies clearly benefit from antihistamine medications. But nearly as many find the side effects distinctly unpleasant. This is where quercetin, especially when combined with the absorption-enhancing enzyme bromelain, may be helpful. Quercetin is apparently able to block both the manufacture and release of histamine, reducing inflammation in the airways and lungs.
HOW IT HELPS ALLERGIES
There are two good reasons to combine quercetin, a plant pigment that quells inflammation and has long been used for allergies and other inflammatory conditions, with the pineapple enzyme, bromelain. Not only is bromelain another natural anti-inflammatory, but it may actually enhance the absorption of quercetin into the bloodstream.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR
The quercetin-bromelain combination may be hard to find. Quercetin by itself is available in both capsule and powdered form. Bromelain comes in capsules. Any combination requires at least 300 mg of quercetin to produce an antihistamine effect.
Although allergic reactions are always possible, quercetin and bromelain are both extremely safe even in large quantities. For maximum absorption, you’re best off taking this particular combination on an empty stomach, or at least half an hour before or two hours after a meal.
For product recommendations and orders from the Natural Apothecary click here or call 773-296-6700, ext. 2001.
David Edelberg, MD