We recently added an excellent bromelain supplement product to the Joint Health section of our store. In fact, bromelain has been studied on both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis since the early 1960s! In this post, we conduct a review of the medical literature on bromelain and osteoarthritis to see if there is much evidence supporting bromelain supplements for osteoarthritis and joint health.
In 2006, Brien and colleagues concluded that bromelain is not efficacious in moderate to severe OA of the knee. But the study was quite limited. For example, they only tried bromelain for 12 weeks. Dr. Brein also wrote a lengthy review article on bromelain for osteoarthritis of the knee and shoulder. Many of the studies in the review have positive outcomes, but more research is needed. Fortunately, bromelain is far safer than non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as diclofenac.
Klein and colleagues looked at Bromelain as part of a more complex product, known as Phlogenzym, in Germany. (This is equivalent to the product Wobenzym PS which we carry). The authors found that Phlogenzym/Wobenzym worked just as well as diclofenac for painful osteoarthritis of the hip. This suggests that bromelain alone may not be enough for painful osteoarthritis. An earlier study with a similar formula came to a similar conclusion.
What about using bromelain if you have mild knee joint pain, and not arthritis? This question was partially addressed by a small study in 2002 . These authors end the paper with this statement: " We conclude that bromelain may be effective in ameliorating physical symptoms and improving general well-being in otherwise healthy adults suffering from mild knee pain in a dose-dependant manner." In other words, even in folks with mild joint pain, bromelain may help.
We believe bromelain is an excellent, and very safe supplement for mild joint pain, and possibly osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. These studies are admittedly small, but they support our contention that it's at least worth trying bromelain for 3-6 months. Fortunately, bromelain is inexpensive, and can be easily added to an existing joint health supplement plan. For more severe joint pain, a more sophisticated supplement like Wobenzym PS may be required.