Pineapple For Arthritis Relief

By Dr Harold Gunatillake Health Writer

All types of arthritis affecting single or multiple joints cause stiffness, pain, swelling and progressive disabilities. It is a scourge of old-age. As there is no definitive allopathic cure, people would seek any form of treatment to get relief, even from unqualified charlatans…

Therapeutically there is no cure, allopathic treatment cannot halt the disease and ultimately surgical replacement may be a cure with certain tolerable side effects. Meanwhile, for relief, people with arthritis may apply liniments, anti-inflammatory balms as counter-irritants, non-steroid type of anti-inflammatory drug therapy (NSAID), heat, cold, long term physiotherapy, herbal and ayurvedic treatments, acupuncture and other therapies, with invariably poor results.

Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis in Western countries; in the USA prevalence of osteoarthritis ranges from 3.2% to 33% depending on the joint. Its prevalence increases with age, and sex differences are evident. It is now prevalent in Asian countries, like Sri Lanka, the incidence seems to be increasing as the populations seems to live much longer years. It can also create substantial disability. The risk of disability attributable to knee osteoarthritis alone is greater than any other medical disorder in the elderly, apart from cardiac diseases.

Obesity seems to be one of the main factors for increased arthritic conditions, especially in the weight bearing joints.

Promising results from Bromelain in pineapples
Bromelain is a food supplement; an enzyme or phytochemical that may provide an alternative treatment to NSAIDs for patients with osteoarthritis. Bromelain is a crude, aqueous extract obtained from both the stem and fruit of the pineapple plant, which contains a number of proteolytic enzymes and has shown potentially beneficial effects due to its anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties. Currently, bromelain is used for acute inflammation and sports injuries. It also has anti-oedematous property, anti-thrombolytic and fibrinolysis. Latter properties thin the blood and may prevent cardio-vascular conditions.

Bromelain is not exclusively found in pineapple. It is mainly concentrated in the stem and the core of the pineapple more than in the fruit. So don't throw away that tough, fiberous core! Just chop it up, throw it in a blender with some water and pulse to convert it to juice. Drink this all alone as your between-meal arthritis-healing snack of choice, so that the enzymes go straight to work digesting the gunk in your joints. Don't add other fruits or veggies to the juice, because the bromelain will ignore your joints and digest the other food instead.

Anti-inflammatory property
The sulfur-based enzyme Bromelain in fresh pineapple is one of the best-researched natural anti-inflammatory agents around. Bromelain clobbers inflammatory agents that trigger joint pain and cartilage degeneration. A 2006 study cited in Clinical and Experimental Rheumatology found that supplemental Bromelain is effective in easing discomfort from hip arthritis. The Arthritis Foundation stated that pineapple's Bromelain produces effects comparable to NSAIDs for relieving pain and inflammation. UK researchers reviewed ten studies on osteoarthritis (OA) and bromelain. They found that every single one confirmed bromelain's benefits.

In addition to smaller quantities of Bromelain, the flesh of the pineapple fruit has hefty doses of vitamin C and manganese, both of which are vital to joint repair.

Bromelain and Vitamin C weaken with cooking, so it's best to eat your pineapple raw. Fruit skewers alternating fresh pineapple chunks with strawberries are a great way to do that. But grilled and cooked pineapple is extraordinarily tasty too, and the manganese is heat-stable, so you will benefit no matter what you do with it. (Just don't rely on canned pineapple – you'll never get the Vitamin C or the Bromelain that way).

Bromelain for Knee Osteoarthritis
Ten studies have been identified that have assessed Bromelain in osteoarthritis of the knee. The earliest reported studies investigating Bromelain were a series of case reports on 28 patients, with moderate or severe rheumatoid or osteoarthritis, described by Cohen and Goldman. The studies reported indicated that the use of Bromelain, in varying doses (these doses were relatively low as compared to subsequent studies) and differing durations, had positive clinical effects in 18 patients (as measured by assessment of reduction in soft tissue swelling, pain and/or joint stiffness) and no adverse events associated with the medication were reported in any of these case reports.

This data therefore provided a plausible basis for the further assessment of Bromelain in musculoskeletal disorders.

Ref: Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2004 December
Ref: Jim Healthy- My Healing KItchen

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