Bromelain includes a grouping of sulfhydryl proteolytic enzymes obtained from the pineapple plant (Ananas comosus). Bromelain is typically derived from either the fruit or stem of the plant, with most commercial sources being derived from the stem. In addition to a proteolytic portion, bromelain contains peroxidase, acid phosphatase, and protease inhibitors. It is interesting to note that the purified proteolytic fraction has been shown to be physiologically inactive whereas whole bromelain extract inhibits platelet aggregation, and also has fibrinolytic activity, anti-inflammatory activity, and cytokine modulation effects as well as producing mucolytic effects and cardiovascular and circulatory improvements.74

The fibrinolytic activity of bromelain is thought to be the result of the conversion of plasminogen to plasmin, limiting the coagulation cascade by degrading fibrin.75 Bromelain acts as a more efficient fibrinolytic in vitro compared to in vivo, possibly because of the antiprotease compounds found in plasma.52 Bromelain produces dose-dependent decrease in serum fibrinogen, and at higher concentrations, prothrombin and activated partial thromboplastin time are prolonged.76

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