Reuters posted an article this morning saying that Prolonged aspirin use tied to reduced colon cancer risk. While that is true, after all it is a very powerful anti-inflammatory as well as great analgesic. BUT, this problem with daily usage is that it is hard on the stomach, especially considered that most Americans suffer from Leaky Gut and do not have great gut health.
So, is there a better answer. Of course! We can eat an anti-inflammatory diet; no gluten, drastically lowering or eliminating grains, avoiding all soy (except edamame), limiting red meat, ALWAYS eating organic, only eating organic or grass fed meats and keeping the body in a healing, alkaline state buy eating lots of fruit and veggies (2/3 of your days food intake).
THAT is the way to stay healthy and meet our nutrient needs. But, what about when we don’t or our risk factors are high, we are stressed, we need to heal? Use quercetin instead of aspirin. It is a very powerful anti-inflammatory and great analgesic. For me it works better than Tylenol. It is inexpensive and easy to come by.
Back in 1982, Durk Pearson and Sandy Shaw wrote about the benefits of a plant enzyme called bromelain in their best-seller book Life Extension. Derived from pineapple stems, bromelain is finally gaining recognition for its natural pain-relieving effects. Scientists have recently shown that bromelain provides powerful anti-inflammatory properties without the problems associated with drug therapy.
Quercetin also has the ability to help prevent cancer and other inflammatory diseases.
Pain reliever drugs can be prescribed or bought over-the-counter, but chronic use can lead to side effects such as gastric ulcers and liver-kidney damage. Bromelain has long been known to contain powerful proteolytic (protein-digesting) enzymes, which are beneficial in digestive enhancement. New studies reveal that enteric-coated bromelain provides potent systemic anti-inflammatory effects.
Athletes are increasingly turning to bromelain to help manage sports injuries, and those undergoing surgery are using it to speed their recovery time.4,5 Bromelain also holds further promise in managing varied conditions such as sinusitis and inflammatory bowel disease.6,7
In addition to its potent anti-inflammatory effects, scientists have recently discovered that bromelain exhibits tumor-fighting properties which are now being explored in the hope of finding a new anti-cancer drug.
Numerous studies have shown that bromelain can be as effective as anti-inflammatory drugs for dealing with the pain of osteoarthritis.1 Direct head-to-head trials have demonstrated greater levels of improvement and decreased dependency on pharmaceuticals with bromelain.
The following info is from Life Extention;
In a recent blinded study from Germany, researchers divided 90 patients with painful osteoarthritis of the hip into two groups: one half receiving an oral enzyme preparation containing bromelain for six weeks, while the other half received the anti-inflammatory drug diclofenac (sold under the brand name Voltaren® and generic names). They found that the bromelain preparation was as effective as diclofenac in standard scales of pain, stiffness and physical function, and better tolerated than the drug comparator. The researchers concluded, “[the bromelain preparation] may well be recommended for the treatment of patients with osteoarthritis of the hip with signs of inflammation as indicated by a high pain level.”2
Growing evidence of the cardiovascular and gastrointestinal risks associated with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID) drugs has left many people seeking safe, effective strategies for relieving pain and inflammation.
Derived from the pineapple plant, the protein-digesting enzyme bromelain demonstrates powerful effects in alleviating pain, swelling, and inflammation.
In clinical trials, bromelain-based formulations were more effective than an NSAID drug in relieving arthritis pain. Supplementing with bromelain-based formulations after injury or surgery also speeds healing and reduces pain.
Bromelain hastens the resolution of sinusitis, and shows promise in fighting inflammatory bowel disorders. Preliminary studies suggest that bromelain may even help fight cancer.
Experts suggest consuming bromelain between meals to capture its anti-inflammatory benefits. To promote healthy digestive function, take bromelain with meals.
Bromelain’s anti-inflammatory properties have led to its main recognized medicinal use – as an effective pain reliever and healing aid in the treatment of minor injuries, such as sprains, strains, and other trauma.
Bromelain’s efficacy was studied in an open-case observation study of patients who had suffered blunt trauma to the musculoskeletal system. An orthopedist treated 59 subjects with conventional therapeutics plus bromelain for one to three weeks. Bromelain significantly reduced the patients’ swelling, pain at rest and in motion, and tenderness at the site of injury. Not only was bromelain effective, it was also well tolerated.11
Speeding Post-Surgical Healing
In addition, bromelain may offer important support for healing and pain relief after surgery. Investigators administered a combination of bromelain, trypsin, and rutoside (rutin) to patients for two weeks following surgery to fix fractured long bones. Compared with surgical patients who did not receive the supplement, the bromelain-treated group showed a remarkable reduction in postoperative swelling. Additionally, the supplemented individuals required less pain medication during their recovery period, indicating a significant analgesic effect and more rapid and comfortable recovery.5
Scientists have also investigated the efficacy of bromelain in offering welcome relief from sinusitis, the painful inflammation of the sinus cavities typically caused by bacterial, fungal, or viral infection. Sinusitis often follows an upper respiratory infection and can manifest with symptoms such as nasal congestion and discharge, postnasal drip, headache, cough, and sore throat.
Researchers compared bromelain with standard therapies, both alone and in combination, in 116 children under the age of 11 suffering from acute sinusitis. Remarkably, patients treated with bromelain alone experienced a recovery that was significantly faster than patients in any of the other groups.6
These findings confirmed those from an earlier study showing that bromelain resolved inflammation of the nasal mucosa in 85% of adults receiving bromelain, while only 40% of adults receiving placebo showed a similar improvement.12
A recent research review noted that bromelain may offer benefits for sinus health by thinning nasal secretions and inhibiting the production of inflammatory prostaglandins.13 In fact, the German Commission E has approved bromelain for the treatment of sinus and nasal swelling following ear, nose, and throat surgery or trauma.
Inflammatory Bowel Disease
Preliminary findings suggest that bromelain may also have applications in the management of the inflammatory bowel disease ulcerative colitis, which is characterized by abdominal cramping and pain, diarrhea, and weight loss.
In 2000, the Annals of Internal Medicine published an anecdotal report of two patients suffering from ulcerative colitis who had not achieved significant improvement with conventional therapy, but benefitted from bromelain supplementation. Bromelain supplementation helped relieve symptoms such as frequent diarrhea; and follow-up endoscopy studies revealed healing of the gastrointestinal mucosa.7
This encouraging report prompted researchers at North Carolina’s Duke University to explore bromelain’s effects on an experimental mouse model of inflammatory bowel disease. Animals treated with orally administered bromelain beginning at five weeks of age displayed decreased incidence and severity of spontaneous colitis. Bromelain supplementation also decreased the clinical and histological manifestations of inflammatory bowel disease in animals with existing colitis. The investigators concluded that their findings justified further studies of bromelain in the management of inflammatory bowel disease.14
Bromelain is also effective in treating a skin disorder called pityriasis lichenoides chronica, which is characterized by the appearance of long-lasting, asymptomatic skin lesions. The disease has no known cause and treatment outcomes have proved unpredictable and non-optimal.15 In a recent study, investigators treated eight patients who had this disorder with
bromelain for three months. At the end of the treatment period, all patients showed complete clinical recovery with no adverse effects. And although two patients relapsed five to six months after stopping therapy, they responded again to another brief cycle of therapy. The investigators concluded that the efficacy of bromelain “could be related to its anti-inflammatory, immuno-modulatory, and/or antiviral properties.”15
Perhaps the most exciting news about bromelain comes from the front lines of cancer research. Several studies suggest that bromelain may hold an important role as a novel anticancer therapy.
Scientists employed an animal model system to look at bromelain’s ability to fight several different types of cancer. First, laboratory animals were inoculated with cancer cells derived from bone, breast, blood (leukemia), lung, or skin (melanoma). Next, the scientists administered bromelain to the animals. The animals were compared with similar animals that were also inoculated with tumor cells, but did not receive bromelain. Bromelain significantly increased the animals’ survival rates from all the cancers except melanoma. Furthermore, bromelain significantly reduced the number of lung metastases in the animals inoculated with lung cancer cells, suggesting that it might play an important role in fighting cancer growth.8
A recent study conducted in mice further points to bromelain’s anticancer effects. Scientists utilized a mouse model of cancer, in which skin tumors were induced by the application of two toxic chemicals. Treating the animals with bromelain prior to the two cancer-inducing chemicals delayed the onset of tumor development, reduced the cumulative number of tumors, tumor volume, and the average number of tumors per mouse. The scientists believe that bromelain protected against cancer by inducing proteins related to apoptosis (programmed cell death) and by inhibiting nuclear factor-kappab (NF-kb), a proinflammatory protein involved in cancer and many other disease processes.16
While much remains to be learned about bromelain’s applications in augmenting anticancer therapy, scientists have proposed that bromelain may work through several mechanisms; including boosting the immune system’s anticancer activity, inhibiting tumor metastasis (spread to other locations), and decreasing tumor growth and invasive potential.17
Supplementing with Bromelain
The evidence of bromelain’s efficacy is based on studies of its use as nutritional supplement, extracted from the stems of the pineapple plant. Although pineapple is a healthful food, it is not practical to acquire therapeutic amounts of bromelain merely by consuming pineapple fruit.
A wide range of dosing recommendations exists for bromelain. For adults, the German Commission E recommends 80-320 mg of bromelain, two to three times per day.18 Other scientists have noted that the typical oral bromelain dosage is within the range of 500-1,000 mg per day, with up to 2,000 mg/day commonly used.13For delayed-onset muscle soreness following an intense exercise regime, 300 mg of bromelain three times daily has been used.19 Scientists have noted that 200-400 mg of bromelain daily for 30 days is effective for mild acute knee pain.10 The protein-digesting potency of bromelain products is often measured in gelatin-digesting units (GDU) or in milk-clotting units (MCU).
Experts generally advise consuming enteric-coated bromelain supplements to benefit from its anti-inflammatory effects. To enhance food digestion, non-coated bromelain tablets, powder, or capsules can be consumed along with other digestive enzymes, such as lipase and amylase, at meal time.
The pineapple plant has been used for centuries by many cultures for its medicinal qualities. In 1891, a Venezuelan chemist named Vicente Marcano isolated the enzyme bromelain from the pineapple fruit. It was not until 1957, when high amounts of the compound were found to be concentrated in the stem of the pineapple, that bromelain became commercially available as an herbal therapeutic.9
Bromelain is a general name for a family of sulfur-containing, proteolytic (protein-digesting) enzymes obtained from the pineapple plant. While bromelain is present in both the fruit and the stem of the pineapple, most commercially available bromelain today is extracted from the stem of the pineapple.
People with known allergies to pineapples or pineapple juice should not take bromelain. According to the National Library of Medicine, bromelain could theoretically increase the risk of bleeding when combined with drugs or natural agents that increase the risk of bleeding; such as aspirin, warfarin (Coumadin®), clopidogrel (Plavix®), ibuprofen (Advil®), ginkgo, or garlic. In theory, bromelain could increase the anti-inflammatory effects of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and could cause a larger than expected fall in blood pressure from angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors such as captopril (Capoten®).18
Human studies suggest that bromelain may increase the absorption of some antibiotics, such as amoxicillin and tetracycline, increasing their levels in the body. Individuals with existing medical conditions and those who use medications should consult a physician before beginning bromelain supplementation.18
Bromelain’s potent anti-inflammatory actions hold a broad spectrum of applications in human health. Not only can bromelain help relieve the pain and inflammation of sprains, injuries, arthritis, and surgery, but intriguing evidence points to its value in alleviating sinusitis and inflammatory bowel disease and even complementing anticancer therapies. This versatile, effective supplement promises to be a useful addition to every family’s medicine cupboard.
This last year I had 5 eye surgeries and self treated with black salve for skin cancer. While the eye surgeries were scary, expensive and really uncomfortable the skin cancer treatments were excruciating. Because I self treated there was no medical support for me as far as pain management.
What REALLY helped was turmeric and quercetin. Both are amazing anti-inflammatory agents and offer a serious depth of pain relief!
By Sayer Ji
Contributing Writer for Wake Up World
Turmeric is one the most thoroughly researched plants in existence today. Its medicinal properties and components (primarily curcumin) have been the subject of over 5600 peer-reviewed and published biomedical studies. In fact, our five-year long research project on this sacred plant has revealed over 600 potential preventive and therapeutic applications, as well as 175 distinct beneficial physiological effects. This entire database of 1,585 ncbi-hyperlinked turmeric abstracts can be downloaded as a PDF at our Downloadable Turmeric Document page, and acquired either as a retail item or with 200 GMI-tokens, for those of you who are already are members and receive them automatically each month.
Given the sheer density of research performed on this remarkable spice, it is no wonder that a growing number of studies have concluded that it compares favorably to a variety of conventional medications, including:
Lipitor/Atorvastatin (cholesterol medication): A 2008 study published in the journal Drugs in R & D found that a standardized preparation of curcuminoids from Turmeric compared favorably to the drug atorvastatin (trade name Lipitor) on endothelial dysfunction, the underlying pathology of the blood vessels that drives atherosclerosis, in association with reductions in inflammation and oxidative stress in type 2 diabetic patients. [i] [For addition curcumin and ‘high cholesterol’ research – 8 abstracts]
Corticosteroids (steroid medications): A 1999 study published in the journal Phytotherapy Research found that the primary polyphenol in turmeric, the saffron colored pigment known as curcumin, compared favorably to steroids in the management of chronic anterior uveitis, an inflammatory eye disease.[ii] A 2008 study published in Critical Care Medicine found that curcumin compared favorably to the corticosteroid drug dexamethasone in the animal model as an alternative therapy for protecting lung transplantation-associated injury by down-regulating inflammatory genes.[iii] An earlier 2003 study published in Cancer Letters found the same drug also compared favorably to dexamethasone in a lung ischaemia-reperfusions injury model.[iv] [for additional curcumin and inflammation research – 52 abstracts]
Prozac/Fluoxetine & Imipramine (antidepressants): A 2011 study published in the journalActa Poloniae Pharmaceutica found that curcumin compared favorably to both drugs in reducing depressive behavior in an animal model.[v] [for additional curcumin and depression research – 5 abstracts]
Aspirin (blood thinner): A 1986 in vitro and ex vivo study published in the journalArzneimittelforschung found that curcumin has anti-platelet and prostacyclin modulating effects compared to aspirin, indicating it may have value in patients prone to vascular thrombosis and requiring anti-arthritis therapy.[vi] [for additional curcumin and anti-platelet research]
Anti-inflammatory Drugs: A 2004 study published in the journal Oncogene found that curcumin (as well as resveratrol) were effective alternatives to the drugs aspirin, ibuprofen, sulindac, phenylbutazone, naproxen, indomethacin, diclofenac, dexamethasone, celecoxib, and tamoxifen in exerting anti-inflammatory and anti-proliferative activity against tumor cells.[vii] [for additional curcumin and anti-proliferative research – 15 abstracts]
Oxaliplatin (chemotherapy drug): A 2007 study published in the International Journal of Cancer found that curcumin compares favorably with oxaliplatin as an antiproliferative agent in colorectal cell lines.[viii] [for additional curcumin and colorectal cancer research – 52 abstracts]
Metformin (diabetes drug): A 2009 study published in the journal Biochemitry and Biophysical Research Community explored how curcumin might be valuable in treating diabetes, finding that it activates AMPK (which increases glucose uptake) and suppresses gluconeogenic gene expression (which suppresses glucose production in the liver) in hepatoma cells. Interestingly, they found curcumin to be 500 times to 100,000 times (in the form known as tetrahydrocurcuminoids(THC)) more potent than metformin in activating AMPK and its downstream target acetyl-CoA carboxylase (ACC). [ix]
Another way in which turmeric and its components reveal their remarkable therapeutic properties is in research on drug resistant- and multi-drug resistant cancers. We have two sections on our site dedicated to researching natural and integrative therapies on these topics, and while there are dozens of substances with demonstrable efficacy against these chemotherapy- and radiation-resistant cancers, curcumin tops both lists:
We have found no less than 54 studies indicating that curcumin can induce cell death or sensitize drug-resistant cancer cell lines to conventional treatment.[x]
We have identified 27 studies on curcumin’s ability to either induce cell death or sensitize multi-drug resistant cancer cell lines to conventional treatment.[xi]
Considering how strong a track record turmeric (curcumin) has, having been used as both food and medicine in a wide range of cultures, for thousands of years, a strong argument can be made for using curcumin as a drug alternative or adjuvant in cancer treatment.
Or, better yet, use certified organic (non-irradiated) turmeric in lower culinary doses on a daily basis so that heroic doses won’t be necessary later in life after a serious disease sets in. Nourishing yourself, rather than self-medicating with ‘nutraceuticals,’ should be the goal of a healthy diet. [learn more at Sayer Ji’s new collaborative project EATomology]