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Bromelain Breakthrough

Bromelain Breakthrough

A New Hope for Colorectal Cancer?

Imagine a world where something as simple as an enzyme from pineapple plants could help fight one of the deadliest cancers known to humans – colorectal cancer. As published in PloS One, that's exactly what researchers are exploring with a compound called bromelain. Found in pineapples, bromelain isn't just good for tenderizing meat; it might also pack a punch against cancer cells.

In a series of experiments, scientists discovered that a specific part of bromelain, which they’ve called Fraction 3 (F3 for short), is particularly good at cutting up proteins, a process that's important when trying to stop cancer cells from growing. They wanted to see if this F3 bromelain could specifically target and kill colorectal cancer cells.

Using various tests in the lab, researchers found that F3 was just as good as the full bromelain mix at killing these cancer cells. Even more, it worked by making the cancer cells self-destruct – a process known as apoptosis. This is a neat trick because it means the compound helps the body to get rid of cancer cells in a very orderly and efficient way.

But that's not all. The researchers also noticed that treating the cancer cells with bromelain increased their level of oxidative stress, which can lead to cell death. It also triggered the cells to start a cleaning-up process called autophagy, where cells essentially eat up their damaged parts but, in this case, ends up eating themselves to death.

Interestingly, when they combined bromelain with common chemotherapy drugs, it worked even better, suggesting that adding bromelain to existing cancer treatments could potentially improve their effectiveness.

While more research is necessary, this study suggests that bromelain could be a promising tool in the fight against colorectal cancer, offering hope that combining traditional cancer therapies with natural substances from pineapple, could lead to better outcomes for patients.

Enjoy natural sources of bromelain with these three pineapple dishes: 

Pineapple-Daikon Kimchi

Green Pineapple Booster

Fiesta Pineapple Salad

Published June 1, 2024

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