Bromelain: What You Need to Know

Bromelain and Peyronie's Disease

Peyronie's Disease, named after the French surgeon who first identified it in the 18th century, is characterized by a severe curvature of the erect penis caused by plaque or a hard lump that forms on the appendage. Peyronie's disease affects more than 1 percent of adult men between the ages of 45 and 60. And in severe cases, the condition causes great pain during erection, making sexual activity impossible. There is no known cure, but treatment options include three types of surgery. However, none of the surgical options has proven to be consistently successful and can increase the risk of impotence or further deformation of the penis [source: Sex Health in Plain English].

The cause of Peyronie's Disease is unknown, but the reason it tends to occur in older men is because as we age, the number of enzymes in our body begins to deplete. That's why we tend to lose our hearing, eyesight and memory as we get older. It's also why some men can experience a buildup of scar tissue in their penises, leading to Peyronie's Disease. There simply aren't enough enzymes to breakdown all the plaque and foreign substances that circulate in the blood stream PDI].

The key to bromelain's potential as a natural remedy for Peyronie's Disease is its affect on collagen -- the primary material in scar tissue. Of all the protein-digesting enzymes, bromelain is most effective at stimulating collagenase, the enzyme that breaks down collagen by dissolving the peptide bonds that hold their proteins together. Taking bromelain may slow or reverse the tissue buildup that causes Peyronie's -- one more reason never to underestimate the power of pineapple [source: PDI].

For more on bromelain and related topics, see the links below.

Related HowStuffWorks Articles


  • Advanced Supplements. "Neprinol-Systemic Enzyme Supplements for Fibrin." (Accessed 3/1/09)
  • American Cancer Society. "Bromelain." (Accessed 2/27/09)
  • Anson, Goesel, and Terrence Higgins. "Supplements and Surgery." Plastic Surgery Practice, August 2005. (Accessed 2/28/09)
  • Boulder Natural Labs. "The Healing Power of Pineapple." (Accessed 2/28/09)
  • Ehrlich, Steven D. "Bromelain." University of Maryland Medical Center. (Accessed 2/27/09)
  • Endo Resolved. "Endometriosis and Prostaglandins." (Accessed 3/1/09)
  • Medline Plus. "Bromelain." (Accessed 2/27/09)
  • Morton, Julia F. "Pineapple," from Fruits of Warm Climates (self-published, 1987). (Accessed 3/1/09)
  • Peyronie's Disease Institute. "Enzymes." (Accessed 2/27/09)
  • Scheve, Tom. "Why do pineapple enzymes tenderize steak -- and your tongue?" (Accessed 3/1/09)
  • Sex Health in Plain English. "Peyronie's Disease & Penis Curvature." (Accessed 2/27/09)
  • Ultimate Fat Burner. "Bromelain Benefits and Side Effects." (Accessed 2/27/09)
  • Walker, A. F., R. Bundy, S. M. Hicks, and R. W. Middleton. "Bromelain reduces mild acute knee pain and improves well-being in a dose-dependent fashion in an open study of otherwise healthy adults." Phytomedicine, December 2002. (Abstract accessed 2/28/09)
  • Wellness Trader. "What is Bromelain?" (Accessed 2/27/09)