Bromelain and papaya are normally found in dietary enzyme supplements. What’s the difference between them and what do they do?
Bromelain is a natural ingredient found in pineapples, specifically in the stems. When it’s extracted from the pineapple, it’s dehydrated and used as an addition to many digestive enzyme supplements. It improves the breakdown of proteins you eat in a meal if it’s taken with food. This type of action means that bromelain is a protease,
However, there’s another way that bromelain may be taken – between meals. When taken at this time, it acts as an anti-inflammatory agent. When your digestive system is a source of inflammation in the body, such as in the case of colitis or irritable bowel syndrome, it’s possible that bromelain taken between meals could be helpful.
Papaya contains a protein called papain. This protein is called a protease because it breaks down proteins by cleaving the protein into smaller parts.
Whenever you take digestive supplements of any type, including bromelain and papain, it’s best to drink plenty of water at the beginning of the meal when you take them. The sooner these can start working on the food in your meal, the more activity you’ll get from the supplements.
Indigestion, bloating and gas are often improved when bromelain and papaya enzymes are taken either by themselves or in enzyme supplements or dietary enzyme combinations designed to improve digestion.
How Enzymes Act in the Body
The best way to envision how enzymes work in the body is to make up a bowl of oatmeal or cereal as you would eat it for breakfast. Then add the dietary enzyme supplements or bromelain and papain supplements to the cereal. Mix them in for about 30 seconds, then watch what happens.
The cereal will loose its thickness and start to liquefy. This is the result of the food being broken down. The same thing happens inside your body.
The reactions that happen in digestion require enzymes. Enzymes are proteins that speed up these reactions and are called catalysts. Enzymes are found naturally in the foods you eat. However, if you are eating too many cooked or processed foods, the enzymes in foods may be deactivated.