Bromelain: Why ED Researchers Are Interested in This Natural Enzyme

Tulane researchers have found that an enzyme in pineapple induces relaxation in human erectile tissue. Their discovery could lead to yet another way to treat male impotence. 

Bromelain, a naturally occurring enzyme found in pineapple and papaya, may someday offer yet another form of treatment for erectile dysfunction.

Already available in supplement form for use as an anti-inflammatory and a digestive aid, bromelain is a proteolytic enzyme or protease. This type of enzyme is so called for its ability to break down complex protein molecules into shorter fragments known as peptides and eventually into their basic building blocks known as amino acids.

Laboratory Tests Conducted

In a recently published study, a team of researchers, most of them affiliated with Tulane University in New Orleans, explored bromelain’s effects on penile erectile tissue in laboratory testing.

Researchers acquired human corpus cavernosum tissue from men who were undergoing surgical implantation of penile prostheses. Inflatable penile implants usually replace the corpora cavernosa, the twin columns of spongy erectile tissue that run almost the full length of the penis.

The research team then prepared this penile erectile tissue for organ bath experiments. The erectile tissue was exposed, in turn, to pure bromelain, obtained from a pineapple stem; a 500-milligram tablet of bromelain supplement; and pineapple juice.

Goal of the Study

The goal of the study was to determine whether any or all of these forms of bromelain could trigger relaxation in erectile tissue in which contraction had been evoked with the introduction of phenylephrine, a vasoconstrictor.

Researchers found that all three bromelain-related agents induced relaxation in erectile tissue. The pure bromelain was most effective in producing the relaxation response, followed by the bromelain supplement, and the pineapple juice.

The research team also noted that the relaxation response appeared to occur independent of the nitric oxide-cyclic guanosine monophosphate (cGMP) pathway used by the oral ED drugs known as PDE5 inhibitors. If further testing confirms these assumptions, that would make bromelain yet another form of treatment for ED, one that might help those men who don’t respond positively to PDE5 inhibitors.

Might Be Useful to Diabetics with ED

The Tulane research team published its findings in the April 2019 issue of The Journal of Sexual Medicine. In the conclusion to the study, researchers expressed the hope that consumption of bromelain and its supplements might be particularly useful to diabetic men whose ED is caused by heightened inflammation.

As previously noted, bromelain is a proteolytic enzyme found primarily in pineapple and papaya. However, proteolytic enzymes can also be found in a number of other foods. These include asparagus, ginger, kefir, kimchi, kiwifruit, sauerkraut, and yogurt. Whether other proteolytic enzymes would have effects similar to those of bromelain, however, remains to be determined.

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For the vast majority of men whose symptoms of ED are caused primarily by insufficient blood flow to the penis, the treatment of choice remains the oral ED drugs known as PDE5 inhibitors, such as Viagra. If the convenience of ordering these drugs online appeals to you, take the time to check out all the services available from, a longtime online facilitator. To learn more, visit its Erectile Dysfunction page.

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