Posted on: 28.09.2022 Posted by: Drlark Comments: 0

June 25, 2004

Joint Health

Digestive Enzymes: The Side Effect-Free

Approach to Pain Relief

You’ve probably noticed that the older you get,

the more aches and pains you have. Whether it’s acute, chronic,

or occasional back pain, muscle stiffness, aching joints, headaches,

indigestion, sore feet, restless legs, or pelvic/abdominal cramping

from a litany of “female” problems, the common thread

running through all these maladies is that they can make your life


If you had no other responsibilities and could

lie back with a heating pad and a video, that would be one thing.

But when you’ve got to function, when you’ve got responsibilities

to meet and schedules to maintain no matter what, a nagging pain

can move from the background to the forefront, becoming increasingly

difficult to ignore. Over time, it can suck the life right out of


Yes, there are painkilling medicines available.

But those medications have significant side effects and can damage

not only your digestive tract but also your kidneys and liver, especially

if you have to take them for more than a day or two. Second, they

work by suppressing chemicals in your body known as prostaglandins,

which are like a chemical family with two children that are always

fighting with each other — one is bad (causes inflammation),

and the other is good (actually blocks it).

The anti-prostaglandin drugs mentioned above, which

are the economic mainstay of the pharmaceutical industry, suppress

both the good as well as the bad prostaglandins. So on top

of getting some relief, you also make your situation somewhat worse.

Two steps forward, one back.

There are natural, gentle, and safe ways to alleviate

pain. Digestive enzymes are a natural, side effect-free alternative.

Digestive Enzymes

Though usually prescribed as digestive aids (taken

with food), the following enzymes have powerful anti-inflammatory

effects when taken on an empty stomach.


Source: Pineapple

Standard dose: 500 mg standardized, 2–4

times daily, taken with bioflavonoids (500–1000 mg, 3 times

daily) and vitamin C (1000 mg, 2 or 3 times daily), which enhance

bromelain’s actions. (Do not take bromelain with metallic compounds

such as copper and iron, which inactivate it.)

Comments: Bromelain is better than

anti-inflammatory drugs for several reasons. In addition to producing

none of their side effects, it reduces inflammation by attacking

it from more than one angle, making it effective for a wider range

of painful problems. What’s more, it blocks only the bad (pro-inflammatory)

prostaglandins, while leaving the good ones alone — the ones

that are naturally anti-inflammatory. So, you’re working with

your body’s innate anti-pain mechanisms, instead of against them.

Bromelain also dissolves clots of fibrin the body

deposits in the blood and lymph vessels surrounding a wound. The

body’s intention is to quarantine the area, so inflammation, bacteria,

and toxins don’t spread. But in reality, it deprives the damaged

tissue of nutrition by blocking blood in-flow, and increases inflammation

(swelling, pressure, heat, redness, and pain) by blocking blood

and lymph out-flow. By digesting those clots, bromelain helps reduce

the inflammation, and improves circulation.

It also stimulates the body to produce enzymes

of its own, which helps dissolve and clean up dead tissue and debris

from the site. This accelerates the healing process. Another area

where bromelain really shines is in its ability to reduce pain,

inflammation, and healing time after oral surgery, particularly

when tooth extractions have left lots of torn tissue, open wounds,

and throbbing nerve endings.

Bromelain (and the other digestive enzymes mentioned

below) also help prevent, abbreviate, and/or enhance the degree

of recovery from, painful and disabling repetitive-stress injuries

such as carpal tunnel syndrome. Not only do they reduce pain, they

also can be instrumental in returning the injured body part to full

function—one aspect of treating repetitive stress injuries

that often is overlooked.


Source: The unripe papaya fruit

Standard dose: 200–300 mg standardized,

4 times daily, between meals. Comments: The anti-inflammatory benefits

of papain have been demonstrated in numerous studies of sports injuries,

where it not only relieved pain but also quickened the healing process.

Its mode of action is similar to that of bromelain. And, like bromelain,

it helps restore comfort and speed healing after impacted wisdom

tooth extractions, root canals, and other minor surgeries. In one

study, it was as effective as prednisone (a powerful, prescription-only

corticosteroid medication with a long list of health risks) in reducing

pain and muscle spasms after oral surgery.

Pancreatic enzymes

Source: Animal pancreas

Standard dose: 300–1000 mg standardized,

4 times daily, on an empty stomach

Comments: In addition to helping the body

recover from external injuries via a similar mechanism as the plant-based

enzymes above, pancreatic digestive enzymes are even more effective

when there’s been internal tissue damage due to bacterial, viral,

and fungal infections, toxins, and allergic reactions.

Read More on Joint Health:

Getting Started

Heal Arthritis Naturally

Rheumatoid Arthritis

Nutritional Therapies

Get Moving with the Right Diet

Supplements to Heal Aching Joints

Digestive Enzymes: The Side Effect-Free Approach

to Pain Relief

Complementary Therapies

Stretch Out

Spice Up Your Life



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