With its lightly sweet aroma and tart flavor, pineapple is a nutritious snack packed with vitamin C. The aromatic fruit can be skewered onto a fruit kabob, blended into a smoothie or grilled and used to top a decadent dessert. But if you are taking certain medications, you need to be a bit careful about the amount of pineapple you consume. Certain drugs and medications can interact with the bromelain enzyme in fresh pineapple.
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Fresh pineapple contains the enzyme bromelain, which is commonly used for medicinal purposes. The U.S. National Library of Medicine explains that the bromelain enzyme triggers the body to produce specific substances that fight inflammation. The enzyme also contains specific chemicals that slow the growth of tumor cells. It has been used as a treatment for arthritis, muscle pain, inflammation, ulcerative colitis and swelling after injury.
Fresh pineapple should not be combined with Amoxicillin or tetracycline antibiotics. When fresh pineapple is combined with these types of medications, it can increase the amount of medication absorbed by the body. In this case, it might increase the side effects of the medications. Bromelain also affects the body’s blood clotting abilities. When combined with medications that slow or prevent blood clotting -- such as an anticoagulant or antiplatelet drugs -- it can significantly increase your risk of bruising or bleeding. The University of Maryland Medical Center also explains that the bromelain enzyme can increase the effects of sedative drugs, such as anticonvulsants, benzodiazepines and alcohol.
Other Side Effects
Typically, eating fresh pineapple will not cause any adverse side effects; however, eating large quantities of the fruit might occasionally cause nausea, diarrhea, skin rash and vomiting. You might also notice swelling or tenderness of the mouth, cheeks and tongue. Fresh pineapple might also cause an allergic reaction among people allergic to wheat, celery, carrots, pollen, fennel, ragweed, mums and daisies. Also, it is important to note that unripe pineapple is extremely toxic; eating it can cause severe and excessive vomiting.
Women who are pregnant should avoid eating large amounts of pineapple. Although further research is necessary to determine the exact correlation, it is thought that bromelain can stimulate contractions, potentially increasing the risk of miscarriage. Additionally, because bromelain affects the blood's ability to clot or coagulate, you should avoid eating large amounts of pineapple in the two weeks prior to any type of surgery or invasive medical procedure. Also, avoid bromelain if you are taking blood-thinning medications for high blood pressure. The combination of thin blood with bromelain's anticoagulant properties can lead to a bleeding disorder. Additionally, large amounts of pineapple should be avoided by patients with liver or kidney disease, as many of the blood's clotting factors are produced by these organs.