Bromelain and Curcumin: Can They Help Against Coronavirus?

As of February 2021, there are more than 70 types of supplements that are being tested for COVID-19. You can review the details of these trials on clinicaltrials.gov. There are more than 120 trials testing the various nutrients and dietary supplements including vitamin D, vitamin C, zinc and melatonin. Vitamin D remains the most tested vitamin followed by vitamin C, for COVID-19.

Recent research has revealed that the binding of SARS-CoV-2 to the angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) receptor initiates three main pathways: 1) the inflammatory, 2) the coagulation and 3) the bradykinin cascades [2,3]. The activation of these pathways varies widely between individuals leading to a wide range of clinical manifestations of COVID-19 from asymptomatic to severe acute respiratory distress syndrome, multiple organ failure and death [2].

Interestingly, a number of natural agents have received attention due to potential anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties. Among these products, collectively named nutraceuticals, curcumin and bromelain comprise two bioactive substances with potent anti-inflammatory and anticoagulant actions [4,5].

A medical review in the December 2020 issue of Metabolism Open is the first report on the potential preventive value of the synergistic effects of bromelain and curcumin against severe COVID-19.

Curcumin (diferuloylmethane) is a natural phenol found in turmeric (Curcuma longa), a member of the ginger family of plants [4]. Curcumin modulates inflammation preventing the subsequent cytokine storm by inhibiting multiple transcription factors such as nuclear factor kappa B (NF-κB) and signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (STAT-3), and downregulating the proinflammatory cytokines, as this has been demonstrated in human macrophages after influenza virus infection [4,6]. Additionally, curcumin inhibits ACE modulating angiotensin II synthesis and downregulating inflammation, while it also promotes fibrinolysis and the anticoagulation process [4,6,7] (Fig. 1).

Fig. 1

Fig. 1. Bromelain (B) and curcumin (C) exert multiple immunomodulatory actions interfering in the crucial steps of COVID-19 pathophysiology. ACE-2, angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 receptor; COVID-19, coronavirus disease 2019; NF-κB, nuclear factor kappa B; PG; prostaglandin; SARS-CoV-2; severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2; STAT-3, signal transducer and activator of transcription 3; TMPRSS-2, trans-membrane serine protease 2; TXA2, thromboxane A2.

The antiviral actions of curcumin against multiple viruses (influenza and hepatitis viruses, herpes viruses, human papilloma virus, human immunodeficiency virus, severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus and other coronaviruses), bacteria and fungi have been established by experimental evidence [8]. Remarkably, recent evidence from in silico studies has demonstrated that curcumin prevents SARS-CoV-2 entry into cells by blocking the viral binding sites and the cell ligands (spike protein, ACE-2 receptors and basigin), downregulating trans-membrane serine protease 2 (TMPRSS-2), and by interfering with viral replication through the interaction with various viral proteins [4]. However, the minimal absorption of curcumin following oral administration presents a major limitation in its bioavailability [6].

Bromelain is a cysteine protease, isolated from the pineapple stem (Ananas comosus) [9]. Traditionally, it has been used for its anti-inflammatory and healing effects in cases of arthritis and injury, while it has been approved in Europe for the debridement of burn wounds. Experimental studies have demonstrated that bromelain presents unique immunomodulatory actions: 1) downregulation of the pro-inflammatory prostaglandin E−2 (PGE-2) through inhibition of NF-kB and cyclooxygenase 2 (COX-2); 2) upregulation of the anti-inflammatory PGE-1; 3) activation of inflammatory mediators (interleukin 1β, interleukin-6, tumor necrosis factor-α and interferon-γ) as an acute response to cellular stress, but also inhibition of inflammatory mediators in states of overt cytokine production; 4) modulation of T cell responses in vitro and in vivo; and 5) enhancement of T-cell dependent antigen-specific B cell antibody responses [[5],[10], [11], [12], [13], [14]].

Importantly, bromelain exerts dose-dependent anticoagulant effects: 1) downregulation of PGE-2 and thromboxane A2 (TXA2), thus leading to relative excess of prostacyclin; 2) promotion of fibrinolysis by stimulating the conversion of plasminogen to plasmin and prevention of platelet aggregation. Bromelain also hydrolyzes bradykinin and reduces kininogen and bradykinin levels in serum and tissues, improving inflammation and edema as shown in animal studies [15]. Notably, the latter action supports a potential role of bromelain in alleviating COVID-19 symptoms such as cough, fever and pain, and the more serious implications of inflammation, thrombosis and edema (Fig. 1). The effect of bromelain on PGE-2 inhibition exceeds that of prednisone and aspirin, presenting very low toxicity and no major side effects [12,16].

Clinical studies have demonstrated multiple beneficial effects of bromelain in trauma, ischemic injury, hypertension, atherosclerosis, inflammatory bowel disease, arthritis, and sinusitis as well as antibacterial and antifungal properties [5]. Interestingly, a recent experimental study demonstrated that bromelain inhibits infection of VeroE6 cells by SARS-CoV-2 through blocking the virus binding and entry into cells via downregulation of ACE-2 and TMPRSS2 expression, and cleavage of the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein, presenting a novel promising therapeutic option that warrants further investigation [17].

Due to its proteolytic action, bromelain is absorbed directly when administered orally, while it substantially promotes the absorption of curcumin enhancing its bioavailability, and making this a perfect combination of immune-boosting nutraceuticals with synergistic anti-inflammatory and anticoagulant actions [12,16].

The hypothesis that the combination of bromelain and curcumin may prove useful for the protection against SARS-Co-V-2 infection warrants clinical investigation. Noteworthy, the favorable safety profile of this nutraceutical combination makes a compelling case for its use in the general population with potentially important implications in preventing severe COVID-19.

Key Takeaways

Aside from supplements, there are other ways that may help improve immune response and to prevent you from catching the coronavirus.
  • Vaccination based on your local health authority guide.
  • Wear protective face mask. This is to protect not only yourself but others.
  • Abundant evidence suggests that eating whole in fruits, vegetables and whole grains—all rich in networks of naturally occurring antioxidants and their helper molecules—provides protection against free radicals.
  • Getting Enough Sleep
  • Avoid Sugar, red meat and processed foods.
  • Don't smoke.
  • Take steps to avoid infection, such as washing your hands frequently, using hand sanitizer and cooking meats thoroughly.
  • Try to minimize stress.
  • Drink enough water to keep your body hydrated.
  • Avoid excess alcohol.
  • Avoid crowded areas.
  • Regular physical activity (outdoor activities may not be allowed in countries with 'lock-down').
  • Consult your nearest local healthcare provider if you have any doubt.

References



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Supplements you can purchase from Amazon for COVID-19 prevention based on the FLCCC prevention protocol and Dr Zelenko's prevention protocol >
  • Nature's Bounty Vitamin D3 - 2,000 IU > One dose daily (Amazon)
  • Nature's Bounty Vitamin C - 1,000 mg > One caplet twice daily (Amazon)
  • Now Foods Quercetin - 400 mg > One capsule daily (Amazon)
  • Nature's Bounty Melatonin 5 mg > One tablet before bedtime (Amazon)
  • Nature's Bounty Zinc 50 mg/day > One caplet daily (Amazon)
Be aware that most of the dosages are above the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) and therefore such dosages should not be maintained on a long term basis. 

You might need this: Pulse Oximeter > (Check Price and Availability on Amazon)

Disclaimer: The information on this website is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and is not intended as medical advice. It is intended as a sharing of knowledge and information from the research and experience of third party sites. If you are pregnant, nursing, taking medication, or have a medical condition, consult your health care professional before using products based on this content. 

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