kris ulland

Your Nutrition Partner

There are two primary ways of using an enzyme supplement: digestive or systemic, and the difference between them relates to timing. Taken with food, a digestive enzyme will help break down the food into smaller components. I discussed these enzymes in the last post.

When taken on an empty stomach, enzymes will pass through your digestive system and enter your blood circulation, and when absorbed systemically, they dissolve things like fibrin (scar tissue in damaged muscle or at a surgical site) and decrease inflammation.

Researcher Jon Barron, director of the Baseline Health Foundation, explains that proteolytic enzymes taken for systemic benefit, meaning on an empty stomach, can help eliminate pathogens, allergens and rogue cells by destroying and digesting their protein-based shield. Systemically, enzymes also have the ability to interfere with enzyme production caused by certain cancers, thereby slowing down the cancer’s growth.

I use a formula made by HCP called Fibrenza which I take between meals to relieve inflammation.

Fibrenza is an advanced blend of 14 powerful systemic enzymes that are specifically formulated to supplement the bodies’ ability to dissolve fibrin, cleanse the blood, detoxify the body, and maintain a healthy immune response.

Systemic enzymes must survive the harsh acidic environment of the stomach before reaching the small intestine, where they are absorbed into the bloodstream. In order to protect against these stomach acids, many systemic enzymes on the market consist of enteric coated capsules that contain phthalates (plasticizers), genetically modified vegetable coatings, or other unhealthy chemicals. Some are also available in tablet form, which in addition to containing unhealthy fillers and binders, may be more difficult to break down for timely absorption.

Fibrenza utilizes a technologically advanced capsule to provide maximum protection against stomach acids without the use of phthalates or harmful chemicals and solvents.

The new AcidDefenz capsule consists of a non-GMO vegetable cellulose barrier that allows for a timed release of the enzymes for absorption into the bloodstream. In addition to being a much healthier alternative to phthalates, it may also allow for more consistent enzyme absorption than traditional enteric coatings. Fibrenza contains:

Seaprose-S® is a proteolytic (protein eating) enzyme that has been shown in studies to be one of the strongest oral enzymes available today.

Nattokinase NSK-SD® is an enzyme that is recommended for cardiovascular health due to its blood-cleansing and fibrin dissolving effects.

Serratiopeptidase (Serrapeptase), Trypsin, Chymotrypsin, Protease, Acid Stable Protease, Bromelain, Papain and Peptidase are proteolytic enzymes that break down proteins, toxins, and other cellular debris. They are also widely used to limit the debilitating effects of excess fibrin formation.

Superoxide Dismutase (SOD) is an enzyme that helps break down potentially harmful oxygen molecules in cells, which may prevent damage to tissues. A potent antioxidant, it is the foundation of anti-aging and detoxification protocols worldwide.

Pancreatin, amylase, and lipase are enzymes that digest protein, carbohydrates, and fat. When administered for systemic effect, these enzymes work to cleanse the body of toxic debris.

Enzyme review:

In your gut, enzymes break down dietary protein and protein-based foreign bodies and function as digestive aids. In your blood, however, enzymes act as blood cleansers that combat inflammation and rebalance your immune system by:

1. Breaking down foreign proteins in your blood that cause inflammation

2. Facilitating the removal of inflammatory proteins via your blood stream and lymphatic system

3. Reducing edema in inflamed region

4. Significantly increasing the potency of macrophages and killer cells

5. Removing fibrin that prolongs inflammation. Fibrin is a clotting material that restricts blood flow, found both in your blood stream and connective tissue such as your muscles. Cancer cells also hide under a cloak of fibrin to escape detection.

The best place to store your enzyme supplement is in a relatively cool, dry area such as a kitchen cabinet or pantry. Properly stored, an enzyme supplement will typically retain full potency for up to a year.

Systemic enzymes are in many ways preferable to painkillers since they effectively lower inflammation and support your body’s innate ability to heal itself, while pain medication simply masks the symptoms.


Pineapples originated in South America, where early European explorers named it after its resemblance to a pinecone. It is packed with  antioxidants and enzymes that can fight inflammation and disease.

One cup of pineapple chunks contains the following:

  • Calories: 82.5
  • Fat: 1.7 grams
  • Protein: 1 gram
  • Carbs: 21.6 grams
  • Fiber: 2.3 grams
  • Vitamin C: 131% of the RDI
  • Manganese: 76% of the RDI
  • Vitamin B6: 9% of the RDI
  • Copper: 9% of the RDI
  • Thiamin: 9% of the RDI
  • Folate: 7% of the RDI
  • Potassium: 5% of the RDI
  • Magnesium: 5% of the RDI
  • Niacin: 4% of the RDI
  • Pantothenic acid: 4% of the RDI
  • Riboflavin: 3% of the RDI
  • Iron: 3% of the RDI

Most of the nutrients aren’t greatly diminished between fresh and canned pineapple, except for vitamin C, which is reduced from 131 percent of the daily value to 32 percent in canned. One cup of fresh pineapple chunks equals around 165 grams, while the same amount of canned pineapple contains 246 grams.

Pineapples also contain trace amounts of vitamins A and K, phosphorus, zinc and calcium. They are especially rich in antioxidants known as flavonoids and phenolic acids. Many of the antioxidants in pineapple are bound. This allows the antioxidants to survive harsher conditions in the body and produce longer lasting effects.

Pineapples contain a group of digestive enzymes known as bromelain, which function as proteases, breaking down protein molecules. Once protein molecules are broken down, they are more easily absorbed across the small intestine.  Bromelain is widely used as a commercial meat tenderizer due to its ability to break down tough meat proteins.

Several studies have shown that pineapple and its compounds may reduce the risk of cancers. Studies point to the bromelain that cuts down oxidative stress and reduces inflammation. Two test-tube studies showed that bromelain suppressed the growth of breast cancer cells and stimulated cell death. Other test-tube studies show that bromelain suppresses cancer in the skin, bile duct, gastric system and colon.

Test-tube and animal studies have found that bromelain may stimulate the immune system to produce molecules that make white blood cells more effective at suppressing cancer cell growth and eliminating cancer cells.

In one nine-week study,  98 healthy children were fed either no pineapple, some pineapple (140g) or lots of pineapple (280g) daily to see if it boosted their immunity.  Children who ate pineapples had a significantly lower risk of both viral and bacterial infections. Also, children who ate the most pineapple had close to four times more disease-fighting white blood cells (granulocytes) than the other two groups.

Another study found that children with a sinus infection recovered significantly faster while taking a bromelain supplement, compared to a standard treatment or combination of the two.

Studies have shown that bromelain can reduce markers of inflammation. Research from as early as the 1960s shows that bromelain was used to relieve symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis and recent studies have looked into the effectiveness of bromelain for treating arthritis. One study in patients with osteoarthritis found that taking a digestive enzyme supplement containing bromelain helped relieve pain as effectively as common arthritis medicines like diclofenac.

The bromelain in pineapples may reduce the inflammation, swelling, bruising and pain that occurs after surgery. Bromelain’s anti-inflammatory properties may also aid recovery after strenuous exercise by reducing tissue inflammation.

How to Buy

Pineapples are very affordable and available year-round in many American markets, as they can be purchased fresh, canned or frozen.

When choosing a pineapple, it’s good to remember that the heavier they are relative to size, the better, as those are riper. The ripening process stops when they’re picked, so to make sure it’s not been too long. A pineapple should smell fragrant, not musty or fermented. While some people think they need to eat their pineapple almost immediately for optimal benefit, new studies show that cut and refrigerated pineapple are excellent for as long as nine days with only minor losses of phenolic phytonutrients.

How to Store

A whole pineapple should retain quality for 1 to 2 days at room temperature, for up to 9 days in the fridge in an airtight container. If they are “just right” when you buy it,  a pineapple can also be wrapped and stored in your refrigerator for a few days until you are ready to eat it.

Pineapple is an excellent fruit for freezing. Before you freeze pineapple, you must peel and cut the pineapple into chunks and put into airtight containers or freezer bags.


How to Cook

Pineapple is great by itself and for so many recipes: shish kebabs, lettuce and fruit salads, stir fries, and salsa. Prepare it by simply chopping off the top and bottom, and then placing on a flat surface to slice off the rind, top to bottom, all around. Then, just slice the fruit into “rings.”


Spicy Watermelon Salad with Pineapple and Lime

Alexa Weibel

6-8 Servings


  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lime zest, plus 2 tablespoons juice
  • 1 tablespoon honey (use any vegan sweetener substitute // coconut nectar)
  • 1 jalapeño, thinly sliced
  • Kosher salt and black pepper
  • ¼ cup finely chopped red onion
  • 1 ¼ pounds fresh watermelon, chilled
  • 1 ¼ pounds fresh pineapple, chilled
  • 4 ounces feta, crumbled (about 2/3 cup) (optional if vegan!)
  • 1 packed cup small cilantro sprigs, or 1/3 packed cup torn fresh mint


  1. In a large bowl, stir together oil, vinegar, lime zest and juice, honey and jalapeño. Season generously with salt and pepper. Add the red onion and toss to coat. Let marinate, 10 minutes.
  2. While the onions marinate, chop the watermelon and the pineapple into 1-inch cubes, discarding any seeds. Add watermelon and pineapple to the vinaigrette and toss to coat; season to taste. Refrigerate until serving.
  3. When ready to serve, add feta and herbs to salad and toss to coat. Serve immediately.



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