Recover Better Post-Workout with Bromelain

Post-workout recovery supplements

  by Dr. Emily Splichal, DPM MS

Working out regularly and intensely is the key to peak physical fitness. However, if post-workout soreness is slowing you down then you’ll want to take steps to improve your recovery to prevent the risk of injury.  

The muscle soreness and joint pain you experience after an intense workout is a symptom of post-workout tissue inflammation which is a part of the healing and muscle repair process.   

By better managing post-exercise inflammation, you can recover faster, enhance your training adaptations, perform better in workouts and possibly avoid injuries.  Before we go into how to manage tissue inflammation, we want to first go over what inflammation is and why it’s associated with working out.     

Exercise & Inflammation

Every workout causes microscopic damage to muscle fibers which triggers an inflammatory immune response to initiate the repair process. This begins about two hours after a workout and typically resolves after 48 hours.  

Despite the need for inflammation to initiate tissue repair, it can also be seen as a double-edged sword.  On the positive side, when a significant injury occurs, inflammation heals it and also produces symptoms of pain and stiffness that discourage activity during the healing process.

However, when inflammation persists it can also cause further damage, known as secondary muscle damage and can lead to delayed onset muscle soreness or DOMS.

In people who train hard every day, inflammation may not entirely resolve and muscle damage may not heal adequately between workouts.  If you persist in training too hard and resting too little, you may enter a cycle of persistent tissue trauma and chronic inflammation, both of which can lead to overuse injuries.

Tackling Inflammation with Bromelain

What can you do to limit post-workout inflammation and its negative effects? One promising way to enhance your recovery and support muscle repair is with the systemic enzyme bromelain.      

Bromelain is a natural potent anti-inflammatory that comes from the stems of immature pineapples. According to recent research studies bromelain is very effective in treating bruises, sprains and strains by reducing swelling, tenderness and pain.

post-workout recovery  

Bromelain has been found to reduce interleukin-4, interleukin-2 and interferon gamma, all of which are pro-inflammatory markers.  Additionally in one study, rats administered bromelain produced fewer cytokines than those in the control group, suggesting bromelain decreases pain and inflammation by preventing chemotaxis of proinflammatory cells.

You can find bromelain, as well as other powerful broad spectrum systemic enzymes in the supplement StepStrong. Like all systemic enzymes, it is recommended to take StepStrong on an empty stomach and consistency over at least a 2 weeks period.  

To learn more about systemic enzymes and their role in tissue recovery please visit



Maurer. H. R. Bromelain: biochemistry, pharmacology and medical use. CMLS, Cell. Mol. Life Sci. 58 (2001) 1234–1245
Cleak M, Eston R. Muscle Soreness, Swelling, Stiffness, & Strength Loss after Intense Eccentric Exercise.1992. Br J Sp Med.26(4)267-272 
Miller P, Bailey S, Barnes M, et al. The Effects of Protease Supplementation on Skeletal Muscle Function and DOMS following Downhill Running. 2004. Journal of Sports Sciences. 22:365-372

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