Ahmed Olalekan-Bakare, a Ph.D researcher at the University of Ilorin, says an active ingredient in pineapple, bromelain, helps to mitigate one of the symptoms of COVID-19.
Bromelain is a protein-digesting enzyme mixture derived from the stem, fruit, and juice of the pineapple plant used in treating burns, cancer, and to reduce inflammation and swelling, particularly of nasal passages.
Olalekan-Bakare gave an insight into the study of bromelain’s efficacy on COVID-19 while speaking with journalists on Monday, in Ilorin.
He said his study of bromelain as an antidote to inflammation began when Bamidele Owoyele, his supervisor at the university, suggested that his research should focus on pineapple as a possible solution to inflammation.
He said inflammation is a major symptom among COVID-19 patients and the reason those who are seriously affected find it difficult to breathe.
“After months in the laboratory, I found out that cytokine, a chemical which is responsible for the inflammation, could be modulated with introduction of bromelain into the body system,” he said.
“Bromelain increases cytokine when it is too low and also reduces excessive cytokine to its optimal level.”
According to him, the research “is a breakthrough” that has earned him approval for publication in scientific academic journals.
Owoyele, who is the head of the department of physiology, faculty of basic medical sciences, UNILORIN, described bromelain as an active ingredient in pineapple.
“It is in the stem in large quantity. It is also in the peel and the central part of the flesh of a pineapple fruit,” he said.
“It can also help to prevent blood coagulation which is caused by cytokine and it also helps the pancreas produce enzymes.”
Owoeye said pineapple stem or peel could be heated in water that has not reached a boiling point for optimal extraction.