When women talk about eating pineapple during their IVF cycles, they are typically referring to a specific enzyme found in the stem and core of a pineapple called bromelain.
It's safe to say that we all really, really want to hear good things about bromelain. We want to believe it helps thicken the uterine lining and increases the likelihood of embryo implantation after IVF. We're all waiting for a definitive study to be conducted, the results of which read: "Yes, the more pineapple you eat, the more bromelain you consume. And the more bromelain you consume, the better your IVF cycle will be!"
Unfortunately, while there are several non-reproductive-related health benefits from eating pineapple, there are no peer-reviewed medical studies that link pineapple consumption to IVF outcomes. Pineapple's reputation as an IVF supplement is, unfortunately, a persistent internet rumor and not the miracle fruit we wish it would be.
But wait - don't throw away that pineapple! Even though it doesn't directly help your IVF cycle outcomes, pineapple does help with your overall health. Pineapple contains essential vitamins and minerals including manganese, Vitamin C, Vitamin B6, Vitamin B1 and folate. Pineapple is a high fiber food, as well. Together, these components have a number of health benefits, including:
- antioxidant protection
- anti-inflammatory properties
- assistance with digestion
- decreased risk of macular degeneration
- prevention of heart disease
- increase immune system functioning
Where did the pineapple-IVF rumor come from?
Bromelain appears to be therapeutic at high dosages for some systemic issues such as inflammation (NIH). But these very results are based on bromelain extracts from the stems and cores of pineapples and do not necessarily reflect the normal bromelain intake from the typically-consumed fruity parts of the pineapple.
Still not convinced?
While there is no evidence that eating pineapple (or taking bromelain supplements) will help with your IVF cycle, there is also no evidence that it will hurt, either. So if you're not convinced after reading this article, go ahead and eat your pineapple. And if you're not a fan of pineapple, you can take a bromelain supplement instead.
A quick Amazon search for bromelain produces dozens of results. Or head to your local co-op, pharmacy or nutrition store and pick up a bottle.
There's no harm in giving it a try, but don't sweat if you decide that you don't want to add pineapple to your daily menu. It's tasty and good for you, but it's not going to make or break your IVF cycle. We promise.