Terry is happy to provide his opinion on diet and nutrition, supplements and lifestyle choices. This information is for educational purposes only. It is not meant to replace the advice of your physician and is not to be considered medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Should you have any concerns please contact your physician directly.
Q. Dear Terry, “I am interested in taking boswellia for some gastrointestinal issues I am having. However, I’ve heard that boswellia actually contains pro-inflammatory components. How can boswellia be beneficial if it contains pro-inflammatory compounds? I’m confused.” — Dan S., Madison, WI
A. Dear Dan, Boswellia has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for thousands of years. Now, modern day research has substantiated its use for the treatment of asthma, arthritis, intestinal disease, ulcers, bronchitis, and many skin disorders. The active components in boswellia are called boswellic acids. The majority of boswellic acids have the ability to inhibit 5-LOX (5-Lipoxygenase), a naturally occurring enzyme that is implicated in a number of inflammatory conditions. The most active of the boswellic acids is known as AKBA (Acetyl-11-keto-B-boswellic acids). Surprisingly, beta-boswellic acid, another of the boswellic acids, is actually pro-inflammatory.
When choosing a boswellia extract, please be aware that not all boswellia extracts are created equal. Some unstandardized boswellia extracts can have AKBA levels as low 1% and beta-boswellia levels as high as 20%. To make sure you are getting a quality product, look for one that has filtered out the majority of beta-boswellic acid to 5% or less and includes at least 10% or more of acetyl-11-keto-beta-boswellic acid (AKBA).
Terry . . . Naturally