I have short bowel syndrome, which causes severe anemia due to lack of absorption.
Q. Dear Terry, “I have short bowel syndrome, which causes severe anemia due to lack of absorption. Would boswellia be beneficial to me? Thank you and God bless you.” — Theresa B., Milwaukee, WI
A. Dear Theresa, The small intestine is where most digestion of food and absorption of nutrients occur. Short bowel syndrome refers to a group of problems related to the poor absorption of nutrients (water, vitamins, minerals, etc.) that typically occurs in people who have had a portion of their small intestine removed.
You are on the right track when it comes to boswellia. To get optimal benefits, I often recommend taking a combination of boswellia and high-absorption curcumin. Curcumin and boswellia are two Indian plants that exhibit very effective anti-inflammatory properties, in addition to promoting tissue repair. Take these two ingredients twice daily.
Keep in mind that plain curcumin is very poorly absorbed, so make sure to choose a curcumin with excellent absorption that has been proven in published human studies. The best form I have ever found uses curcumin blended with turmeric essential oils. This curcumin has been shown in published human studies to be better absorbed than plain curcumin.
It’s also important to find a formula that features a boswellia extract that has filtered out the majority of beta-boswellic acid to 5% or less. Unlike most boswellic acids, beta-boswellic acid is actually pro-inflammatory. Removing it greatly enhances the potency of the boswellia extract. You also want a boswellia extract that includes high levels of acetyl-11-keto-beta-boswellic acid (AKBA), the most active component of boswellia.
I have some other options that may also be of benefit:
Pancreatin is a natural digestive enzyme complex that provides the enzymes protease, lipase, and amylase. The pancreatic enzymes I recommend are from a porcine source – that is, from pigs. They very closely resemble the enzymes created by the human body, which means they work much more effectively and quickly, and that’s why I think they are best when it comes to supporting digestive health. I recommend taking 250-500 mg of pancreatin with each meal. Make sure that when choosing a formula, you get an undiluted pancreatin supplement. The United States Pharmacopoeia (USP) has set strict definitions for the level of activity – measured by how effectively the enzyme breaks down its targeted nutrient type – for pancreatin. I believe the best results come from full strength, undiluted pancreatin. Less potent pancreatin has often been diluted with salt, lactose or galactose.
For iron deficiency, I believe you would benefit greatly from adding a mineral complex (iron, along with magnesium, copper, and zinc) to your daily regimen. Iron is an essential trace mineral that helps transport oxygen in the blood, supports cellular energy creation, and supports proper neurotransmitter synthesis. We couldn’t live without it. And yet, iron deficiency and anemia is one of the world’s most common conditions. Magnesium, copper, and zinc are all vital to providing our cells with energy, building healthy blood cells, and helping to recover from exercise.
When looking for a supplement, I strongly recommend choosing a mineral complex that features amino-acid chelated forms of iron, magnesium, copper and zinc. A “chelate” is a bond between a mineral (often called “inorganic”) and a molecule structure, called a “ligand” that helps the body absorb the mineral during digestion. The amino acid glycine, in particular, makes an excellent molecule to help shepherd minerals through the intestinal wall because it is so small that it can be transported directly into the cells of the body, so it can get to work right away. I recommend taking this mineral complex daily.
Terry . . . Naturally