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Boswellia and Bromelain are a Powerful Duo for Osteoarthritis

Boswellia serrata, sometimes known as frankincense, is a powerful anti-inflammatory. It reduces 5-lipooxygenase (5-LOX) inflammatory activity, which is a major factor in rheumatoid and osteoarthritis, usually affecting the synovial fluid between the joints.

Bromelain, an enzyme from pineapple, also has anti-inflammatory effects, reducing nasal swelling and aiding digestion. The combination of the two appears to reduce osteoarthritis symptoms, according to a new pilot study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine.  The study duration was over one year, and involved patients across a wide range of ages, from 23 to 92 years.

By the end of the study, quality of life assessments showed a significant improvement, with no adverse effects. This shows the value of botanical anti-inflammatories as an alternative to stomach- and liver-damaging over-the-counter and prescription drugs.


Italiano G, Raimondo M, Giannetti G, Gargiulo A. Benefits of a Food Supplement Containing Boswellia serrata and Bromelain for Improving the Quality of Life in Patients with Osteoarthritis: A Pilot Study. J Altern Complement Med. 2019 Nov 1. doi: 10.1089/acm.2019.0258. [Epub ahead of print]

Background: Osteoarthritis (OA) is a joint disease involving articular cartilage degeneration causing patients pain, joint stiffness, physical disability, and significantly reducing their quality of life (QoL). Purpose: The aim of this study was to assess whether the daily consumption of a gastroresistant food supplement formulation containing a combination of Boswellia serrata and bromelain could improve the QoL of patients suffering from various forms of OA. 

Materials and Methods: Forty-nine patients were enrolled in this pilot study conducted from June 2015 to October 2016. Patients took a Boswellia- and bromelain-based supplement for a period between 1 and 6 months. At baseline and at the end of the study, patients completed a self-assessment QoL questionnaire regarding their independence in performing daily activities. QoL scores were compared between baseline and follow-up by means of the Wilcoxon signed-rank test in all patients and in the subgroups of patients with knee, hip, or generalized OA. 

Results: Forty-nine patients, 6 men and 43 women, aged between 23 and 92 years, (mean age 63.24) participated in the study. At follow-up (3.0 ± 0.7 months), a significant improvement was observed for 7 of 10 QoL questions and, overall, for the total QoL score. The most significant improvements were observed in the joints that were more strongly affected at baseline. A similar trend was observed when separately considering patients with knee, hip, or generalized OA. No patients experienced adverse events and no drug interactions were reported. 

Conclusions: From this pilot study, it emerges that the use of the gastroresistant formulation containing the combination of Boswellia and bromelain supplements can represent a valuable nonpharmacological tool for improving the QoL of patients suffering from different forms of OA. Further studies should be conducted to confirm this first evidence.

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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.
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