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.

Abstract:

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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