Sadly, aging has become nearly synonymous with a handful of age-related concerns. But what if these concerns all had a common denominator – something that, if nipped in the bud, would lower your risk of not just one, but most of the problems that plague us as we approach old age? Certainly such a discovery would change our understanding and experience of aging.
New research shows that such common denominators do exist.
One such common denominator is a single lethal enzyme that is linked with seven of the ten leading causes of death in America. This enzyme is associated with diseases that cause more than 1.5 million deaths a year in the US. (1)
New research shows that an herb used in Ayurveda for thousands of years has been found to inhibit these very factors and offer powerful support against age-related concerns. Read on to learn more about how this herb that was used for joint support for thousands of years is now the focus of cutting edge modern research.
5-LOX: The Aging Enzyme
The enzyme mentioned above is called 5-lipoxygenase or 5-LOX. This enzyme is responsible for an inflammatory response in the body that plays an important role in heart disease, cancer, arthritis, chronic respiratory disease, Alzheimer’s, diabetes, influenza, pneumonia and kidney diseases. (2)
The typical American diet may be the cause. Foods such as red meat, duck, poultry, eggs and dairy products – along with high-glycemic carbohydrates – are high in omega-6 fatty acids, which convert to arachidonic acid in the body.
According to experts, the optimal ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids is 4:1, however the standard American diet can be as much as 25 times higher in omega-6 fatty acids than omega-3’s. In response to high levels of arachidonic acid, the body produces the 5-LOX enzyme.
In certain quantities, arachidonic acid is essential and very beneficial for the body. It helps build cell membranes, regulates and mediates the inflammation response, fights infections, supports skin health and the clotting of the blood. The problem comes when arachidonic-producing foods are eaten in excess. This stimulates the production of the aging enzyme 5-LOX, resulting in the production of pro-inflammatory molecules called leukotrienes. (3)
There are literally hundreds of studies linking leukotrienes to cardiovascular disease (4), cancer (5), arthritis (6), asthma (7), COPD (8), Alzheimer’s (9), inflammatory bowel disease (10) and osteoporosis. (11)
While dietary changes may help reduce the production of LOX-5 and help harness its damaging inflammatory effect, it is challenging for many Americans to stick with these changes long enough to make a significant impact.
Boswellia: Joint Health and Far Beyond
Fortunately, a fragrant resin called Boswellia (Boswellia serrata) or Indian Frankincense – which has been used for thousands of years in Ayurveda for joint, muscle and gut health – has demonstrated inhibitive properties against the 5-LOX enzyme.
The herb is rich in boswellic acids. One of these acids, called AKBA (3-acetyl-11-keto-betaboswellic acid), was shown to bind directly to the 5-LOX enzyme, which suggests prevention from leukotrienes production. (12)
Animal studies confirm that boswellic acids play a powerful role in healthy joint and muscle function. (13)
But the impact of inhibiting 5-LOX goes far beyond supporting joint health. The excess leukotrienes converted from 5-LOX negatively impact many organ systems of the body, creating far-reaching effects on overall health.
Here’s a review of the effects of Boswellia extracts on optimal health:
1. Boswellic acids have been found to support the health of the joints, muscles, colon, and lungs. (12, 13)
2. Cardiovascular support:
a. Boswellia has powerful antioxidant properties. (14)
b. Boswellia extracts support healthy levels of good and bad cholesterol. (15)
c. Boswellia exerted a beneficial gene-modulating effect on 113 genes involved in blood vessels and circulation. (16, 17)
3. Brain Health:
a. Boswellic extracts stimulate brain receptors called TRPV3, which support healthy mood. (18)
b. A constituent of boswellia, called Incensole Acetate, has been shown to support cells in the hippocampus responsible for memory and learning. (19)
4. Cell Replication:
a. Boswellic acid AKBA operates by many different mechanisms to support healthy cell replication. (20, 21)
Protection and Prevention
It has long been known that the degenerative metabolites of 5-LOX and leukotrienes have a devastating effect on the body. This, along with newer research, helps to explain in part why other 5-LOX inhibitors, like turmeric and fish oils, have been shown to be so profoundly beneficial. Boswellia appears to be an even more potent 5-LOX inhibitor and should be considered, along with dietary changes, as a part of your regime for healthy aging.