In This Article
Do You Look Forward to Your Old Age?
Sadly, aging has become nearly synonymous with a handful of medical concerns, rather than with ripening healthily into greater wisdom and experience.
What if these age-related 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 example is a single lethal enzyme linked with seven of the 10 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 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, used for joint support for thousands of years, is now the focus of cutting-edge 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 that plays an important role in heart disease, cancer, arthritis, chronic respiratory disease, Alzheimer’s, diabetes, influenza, pneumonia, and kidney diseases.2
What is the cause of 5-LOX? It may be the typical American diet. Foods such as red meat, duck, poultry, eggs, and dairy, along with high-glycemic carbohydrates, are high in omega-6 fatty acids, which convert to arachidonic acid.
According to experts, the optimal ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids is at least 4:1. Sadly, the standard American diet can be as much as 25x higher in omega-6 fatty acids than omega-3s. In response to high levels of arachidonic acid, the body produces the 5-LOX enzyme.
In certain quantities, arachidonic acid is essential and beneficial. It helps build cell membranes, regulates and mediates inflammation, fights infections, supports skin health, and helps with blood clotting. The problem comes when arachidonic-producing foods are eaten in excess. This stimulates overproduction of the aging enzyme 5-LOX, resulting in production of proinflammatory molecules called leukotrienes.3
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Diseases Linked to Leukotrienes
- cardiovascular disease4
- inflammatory bowel disease10
While dietary changes may reduce production of 5-LOX 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, used for thousands of years in Ayurveda for joint, muscle, and gut health, has demonstrated inhibitive properties against the 5-LOX enzyme.
Boswellia is rich in boswellic acids. One of these acids, called AKBA (3-acetyl-11-keto-betaboswellic acid), was shown to bind directly to 5-LOX, which suggests protection from leukotriene 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. Excess leukotrienes converted from 5-LOX negatively impact many organ systems, creating far-reaching effects on overall health.
Benefits of Boswellia Extracts
Boswellic acids have been found to support health of joints, muscles, colon, and lungs.12,13
- Boswellia has powerful antioxidant properties.14
- Boswellia extracts support healthy levels of good and bad cholesterol.15
- Boswellia exerts a beneficial gene-modulating effect on 113 genes involved in blood vessels and circulation.16,17
- Boswellic extracts stimulate brain receptors, called TRPV3, which support healthy mood.18
- A constituent of boswellia, called incensole acetate, has been shown to support cells in the hippocampus responsible for memory and learning.19
- Boswellic acid (AKBA) operates by many different mechanisms to support healthy cell replication.20,21
Protection + 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 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 regimen for healthy aging.
How are you planning to age gracefully?