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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 enzyme that is linked with seven of the ten leading issues associated with suboptimal health in aging Americans. (1)
New research shows that an herb used in Ayurveda for thousands of years has been found to inhibit this very enzyme 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. The excess build-up of this enzyme is linked to a cellular response in the body that plays an important role in the regulation of heart health, comfortable joint function, normal respiratory response to acute environmental stimuli, healthy cognitive function, normal blood sugar levels, and healthy kidney function associated with the aging process. (1)
The typical American diet may be the problem. 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 the presence of high levels of arachidonic acids, the body reacts by converting them into 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, supports a healthy immune system, helps maintain skin health and the normal clotting of the blood. The problem comes when arachidonic-producing foods are eaten in excess. This stimulates the conversion into the aging enzyme 5-LOX, which can result in the production of leukotrienes. (2)
There are literally hundreds of studies linking elevated levels of leukotrienes in the body to cardiovascular, joint, respiratory, mental and digestive health. (3-8)
While dietary changes may help reduce the production of LOX-5 and help neutralize the potential for these related health, concerns, 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 the potential to shield the body from excess production of leukotrienes. (9)
Animal studies confirm that boswellic acids play a powerful role in healthy joint and muscle function. (10)
But the impact of inhibiting 5-LOX goes far beyond supporting joint health. The excess leukotrienes converted from 5-LOX can negatively impact many organ systems of the body, potentially 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. (9, 10)
2. Cardiovascular support:
a. Boswellia has powerful antioxidant properties. (11)
b. Boswellia extracts support cholesterol levels already within a normal range. (12)
c. Boswellia has been shown to exert a beneficial effect on 113 genes linked to maintenance of healthy blood vessels and cardiovascular circulation. (13, 14)
3. Boswellic extracts stimulate brain receptors called TRPV3, which support healthy mood. (18)
Protection and Prevention
It has long been known that the degenerative metabolites of 5-LOX and leukotrienes can have a devastating effect on the aging 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.