How Does Boswellia Help with Joint Pain?

How Does Boswellia Help with Joint Pain?

In this post we discuss what boswellia is and how it helps with joint pain.

What is Joint Pain and How Does it Arise?

Joints naturally deteriorate with age, use, and normal wear and tear. Though it can be considered a normal part of life, it does not mean that it isn’t uncomfortable.

One in five Canadians experience painful and inflamed joints. This can greatly hinder one’s ability to perform basic tasks such as walking, jumping, sitting, and climbing.

The most common type of joint pain is called osteoarthritis, which refers to the deterioration and associated pain experienced with the overuse of joints. When our joints are overused, it can not only affect the bones involved, but also the many other structures that make up a joint, including:

  • Cartilage
    • Normally: Absorbs any tension that occurs with movement, allowing easy and pain-free joint movement
    • Osteoarthritis Patients: Thins and breaks down
  • Tendons
    • Normally: Attaches muscle to bone
    • Osteoarthritis Patients: Can become inflamed and tender, contributing to joint pain and discomfort. This is also known as tendonitis
  • Ligaments
    • Normally: Attaches bone to bone
    • Osteoarthritis Patients: Shorten and therefore lose flexibility over time, contributing to joint stiffness
  • Synovial Fluid
    • Normally: Lubricates and allows for easy joint movements
    • Osteoarthritis Patients: Levels decrease, which results in less lubrication for our joints to move freely and pain-free

What is Boswellia and How Does it Help Joint Pain?

Since the beginning of time, humans have valued plant products for health and wellness. Boswellia was among the few natural resins used for these reasons, in addition to playing an important cultural role. In Ayurveda, or ‘The Mother of All Healing” medicinal practice in Indian culture, boswellia is recognized as a natural healing product known for its anti-inflammatory properties.

Boswellia comes from the resin or sap of the densely leaved boswellia tree. The species contains a variety of essential oils, carbohydrates, and boswellic acids that have shown to have great benefits for overall health. More specifically, boswellia has been shown to be an effective anti-inflammatory herbal extract that is a wonderful natural way to curb inflammation in the body.

Boswellia Mechanisms of Action

When taken as a supplement for joint health, boswellia blocks the formation of leukotrienes which is a major cause of inflammation in the body. It can also decrease the production of inflammatory cytokines known to destroy tissues, cells, and cartilage such as interleukin-1, -2, and -6, interferon gamma (IFN-y), and tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-a). Along with this, boswellia can also act as an analgesic and natural treatment for inflammatory-driven issues such as osteoarthritis.

A 2011 study found that after taking a boswellia supplement for 3 months, patients with osteoarthrits experienced a significant reduction in pain with improvement in physical abilities and quality of life. It was also reported that boswellia acted against the normal cartilage thinning seen in osteoarthritis and increased substances like collagen and glycosaminoglycans that build connective tissues like cartilage.

This provides further validation that boswellia is an excellent natural medicinal alternative to improve the discomfort in joints with arthritis.

How to Take Boswellia Supplements

Boswellia is available as a resin, capsule, or topical (skin cream) form. Discover which option is right for you below:

Cream: Boswellia creams can be applied directly to the skin to target painful areas of the body, such as joints. A 2015 study showed a greater concentration of boswellic acid is present in the local area where the cream was applied compared to the blood.  This shows that the topical boswellia acts locally and within its restricted target area (the joint) and is therefore an effective tool to treat joint pain.

Resin/Extract: Boswellia resin oil and extract are used in soaps, cosmetics, foods, and beverages. When boswellia is used as a resin, it is typically referred to as Indian Frankincense. If used to target joint pain, a person can:

  • Diffuse and inhale Frankincense essential oils
  • Add Frankincense essential oils to bath salts or directly to bath water
  • Dilute (with water) and apply directly to joints
  • Add a few drops to bandages and/or compression stockings

Capsule: Boswellia can be purchased online in capsule form to combat joint pain. Boswellia capsules are a great option to target systemic inflammation – either for joint pain in one area or to address other inflammation-related concerns like memory support and brain health.

How to Choose a Boswellia Supplement

*Disclaimer: This blog post is not offering medical advice. Please consult your healthcare practitioner prior to using boswellia or any other natural health product. *

How much boswellia should you take to reduce joint pain? The dosage can greatly vary depending on the product quality, individual, and product manufacturer. Health Canada’s Natural and Non-Prescription Health Products Directorate (NNHPD) have some recommendations around dosage of boswellia based on the health claim made for a product.

For example, Genuwell delivers 1000 mg/day (3 capsules) of Boswellia serrata extract when taken at the recommended daily dose.

Consider boswellia just like any other health supplement, always speak to a medical professional before adding it to your routine. Always check the label of products for any side effects, contraindications, and drug interactions to be aware of.

If you have decided that boswellia is for you, consult our quick checklist to ensure that you are getting products that are approved, safe, effective, and supported by research:

Is it Approved by Health Canada?

Be sure to check that the product is approved by looking for an 8-digit Natural Product Number (NPN) or Homeopathic Medicine Number (DIN-HM) on the label. You can look up products on Health Canada’s Licensed NHP Database to check their approval status.

What is the Purity?

To make sure you are getting what you pay for, double check that the boswellia product you plan to purchase actually has boswellia extract listed as the main active ingredient.

What is the Price?

The general rule of thumb is that if a product appears to be a very good deal compared to leading brands that provide quality products with high potency, you are likely not getting a premium product.

What is the Product Claim?

For best results, consider purchasing a boswellia supplement specifically affecting the health condition, such as memory, you wish to target.

Not Sure Where to Start?

Learn more about Genuwell Joint HealthPerfect for busy and active individuals struggling with joint stiffness, swelling, and/or pain, Genuwell Joint Health is clinically tested to:

Genuwell Joint Health - Kondor Pharma

  • Provide joint health support
  • Relieve joint pain and swelling
  • Improve joint and knee function
  • Minimize joint pain and swelling associated with osteoarthritis of the knee

How to Choose a Joint Health Supplement

How to choose a joint supplement - Kondor Pharma

Along with diet and lifestyle, joint supplements can be a great way to boost your joint health and prevent discomfort.

Common reasons for taking joint supplements are to:

  • Support overall joint health
  • Ease joint stiffness
  • Prevent pain and swelling in joints such as the knee
  • Improve joint mobility

Read on to learn how these natural health products work in the body, plus what to look for when choosing a joint health supplement.

But First, How Do Our Joints Work?

Before we get into the supplements, it’s important to have a basic understanding of how our joints work.

The human body contains anywhere between 250 and 350 joints depending on life stage. Basically, a joint is where two or more bones meet to allow us to move and bear weight.

There are a variety of different joint types such as ball and socket (movement in all directions, such as hip and shoulder), hinge (one direction movement, like the knee and elbow), and others.

There are three major joint types in the body:

  1. Fibrous (limited movement)
  2. Cartilaginous (minimal movement)
  3. Synovial (freely moving)

We will focus on how age and deterioration can affect synovial joints, the most common joint in the body. First, let’s understand how the joint functions normally.

In synovial joints, each bone is covered with a thin layer of cartilage, allowing for smooth and cushioned movements. There is a small space between the two meeting bones known as the joint cavity that contains synovial fluid, which is lubrication for joint movement. Ligaments and tendons attach the bones and muscles.

How Joints Deteriorate with Age

A lifetime of movement and normal wear and tear can take a toll on your body, including your joints. The pain and stiffness that occurs in joints with age is known as arthritis, with the most common type being osteoarthritis.

Commonly affecting the knee, hips, feet, and hands, osteoarthritis involves the gradual breakdown and thinning of cartilage as well as the decreasing levels of joint-lubricating synovial fluid.

How to choose a joint supplement - Kondor Pharma

Also, ligaments typically shorten and lose some flexibility over time, resulting in further joint stiffness.

Without synovial fluid and cartilage, the connecting bones will have a limited barrier and can start having direct contact. This usually causes pain, inflammation, discomfort and eventually a lack of flexibility. Think about how hard it is sometimes to bend down to grab something from the floor or simply bend your knee to do your laces.

Choosing a Joint Supplement

The good news is, joint supplementation can be added to your daily regimen to support joint health and pain, and/or to prevent pain from developing in the first place.

Alongside the typical pain relieving drugs like Acetaminophen and Ibuprofen, there are dozens of natural supplements that aid in joint health. Many products aim to reduce inflammation, decrease pain, and build cartilage.

Let’s look at a few ingredients known for joint health support:

1. Glucosamine & Chondroitin (Builds Cartilage)

Glucosamine and chondroitin are natural components found widely in connective tissues in the body such as cartilage. When cartilage deteriorates over time, supplementing with synthetic glucosamine and/or chondroitin can help rebuild cartilage in joints.

2. Boswellia (Targets Inflammation)

This naturally occurring extract from the boswellia serrata tree improves levels of inflammation in the body. As a result, it can help reduce pain in individuals with arthritis. (Learn more about boswellia’s anti-inflammatory effects and traditional use  in our recent blog post.)

3. Turmeric (Analgesic/Targets Inflammation)

Deep yellow turmeric is a well-known ingredient that helps mitigate pain and can also help joints. In one study, participants taking turmeric supplements noted a significant pain improvement when consuming turmeric supplements.

4. Omega-3 Fatty Acids (Targets Inflammation)

Fish oil contains anti-inflammatory compounds known as docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), two types of omega-3 fatty acids. The benefits of omega-3s are wide-ranging, but they are typically used as a daily supplement to improve heart and brain health and reduce bodily inflammation.  Omega-3s can help joint pain by reducing the inflammation that occurs when bones rub against each other.

What to Look for When Purchasing a Joint Health Supplement

Which joint supplement should you choose? It can be overwhelming, so here are a few questions to ask before deciding on a product:

  1. Is it Health Canada approved?

The first thing to know is that dietary supplements (known as natural health products in Canada) are regulated by the Canadian federal government. Only those that have been reviewed for safety, efficacy, and quality are issued a product licence to be sold. This applies to conventional retailers as well as online sellers such as manufacturers or through e-commerce platforms or websites like Amazon in Canada.

However, that doesn’t prevent poor-quality products from being sold online or in stores, especially in the U.S. where there is no pre-market approval. Be sure to check that the product is approved by looking for an 8-digit Natural Product Number (NPN) or Homeopathic Medicine Number (DIN-HM) on the label. You can look up products on Health Canada’s Licensed NHP Database to check their approval status.

  1. Does it Have the Ingredients I Want?

First, know what your supplement is going to target. Are you looking to aid in cartilage rebuilding? Are you only targeting pain and inflammation? Look at the supplement ingredients and check if the product contains the ingredients with efficacy for those indications.

Don’t hesitate to ask a store clerk, online customer service, or medical professional for assistance when picking the right product for you.

  1. What is the Dosage?

Ask your doctor or other healthcare practitioner what dosage of ingredient to use and for what health indications.

There can be different percentages of active ingredients in natural supplementation, so check that you are purchasing and consuming the correct dose.

If we revisit the 4 recommended ingredients commonly used to treat joint issues, the following doses are typically recommended:

  • Glucosamine: 1500mg/day
  • Chondroitin: 400-800mg 2-3x/day
  • Boswellia: 100-222mg 3x/day
  • Fish Oil: 300-1000mg/day
  • Turmeric: 500mg 2-4x/day

(These are standard recommended dosages found in a variety of studies; however, these may not apply to everyone. Please discuss with a medical professional before adding a supplement to your daily routine).

  1. Is it An Appropriate Price?

Natural health products can range in price depending on purity, the number of tablets in a bottle, milligrams of active extract per pill, and so on.

If a product appears to be a very good deal compared to leading brands that pride themselves on quality and potency, you are likely not getting a premium product!

Where to Buy Joint Supplements

You can find joint supplements online or through retailers.Genuwell - Joint Health - Kondor Pharma

Shop Kondor Pharma’s Joint Health product GenuwellTM to provide joint support through the natural ingredient of Boswellia. It is:

  1. Health Canada approved – GenuwellTM (NPN: 80101121) has been approved to help relieve joint pain and swelling associated with osteoarthritis of the knees
  2. Contains ingredients for joint pain and inflammation – contains standardized boswellia extract
  3. Supported by research Read the science behind boswellia for joint health

Easy Ways to Minimize Joint Problems in Cold Weather This Fall

With the colder seasons fast approaching, joint pain, stiffness, and discomfort will unfortunately be on the rise. Joint problems and cold weather seem to go hand in hand.

To help you keep your joints healthy and functioning properly through the cooler months, we’ve put together a list of easy ways to minimize joint problems in cold weather this fall.

But first, let’s dive into the reasons why colder weather can worsen your joint issues.

What is Joint Pain, Exactly?

Joint troubles can be an everyday discomfort or even pain experienced by one in six Canadians, especially as we age. We often think about our knee joints, but since we have joints all over our bodies, pain can be experienced in a variety of places. Knee, shoulder, and hip are pretty common complaints.

There is not one type or cause of joint pain. It can involve discomfort, pain, or inflammation in any part of a joint (bone, tendon, ligaments, cartilage, or muscle)and can make walking, climbing up and down stairs, for instance, very challenging.

Not surprisingly, joint pain can greatly affect a person’s quality of life and ability to perform basic, day-to-day tasks.

The two most common types of joint pain/arthritis are known as:

  • Osteoarthritis, which affects the cartilage between bones after wear and tear or overuse
  • Rheumatoid arthritis, which involves the immune system attacking joint tissues

Why do I have joint pain?

Joint pain is not a guaranteed misfortune that comes with aging, though more than 50% of people over 65 years of age will experience achy joints.

The severity and location of joint issues can be dependent on previous and current physical activity, injuries, genetics, and overuse.

While joint pain is more likely to happen in older adults, you can also have arthritic pain at a younger age if you sustained an injury (e.g., car accident) that causes chronic pain, if you were/are an athlete, or because of your genes.

Why do my joint problems worsen in cold weather?

Cold weather brings relief for many who find summer temperatures uncomfortable, but the opposite is true when it comes to your joints.

It has been a longstanding belief that joint sufferers experience greater pain during the cold and snowy weather. Research and testimonials have confirmed this is true! It turns out that cold environment does not cause joint pain or arthritis, but can increase the painful symptoms.

For those who love the nitty gritty details, here is the science behind why you may feel achier when colder weather approaches. The pressure within the Earth’s atmosphere will change depending on the weather. This is known as atmospheric or barometric pressure. As pressure drops with colder weather, our joints may start to swell, which creates discomfort.

It’s science, sure, but that doesn’t mean this is something anyone wants to put up with for every chilly season that comes along.

Joint pain and the cold

Stay warm

How can we combat the extra discomfort and pain cold weather brings to our joints?

First, bundle, bundle, bundle! When you are out in the cold, it is smart to wear loose, layered clothing to trap your body’s heat and keep your joints warm.

Pay attention to what joints are causing you the most discomfort and focus on keeping those joints out of the cold. For example, if you experience arthritis in the hands, be sure to wear thick gloves or mittens to reduce any aches and stiffness. You might not feel the cold right away, but your joints will react to any changes in your environment.

Continuing the same theme, feel free to use warmth to your, and your joints’, benefit! Heat therapy is a common trick to keep your joints loose and mobile. These treatments can include heating pads placed inside mittens or and warm showers/baths following cold exposure.

Eat a healthy diet

Did you know that delicious as they may be, sugary foods can cause achy joints to ache even more? As mentioned on our other blog posts, inflammatory diets can lead to a cascade of negative health effects.

Foods that contribute to high cholesterol such as saturated fats, excess sugar, and processed foods are also linked to obesity, which will take its own toll on your already struggling joints.

With that in mind, your joints will thank you if you try to eat an anti-inflammatory diet rich in fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole foods (stay away from processed foods!) to result in less overall inflammation in the body.

Avoid stress

Stress management is key, though it’s not always easy. The fact is, being stressed can trigger constant tension and inflammation in the body which can worsen joint issues.

At times, arthritic symptoms can cause its own vicious stress cycle of fatigue, pain, and low-quality sleep. This chronic stress can lead to lower desire and motivation to exercise and eat a healthy diet, which will further contribute to joint pain.

Bottom line: Listen to your body if you are working it too hard.

Tip: If you notice that stress is a part of your life, consider a relaxing type of exercise to help bring your body to ease such as yoga or meditation.

Stay active

It’s true: lack of physical activity can cause joints to become stiff and sore.

The Arthritis Foundation recommends that is you are struggling with joint pain you should engage in 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise per week. That divides out to about 20 minutes a day…that seems doable, right?

Low-impact aerobic exercise can improve joint strength and flexibility, boost energy, and help to ease pain of your joints and surrounding areas.

Amanda Nelson, MD, discussed this topic in an interview and simply stated, “First things first: you just have to start”. Meaning, if you are not used to partaking in any athletic activities, perhaps you can work your way up to a 20-minute session. Still, there is no shame in doing a shorter one! It’s all about just beginning and getting into a routine.

Get out there and make those joints happy any way you can. And don’t forget to warm up and stretch those muscles and joints before you go out in the cold weather!

So what kind of exercise should you be doing?

It is a great idea to target the three facets of fitness: strength, endurance, and flexibility.

  • Low-impact aerobics (such as walking, biking, and swimming)
  • Muscle strengthening (such as weight training and resistance bands)
  • Balance and flexibility (such as yoga and tai chi)

Consider a joint health supplement

Genuwell - Joint Health - Kondor PharmaFor added support to keep your joints healthy as we head into the cooler fall months, Kondor Pharma created a natural health product called Genuwell for this exact purpose.

This gluten-free, vegetarian supplement is geared toward addressing inflammation, the primary cause of most joint issues and pain.

As always, be sure to talk to your doctor before trying any new natural health product.