The science of boswellia

The sap of the desert tree Boswellia serrata, which grows across Africa and India, is a good example of the natural world’s complexity and versatility. This sap is the incense burned in religious rituals. It is also the frankincense mentioned in the bible. In addition, it is a potent anti-inflammatory, with a remarkable affinity for blocking key inflammatory regulators.

The effect is usually attributed to molecules called triterpenoids, or boswellic acids, particularly 11-keto-β-boswellic acid, and its cousin, acetyl-11-keto-β-boswellic acid. Between them they block an enzyme called 5-Lipoxygenase, which is a key mediator of inflammation, and one that becomes more active with age, particularly in the nervous system (see Age Better). More recent research has also identified a molecule called incensole acetate, which inhibits a master inflammatory regulator called NF-kB (nuclear factor kappa B). NF-kB controls around 400 of the genes which code for inflammation’s essential building blocks. It is a bottleneck. Block NF-kB and the equipment inflammation runs on doesn’t get built.

One capsule of LifeGuard Essentials delivers 62.50 milligrams of Boswellia serrata extract, of which 30% is boswellic acids.