Look to natural ingredients to allay patients’ acute pain.
When your patients are in pain, you want to provide them with effective treatment and relief. Too often, you’ve seen patients taking anti-inflammatory drugs that wear away the lining of the stomach and increase the risk of heart attack and stroke, which needlessly kill more than 30,000 Americans each year.
Fortunately, natural ingredients can work just as well—causing side benefits (including lowered cancer and Alzheimer’s risk) instead of side effects. High-absorption curcumin; high- AKBA boswellia; D,L-phenylalanine; and nattokinase are all agents that help stop pain fast and effectively, and are ideal complements to structural and other natural treatments.
Both curcumin and boswellia have been integral to Ayurvedic medicine for generations and developed through recent scientific advances. In India, turmeric is a part of everyday life. It forms the backbone of curries that season virtually every meal. Like many spices, it was used traditionally as medicine.
Turmeric’s primary compound, curcumin, is considered the main power behind its beneficial anti-inflammatory effects and may even explain the statistically lower incidence of Alzheimer’s in India. Most people following a Western diet consume little curcumin, so a supplemental form is best for noticeable, measurable results.1
Many of the curcumin extracts on the market are regular formulas, standardized to 95 percent curcumin. Unfortunately, standard curcumin is poorly absorbed and doesn’t pass easily from the gastrointestinal tract into the bloodstream. In addition, much of the curcumin that does reach the bloodstream quickly converts into other compounds.
Accordingly, find a high-absorption curcumin formulation that blends the extract with turmeric oils. This natural process allows curcumin to be absorbed up to 10 times better than standard extracts and remain in the bloodstream for up to 12 hours at significant levels. The enhanced bioavailability makes it a much better choice to fight pain and inflammation throughout the body.2-3
Curcumin also has impressive anti-inflammatory properties and serves as more than just a pain reliever. And there is one thing that heart disease, cancer, diabetes, arthritis, asthma, Alzheimer’s, bowel disorders, and even obesity have in common—oxidative stress caused by free radicals and inflammation in the body.
More to the florae
Boswellia is another especially potent botanical widely used in India. It reduces pain by inhibiting the inflammatory enzyme 5-LOX. But like curcumin, not all boswellia extracts are the same. The ideal natural pain- fighting and anti-inflammatory combination is low in beta-boswellic acid (which interferes with beneficial activity) and has higher levels of acetyl-11-keto-beta-boswellic acid, or AKBA, to boost effectiveness.4-5
D,L-phenylalanine (or DLPA) contains two forms of the amino acid phenylalanine. The “L” form improves mood-elevating chemicals in the brain, such as dopamine, epinephrine, and norepinephrine. The “D” form of phenylalanine appears to block a nervous system enzyme (enzyme carboxypeptidase A) that intensifies pain signals.
The combination of these two forms may prevent the breakdown of one of the brain’s natural pain-killing substances, enkephalins, which are in the same family as endorphins. So it reduces pain and improves your mood in dealing with discomfort.6-8
Nattokinase is an enzyme from fermented soybean that increases circulation, enabling other compounds that are carried in the bloodstream (such as curcumin, boswellia, and pain-killing endorphins) to reach the areas where they are most needed. It also balances a compound in the body associated with muscle damage and muscle fiber stiffness.9-10
A scientific method
High-absorption curcumin has been featured in published research concerning pain and inflammation. One study used a combination of high- absorption curcumin and high-AKBA boswellia in a study of osteoarthritis relief. The other focused on rheumatoid arthritis (RA) using high-absorption curcumin alone.
The osteoarthritis study compared the two botanicals to a generic celecoxib in individuals with osteoarthritis. One group received celecoxib (100 mg twice daily) while the second group received a 500 mg blend of the high-absorption curcumin and the high-AKBA, low- beta boswellia extract twice daily.
When it came to relieving pain, around 65 percent of those taking the herbal ingredients versus 30 percent in the drug group were able to progress from having “moderate to severe arthritis” to “mild to moderate arthritis.”11
The RA study followed 45 individuals randomized to three groups. Group one received diclofenac sodium (50 mg twice daily); group two received 500 mg of high-absorption curcumin twice daily; and group three received both diclofenac sodium and high-absorption curcumin.
In both curcumin groups, there were no dropouts resulting from adverse effects, but in the diclofenac sodium group, 14 percent withdrew due to adverse effects.
In the Disease Activity Score in 28 Joints (DAS28) patient assessment, curcumin alone had the highest impact for reducing disease symptoms, followed by the combination therapy of curcumin with diclofenac sodium. Interestingly, the diclofenac sodium-alone group came in last place.12
When seeking the help of integrative practitioners and chiropractors, it’s not unusual for patients dealing with pain to have difficulty settling on an effective anti-inflammatory. The ingredients outlined above are safe in combination with any other pain medications and provide a simple, powerful, and reliable choice for relief without side effects. With this natural mix, you can help patients live the active life they love.
Jacob Teitelbaum, MD, is director of the Practitioners Alliance network, fostering communication between all health practitioners (vitality101.com/pan) and an internationally known expert in the fields of chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, sleep, and pain. He is the author of many books, including the perennial best-seller From Fatigued to Fantastic; Real Cause, Real Cure; Pain Free 1-2-3; and the popular, free iPhone & Android app Cures A-Z. He can be reached at 410-573-5389 or through endfatigue.com.
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2 Antony B, Merina B, Iyer VS, et al. A pilot cross-over study to evaluate human oral bioavailability of BCM-95 CG (Biocurcumax) a novel bioenhanced preparation of curcumin. Ind J Pharm Sci. 2008;70(4):445-9.
3 Benny B, Antony B. Bioavailability of Biocurcumax (BCM-95). Spice India. 2006;19:11-15.
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5 Poeckel D, Tausch L, Altmann A, et al. Induction of central signaling pathways and select functional effects in human platelets by beta-boswellic acid. Br J Pharmacol. 2005;146(4):514-24.
6 Ehrenpreis S. Analgesic properties of enkephalinase inhibitors: animal and human studies. Prog Clin Biol Res. 1985;192:363-70.
7 Ehrenpreis S. D-phenylalanine and other enkephalinase inhibitors as pharmacological agents: implications for some important therapeutic application. Acupunct Electrother Res. 1982;7(2-3):157-72.
8 DLPA. In: Hendler SS, ed. PDR for Nutritional Supplements. 2nd ed. Montvale, NJ: Physician’s Desk Reference; 2008:189.
9 Hsia CH, Shen MC, Lin JS, et al. Nattokinase decreases plasma levels of fibrinogen, factor VII, and factor VIII in human subjects. Nutr Res. 2009;29(3):190-6.
10 Fujita M, Hong K, Ito Y, et al. Thrombolytic effect of nattokinase on a chemically induced thrombosis model in rat. Biol Pharm Bull. 1995;18(10):1387-91.
11 Antony B, Kizhakedath R, Benny M, Kuruvilla BT. Clinical Evaluation of a herbal product (Rhulief) in the management of knee osteoarthritis. Abstract 316. Osteoarthritis Cartilage. 2011;19(S1):S145-S146.
12 Chandran B, Goel A. A randomized, pilot study to assess the efficacy and in patients with active rheumatoid arthritis. Phytother 12;(11):1719-25.