Pain, pain go away; don’t come again another day.
Pain is an ever-present problem for people who suffer from a number of chronic illnesses. It is the primary symptom in diseases like fibromyalgia, lupus, osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis; and it may be a secondary, nonetheless significant, symptom in illnesses such as myalgic encephalomyelitis, chronic fatigue syndrome, Lyme disease, multiple sclerosis and many others.
According to the 2011 IOM report, chronic pain affects more than 100 million American adults. The intensity can range from mildly uncomfortable to excruciating. Often the pain is severe enough to be debilitating, limiting the sufferer’s ability to carry out the basic functions of day-to-day life.
When it comes to treating chronic pain, doctors usually prescribe a variety of medications, including antidepressants, anti-seizure drugs, non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs) and opioids. The problem with most prescription medications is that although they frequently offer only minimal pain relief, they almost always come with a long list of unpleasant side effects. As a result, many patients find themselves searching for other more natural options to ease their pain.
A Natural Alternative
In an effort to help provide some relief, ProHealth has developed Fibro Soothe, a specialized formulation of natural herbs and other nutrients specifically designed to support a healthy inflammation response while also addressing joint and muscle discomfort.
WokVel® – Bioavailabile Boswellia Extract
Boswellia serrata, also known as Indian Frankincense or Guggul, was widely used in the ancient Indian practice of Ayurvedic medicine. It is a tree resin known for its ability to soothe joint, muscle and connective tissue discomfort. Boswellia has been popular for centuries despite the fact that scientists now know boswellic acids are not absorbed well and are highly metabolized, which means they have low bioavailability.(1)
Researchers at Verdure SciencesTM recognized that if Boswellia was good even though it was hard to absorb, it had huge potential to be even better if they could find a way to make it more bioavailable. Using a special patented processing technique, they developed WokVel®, a “branded” form of highly bioavailable Boswellia serrata that remains in its 100% natural form with no chemical modifications.
Does making Boswellia more absorbable increase its ability to soothe inflammation? Research seems to indicate that it does.
A 2007 randomized clinical trial compared WokVel® to the NSAID valdecoxib (Bextra) in 66 patients with osteoarthritis of the knee. Both groups showed significant improvement. Although it took longer at first for the benefits to be experienced in the WokVel® group, the positive effects lasted a full month longer than the NSAID after they stopped stopped taking it.(2)
A 2003 double-blind, placebo-controlled crossover trial of 30 patients with osteoarthritis of the knee found that the chronic administration of Wokvel® Extract to human subjects led to a significant increase of joint flexion and mobility, and was well tolerated. The researchers concluded, “Boswellia serrata extract is recommended in the patients of osteoarthritis of the knee with possible therapeutic use in other arthritis.”(3)
- In a 1992 study, Wokvel® Extract also was shown to be bioavailable in humans, with a single dose of 333mg achieving blood levels of keto-boswellic acid (KBA) shown to address 5-lipoxygenase, an inflammatory mediator.(4)
Longvida® – Bioavailable Tumeric/Curcumin
Tumeric has been a staple in Indian Ayurvedic and Traditional Chinese health care systems for centuries. Curcumin, the active ingredient in tumeric, has notable anti-inflammatory properties that may promote soothing comfort in muscles and joints. However, much like Boswellia, curcumin has been found to be poorly absorbed by the body.(5)
Fortunately researchers have discovered a way to make curcumin 65X more bioavailable.(6) Thanks to a fortuitous “mistake,” UCLA neuroscientists stumbled upon a process now called SLCPTM Technology and branded the resulting curcumin product Longvida®.
The reason Longvida® is able to provide such a dramatic increase in bioavailability is that it is designed to protect the curcumin from the harsh environment of the stomach, where much of ordinary curcumin is destroyed, and dissolve it in the GI tract, where it is effectively absorbed, crossing into the bloodstream and target tissues.
An added bonus: In addition to easing muscle and joint discomfort, Longvida® promotes healthy cognitive function – a frequent problem for fibromyalgia, ME/CFS and Lyme disease patients.
WokVel® and Longvida® Pack a One-Two Punch
As noted above, WokVel® Boswellia alone was found to be comparable to a prescription NSAID in soothing joint pain, but when combined with Longvida® curcumin, it appears to be even more effective.
- In a 2013 trial of 28 patients with knee osteoarthritis, the WokVel®/Longvida® combination was compared with the prescription NSAID celecoxib (Celebrex). The Boswellia/curcumin duo was found to be more effective with fewer adverse effects than the celecoxib.(7)
Additional Ingredients in Fibro Soothe
If the one-two punch of Boswellia and curcumin wasn’t enough, Fibro Soothe contains six additional ingredients that each promote a healthy inflammation response.
DL-Phenylalanine (DLPA) is a 50/50 mixture of the D- and L- forms of the essential amino acid phenylalanine. The body changes phenylalanine into tyrosine, another amino acid needed to make mood-elevating brain chemicals like dopamine, epinephrine and norepinephrine. It also blocks carboxypeptidase A, a nervous system enzyme that intensifies pain signals. Additionally, it is thought that DLPA helps prevent the breakdown of enkephalins, a naturally occurring peptide with potent painkilling effects. (Enkephalins are related to endorphins.)
Ginger has strong anti-inflammatory properties that studies show may rival the benefits of some popular medications.
A 2009 study found that ginger was as effective as ibuprofen in relieving pain from menstrual cramps.(8)
A 2001 trial showed that a ginger extract significantly reduced the symptoms of osteoarthritis of the knee.(9)
A 2013 study of women athletes found that those who took ginger daily had a significant decrease in muscle soreness.(10)
A 2014 trial found that ginger was comparable to the prescription drug sumatriptan for reducing the severity of migraines and had fewer side effects.(11)
Devil’s Claw, an anti-inflammatory herbal treatment which can help switch off inflammation, is widely used in Europe to relieve pain. The University of Maryland Medical Center cites numerous studies demonstrating the effectiveness of devil’s claw for relieving pain – particularly related to osteoarthritis, back and neck pain.(12)
- One 54-week trial compared 38 people who took devil’s claw with 35 people who took the popular pain reliever rofecoxib (Vioxx). The devil’s claw was found to work as well as Vioxx in relieving pain. Since then, the FDA has taken Vioxx off the market due to increased risk of heart problems.(12)
Ashwagandha is another key herb used in Ayurvedic medicine as a remedy for pain, stress, fatigue, diabetes, GI and rheumatologic disorders. A review of ashwagandha studies indicates it possesses anti-inflammatory, antitumor, antistress, antioxidant, immunomodulatory, hemopoietic, and rejuvenating properties.(13) Additionally, ashwagandha shows promise in neuroprotection. Researchers have discovered that this adaptogenic herb prevents damage to neurons and improves neurological function in the face of stress.(14)
Bromelain, an enzyme found in pineapple, is a powerful inflammation response supporter. It has anti-inflammatory, immunomodulatory, anti-diarrheal, anti-carcinogenic and wound-healing properties. Bromelain is widely used in sports medicine to combat the discomfort and swelling of bruises.
Papain, an enzyme found in papaya, aids in the digestion of proteins and helps support proper inflammatory responses in the body.
NOTE: You can purchase ProHealth’s Fibro Soothe here
Dosage: Take 2 capsules 1 to 2 times daily or as advised by your healthcare professional.
Allergens: Contains milk and soy.
Contraindications: Not to be used during pregnancy.
This information has not been reviewed by the FDA. It is not meant to prevent, diagnose, treat or cure any condition, illness, or disease.
1. Krüger P, et al. Metabolism of Boswellic Acids in Vitro and in Vivo. DMD June 2008 vol. 36 no. 6 1135-1142.
2. Sontakke S, et al. Open, randomized, controlled clinical trial of Boswellia serrata extract as compared to valdecoxib in osteoarthritis of knee. Indian J Pharmacol 2007;39:27-9.
3. Kimmatkar N., et al. Efficacy and tolerability of Boswellia serrata extract in treatment of osteoarthritis of knee – a randomized double blind placebo controlled trial. Phytomedicine. 2003 Jan; 10(1):3-7.
4. Safayhi H, et al. Boswellic acids: novel, specific nonredox inhibitors of 5-lipoxygenase. J Pharmacol Exp. Ther. 1992 June;261(3):1143-6.
5. Sahdeo Prasad PhD, et al. Recent Developments in Delivery, Bioavailability, Absorption and Metabolism of Curcumin: the Golden Pigment from Golden Spice. Cancer Res Treat. 2014 Jan; 46(1): 2–18.
6. Gota VS, et al. Safety and pharmacokinetics of a solid lipid curcumin particle formulation in osteosarcoma patients and health volunteers. J Agric Food Chem. 2010 Feb 24;58(4):2095-9. doi: 10.1021/jf9024807.
7. Kizhakkedath R. Clinical evaluation of a formulation containing Curcuma longa and Boswellia serrata extracts in the management of knee osteoarthritis. Mol Med Rep. November 2013;8(5):1542-1548.
8. Ozgoli G, et al. Comparison of effects of ginger, mefenamic acid, and ibuprofen on pain in women with primary dysmenorrhea. J Altern Complement Med. 2009 Feb;15(2):129-32. doi: 10.1089/acm.2008.0311.
9. Altman RD, Marcussen KC. Effects of a ginger extract on knee pain in patients with osteoarthritis. Arithritis Rheum. 2001 Nov;44(11):2531-8.
10. Mashhadi NS, et al. Influence of ginger and cinnamon intake on inflammation and muscle soreness endued by exercise in Iranian female athletes. Int J Prev Med. 2013 Apr;4(Suppl 1):S11-5.
11. Maghbooli M, et al. Comparison between the efficacy of ginger and sumatriptan in the ablative treatment of the common migraine. Phytother Res. 2014 Mar;28(3):412-5. doi: 10.1002/ptr.4996. Epub 2013 May 9.
12. Ehrlich, Steven D. Devil’s Claw. University of Maryland Medical Center. June 22, 2015.
13. Mishra LC. Scientific basis for the therapeutic use of Withania somnifera (ashwagandha): a review. Altern Med Rev. 2000 Aug;5(4):334-46.
14. Tohda C. Search for natural products related to regeneration of the neuronal network. Neurosignals. 2005;14(1-2):34-45.
Karen Lee Richards is ProHealth’s Editor-in-Chief. A fibromyalgia patient herself, she co-founded the nonprofit organization now known as the National Fibromyalgia Association (NFA) and served as its vice-president for eight years. She was also the executive editor of Fibromyalgia AWARE, the very first full-color, glossy magazine devoted to FM and other invisible illnesses. After leaving the NFA, Karen served as the Guide to Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome for the New York Times website About.com, and then for eight years as the Chronic Pain Health Guide for The HealthCentral Network.