The July 2013 issue of the Journal of Complementary and Integrative Medicine reports the finding of researchers at Baylor University of a reduction in a marker of inflammation among chronic kidney disease patients given a combination of Curcuma longa (curcumin) and Boswellia serrata.
The study included sixteen individuals receiving standard care for chronic kidney disease who were not undergoing dialysis. Participants were randomized to receive capsules containing curcumin from turmeric extract plus Boswellia serrata, or a placebo for eight weeks. Blood samples collected before and after treatment were analyzed for plasma interleukin-6 (IL-6), tumor-necrosis-factor-alpha (markers of inflammation), and the endogenous antioxidant enzyme glutathione peroxidase, as well as serum C-reactive protein (CRP, another marker of inflammation.)
Participants' blood test results at the beginning of the study revealed increased inflammation and reduced glutathione peroxide levels. At the study's conclusion, those who received curcumin and Boswellia serrata experienced a reduction in interleukin-6 in comparison with pretreatment values, indicating decreased inflammation, while IL-6 values rose among those who received a placebo.
In their discussion of the findings, the authors remark that curcumin and Boswellia serrata have been separately shown to lower interleukin-6 via inhibition of the nuclear factor kappa beta and mitogen activated protein kinase (MAPK) signaling pathways. Although tumor-necrosis factor-alpha was not reduced in the current study, they observe that the ACE inhibiting drugs used by the majority of the patients, which are known to lower tumor-necrosis factor-alpha, could have influenced the results.
"Our findings partially support previous research on the anti-inflammatory effects of curcumin and Boswellia serrata," Jennifer J. Moreillon and colleagues write. "Larger randomized trials are needed to further investigate the role of anti-inflammatory supplements in moderate chronic kidney disease. Particularly, it is of great importance to determine how these compounds decrease inflammation and thus, cardiovascular mortality."