Boswell Relief or SmartZyme?

Q. Dear Dr. Dean,

Can you tell me if one would do better taking Boswell ­Relief or Smartzyme for elevated cytokines?

GREG, Minneapolis, MN

Dear Greg,

Which cytokines? Is any particular disease or condition that you know of causing these cytokines to be elevated?

I don’t think there’s any one best remedy for lowering abnormally elevated inflammatory cytokines. I recommend a combination. For example, Boswellia, as you suggested, is a good one.1 As are the proteolytic anti-inflammatory enzyme combinations such as SmartZyme.2,3

However, don’t overlook a number of other powerful anti-inflammatory substances such as CoQ10 and DHEA. Scientists have demonstrated that CoQ10 taken at 150 mg dramatically lowers IL-6, HS-CRP (high-sensitivity C-Reactive Protein) and homocysteine,4 and DHEA is well-documented to lower IL-6.5–7

Also, don’t discount the anti-inflammatory, cytokine-lowering properties of EGCG (the active ingredient in green tea),8 and Turmeric.9,10

Ward Dean, MD


  1. Ammon HP. Modulation of the immune system by Boswellia serrata extracts and boswellic acids. Phytomedicine. 2010 Sep;17(11):862-7. doi: 10.1016/j.phymed.2010.03.003. Epub 2010 Aug 8.
  2. IIe S. [Pathogenetic substantiation of using peptidases in the treatment of patients with generalized periodontitis (GP)]. Fiziol Zh. 2013;59(2):85-91.
  3. Müller S, März R, Schmolz M, et al. Placebo-controlled randomized clinical trial on the immunomodulating activities of low- and high-dose bromelain after oral administration - new evidence on the antiinflammatory mode of action of bromelain. Phytother Res. 2013 Feb;27(2):199-204. doi: 10.1002/ptr.4678. Epub 2012 Apr 20.
  4. Lee BJ, Huang YC, Chen SJ, Lin PT. Effects of coenzyme Q10 supplementation on inflammatory markers (high-sensitivity C-reactive protein, interleukin-6, and homocysteine) in patients with coronary artery disease. Nutrition. 2012 Jul;28(7-8):767-72.
  5. Weiss EP1, Villareal DT, Fontana L, et al. Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) replacement decreases insulin resistance and lowers inflammatory cytokines in aging humans. Aging (Albany NY). 2011 May; 3(5): 533–42.
  6. James K, Premchand N, Skibinska A, et al. IL-6, DHEA and the ageing process. Mech Ageing Dev. 1997 Feb;93(1-3):15-24.
  7. Daynes RA, Araneo BA, Ershler WB, et al. Altered regulation of IL-6 production with normal aging. J Immunol. 150 (1993) 5219-30.
  8. Cao Y, Wang D, Wang X, et al. (-)-Epigallocatechin gallate inhibits TNF-α-induced PAI-1 production in vascular endothelial cells. J Cardiovasc Pharmacol. 2013 Nov;62(5):452-6. doi: 10.1097/FJC.0b013e3182a18ba8.
  9. Zhang Y, Zhao C, He W, et al. Discovery and evaluation of asymmetrical monocarbonyl analogs of curcumin as anti-inflammatory agents. Drug Des Devel Ther. 2014 Apr 4;8:373-82. doi: 10.2147/DDDT.S58168. eCollection 2014.
  10. Moreillon JJ, Bowden RG, Deike E, et al. The use of an anti-inflammatory supplement in patients with chronic kidney disease. J Complement Integr Med. 2013 Jul 1;10. pii: /j/jcim.2013.10.issue-1/jcim-2012-0011/jcim-2012-0011.xml. doi: 10.1515/jcim-2012-0011.

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