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Boron, Boswellia & Bovine Cartilage

Boron seems to assist in the proper absorption of calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus from foods, and slows the loss of these minerals through urination.

Therapeutic Uses
In people, boron is recommended for the therapy of osteoarthritis, osteoporosis, and rheumatoid arthritis, although the evidence is weak for its effectiveness. Boron may speed up the burning of calories in people.

In pets, supplements for osteoarthritis and obesity may contain boron, although as with people good studies are lacking showing its effectiveness.

Good sources of boron include leafy vegetables, raisins, prunes, nuts, non-citrus fruits and grains.

Safety Issues
Boron is considered to be fairly safe unless used at extremely high doses.

Investigations of boswellia have shown the herb contains certain substances known as boswellic acids, which appear to possess anti-inflammatory properties. Studies have shown the anti-inflammatory effects are comparable to phenylbutazone and other nonsteroidal medications. The anti-inflammatory action may be due to inhibition of leukotrienes, potent products similar to prostaglandins.

Therapeutic Uses
In addition to its use for its anti-inflammatory properties, other research suggests boswellia may improve the biochemical structure of cartilage by prolonging the half-life of glycosaminoglycans in the cartilage.

The resin was found to be effective in people with ulcerative colitis (mimicking the action of sulfasalazine, an antibiotic often recommended for rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, liver disease, asthma and diarrhea.

Scientific Evidence
In two studies in people with rheumatoid arthritis, one study found benefit in those taking boswellia and another study found no benefit. The conclusion was while boswellia might be helpful more research is needed. There has not been a formal study of boswellia’s effectiveness in osteoarthritis.

Safety Issues
Boswellia can cause diarrhea, skin inflammation, and nausea in people (and possibly in pets). Boswellia should not be used in conjunction with nonsteroidal medication, in pregnant animals, or those with severe liver or kidney disease.

Bovine cartilage, derived from the trachea (windpipe) of cattle, is often recommended for the treatment of arthritis in pets.

Therapeutic Uses
Bovine cartilage has proved useful in relieving pain and inflammation in human patients with osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis; increased joint mobility was also noted. In dogs treated with bovine cartilage, good results were seen in the treatment of degenerative disk disease and some spinal disorder. Like shark cartilage, bovine cartilage is high in glycosaminoglycans, which can help the body repair damaged joints. Since shark cartilage was found to be 1000 times more effective in preventing new blood vessel growth, it has replaced bovine cartilage as a favored cartilage product. (The main problems with using shark cartilage are the large dosage required to give your pet each day and the cost can be prohibitive to many owners.)

The recommended dose of bovine cartilage is 200 mg\25 pounds of weight.

Shawn Messonnier, DVM

As my thank you for reading my articles, enter code “drshawn” at my natural products web store,, to save 10% on all your future purchases!

Shawn Messonnier DVM Past Supporting Member, Oncology Association of Naturopathic Physicians Author, the award-winning The Natural Health Bible for Dogs & Cats, The Natural Vet’s Guide to Preventing and Treating Cancer in Dogs, and Breast Choices for the Best Chances: Your Breasts, Your Life, and How YOU Can Win The Battle!

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