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What Is Limbrel?


Updated April 29, 2014

Limbrel is considered a "botanical medical food." It is made from a combination of root and bark extracts from plants. The plant extracts contain a substance called flavonoids.

Some of these same flavonoids are found in medicinal Chinese green tea, used in the treatment of a variety of medical conditions for a long history.

How Limbrel Works:

The flavonoid extracts found in Limbrel appear to have anti-inflammatory properties by inhibiting enzymes that cause inflammation. These enzymes, called COX (cyclooxygenase) and LOX (lipooxygenase) create molecules that cause inflammation and pain.

Limbrel prevents the production of these enzymes and therefore decreases the inflammation these enzymes would cause.

The Usual Dose of Limbrel:

Limbrel is given orally, twice a day. The usual dose is 250 mg per tablet, for a total of 500 mg per day.

Limbrel is a prescription medicinal food that should be used under a doctor's supervision.

Side-Effects of Limbrel:

The FDA classifies Limbrel as a medical food. It is given as a prescription, but these foods have been "generally recognized as safe" by the FDA. Limbrel has not been found to have the side-effects seen with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs), including the problems with the formation of stomach ulcers. Limbrel has side-effects similar to a placebo (sugar pill), and, to date, no major adverse events have been reported.

Differences Between Medical Foods and Dietary Supplements:

The words "medical food" and "dietary supplement" differ in their regulation by the FDA.

A medical food:

  • provides nutritional support for a specific disease or condition,

  • and is intended to be used under a physician's supervision.
The key is that "medical foods" are designed to manage a specific disease or condition (e.g. Limbrel for arthritis), whereas "dietary supplements" are designed to support the healthy function of a part of the body (e.g. glucosamine for cartilage health).

Martel-Pelletier J, et al. "Therapeutic role of dual inhibitors of 5-LOX and COX, selective and non-selective non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs." Ann Rheum Dis. 2003 Jun;62(6):501-9.

Leval X, et al. "New trends in dual 5-LOX/COX inhibition." Curr Med Chem. 2002 May;9(9):941-62.

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