Introducing a smart ally for gut health

Published: 20-Apr-2023

Indena presents CUBO, a new combination of Curcuma and Boswellia

The human body’s highly evolved and complex microbiota plays a crucial role in overall health. Some even go as far as calling the gut a “second brain.”

Its optimal functionality relies on delicate balances that are frequently challenged by stress, poor diet, illness and more. That’s why solving common issues such as abdominal bloating can be so tricky.

Indena’s vision, explains Elisabetta Frattini (pictured), Senior Research Scientist, was to develop a strategy that combined the benefits of two ingredients that are backed by solid scientific evidence.

Within the framework of a Phytosome formulation and processed in a sustainable way, curcumin and Boswellia have joined forces to control oxidation, bacterial homeostasis and muscle cramps for optimal gut health and a better quality of life. The result is a new product from Indena: CUBO.

Used for centuries in both Ayurvedic and traditional Chinese medicines, Curcuma and Boswellia play an important and scientifically proven role in modulating the body’s natural defence system — helping people to maintain an active and high-quality lifestyle.

Introducing a smart ally for gut health

Indena’s curcumin Phytosome offers the synergistic power of the three major curcuminoids that occur naturally in turmeric. Offering lifelong antioxidant support to prevent the body’s natural defences inducing low-level chronic inflammation, it is standardised to 18–22% total curcuminoids by HPLC.

Its efficacy has been demonstrated in 35 scientific studies involving more than 2000 subjects.

The company’s Boswellia serrata extract is natural, tested, standardised and enriched with a bouquet of terpenoic acids. The resin of Boswellia species contains a variety of compounds that are endowed with anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties.

The triterpenoid composition of Indena’s extract includes 11 boswellic acids and closely matches the profile of the natural resin. 

This unique and tested ingredient, within a Phytosome formulation matrix, is able to enhance and optimise the delivery of terpenoic acids (compared with an unformulated extract) and is the only documented ingredient on the market that boasts a pharmacokinetic study of six boswellic acids in healthy volunteers.

Both Indena’s curcumin and Boswellia are formulated with Phytosome, the proprietary 100% food-grade delivery system that exploits the power of botanicals and enhances their physiological functions. 

Boswellia and Curcuma are thought to control the body’s defence mechanisms, albeit with differing modes of action; curcumin targets NF-κB transcription factors and Boswellia impacts COX/LOX enzymes.

As such, they may be the perfect couple when it comes to modulating bodily responses as the combined effect is more than the sum of its parts.

Tried and tested
Recently, clinical studies have provided evidence to support the efficacy of these Phytosome-enhanced ingredients in terms of gut health, including ease of transit, controlling bloating and abdominal discomfort, and balancing the intestinal microbiota.

Introducing a smart ally for gut health

The first study investigated the beneficial effects of a food-grade formulation of Curcuma longa and Boswellia serrata extracts on abdominal bloating in test subjects with an irritable bowel condition and an unbalanced small bowel microbiota.1 

Bloating is a symptom that’s frequently reported by subjects with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and small bowel dysbiosis. Abdominal bloating is defined as trapped gas, abdominal pressure, fullness and tightness with frequent evidence of abdominal distension.

Bloating has a negative effect on quality of life and can contribute to psychological distress. Extracts of Curcuma longa and Boswellia serrata share anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial effects that could be useful in the management of these clinical conditions. 

The 30-day randomised study aimed to evaluate the efficacy of Curcumin Boswellia Phytosome (CBP) and a low FODMAP diet (LFD) — which is recommended to manage IBS discomfort — on the relief of abdominal bloating in IBS subjects with an unbalanced small bowel microbiota (compared with an LFD alone).

A total of 67 subjects were recruited and IBS participants were randomised to receive either the intervention (500 mg, twice a day, of CBP and LFD) or the control (LFD). Small bowel dysbiosis has been defined as an increase of urinary indican with normal urinary skatole levels. 

The supplemented group (33 subjects) showed significant benefits (p <0.0001) in terms of bloating, abdominal discomfort and indican values at the end of the study when compared with the control group (34 subjects).

Moreover, those in the supplementation group showed a notably favourable (p <0.0001) global assessment of efficacy (GAE) compared with the controls. 

The study clearly demonstrates that supplementation with CBP and LFD is associated with the ability to control bloating in subjects with IBS and small bowel dysbiosis — when compared with controls treated with LFD alone.

At the end of the study, 33 subjects in the CBP group reported no or a mild degree of bloating compared with only 10 subjects in the control group. This finding highlights CBP’s crucial and positive role in achieving this primary outcome.

A second human study focused on a condition that’s mostly characterised by intermittent or persistent episodes of abdominal discomfort and by the concomitant presence of diverticula and abdominal bloating.2

Introducing a smart ally for gut health

Twenty seven subjects were involved in the study. The single-group longitudinal explanatory trial showed that supplementation for 30 days with CBP was followed by a significant decrease in abdominal discomfort. 

In 18% of subjects, full control (pain score ≤1) was observed before day 7, whereas discomfort disappeared in 52% of subjects between days 7 and 10, and in 18% of subjects after day 10; a discomfort score of ≤1 was not observed in 12% of subjects. The median time to complete pain relief was 9.5 days.

This result is important because abdominal discomfort is strongly associated with the presence of diverticula and, to date, an optimal treatment for these conditions has not been identified.

Considering the promising results obtained from these studies, Indena has recently done a third clinical trial in IBS subjects with a smart, flexible and optimised combination of Curcuma longa and Boswellia serrata formulated with Indena’s Phytosome (data not shown).

CUBO delivers multiple benefits regarding gut health and comprises a “winning duo” in terms of freeing your intestine from bloating.

Another important attribute of CUBO is sustainability. Thanks to continuous investments in efficient production systems, for example, Indena has significantly reduced its energy consumption. Currently, 75% of the power required to run the main plant in Italy is self-produced by cogeneration, steam turbines and solar panels.


  1. A. Giacosa, et al., “Beneficial Effects on Abdominal Bloating with an Innovative Food-Grade Formulation of Curcuma longa and Boswellia serrata Extracts in Subjects with Irritable Bowel Syndrome and Small Bowel Dysbiosis,” Nutrients 14(3), 416 (2022).
  2. A. Giacosa, et al., “Symptomatic Uncomplicated Diverticular Disease Management: An Innovative Food-Grade Formulation of Curcuma longa and Boswellia serrata Extracts,” Drugs Context 9, 2020-9-2 (2020).

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