Monthly Archives: January 2017

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Centella asiatica (Gotu Kola): Considered a “Miracle Elixir of Life” by Traditional Chinese Medicine*

Introduction of Centella asiatica

Centella asiatica is a small perennial plant of the family Mackinlayaceae or subfamily Mackinlayoideae of family Apiaceae, and is native to wetlands in Asia.  It is commonly known as Gotu Kola.

centella-asiatica-plant

Centella asiatica plant

Centella asiatica (CA) has been used extensively in Asia and is considered a very important medicinal herb in that region of the world.  In India, it is commonly known as mandukparni or Indian pennywort or jalbrahmi, and is used as a medicine in the Ayurvedic medicine.  It has been listed in the ancient Indian medical text, ‘Sushruta Samhita’ for thousands of years. 

In China it is known as gotu kola or Jī Xuě Cǎo.  The Chinese name is 积雪草, which is translated as “accumulation of snow herb”.   Gotu kola is has been used extensively in traditional Chinese medicine and has been reported as one of the “miracle elixirs of life” for over 2000 years.  1

Active constituents of Centella asisatica

The main active constituents of CA are saponins or triterpenoids.

Triterpenoids

Plants with Triterpenoids

(Source:  Targeting Inflammatory Pathways by Triterpenoids for Prevention and Treatment of Cancer, Toxins 2010, 2(10), 2428-2466; doi:10.3390/toxins2102428)

The triterpenoids include:

  • asiaticosides,
  • madecassoside
  • madasiatic

Other components isolated from CA include:

  • asiaticoside
  • asiatic acid
  • brahmic acid
  • brahmoside
  • brahminoside
  • centelloside
  • centellose
  • chercetin
  • isothankuniside
  • kempferol
  • madecassoside
  • thankuniside
  • vallerine

Mechanisms of Actions Based on Preclinical Studies

The triterpenoids listed above, being the primary constituents of Centella asiatica, are considered responsible for its wide therapeutic actions.  2

Following is a list of some of the known therapeutic actions of Centella asiatica, based on preclinical studies:  3

Antidepressant properties

The results of a study from 2008  showed that the high dose of the plant extract enhanced working memory and increased N100 component amplitude of event-related potential.  Improvements of self-rated mood were also found following the Centella asiatica treatment.  The present findings suggest the potential of Centella asiatica to attenuate the age-related decline in cognitive function and mood disorder in the healthy elderly.  4

Antiepileptic properties

CA increases the cerebral levels of GABA, and can be used as an anxiolytic and anticonvulsant.The extract (200 mg/kg body weight) completely inhibited pentylenetetrazol-induced convulsions. In pentylenetetrazol-kindled seizures and strychnine-induced convulsions, the extract showed protection at a dose of 100 mg/kg body weight. The doses of the extract selected for remaining studies were based on pilot studies, animal model used, and so forth. These findings suggested its potential anticonvulsant as well as antioxidant, and CNS depressant actions.  5 

Antinociceptive and antiinflammatory properties

The aqueous Centella asiatica extract (CAE) revealed significant antinociceptive activity with both the models similar to aspirin but less potent than morphine and significant antiinflammatory activity comparable to mefenamic acid. These results suggested that the aqueous CA extracts possesses antinociceptive and antiinflammatory activities which justified the traditional use of this plant in the treatment of inflammatory conditions or rheumatism.   6 

Cardiovascular properties

Gotu kola inhibited shear-induced platelet activation (blood clotting).  7

Asiatic acid, a pentacyclic triterpene from Centella asiatica, is neuroprotective in a mouse model of focal cerebral ischemia.  Asiatic acid significantly reduced the infarct volume by 60% at day 1 and by 26% at day 7 postischemia and improved neurological outcome at 24 hr postischemia.  These studies also showed that the neuroprotective properties of asiatic acid might be mediated in part through decreased blood-brain barrier permeability and reduction in mitochondrial injury.  The present study suggests that asiatic acid may be useful in the treatment of cerebral ischemia.   8

Gastric ulcer

Oral administration of CE (0.05 g/kg, 0.25 g/kg and 0.50 g/kg) before ethanol administration significantly inhibited gastric lesions formation (58% to 82% reduction) and decreased mucosal myeloperoxidase (MPO) activity in a dose dependent manner.  These results suggested that Gotu kola prevented ethanol induced gastric mucosal lesions by strengthening the mucosal barrier and reducing the damaging effects of free radicals.   9

Neurological properties

CA is known to re-vitalize the brain and nervous system, increase attention span and concentration and combat aging.  10 

Derivatives of asiatic acid derivatives were shown to exert significant neuroprotective effects from the oxidative damage caused by exposure to excess glutamate.  11 

Asiaticoside derivatives protect against beta-amyloid neurotoxicity.  They showed a strong inhibition of beta-amyloid- and free radical-induced cell death and can be candidates for the treatment of Alzheimer›s disease that protects neurons from beta-amyloid toxicity.  12 

Supplementation of CAE reduced LPO and PCC and significantly increased (p < 0.01) TA and antioxidant enzyme levels (p < 0.01) in corpus striatum and hippocampus.  These results show that administration of C. asiatica was effective in protecting the brain against neurodegenerative disorders such as Parkinsonism.  13

Male Sprague-Dawley rats given Centella ethanolic extract in their drinking water (300-330 mg kg-1 daily) demonstrated more rapid functional recovery and increased axonal regeneration (larger calibre axons and greater numbers of myelinated axons) compared with controls, indicating that the axons grew at a faster rate.  Components in Centella ethanolic extract may be useful for accelerating repair of damaged neurons.   14

CA fresh leaf extract has a neuronal dendritic growth stimulating property; hence, the extract can be used for enhancing neuronal dendrites in stress and neurodegenerative and memory disorders.  15

Radioprotective

Centella asiatica extract significantly reduced radiation-induced damage to DNA.  Centella asiatica rendered radioprotection to DNA and membranes against radiation exposure, both in vitro and in vivo.  The authors have earlier reported that administration of the extract can prevent a radiation-induced decline in antioxidant enzyme levels.  This suggests that radioprotection by Centella asiatica extract could be mediated by mechanisms that act in a synergistic manner, especially involving antioxidant activity.  16

Sedative and anxiolytic properties

CA has been used as a stimulatory-nervine tonic, rejuvenant, sedative, tranquilizer and intelligence promoting property.  17 

Venous insufficiency

CA has been used to strengthen weakened veins in the case of venous insufficiency.  18 

Centella asiatica’s active constituents include pentacyclic triterpene derivatives.  Studies have been conducted in particular to investigate the madecassosides and asiaticosides.  In contrast to other medicinal plants, Centella asiatica has been subjected to quite extensive experimental and clinical investigations.  Studies done in accordance with standardized scientific criteria have shown it to have a positive effect in the treatment of venous insufficiency.  19

Wound healing

Wound healing is what CA has been traditionally been used for by Asian practitioners.  20 

Asiaticoside, a constituent in CA, has been reported to possess wound healing activity by increasing collagen formation and angiogenesis.  21   


Resources:

Gotu Kola (supplement)

Gotu Kola Extract (powder)


*

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration (F.D.A). This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Individual results obtained from taking these products may vary and are not guaranteed.  Please consult your doctor before starting any exercise or nutritional supplement program or before using these or any product during pregnancy or if you have a serious medical condition.


 

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Dietary Supplements that Show Promise for Cancer Prevention and Adjuvant Treatment*

The link between cancer and diet has been extensively studied.  In fact, major medical institutions recognize diet and nutritional supplements as a means to reduce the risk of cancer.  There are a number of websites that address this important issue:

Cancer is the second most leading cause of death in the United States.  1 

Of all the cancer deaths (at least in the U.S.), there are primarily two causes:  2

  • Genetic defects                        5-10%
  • Environment and lifestyle       90-95%

The lifestyle factors include:  3

  • Alcohol
  • Cigarette smoking
  • Diet (fried foods, red meat)
  • Environmental pollutants
  • Infections
  • Obesity
  • Stress
  • Sun exposure

Evidence suggests that of all the cancer deaths, 30–35% are linked to diet.  4

There are certain natural nutrients and hormones that have been studied for their effective mechanisms of action that may benefit the cancer patient and/or prevent cancer tumor genesis. 

An excellent paper is published on the Life Extension website entitled “Cancer Adjuvant Therapy”.  This paper illustrates an alphabetical list that follows provides quick guidelines for structuring a program, highlighting major nutrients in the prevention and treatment of cancer.

The Table below (from the paper “Cancer Adjuvant Therapy”) list those natural nutrients and hormone that have been researched for their ability to act as promising therapies for the prevention and treatment of certain cancers.  The references for each nutrient and hormone is one of many that exist, and is a starting point for further research.

Basic dietary supplements and suggested doses for cancer prevention and adjuvant treatment

NutrientReferencePreventive DoseCancer Adjuvant Dose
Apigenin110 – 25 mg daily20 – 50 mg daily
Astaxanthin22 – 4 mg daily6 – 12 mg daily
Astragalus3500 mg daily2000 – 4000 mg daily
Blueberry4180 – 450 mg daily900 – 1800 mg daily
Chrysin5500 mg daily1000-2000 mg daily
Curcumin6400 mg daily of a  BCM-95® extract with food800-3600 mg daily of a BCM-95® extract with food
Coenzyme Q107100 mg daily with food200-400 mg daily with food
Green Coffee Extract(standardized to 50% chlorogenic acid)8400 mg three times daily, before meals400 mg three times daily, before meals
EPA-DHA fatty acids92000 – 4000 mg daily of fish oil concentrate supplying 700 – 1400 mg EPA and 500 – 1000mg DHA with food4000 – 8000 mg daily of fish oil concentrate supplying up to 2800 mg EPA and 2000 mg DHA with food
Garlic10600 mg daily with food1200 – 4800 mg daily with food
Gamma Tocopherol11200 – 250 mg daily with food400 – 1000 mg daily with food
GLA (gamma-linolenic acid)12300 mg daily with food700 – 900 mg daily with food
Grape Seed Extract13100 mg daily300 mg daily
Green Tea Extract 14300 – 350 mg daily of EGCGUp to 3000 mg daily of EGCG
Cruciferous vegetable concentrate151 tbsp daily1 – 4 tbsp daily
Indole 3 Carbinol(I3C)1680 – 160 mg daily200 – 600 mg daily
Lignans1725 – 50 mg daily75 – 125 mg daily
Lipoic acid (Sodium R-lipoate)18240 – 480 mg daily on an empty stomach600 – 1200 mg daily on an empty stomach
Lycopene1910 mg daily with food15 – 45 mg daily with food
Melatonin20300 mcg-3 mg before bed10 – 50 mg between 8 – 10pm
Panax ginseng21100 mg daily of standardized to contain 4-7% ginsenosides200 – 600 mg daily of standardized to contain 4-7% ginsenosides
Pomegranate2280 – 120 mg daily of punicalagins280 – 375 mg daily of punicalagins
Proteolytic Enzymes231 – 2 pills daily on an empty stomach of a formula containing pancreatin, papain, trypsin, and chymotrypsin2 – 10 pills, 3 times daily on an empty stomach of a formula containing pancreatin, papain, trypsin, and chymotrypsin
PSK (Coriolusversicolor)24600 – 1200 mg daily of a 40% polysaccharide extract3000 mg daily of a 40% polysaccharide extract
Pterostilbene250.25-3 mg daily1 – 3 mg daily
Quercetin26500 mg daily1000 – 3000 mg daily
Reishi27980 mg daily of standardized to contain 13.5% polysaccharides and 6% triterpenes980 – 3000 mg daily of standardized to contain 13.5% polysaccharides and 6% triterpenes
Selenium28200 mcg daily with food200 – 600 mcg daily with food
Silibinin29225 mg daily225 – 450 mg daily
Sulforaphane30400 – 800 mg daily (broccoli extract)400 – 1600 mg daily (broccoli extract)
Vitamin C311000 – 3000 mg daily4 – 12 g daily
Vitamin D3322000 – 10 000 IU daily with food, based on individual blood testing. Optimal blood levels of vitamin D are 50 – 80 ng/ml.2000 – 10 000 IU daily with food, based on individual blood testing. Optimal blood levels of vitamin D are 50 – 80 ng/ml.
Source: Life Extension Cancer Adjuvant Therapy


*Disclaimer and Safety Information

BioFoundations can assume no responsibility for outcome, apart from a self-assigned duty to stay abreast of the most promising of therapies and to share the data with customers. No warranties (expressed or implied) accompany the material; neither is the information intended to replace medical advice. As always, each reader is urged to consult professional help for medical problems, especially those involving cancer.

This information (and any accompanying material) is not intended to replace the attention or advice of a physician or other qualified health care professional. Anyone who wishes to embark on any dietary, drug, exercise, or other lifestyle change intended to prevent or treat a specific disease or condition should first consult with and seek clearance from a physician or other qualified health care professional. Pregnant women in particular should seek the advice of a physician before using any protocol listed on this website.

The protocols described on this website are for adults only, unless otherwise specified. Product labels may contain important safety information and the most recent product information provided by the product manufacturers should be carefully reviewed prior to use to verify the dose, administration, and contraindications. National, state, and local laws may vary regarding the use and application of many of the treatments discussed. The reader assumes the risk of any injuries. The authors and publishers, their affiliates and assigns are not liable for any injury and/or damage to persons arising from this protocol and expressly disclaim responsibility for any adverse effects resulting from the use of the information contained herein.


Resources:

Apigenin

Astaxanthin

Astragalus

Blueberry

Chrysin

Curcumin

Coenzyme Q10

Green Coffee Extract(standardized to 50% chlorogenic acid)

EPA-DHA fatty acids

Garlic

Gamma Tocopherol

GLA (gamma-linolenic acid)

Grape Seed Extract

Green Tea Extract

Cruciferous vegetable concentrate

Indole 3 Carbinol(I3C)

Lignans

Lipoic acid (Sodium R-lipoate)

Lycopene

Melatonin

Panax ginseng

Pomegranate

Proteolytic Enzymes

PSK (Coriolusversicolor)

Pterostilbene

Quercetin

Reishi

Selenium

Silibinin

Sulforaphane

Vitamin C

Vitamin D3


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Magnesium Bicarbonate Water as a Bioavailable Source of Magnesium

Magnesium’s Role in the Body

Magnesium plays a major role in disease prevention and overall health and has numerous functions in the body.  Magnesium is the fourth most abundant mineral and the second most abundant intracellular divalent cation and has been recognized as a cofactor for over 300 metabolic reactions in the body. Some of the processes in which magnesium is a cofactor include, but are not limited to:  1

  • blood pressure
  • cardiac excitability
  • cellular energy production and storage
  • DNA and RNA synthesis
  • glucose and insulin metabolism
  • muscular contraction
  • nerve transmission
  • neuromuscular conduction
  • protein synthesis
  • reproduction
  • stabilizing mitochondrial membranes
  • vasomotor tone

The dietary recommendation (Recommended Dietary Allowances/RDA) for magnesium is:

  • Adult men        400 to 420 mg daily
  • Adult women   310 to 320 mg daily
Table 1. Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for Magnesium
Life Stage Age Males (mg/day) Females (mg/day)
Infants 0-6 months 30 (AI) 30 (AI)
Infants 7-12 months 75 (AI) 75 (AI)
Children 1-3 years 80 80
Children 4-8 years 130 130
Children 9-13 years 240 240
Adolescents 14-18 years 410 360
Adults 19-30 years 400 310
Adults 31 years and older 420 320
Pregnancy 18 years and younger 400
Pregnancy 19-30 years 350
Pregnancy 31 years and older 360
Breast-feeding 18 years and younger 360
Breast-feeding 19-30 years 310
Breast-feeding 31 years and older 320

Source: LINUS PAULING INSTITUTE Micronutrient Information Center 

In the U.S., consumption of magnesium is far below the RDA.  A study conducted in 2012 indicated that forty-eight percent (48%) of the U.S. population consumed less than the required amount of magnesium from food in 2005-2006, and the figure was down from 56% in 2001-2002. They also found that over 30 years, surveys indicate rising calcium-to-magnesium food-intake ratios among adults and the elderly in the United States, excluding intake from supplements, which favor calcium over magnesium.  2 

A magnesium deficit is often associated with the aging process.  The total body magnesium and total magnesium in the intracellular compartment tend to decrease with age. 

One way to determine if you have a magnesium deficit is to take the blood test called RBC magnesium.  This test is used to evaluate magnesium levels in red blood cells and is the most precise way to assess intracellular magnesium status.

Magnesium Deficit is Associated with Disease

Chronic magnesium deficits have been linked to an increased risk of numerous preclinical and clinical outcomes, including:  3

  • alterations in lipid metabolism
  • asthma
  • atherosclerosis
  • cardiac arrhythmias
  • cardiovascular mortality
  • chronic fatigue
  • depression
  • endothelial dysfunction
  • glucose intolerance
  • hypertension
  • inflammation
  • insulin resistance
  • ischemic heart disease
  • neuropsychiatric disorders
  • oxidative stress
  • platelet aggregation/thrombosis
  • stroke
  • type 2 diabetes mellitus
  • vascular remodeling

Magnesium’s role in cardiovascular health is critical.  Dietary magnesium intake has been shown to be inversely associated with mortality risk in individuals at high risk of cardiovascular disease.  4 

754250.fig.001

Figure 1: Role of magnesium and calcium in the pathophysiology of hypertension, diabetes mellitus, and atherosclerosis.  (Source:  Magnesium and Vascular Changes in Hypertension)

Magnesium Bicarbonate as a Bioavailable Form of Magnesium Supplementation

There are many forms of supplemental and non-supplemental magnesium.  One form that is easy to consume and is considered bioavailable is magnesium bicarbonate.  Short term regular ingestion of magnesium bicarbonate supplemented water provides a source of orally available magnesium.  5  

Magnesium bicarbonate exists only in aqueous solution, so it can never be available in pill/capsule form.

Magnesium bicarbonate (Mg(HCO3)2) is the bicarbonate salt of magnesium. It is formed through the reaction of carbonic acid and magnesium hydroxide.

The chemical formula for magnesium bicarbonate is: 

Mg(OH)2 + 2 CO2 → Mg(HCO3)2

If magnesium bicarbonate is dried, the result will be magnesium carbonate.  Magnesium carbonate can be found as a supplement in powdered form. 

Magnesium bicarbonate can be made at home with just two ingredients:

  • Seltzer water (club soda)  (Carbonic acid)
  • Milk of Magnesia  (Magnesium hydroxide)

Following is the recipe for magnesium bicarbonate:

  • Buy 1 bottle of Milk of Magnesia – The bottle of Milk of Magnesia will have 1200 mg magnesium hydroxide per 15 ml or 1 tablespoon. 
  • Buy 1 liter of Club Soda (unflavored and low sodium)

1.  Chill the club soda for 1 hour in the refrigerator.

2.  Shake the Milk of Magnesia well before using.

3.  Take club soda out of the refrigerator.

4.  Measure 3 Tbsp or 45ml of Milk of Magnesia.  Use plastic cap provided by manufacturer.  Three tablespoons is a total of 3600 mg of Milk of Magnesia in the 1 liter bottle of club soda.

5.   Pour the 3 TBSP – 45 ml of Milk of Magnesia into the 1 liter bottle. Replace the cap.

6.  Shake if 1 liter bottle vigorously for at least 1 minute or longer.  The sides of the plastic bottle may pull in when finished shaking. 

7.  Shake the bottle until all sediment has dissolved.   If there is some small sediment at the bottom of the bottle that is just unconverted Milk of Magnesia. 

8.  Place bottle back into the refrigerator.

The 1 liter bottle of magnesium bicarbonate is concentrated and should be diluted with water.  It is recommended to drink at least 4 ounces of the magnesium bicarbonate twice per day by adding it to your regular water consumption.

 

The Importance of Maintaining the Myelin Sheath

Acetylcholine is the building block of myelin, which acts to insulate the axon and neuron, thus providing moisture and lubricants to the nervous system.

myelin

Myelin sheath

The myelin insulation of the neuron and axon provides conductivity to the nervous system.

Myelination provides:

  • Neurons circuits to fire more rapidly
  • Neurons to recover faster after signals have been sent
  • Neurons greater processing capacity

When myelin increases in thickness, the neurons fir at a faster rate and thus you think faster. The more the neuronal connections are used (through learning), the myelin insulation increases and becomes thicker and heavier.

Cognitive decline and memory loss occurs when the myelin decay and the neurotransmitters get disrupted as their pathways lose their lubrication. This is when the brain starts to short-circuit due to the lack of optimal myelin and acetylcholine.

Table 1 illustrates the composition of the myelin in a human as compared to a bovine and rat:

Table 1  Composition of CNS Myelin and Brain

  Myelin White matter  
Substancea  Human Bovine Rat Human Bovine Gray matter 

(human)

Protein 30.0 24.7 29.5 39.0 39.5 55.3
Lipid 70.0 75.3 70.5 54.9 55.0 32.7
Cholesterol 27.7 28.1 27.3 27.5 23.6 22.0
Cerebroside 22.7 24.0 23.7 19.8 22.5 5.4
Sulfatide 3.8 3.6 7.1 5.4 5.0 1.7
Total galactolipid 27.5 29.3 31.5 26.4 28.6 7.3
Ethanolamine phosphatides 15.6 17.4 16.7 14.9 13.6 22.7
Lecithin 11.2 10.9 11.3 12.8 12.9 26.7
Sphingomyelin 7.9 7.1 3.2 7.7 6.7 6.9
Phosphatidylserine 4.8 6.5 7.0 7.9 11.4 8.7
Phosphatidylinositol 0.6 0.8 1.2 0.9 0.9 2.7
Plasmalogensb 12.3 14.1 14.1 11.2 12.2 8.8
Total phospholipid 43.1 43.0 44.0 45.9 46.3 69.5

a Protein and lipid figures in percent dry weight; all others in percent total lipid weight.
b  Plasmalogens are primarily ethanolamine phosphatides.

Source: Characteristic Composition of Myelin Basic Neurochemistry: Molecular, Cellular and Medical Aspects. 6th edition. Siegel GJ, Agranoff BW, Albers RW, et al., editors.  Philadelphia: Lippincott-Raven; Copyright © 1999, American Society for Neurochemistry

There are a number of natural substances that have been researched and studied for their ability to enhance the function of the myelin sheath:

How Myelin Sheaths speed up the Action Potential

Neurons, Axons, Myelin Sheath and Demyelinisation

Phloridzin Effectively Inhibits Glucose Uptake and Traps Advanced Glycation End Products (AGEs)

Phloridzin, also known as Phlorizin, is a glucoside of phloretin, a dihydrochalcone, in the family of bicyclic flavonoids.  It is chemically known as phloretin-2′-β-D-glucopyranoside. 

Phloridzin is primarily found in the skins of apples, in particular, the Malus species.  It is also found in the leaves, bark and seeds of the Malus species.

Phloridzin has been shown to be very effective against glycation and advanced glycation end products (AGEs).  Glycation is considered a main factor in the aging process, which is irreversible when it occurs but can be controlled by diet and supplementation. 

Glycation can form either outside the body through various cooking methods of certain foods and/or inside the body by certain chemical metabolic reactions.  Glycation that occurs outside the body is called exogenous glycation and glycation occuring inside the body is called endogenous glycation. 

Endogenous glycation is the chemical result of the bonding of a sugar molecule with a protein or lipid molecule that produces nonfunctioning and deformed molecules known as advanced glycation end products (AGEs).

Figure 1.  Formation of AGEs  (Source: Glycation and ageing: measurement and treatment from Prime-Journal)

AGEs that stem from a glycation reaction, produces cells that are stiffer and less pliable and more subject to damage and premature aging. When glycated proteins fuse together, this is known as cross-linking. The skin, eyes and heart are particular organs subject to cross-linking.

Exogenous glycation occurs when AGEs are formed by heating proteins and lipids with sugar. Certain forms of cooking can accelerate the exogenous glycation process, such as grilling and frying.

Figure 2. AGEs  (Source: Glycation and ageing: measurement and treatment from Prime-Journal)

AGEs have a range of pathological effects, such as:

  • Increased vascular permeability.
  • Oxidizing LDL.
  • Binding cells—including macrophage, endothelial, and mesangial—to induce the secretion of a variety of cytokines – promoting chronic inflammation.
  • Inhibition of vascular dilation by interfering with nitric oxide.
  • Enhanced oxidative stress – free radicals.

Once an AGE is produced through the endogenous glycation process, it is irreversible. It is therefore important to seek ways to prevent glycation, both endogenously and exogenously.

Mechanism of Phloridzin Against Endogenous Glycation

Phloridzin attacks endogenous glycation in two steps. 

First, phloridzin inhibits glucose uptake by 52%.  1  It inhibits glucose from attaching to the lining cells of the intestine and then blocks the active transport of some, but not all, glucose out of those intestinal lining cells into the bloodstream.  2  3

Second, the glucose that is transported to the bloodstream is responsible for the formation of the dangerous carbonyl molecules that react with proteins and DNA to form AGEs.  4

The formation of these AGEs are prevented by phloridzin by trapping the remaining AGEs that are generated.  This lessens the chain reaction that can occur with AGEs detrimentally reacting with other molecules in the body.  5

In an important study from 2008, researchers found that both phloretin and its glucoside, phloridzin, could efficiently trap certain reactive AGEs called MGO and GO, under physiological conditions.

More than 80% MGO was trapped within 10 min, and 68% GO was trapped within 24 h by phloretin. Phloridzin also had strong trapping efficiency by quenching more than 70% MGO and 60% GO within 24 h. 

This study suggests that dietary flavonoids that have the same A ring structure as phloretin may have the potential to trap reactive dicarbonyl species and therefore inhibit the formation of AGEs.   6  

Tart Cherry Demonstrates Chemoprevention Potential

Tart cherry (Prunus cerasus) is part of the species of Prunus and is native to Europe and southwest Asia.  It is also known as sour cherry or dwarf cherry. 

It is distinct from the sweet cherry (Prunus avium), which is commonly found in grocery stores.  Tart cherries are more acidic than sweet cherries and are typically used in juices and foods, rather than sold as a whole fruit.  The health benefits attributed to cherries are due to the tart cherry and not the sweet cherry.

There are a number of varieties of the tart cherry:

  • Morello cherry  (dark red)
  • Amarelle cherry  (light red)
  • Montmorency cherry (the most popular of the tart cherries)

Figure 1.   Montmorency cherry

Through numerous scientific studies, tart cherry has demonstrated a wide range of health benefits and its ability to counteract some key chronic conditions, including:

  • Reversing cardiovascular risk factors
  • Protection against oxidative stress
  • Inhibiting the early development of diabetes
  • Inhibiting the inflammatory pathway of gout
  • Regulates sleep-wake cycle in humans (due to high melatonin content)
  • Supports muscle recovery after exercise
  • Provides relief from pain associated with exercise exertion 
  • Provides anti-microbial effects 

Tart cherries are rich in anthocyanins, which are water-soluble vacuolar pigments that may appear red, purple, or blue.  They belong to the flavonoids group.  Other fruits and berries contain anthocyanins, but tart cherries are the only berry that contains all six of the key anthocyanins, including:  1

  • Cyanidin
  • Cyanidin 3-glucosylrutinoside (anthocyanin 1)
  • Cyanidin 3-rutinoside (anthocyanin 2)
  • Cyanidin sophoroside
  • Peonidin
  • Peonidin 3-glucoside

The health benefits of tart cherries can be attributed to their rich and broad anthocyanin content.  The anthocyanin content is also responsible to their anticarcinogenic effects.

Research is showing that tart cherries can exert a variety of chemopreventive effects and counteract cancer through various mechanisms by naturally switching off genes that promote cancer.  These genes activate:  2  3  4

  • inflammation
  • cell proliferation
  • angiogenesis (growth of new blood vessels)

The broad range of anthocyanins in tart cherries trigger apoptosis (programmed cell death), which effectively cleans up precancerous cells by having them self-destruct.  5  6 

Tart cherries has been shown to be effective against colon cancer.

A published study from 2003 demonstrated that mice consuming the cherry diet, anthocyanins, or cyanidin had significantly fewer and smaller cecal adenomas than mice consuming the control diet or sulindac.

Anthocyanins and cyanidin also reduced cell growth of human colon cancer cell lines HT 29 and HCT 116. The IC(50) of anthocyanins and cyanidin was 780 and 63 microM for HT 29 cells, respectively and 285 and 85 microM for HCT 116 cells, respectively.

These results suggest that tart cherry anthocyanins and cyanidin may reduce the risk of colon cancer.  7

Tart Cherries Chemoprevention Potential  8

Inhibits Inflammation Pathways

Arrests Cancerous Cell Proliferation

Inhibits Angiogenesis

Promotes and Triggers Apoptosis

 

Berberine is Shown to be Effective Against Alzheimer’s Disease

Berberine is a benzylisoquinoline alkaloid and is commonly found in the following plants:

  • Barberry (Berberis vulgaris)
  • Oregon grape  (Mahonia aquifolium)
  • Goldenseal  (Hydrastis canadensis)
  • Yellowroot  (Xanthorhiza simplicissima)
  • Amur Cork tree  (Phellodendron amurense)
  • Chinese goldthread (Coptis chinensis)

The berberine content of these plants are usually found in the roots, rhizomes, stems, and bark.

There are a number of published studies that reveal the potential roles for berberine in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease.  There is not a single cause for Alzheimer’s disease but rather a number of different pathways that lead to the disease.  Berberine can be effective in an number of these pathways and shows to be a promising multipotent agent to combat Alzheimer’s disease.

Berberine has shown effectiveness in these areas related to Alzheimer’s disease and dementia:

  • amelioration of spatial memory impairment in a rat model of Alzheimer’s disease  1 
  • reduction of amyloid beta secretion  2
  • inhibition of acetylcholinesterase and butyrylcholinesterase  3  4 
  • inhibits monoamine oxidase   5
  • attenuates tau hyperphosphorylation and cytotoxicity  6
  • inhibition of beta-secretase  (beta-secretase catalyzes the conversion of amyloid-beta-protein Precursor (APP) to amyloid-beta protein (ABP))  7 
  • protects against CA-induced axonal transport impairment by modulating the activity of PP-2A and oxidative stress  8  

Cover Photo by ndrwfgg

Increasing Roseburia Bacteria in the Microbiome for Improved Gastrointestinal Health

Roseburia is a member of the phylum firmicutes and a Gram-positive anaerobic bacteria that inhabits the human colon.  Roseburia is a genus, or group, of five species of bacteria. It was named in honor of British-born American bacteriologist and author Theodor Rosebury.

 

Roseburia population in the gut can be increased or decreased by a number of factors like diet and antibiotic use.  Certain health conditions are affected by an increase or decrease of Roseburia:

Increase Abundance of Roseburia

  • Weight loss  1
  • Reduced glucose intolerance  2 

Decreased Abundance of Roseburia

  • Inflammatory bowel disease  3 
  • Ulcerative colitis  (decrease in Roseburia hominis)   4

One of the main functions of Roseburia is its ability to produce the short chain fatty acid called butyrate. 

Butyrate is an important food for the colonocytes which are the cells that line the colon.  The production of butyrate by certain beneficial bacteria, including Roseburia, provides energy for colon cells.  Without this energy source, colonocytes undergo autophagy and self-digest and die.  5 

Butyrate is produced by beneficial colonic bacteria feeding on or fermenting plant material with dietary fiber, otherwise known as prebiotics. 

Increasing Roseburia population in the Gut

In order to increase the population of Roseburia, it is necessary to feed the colon with the proper dietary fiber.  There are a number of dietary fibers that have been identified for their ability to raise Roseburia levels in the colon:

  • beta-glucan (mushrooms, oats) 6
  • chitin 7
  • green banana flour 8
  • inulin  9 

Informational References:

Modulating the Gut Microbiome: The Role of Probiotics & Prebiotics – Genova Diagnostics

Microbiome tests for Roseburia can be obtained from these companies:

Genova Diagnostics

Ubiome

MyMicroZoo

Protection from the Toxic Effects of Excessive Iron in the Body*

The accumulation of iron in the body is termed iron overload, or hemochromatosis. Hemochromatosis effects the whole body but specifically effects the the liver, heart, and endocrine glands.  1 

Elevated levels of iron in the body creates excessive highly reactive and the toxic hydroxyl radical which specifically damages:  2

  • cell membranes
  • electron transport proteins
  • mitochondrial DNA

Iron overload creates risk factors for the following disease conditions:

Cardiovascular diseases:

  • Atherosclerosis  2
  • Heart attack  3

Gastrointestinal System:

  • Ulcerative colitis  4

Eyes & Vision:

  • Age-Related Macular Degeneration (ARMD)  5

Immune System:

  • Colon cancer  6
  • Endometrial cancer  7
  • Lung cancer  8

Metabolism:

  • Diabetes Mellitus Type 2  9
  • Damage to the liver  10

Neurological System:

  • Alzheimer’s disease  11
  • Parkinson’s disease  12

Testing for Iron Overload (Stored Iron)

The blood test administered for iron overload is called the serum ferritin test which measures stored iron.  Ferritin is a liver produced protein for the storage of iron. 

Figure 1.  This is a three-dimensional representation showing ferritin, the iron-storage protein in the body. Ferritin has a spherical shape, and iron (brown) is stored as a mineral inside the sphere.  Source: Department of Chemistry, Washington University

Consult with you health care professional to have this test administered to determine your stored iron levels.  Most doctors reccommend that this test be taken on an annual basis.

According to the Mayo Clinic, the typical ranges are:

  • 24 to 336 nanograms per milliliter in men
  • 11 to 307 nanograms per milliliter in women

 

The healthy range of serum ferritin lies between 20 and 80 ng/ml.

  • Serrum ferritin levels below 20 – iron deficiency
  • Serrum ferriton levels above 80 – iron surplus

The ideal range of serrum ferritin is 40-60 ng/ml

Iron Overload Resources:

Mayo Clinic

Healthline

MedlinePlus

Healtheiron

If your ferritin level is high, one solution is to donate your blood.

Natural Substances that May Counteract the Toxic Effects of Iron Overload 

There are certain natural substances that have been shown to be effective in the event that serum ferritin levels are in the high range.  These natural substances are effective against excessive in three areas:

  • Protects from the toxic effects of excessive iron
  • Facilitates the removal (chelation) of excessive iron from the body
  • Inhibits the ability of iron to generate free radicals

Protects from the toxic effects of excessive iron:

  • Alpha lipoic acid  13
  • Folic acid  14
  • Lycopene  15
  • Milk Thistle  16
  • Taurine  17
  • Vitamin C  18
  • Vitamin E  19

Facilitates the removal (chelation) of excessive iron from the body:

  • Carnitine  20
  • Curcumin  21
  • Milk Thistle  22
  • Quercetin  23

Inhibits the ability of iron to generate free radicals:

  • Epigallo-Catechin-Gallate (EGCG) (green tea)  24
  • Inositol Hexaphosphate  (IP6) (Phytic Acid) (inhibits the ability of iron to initiate lipid peroxidation)  25
  • Melatonin  26
  • Manganese  27
  • Whey Protein  28

Informational References:

These lab tests, among many others, can test for ferritin levels:

Lab Tests Online

Life Extension – Ferritin Blood Test

* BioFoundations does not dispense medical advice, prescribe, or diagnose an illness. If you have a severe medical condition or health concern, consult your health care professional.

Faecalibacterium prausnitzii: The Peacekeeping Bacteria of the Gastrointestinal Tract

Faecalibacterium prausnitzii belongs to the phylum of Firmicutes and is one of the most abundant anaerobic bacteria in the human gut microbiota, with a proportion of around 5%-15% of total bacteria in feces.  It is named in honor of German bacteriologist Otto Prausnitz.

Relative abundance of Faecalibacterium prausnitzii is a biomarker of intestinal health in adults.

Function and Health Benefits of Faecalibacterium prausnitzii

Faecalibacterium prausnitzii plays a very important role in health benefits and biological functions.  Faecalibacterium prausnitzii:

  • Provides energy to the coloncytes to maintain intestinal health.  1
  • Controls inflammation through inflammatory-cytokine inhibition  2 
  • Protects against glucose intolerance and type 2 diabetes due to positive effects on insulin resistance  3
  • Produces and supplies the short chain fatty acid butyrate to the colonic epithelium  4
  • Has mucosal protective properties  5

Low and decreased levels of Faecalibacterium prausnitzii have been correlated with several pathological disorders, such as:

  • Crohn’s disease  6  7
  • Ulcerative colitis  8  9
  • Inflammatory Bowel disease (IBD)  10  11  12
  • Diabetes  13
  • Obesity  14
  • Asthma  15
  • Major Depressive Disorder  16 
  • Eczema  17
  • Atopic dermatitis  18

Faecalibacterium prausnitzii is also known to be very sensitive to oxidative stress which means that high levels of free radicals kill off this bacteria.

Image result for Faecalibacterium prausnitzii

Source:  Philippe Langella: “Commensal Bacteria and Recombinant Lactic Acid Bacteria as Novel Probiotics for Human Intestinal Health”

Increasing the Population of Faecalibacterium prausnitzii in the Gut Microbiome

Currently there is no probiotic supplement that contains Faecalibacterium prausnitzii.  Therefore, the most important and primary way to increase Faecalibacterium prausnitzii is to increase the consumption of fiber in the diet.  19

Various studies show that a high fermentable fiber with a low glycemic index will increase Faecalibacterium prausnitzii.  20  The following fibers have been shown to increase the population of Faecalibacterium prausnitzii:

  • Sumac-sorghum  21
  • Galacto-oligosaccharides (GOS)  22  23
  • Apple Pectin  24 
  • Inulin  25  26
  • Fructo-oligosaccharides (FOS)  27 

There are other methods to increase the population of Faecalibacterium prausnitzii, such as:

  • Calorie restriction and fasting  28
  • Riboflavin (Vitamin B2) supplementation 29
    • patented formula containing riboflavin for the selective stimulation of Faecalibacterium prausnitzii in the gastrointestinal tract  30 
  • Uronic Acids (glucuronic acid or Calcium D-Glucurate)  31
  • Grape polyphenols  (grape seed extract)  32
  • Bacillus coagulans GBI-30  (6086 (BC30); GanedenBC(30)  33

Seminar: "Commensal Bacteria as Novel Probiotics for Human Intestinal Health" (Philippe Langella)

The Human Gut Microbiome - Its Impact on Our Lives and Our Health

Informational References:

The following companies can test for levels of Faecalibacterium prausnitzii in your gut microbiome:

Genova Diagnostics – GI Effects® Comprehensive Profile – Stool

uBiome – Gut Explorer

MVZ Institute for Micro Ecology GmbH – KyberKompakt Pro