Category Archives: Cardiovascular

image_pdfimage_print

The Multiple Health Benefits of Citrus Bergamot

Citrus Bergamot

Citrus bergamia Risso, also known as the bergamot orange or Citrus bergamot, is a fragrant citrus fruit the size of an orange, with a green color similar to a lime.  The word bergamot is etymologically derived from the Italian word “bergamotto”.

Image result for citrus bergamot

Figure 1.  Citrus bergamot on the vine  (Source)

Citrus bergamot is a citrus plant that grows almost exclusively in the narrow coastal Calabria region in Southern Italy, due to sensitivity to the weather and soil conditions.   It is cultivated in Italy for the production of bergamot oil, a component of many brands of perfume and tea, especially Earl Grey tea. 

While bergamot is native to Italy, it is now widely distributed throughout the subtropical regions of China, including Guangdong, Guangxi, Fujian and Yunnan.

Image result for citrus bergamot

Figure 2.  Citrus Bergamot  (Source)

Genetic researchers have found that the bergamot orange is probably a hybrid of Citrus limetta and Citrus aurantium.

Citrus bergamia is sometimes confused with (but is not the same as):

  • Citrus medica (citron, the yellow fruit of which is also known as etrog)
  • Citrus limetta, the “sweet lemon” or “sweet lime”

Citrus Bergamot differs from C. Aurantium as Citrus Bergamot does not contain Synepherine, N-methyltyramine, and octopamine, which have been shown in research to constrict arteries, increase blood pressure, increase heart rate, cause heart-rhythm disorders, heart attack, and stroke.

Bio-Active Ingredients of Citrus Bergamot

The bio-active ingredients in citrus bergamot includes a unique profile of flavonoid and glycosides, such as:  1  2

  • brutieridin
  • melitidine
  • naringin
  • neodesmin
  • neoeriocitrin
  • neohesperidin
  • ponceritin
  • poncirin
  • rhoifolin
  • rutin

Health Attributes of Citrus Bergamot

A number of studies have shown the positive and powerful health attributes of citrus bergamot.  Among these attributes include:

  • anti-inflammatory  3
  • anti-hypertensive  4
  • hepatic protective effects  5
  • promotes digestion  6 

A clinical study found reduced total low-density lipoprotein, cholesterol, triglyceride and blood glucose levels in 237 patients who had taken oral BPF for 30 days.  7 

Moreover, the expression levels of two autophagy markers (LC3 II/I and Beclin-1) were increased while SQSTM1/p62 expression was reduced, indicating that BPF could stimulate autophagy.  8 

Naringin has been shown to be beneficial in animal models of atherosclerosis, while neoeriocitrin and rutin have been found to exhibit a strong capacity to prevent LDL from oxidation.

Brutieridine and melitidine has been shown to have the ability to inhibit HMG-CoA reductase.

Bergamonte®

Bergamonte® is an exclusive product produced by HP Ingredients which contains bioactive compounds of extract of the juice and albedo of citrus bergamia risso. 

HP Ingredients is a fasty growing innovative herbal and nutraceutical extract health company focused on bringing effective remedies from Asia, Italy, and Chile to the North American Market. HP Ingredients is dedicated to innovating new products and providing accurate and timely information on benefits of these well-researched extracts. We work closely with several teams of scientists from University of Malaysia and Forest Research Institute of Malaysia, the Universidad Austral de Chile, and the University Magna Graecia.

Bergamonte®, an extract of the bergamot orange, was shown in a double-blind, placebo-controlled study to:

  • Support the healthy balance of HDL to LDL cholesterol
  • Support healthy triglycerides and total cholesterol levels
  • Promote healthy blood sugar levels already in the normal range

Melitidine and Brutieridine

A published research article in the Journal of Natural Products 2009 showed that bergamot juice contained novel compounds with statin like principles, having the 3-hydroxy3-methylglutaric acid (HMG) found to the naringin (melitidine) and neohesperidin (brutieridine).

These novel compounds interfere with the natural synthesis of the cholesterol pathway in the human body: The HMG-CoA substrate interferes with the synthesis of the mevalonate acid, blocking the cholesterol production.

Superior Full-Spectrum Antioxidant ORAC Potency

Mode of Action

  • Inhibiting HMG-CoA Reductase
  • Inhibiting Phosphodiesterases PDEs
  • ‘Activating’ AMPK

Efficacy Findings from Clinical Trials

In an unpublished human clinical trial involving 192 patients, the following are the result after patients consumed 100ml of Citrus Bergamot juice for 30 days.

Hypolipemic and Hypoglycemic Activity of Bergamot Polyphenolic Fraction

Fitoterapia 82 (Nov 2011) 309–316
237 patients with hyperlipemia, hypercholesterolemic (HC, cLDL, low cHDL), mixed dyslipidemic (HC and TG), or metabolic syndrome (HC, HT, and HG) were taking either placebo, 500mg, 1000mg.

The effect of Bergamot Polyphenolic Fraction (500 and 1000 mg/daily) on reactive vasodilatation in patients suffering from isolated (HC) or mixed hyperlipidemia (HC/HT) and associated hyperglycemia (HC/HT /HG).

Bergamot Polyphenolic Fraction reduces total and LDL cholesterol levels (an effect accompanied by elevation of cHDL), triglyceride levels and by a significant decrease in blood glucose. Moreover, it  inhibited HMG-CoA reductase activity and enhances reactive vasodilation.

Supports healthy cholesterol level, increase LOX-1 expression and Protein Kinase B phosphorylation

International Journal of Cardiology, 2013
In this open-label, parallel group, placebo-controlled study, 77 patients were randomly assigned either placebo, Rosuvastatin, Bergamot Polyphenolic Fraction or combination of Bergamot Polyphenolic Fraction with Rosuvastatin for 30 days.

Both doses of rosuvastatin and Bergamot Polyphenolic Fraction help support healthy cholesterol level and reduce urinary mevalonate compared to control group. The benefits are associated with significant reductions of biomarkers used for detecting oxidative vascular damage, including malondialdehyde, oxyLDL receptor LOX-1 and phosphoPKB.

Effects on LDL Small Dense Particles, Metabolic Biomarkers, and Liver Function

Advances in Biological Chemistry, 2014, 4, 129-137
107 patients with metabolic syndrome and non fatty liver disease were given either placebo or 650 mg of Bergamot Polyphenolic Fraction twice a day for 120 days. Bergamot Polyphenolic Fraction group showed significant reduction in fasting plasma glucose, rotal cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, triglycerides, and increase of HDL cholesterol. Bergamot Polyphenolic Fraction decrease IDL particles by 51%, increase large LDL by 38%, decrease small LDL by 35%, and 20% increase of total HDL particles. Hepatorenal index was significantly reduced by 46%, accompanied by reduction of hepatic ultrosonographic pattern of steatosis by 99%. This suggests Bergamot Polyphenolic Fraction improves both liver function and inflammation as confirmed by reduction of TNF-α and CRP.

Product Comparison

Already within the normal range  

References
References
  1. Ross Walker, Elzbieta Janda and Vincenzo Mollace. The Use of Bergamot-derived Polyphenol Fraction in Cardiometabolic Risk Prevention and its Possible Mechanisms of Action. Cardiac Health and Polyphenols. Chp 84, Pg 1085-1103, 2014
  2. Micaela Gliozzi, Ross Walker, Elzbjeta Janda, Vincenzo Mollace. Bergamot polyphenolic fraction enhances rosuvastatin-induced effect on LDLcholesterol, LOX-1 expression and Protein Kinase B phosphorylation in patients with hyperlipidemia. International Journal of Cardiology Dec 2013, 170(2):140-5
  3. Vincenzo Mollace, Iolanda Sacco, Elzbieta Janda, Claudio Malara, Domenica Ventrice, Carmen Colica, Valeria Visalli, Saverio Muscoli. Hypolipemic and hypoglycaemic activity of bergamot polyphenols: From animal models to human studies. Fitoterapia 82 (2011) 309–316
  4. Celia C, Trapasso E, Locatelli M, Navarra M, Ventura CA, Wolfram J, Carafa M, Morittu VM, Britti D, Di Marzio L.. Anticancer activity of liposomal bergamot essential oil (BEO) on human neuroblastoma cells. Colloids Surf B Biointerfaces. 2013 Dec 1;112:548-53
  5. Delle Monache S, Sanità P, Trapasso E, Ursino MR, Dugo P, Russo M, Ferlazzo N, Calapai G, Angelucci A, Navarra M. Mechanisms underlying the anti-tumoral effects of Citrus Bergamia juice. PLoS One. 2013 Apr 16;8(4)
  6. Kang P, Suh SH, Min SS, Seol GH. The essential oil of Citrus bergamia Risso induces vasorelaxation of the mouse aorta by activating K(+) channels and inhibiting Ca(2+) influx. J Pharm Pharmacol. 2013 May;65(5):745-9
  7. Leopoldini M, Malaj N, Toscano M, Sindona G, Russo N. On the inhibitor effects of bergamot juice flavonoids binding to the 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl-CoA reductase (HMGR) enzyme. J Agric Food Chem. 2010 Oct 13;58(19):10768-73
  8. Di Donna L, De Luca G, Mazzotti F, Napoli A, Salerno R, Taverna D, Sindona G. Statin-like principles of bergamot fruit (Citrus bergamia): isolation of 3-hydroxymethylglutaryl flavonoid glycosides. J Nat Prod. 2009 Jul;72(7):1352-4
  9. Mollace V, Ragusa S, Sacco I, Muscoli C, Sculco F, Visalli V, Palma E. The protective effect of bergamot oil extract on lecitine-like oxyLDL receptor-1 expression in balloon injury-related neointima formation. J Cardiovasc Pharmacol Ther. 2008 Jun;13(2):120-9
  10. Natalizia Miceli, Maria Mondello, Maria Mondorte, Vasileios Sdrafkakis, Paola Dugo, Maria Crupi. Hypolipidemic effects of bergamot juice in rats Fed a Hypercholesterolemic Diet. J. Agric. Food Chem., Vol. 55, No. 26, 2007

TG/HDL Ratio: A Major Marker and Potent Predictor of Coronary Heart Disease

The TG/HDL Ratio as a Marker of Coronary Heart Disease

A Harvard study published October 21, 1997 in the Journal Circulation stated that

“High triglycerides alone increased the risk of heart attack nearly three-fold.  People with the highest ratio of triglycerides to HDL, had 16 times the risk of heart attack as those with the lowest ratio of triglycerides to HDL in the study of 340 heart attack patients and 340 of their healthy, same age counterparts.”  1 

This Harvard study was the first to report in a case control study that the TG/HDL (triglycerides/HDL cholesterol) ratio strongly predicted risk of myocardial infarction.

Since this study in 1997, other researchers have linked a high TG/HDL-C ratio to: 

  • coronary atherosclerosis  2  3
  • impaired heart rate recovery after exercise  4
  • Coronary Heart Disease (CHD) incidence  5 
  • cardiovascular disease and all cause death  6

The TG/HDL ratio has been widely proposed as an atherogenic marker 7, and a high TG/HDL ratio correlates with LDL phenotype B, small HDL particles, and insulin resistance.  8  9 

Dr. Barry Sears has stated in many of his publications that the TG/HDL ratio is a marker of insulin resistance in the liver.  If that ratio is greater than 2, the patient is heading toward pre-diabetes.  10

Triglycerides

A triglyceride is an ester derived from glycerol and three fatty acids and are the main constituents of body fat in humans.

The National Cholesterol Education Program has set guidelines for triglyceride levels:   11

Level Interpretation
(mg/dL) (mmol/L)
< 150 < 1.70 Normal range – low risk
150–199 1.70–2.25 Slightly above normal
200–499 2.26–5.65 Some risk
500 or higher > 5.65 Very high – high
risk

High-density lipoproteins (HDL)

High-density lipoproteins (HDL) are one of the five major groups of lipoproteins. Lipoproteins are complex particles composed of multiple proteins which transport all fat molecules (lipids) around the body within the water outside cells (extracellular matrix).

The function of HDL particles is to remove fat molecules from cells which need to export fat molecules.  This is often why HDL is termed the “good” cholesterol.

The American Heart Association, National Institutes of Health and the National Cholesterol Education Program provides a set of guidelines for fasting HDL levels and risk for heart disease.  12

Level mg/dL Level mmol/L Interpretation
<40 for men, <50 for women <1.03 Low HDL cholesterol, heightened risk for heart
disease
40–59 1.03–1.55 Medium HDL level
>60 >1.55 High HDL level, optimal condition considered
protective against heart disease

Calculating the TG/HDL ratio

The TG/HDL ratio is not a separate blood test that can be administered.  An individual needs to determine their TG levels and HDL levels in a comprehensive lipid profile blood test and then calculate the TG/HDL ratio from these two results.

The two lipid levels, TG and HDL are expressed differently depending on the country in which the test is administered.

If tested in the United States, then lipid values are expressed as mg/dl

If tested in Australia, Canada, and Europe, then lipid values are expressed as mmol/L

The ideal TG/HDL ratio should be:

  • 1 or less (using mg/dl) 
  • 0.4 or less (using mmol/ml)

If lipid values are expressed as mg/dl (United States):

  • TG/HDL ratio less than 2 is ideal
  • TG/HDL ratio above 4 is too high
  • TG/HDL ratio above 6 is excessive

If lipid values are expressed as mmol/L (Australia, Canada, and Europe):

  • TG/HDL ratio less than 0.87 is ideal
  • TG/HDL ratio above 1.74 is too high
  • TG/HDL ratio above 2.62 is excessive

According to Dr. Barry Sears, the following Table can be used as a guide to determine where your health status falls based on your TG/HDL ratio:

Test (mg/dl) Diseased: Already have a chronic disease Poor: On a path to chronic disease Good: On the path to wellness Ideal: State of Wellness
TG/HDL 4 or greater 3 2 1

How to Lower a High or Less than Ideal TG/HDL Ratio

If the TG/HDL ratio is greater than the ideal range, this would indicate that insulin resistance is beginning to appear in the liver and that a more strict anti-inflammatory diet is required to reduce the cellular inflammation that causes such insulin resistance.  13

There are a few accepted ways to lower triglyceriedes and increase HDL cholesterol levels:

Increase intake of omega-3 fatty acids in the form of EPA and DHA (fish oil)  (lowers triglyceriedes)

Take Niacin (Vitamin B3)

Supplement with Citrus Bergamot (Bergamonte®):  14

Information provided by HP Ingredients, exclusive producers of Bergamonte®

Bergamot (Citrus Bergamia Risso) is a citrus plant that grows almost exclusively in the narrow coastal Calabria region in Southern Italy, due to sensitivity to the weather and soil conditions. Bergamot juice was traditionally recognized by the local population as a remedy for supporting healthy cholesterol level and cardiovascular health. The medicinal use of bergamot, forgotten for decades, is now being rediscovered.

The juice and albedo of bergamot has a unique profile of flavonoid and glycosides, such as neoeriocitrin, neohesperidin, naringin, rutin, neodesmin, rhoifolin and poncirin. Naringin have been shown to be beneficial in animal models of atherosclerosis, while neoeriocitrin and rutin have been found to exhibit a strong capacity to prevent LDL from oxidation. Importantly, bergamot juice is rich in brutieridine and melitidine with an ability to inhibit HMG-CoA reductase.

Figure 1.  Bergamot (Citrus Bergamia Risso) (Source)

Standardized, Clinically Tested

Bergamonte® contains bioactive compounds of extract of the juice and albedo of citrus bergamia risso, standardized to > 30% polyphenolic flavanoids consisting of Naringin, Neohesperidin, Neoeriocitrin, 1% Melitidine, and 2% Brutelidine. Bergamonte® is produced using patented extraction technology through collaborative works of various Universities and research institutions in Italy. These flavanoids are clinically proven to help maintain healthy cholesterol level, healthy blood glucose level, increase HDL-cholesterol, and promoting healthy weight management.

Benefits of Bergamonte®

  • Cardiovascular Health
  • Supports Healthy Cholesterol
  • Supports Healthy Blood Sugar
  • Healthy Weight Loss

Citrus Bergamot Differs From C. Aurantium…

Citrus Bergamot differs from C. Aurantium as Citrus Bergamot does not contain Synepherine, N-methyltyramine, and octopamine, which have been shown in research to constrict arteries, increase blood pressure, increase heart rate, cause
heart-rhythm disorders, heart attack, and stroke.

Citrus Bergamot contains Melitidine and Brutelidine which is absent in C. Aurantuim. Research has shown that these compounds significantly reduce total cholesterol, LDL, Triglycerides, blood glucose levels, while increasing HDL.

Melitidine and Brutieridine
A published research article in the Journal of Natural Products 2009 showed that bergamot juice contained novel compounds with statin like principles, having the 3-hydroxy3-methylglutaric acid (HMG) found to the naringin (melitidine) and neohesperidin (brutieridine).

These novel compounds interfere with the natural synthesis of the cholesterol pathway in the human body: The HMG-CoA substrate interferes with the synthesis of the mevalonate acid, blocking the cholesterol production.

Mode of Action

  • Inhibiting HMG-CoA Reductase
  • Inhibiting Phosphodiesterases PDEs
  • ‘Activating’ AMPK

Efficacy Findings from Clinical Trials

In an unpublished human clinical trial involving 192 patients, the following are the result after patients consumed 100ml of Citrus Bergamot juice for 30 days.

Hypolipemic and Hypoglycemic Activity of Bergamot Polyphenolic Fraction

Fitoterapia 82 (Nov 2011) 309–316
237 patients with hyperlipemia, hypercholesterolemic (HC, cLDL, low cHDL), mixed dyslipidemic (HC and TG), or metabolic syndrome (HC, HT, and HG) were taking either placebo, 500mg, 1000mg.

Supports healthy cholesterol level, increase LOX-1 expression and Protein Kinase B phosphorylation  ( Already within the normal range)

International Journal of Cardiology, 2013
In this open-label, parallel group, placebo-controlled study, 77 patients were randomly assigned either placebo, Rosuvastatin, Bergamot Polyphenolic Fraction or combination of Bergamot Polyphenolic Fraction with Rosuvastatin for 30 days.

Both doses of rosuvastatin and Bergamot Polyphenolic Fraction help support healthy cholesterol level and reduce urinary mevalonate compared to control group. The benefits are associated with significant reductions of biomarkers used for detecting oxidative vascular damage, including malondialdehyde, oxyLDL receptor LOX-1 and phosphoPKB.

Effects on LDL Small Dense Particles, Metabolic Biomarkers, and Liver Function

Advances in Biological Chemistry, 2014, 4, 129-137
107 patients with metabolic syndrome and non fatty liver disease were given either placebo or 650 mg of Bergamot Polyphenolic Fraction twice a day for 120 days. Bergamot Polyphenolic Fraction group showed significant reduction in fasting plasma glucose, rotal cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, triglycerides, and increase of HDL cholesterol. Bergamot Polyphenolic Fraction decrease IDL particles by 51%, increase large LDL by 38%, decrease small LDL by 35%, and 20% increase of total HDL particles. Hepatorenal index was significantly reduced by 46%, accompanied by reduction of hepatic ultrosonographic pattern of steatosis by 99%. This suggests Bergamot Polyphenolic Fraction improves both liver function and inflammation as confirmed by reduction of TNF-α and CRP.

Product Comparison

Bergamonte® is an exclusive product of HP Ingredients

References for Bergamonte®
References
  1. Ross Walker, Elzbieta Janda and Vincenzo Mollace. The Use of Bergamot-derived Polyphenol Fraction in Cardiometabolic Risk Prevention and its Possible Mechanisms of Action. Cardiac Health and Polyphenols. Chp 84, Pg 1085-1103, 2014
  2. Micaela Gliozzi, Ross Walker, Elzbjeta Janda, Vincenzo Mollace. Bergamot polyphenolic fraction enhances rosuvastatin-induced effect on LDLcholesterol, LOX-1 expression and Protein Kinase B phosphorylation in patients with hyperlipidemia. International Journal of Cardiology Dec 2013, 170(2):140-5
  3. Vincenzo Mollace, Iolanda Sacco, Elzbieta Janda, Claudio Malara, Domenica Ventrice, Carmen Colica, Valeria Visalli, Saverio Muscoli. Hypolipemic and hypoglycaemic activity of bergamot polyphenols: From animal models to human studies. Fitoterapia 82 (2011) 309–316
  4. Celia C, Trapasso E, Locatelli M, Navarra M, Ventura CA, Wolfram J, Carafa M, Morittu VM, Britti D, Di Marzio L.. Anticancer activity of liposomal bergamot essential oil (BEO) on human neuroblastoma cells. Colloids Surf B Biointerfaces. 2013 Dec 1;112:548-53
  5. Delle Monache S, Sanità P, Trapasso E, Ursino MR, Dugo P, Russo M, Ferlazzo N, Calapai G, Angelucci A, Navarra M. Mechanisms underlying the anti-tumoral effects of Citrus Bergamia juice. PLoS One. 2013 Apr 16;8(4)
  6. Kang P, Suh SH, Min SS, Seol GH. The essential oil of Citrus bergamia Risso induces vasorelaxation of the mouse aorta by activating K(+) channels and inhibiting Ca(2+) influx. J Pharm Pharmacol. 2013 May;65(5):745-9
  7. Leopoldini M, Malaj N, Toscano M, Sindona G, Russo N. On the inhibitor effects of bergamot juice flavonoids binding to the 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl-CoA reductase (HMGR) enzyme. J Agric Food Chem. 2010 Oct 13;58(19):10768-73
  8. Di Donna L, De Luca G, Mazzotti F, Napoli A, Salerno R, Taverna D, Sindona G. Statin-like principles of bergamot fruit (Citrus bergamia): isolation of 3-hydroxymethylglutaryl flavonoid glycosides. J Nat Prod. 2009 Jul;72(7):1352-4
  9. Mollace V, Ragusa S, Sacco I, Muscoli C, Sculco F, Visalli V, Palma E. The protective effect of bergamot oil extract on lecitine-like oxyLDL receptor-1 expression in balloon injury-related neointima formation. J Cardiovasc Pharmacol Ther. 2008 Jun;13(2):120-9
  10. Natalizia Miceli, Maria Mondello, Maria Mondorte, Vasileios Sdrafkakis, Paola Dugo, Maria Crupi. Hypolipidemic effects of bergamot juice in rats Fed a Hypercholesterolemic Diet. J. Agric. Food Chem., Vol. 55, No. 26, 2007

F2-Isoprostanes: A Major Aging Marker of Lipid Peroxidation and Risk Marker for Developing Coronary Heart Disease

Arachidonic acid

Arachidonic acid (AA) is a polyunsaturated omega-6 fatty acid (20:4(ω-6)) and is converted from linoleic acid, which is an essential fatty acid, known as omega-6 fatty acid.

In the body, arachidonic acid is present in the phospholipids of cell membranes and mostly abundant in the:

  • brain
  • muscles (accounting for roughly 10-20% of the phospholipid fatty acid content on average)
  • liver

Only animals and not plants can convert linoleic acid to arachidonic acid.  Arachidonic acid can also be obtained endogenously from the diet by consuming primarily animal foods, such as:

  • meat
  • poultry
  • eggs

Physiologically, the body requires a certain level of AA.  However, when that level is outside the accepted reference range, this can progress into a pro-inflammatory environment.  AA is actually considered to produce various pro-inflammatory eicosanoids. 

Image result for Arachidonic acid

Figure 1.  Arachidonic Acid cascade  (Source)

One measure of cellular inflammation is the AA:EPA Ratio.  The AA: EPA ratio provides a more specific indicator of the balance between omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids in circulation. When this ratio is higher, there is preferred incorporation of AA into cell membranes over EPA, leading to a pro-inflammatory environment.

While both of these fatty acids are essential to human health, the optimal ratio of AA:EPA is around 1.7.  1 

Isoprostanes

Isoprostanes are prostaglandin-like compounds formed in the body from the free radical-catalyzed peroxidation of arachidonic acid.  Isoprostanes acts as inflammatory mediators and possess potent biological activity.  They are accurate markers of lipid peroxidation of oxidative stress.  2

Image result for lipid peroxidation

Figure 2.  Harmful Effects of Lipid Peroxidation  (Source)

Lipid peroxidation occurs in the cell membrane when free radicals oxidize or degrades the lipids contain the the cell membranes.  This ultimately results in cell damage.  Polyunsaturated fatty acids (mostly AA) are particularly vulnerable to lipid peroxidation due to the numerous double bonds in their structure.

F2-Isoprostanes

F2-Isoprostanes are produced by the reaction of free radicals with arachidonic acid.

Image result for F2-Isoprostanes

Figure 3.  Metabolism of F2-Isoprostanes  (Source)

The damage done by F2-Isoprostanes can be widespread, since they can generally cause:

  • blood vessels to constrict
  • blood pressure to raise
  • promotion of blood clots
  • promotion of the clumping of platelets

Numerous studies carried out over the past decade have shown that these compounds are extremely accurate measures of lipid peroxidation and have illuminated the role of oxidant injury in a number of human diseases including atherosclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease and pulmonary disorders.  3

Measuring and Testing for F2-isoprostanes

The F2-isoprostanes test is considered the gold standard for oxidative stress and is measured in a urine specimen. 

Elevated F2-isoprostanes levels are at a more than 30-fold risk for developing coronary heart disease compared with those with normally low levels.  4

According to the Cleveland HeartLab, Inc., your F2-isoprostanes risk is low when your level is less than 0.86 ng/mg; at or above that level places you at high risk.  5

 

Cleveland HeartLab, Inc.

Reference Range for F2-isoprostanes

Age                                                                ng/mg creatinine

All Ages                                                                  <0.86

 

 

Informational References:

Cleveland HeartLab, Inc. offers the F2-isoprostanes Test through the Know Your Risk Program®

Cleveland HeartLab, Inc. F2-isoprostanes Handout

Video:  Marc Penn – Trials and Tribulations of Assessing CVD Risk in 2013 (Cleveland HeartLab)

 

Delaying the Chronological Aging of the Yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae by Six Plant Extracts

Researchers from Concordia University in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, in collaboration with the Quebec-based biotech company Idunn Technologies, published a study in the Journal Oncotarget on 29 March 2016, describing their discovery of six plant extracts that increase yeast chronological lifespan to a significantly greater extent than any of the presently known longevity-extending chemical compounds.  1

For the study, the researchers examined many plant extracts that would increase the chronological lifespan of yeast.  They finally found and used 37 plant extracts for this study.  These plant extracts are listed in the Table 1 below:

Table 1: List of plant extracts that have was used in this study

Abbreviated nameBotanical namePlant part used
PE1Echinacea purpureaWhole plant
PE2Astragalus membranaceousRoot
PE3Rhodiola rosea L.Root
PE4Cimicifuga racemosaRoot and rhizome
PE5Valeriana officinalis L.Root
PE6Passiflora incarnate L.Whole plant
PE7Polygonum cuspidatumRoot and rhizome
PE8Ginkgo bilobaLeaf
PE9Zingiber officinale RoscoeRhizome
PE10Theobroma cacao L.Cacao nibs
PE11Camellia sinensis L. KuntzeLeaf
PE12Apium graveolens L.Seed
PE13Scutellaria baicalensisRoot
PE14Euterpe oleraceaFruit
PE15Withania somniferaRoot and leaf
PE16Phyllanthus emblicaFruit
PE17Camellia sinensisLeaf
PE18Pueraria lobataRoot
PE19Silybum marianumSeed
PE20Eleutherococcus senticosusRoot and stem
PE21Salix albaBark
PE22Glycine max L.Bean
PE24Calendula officinalisFlower
PE25Salvia miltiorrhizaRoot
PE27Panax quinquefoliumRoot
PE28Harpagophytum procumbensRoot
PE29Olea europaea L.Leaf
PE30Gentiana luteaRoot
PE31Piper nigrumFruit
PE32Aesculus hippocastanumSeed
PE33Mallus pumila Mill.Fruit
PE34Fragaria spp.Fruit
PE35Ribes nigrumLeaf
PE36Dioscorea oppositaRoot
PE37Cinnamomum verumBark

Table source:  Discovery of plant extracts that greatly delay yeast chronological aging and have different effects on longevity-defining cellular processes

The means by which these six plant extracts (PEs) delays the onset and decreases the rate of yeast chronological aging is by eliciting a hormetic stress response. The budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae is a beneficial model organism for the discovery of genes, signaling pathways and chemical compounds that slow cellular and organismal aging in eukaryotes across phyla.  Yeast was chosen in this study because aging progresses similarly in both yeast and humans.

The six PEs that were identified include:  2

  • Black Cohosh (Cimicifuga racemosa) (PE4)
  • Valerian  (Valeriana officinalis L.)  (PE5)
  • Passion Flower  (Passiflora incarnata L.)  (PE6)
  • Ginko Biloba  (Ginko biloba)  (PE8)
  • Celery Seed  (Apium graveolens L.)  (PE12)
  • White Willow  (Salix alba)  (PE21)

 

The six identified PEs out of the thirty-seven PEs that were examined showed the highest percentage increase of lifespan, (also known as the chronological lifespan (CLS)), in the yeast,   The researchers determined both the mean (average) CLS and the maximum CLS of the six PEs.

Table 2 below list the six PEs and their mean and max. CLS:

Table 2: Percent increase of lifespan of S. cerevisiae by 6 PEs

Plant Extract (PE)Mean CLSMax CLS
PE4 (Black Cohosh)195%100%
PE5 (Valerian)185%87%
PE6 (Passion Flower)180%80%
PE8 (Ginko Biloba)145%104%
PE12 (Celery Seed)160%107%
PE21 (White Willow)475%369%
CLS - Chronological Lifespan

(Source:  Discovery of plant extracts that greatly delay yeast chronological aging and have different effects on longevity-defining cellular processes)

The researchers noted that PE21 appears to be the most potent longevity-extending pharmacological intervention presently known. It increases the mean and maximum CLS of yeast by 475% and 369%, respectively.  PE21 or White Willow bark represents a much greater effect than rapamycin and metformin, the two best drugs known for their anti-aging effects.

These findings by the researchers imply that these extracts slow aging in the following ways:  3

  • PE4 (Black Cohosh) decreases the efficiency with which the pro-aging TORC1 pathway inhibits the anti-aging SNF1 pathway;
  • PE5 (Valerian) mitigates two different branches of the pro-aging PKA pathway;
  • PE6 (Passion Flower) coordinates processes that are not assimilated into the network of presently known signaling pathways/protein kinases;
  • PE8 (Ginko biloba) diminishes the inhibitory action of PKA on SNF1;
  • PE12 (Celery Seed) intensifies the anti-aging protein kinase Rim15; and
  • PE21 (White Willow) inhibits a form of the pro-aging protein kinase Sch9 that is activated by the pro-aging PKH1/2 pathway.

The researchers showed that each of these six PEs decelerates yeast chronological aging and has different effects on several longevity-defining cellular processes, as illustrated in Figure 1.

An external file that holds a picture, illustration, etc. Object name is oncotarget-07-50845-g009.jpg

Figure 1.  A model for how PE4, PE5, PE6, PE8, PE12 and PE21 delay yeast chronological aging via the longevity-defining network of signaling pathways/protein kinases.  Activation arrows and inhibition bars denote pro-aging processes (displayed in blue color) or anti-aging processes (displayed in red color). Pro-aging or anti-aging signaling pathways and protein kinases are displayed in blue or red color, respectively.  (Source: Discovery of plant extracts that greatly delay yeast chronological aging and have different effects on longevity-defining cellular processes)

Each of the six PEs have different effects on cellular processes that define longevity in organisms across phyla. These effects include the following:

  • increased mitochondrial respiration and membrane potential;
  • augmented or reduced concentrations of reactive oxygen species;
  • decreased oxidative damage to cellular proteins, membrane lipids, and mitochondrial and nuclear genomes;
  • enhanced cell resistance to oxidative and thermal stresses; and
  • accelerated degradation of neutral lipids deposited in lipid droplets.

The researchers also revealed that certain combinations of the six PEs could markedly increase aging-delaying proficiencies of each other.

In conclusion, the study stated that the obvious challenge was to assess whether any of the six PEs can delay the onset and progression of chronic diseases associated with human aging.  Idunn Technologies is collaborating with four other universities for six research programs, to go beyond yeast, and work with an animal model of aging, as well as two cancer models.  4

This study and ongoing research reveals five features of the six PEs as potential interventions for decelerating chronic diseases of old age. These five features include:  5

  • the six PEs are caloric restriction (CR) mimetics that imitate the aging-delaying effects of the CR diet in yeast under non-CR conditions;
  • they are geroprotectors that slow yeast aging by eliciting a hormetic stress response;
  • they extend yeast longevity more efficiently than any lifespan-prolonging chemical compound yet described;
  • they delay aging through signaling pathways and protein kinases implicated in such age-related pathologies as type 2 diabetes, neurodegenerative diseases, cardiac hypertrophy, cardiovascular disease, sarcopenia and cancers; and
  • they extend longevity and delay the onset of age-related diseases in other eukaryotic model organisms.

The Proposed Nine Hallmarks of Aging

Scientist and researchers have attempted to identify and categorize the cellular and molecular hallmarks of aging in a published paper in the research journal Cell on 6th June 2013.  1 

In this paper, researchers proposed nine candidate hallmarks that are generally considered to contribute to the aging process and together determine the aging phenotype.

These nine hallmarks include:

  • altered intercellular communication
  • cellular senescence
  • deregulated nutrient-sensing
  • epigenetic alterations
  • genomic instability
  • loss of proteostasis
  • mitochondrial dysfunction
  • stem cell exhaustion
  • telomere attrition

large Image

The 9 Hallmarks of Aging  (Source: The Hallmarks of Aging)

Researchers set three criteria for each ‘hallmark’:  2

  • it should manifest during normal aging;
  • its experimental aggravation should accelerate aging; and
  • its experimental amelioration should retard the normal aging process and, hence, increase healthy lifespan.

The challenge that the researchers encountered was to show the interconnectedness between the candidate hallmarks and their relative contribution to aging.  The ultimate goal of the research was to “identifying pharmaceutical targets to improve human health during aging with minimal side-effects.”  3

A clear and easy to understand article on the nine Hallmarks of Aging was published by Geroscience.com on 23rd February 2017.  This article, written by Alexandra Bause, PhD, examines each of the nine hallmarks in plain English and provides a better understanding beyond the original publication in the journal Cell.   

Despite the fact that these hallmarks can be complex and complicated and the understanding of them are still limited, there is hope that new medical strategies will emerge that will ameliorate the the normal aging process.

Geroscience.com is the premier site for news, discussion, and scientific insight related to the basic biology of aging and the development of new medicines with the ability to cure or prevent the diseases of aging.

Geroscience.com is committed to bringing its readers the most interesting developments in the science of aging and will: 4

  • Feature a wide range of multimedia content including interviews with experts, looks behind the scenes of everyday lab life, and the latest trends from longevity conferences
  • Capture the perspectives of leading researchers, entrepreneurs, and other experts to act as a platform to share ideas about aging and longevity
  • Cover the emerging biotechnology business of geroscience, including investment coverage, clinical trial data, and insight into the regulatory world
  • Aid collaboration between cross-functional scientific communities, connecting researchers, investors, and industry heads from around the globe

  

Read the article at Geroscience.com:

The hallmarks of aging, in plain English, by Alexandra Bause, PhD at Geroscience.com

 

Free E-Book: The Health and Medicinal Benefits of Ashitaba

Ashitaba, which is the common name used in Japan, is botanically known as Angelica keiskei or Angelica Keiskei Koidzumi. The English translation of the Japanese word “Ashitaba” (アシタバ or 明日葉) is “Tomorrow’s Leaf”. Ashita means ‘tomorrow and ba means ‘leaf.’ The name stems from the plant’s ability to quickly regenerate new leaves after taking cuttings. This give an indication of its potential for longevity of life.

asitab_5

Ashitaba plant

There are two separate substances (products) that are derived from the Ashitaba plant.

The first is the hot-air dried powder of Ashitaba from the leaves and stems. The color of this powder is bright green. The leaves of the Ashitaba plant contain approximately 0.25% to 0.35% chalcones.

The second is the powder made from the unique yellow sap which is collected from the Ashitaba’s stem. It is commonly called Ashitaba Chalcone Powder which consists up to 8% chalcones. The color of Ashitaba Chalcone Powder is bright yellow and is a fat-soluble substance.

Although the green Ashitaba powder from the leaves and stems provide nutritional and health benefits, it is the Ashitaba Chalcone Powder (bright yellow powder from the sap of the stem) that is the Chalconoids are natural phenols related to chalcone. They form the central core for a variety of important biological compounds.

997422_orig

Chalcone sap from Ashitaba stem

Chalcones are the active factors in Angelica Keiskei Koidzumi. At least 20 chalcones have been identified in Angelica Keiskei.

Ashitaba contains a thick, sticky yellow sap, which is not found in other celery plants, and are unique to this strain of angelica. This yellowish element in Ashitaba contain the chalconoids.

 

Download the Free E-Book (PDF): The Health and Medicinal Benefits of Ashitaba

Left-click to download into new window, then right-click (in new window) to save as PDF file.

Ginkgo biloba Increases Global Cerebral Blood Flow

One of the leading factors of cognitive impairment leading to dementia and eventually Alzheimer’s disease is a condition where there is insufficient blood flow to the brain or an inadequate supply of blood to the brain. 

The condition of reduced blood flow to the brain is called cerebral ischemia or hypoperfusion of the brain.

Hypoperfusion of the brain can severely diminish neurological function and is often the first indication of changes that impact the brain and which precedes structural deterioration of the brain.  1

Researchers published a study in March 2011 that sought to determine if changes in cerebral blood flow could be detected by dynamic susceptibility contrast-enhanced magnetic resonance imaging (DSC-MRI) in elderly human subjects taking an Extract of Ginkgo biloba (EGb).   2

Image result for ginkgo biloba

Ginko biloba leaves

The test subjects were nine healthy men with a mean age of 61±10 years.  They took 60 mg EGb twice daily for 4 weeks.

Cerebral blood flow (CBF) values were computed before and after EGb, and analyzed at three different levels of spatial resolution, using voxel-based statistical parametric mapping (SPM), and regions of interest in different lobes, and all regions combined.

Test results showed a small CBF increase in the left parietal–occipital region. CBF in individual lobar regions did not show any significant change post-EGb, but all regions combined showed a significant increase of non-normalized CBF after EGb (15% in white and 13% in gray matter, respectively, P≤0.0001).

Researchers concluded that a mild increase in CBF is found in the left parietal–occipital WM after EGb, as well as a small but statistically significant increase in global CBF.

Cover Photo credit: Radu Jianu, Brown University

In Search of Geroprotectors: The Final Four Have Been Identified

A geroprotector is one of the five different types of senotherapeutic strategies that aims to affect the root cause of aging and age-related diseases, and thus prolong the life span of animals.  Geroprotectors utilize agents and strategies which prevent or reverse the senescent state by preventing triggers of cellular senescence, including:

  • DNA damage
  • Oxidative stress
  • Proteotoxic stress
  • Telomere shortening

Senotherapeutics refers to therapeutic agents and strategies that specifically target cellular senescence and include any of the following therapies:

  • Gene therapy
  • Geroprotectors
  • Immune clearance of senescent cells
  • SASP inhibitors
  • Senolytics  (compounds capable of identifying and eliminating senescent cells)

Senescent cells enter a stage in which they no longer properly divide and function and become dysfunctional, which utlimately leads to organ failure.  Senescent cells also generate pro-inflammatory compounds which potentially damage healthy tissues.

Senolytics and geroprotectors eliminate aging and senescent cells from the tissues which then makes room for newer more active cells.

Life Extension® has partnered with Insilico Medicine to identify nutrient cocktails that function as geroprotectors by employing artificial intelligence biomedical algorithms.  These strategic uses of high-speed computer programs accelerates the research into potential geroprotectors. 

In a study published on April 23, 2016 in the Journal Aging, the authors, including Life Extension® and Insilico Medicine, among others, used GeroScope to develop a list of geroprotectors. 1

GeroScope is a computational tool that can aid prediction of novel geroprotectors from existing human gene expression data. GeroScope maps expression differences between samples from young and old subjects to aging-related signaling pathways, then profiles pathway activation strength (PAS) for each condition.

Known substances are then screened and ranked for those most likely to target differential pathways and mimic the young signalome. 

The study identified and shortlisted ten substances, all of which have lifespan-extending effects in animal models.  These ten substances include:

  • 7-Cyclopentyl-5-(4-phenoxy)phenyl-7H-pyrrolo[2,3-d]pyrimidin-4-ylamine
  • Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG)
  • Fasudil (HA-1077)
  • HA-1004
  • Myricetin
  • N-acetyl-L-cysteine (NAC)
  • Nordihydroguaiaretic acid (NDGA)
  • PD-98059
  • Staurosporine
  • Ursolic acid
Drug Code Model Organism Lifespan (LS) Parameter % Increase Ref.
Nordihydroguaiaretic acid A D. melanogaster Median LS 23 [47]
Mus Musculus Median LS 12 [48]
Myricetin B C. elegans Mean LS 32.9 [48,49]
HA-1004 C D. melanogaster Mean LS 18 [50]
7-Cyclopentyl-5-(4-phenoxy)phenyl-7H-pyrrolo[2,3-d]pyrimidin-4-ylamine D C. elegans Mean LS 11 [51]
Staurosporine E D. Melanogaster Mean LS 34.8 [50]
Ursolic acid F C. elegans Mean LS 39 [52]
N-acetyl-L-cysteine G Mice Max LS 40 [53]
Fasudil (HA-1077) H D. melanogaster Mean LS 14.5 [50]
PD-98059 I D. melanogaster Mean LS 27 [50]
Epigallocatechin gallate J C. elegans Mean LS 10.1 [54]
Rattus norvegicus Median LS 13.5 [55]

Table 3. Previously reported lifespan effects of test substances in animal models (compiled from geroprotectors.org [15].)  Source:  In search for geroprotectors: in silico screening and in vitro validation of signalome-level mimetics of young healthy state

The researchers narrowed down the list of ten substances to the final four compounds, which include:

  • Gamma tocotrienol (Vitamin E)
  • Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) (found in Green tea)
  • N-acetyl-L-cysteine (NAC)
  • Myricetin

These final four compounds combat numerous aging factors throughout the body by working together by influencing key anti-aging pathways. 

The researchers concluded that these four compounds reduced cellular aging and protect against the development of senescent cells by modulating a group of signaling pathways.

For a breakdown of the various pathways modulated by the final four compounds, read and review the April 2017 article from Life Extension®.

Life Extension® has combined these final four compounds into a new supplement product called GEROPROTECT™ Ageless Cell™.  Supplementing with this product may reduce the body’s burden of senescent cells.  

The Potent Compounds of Salvia militorrhiza (Danshen)

Salvia miltiorrhiza, also known as red sage, Chinese sage, tan shen, or danshen, is a perennial plant in the genus SalviaSalvia miltiorrhiza is native to China and Japan where it grows at 90 to 1,200 m (300 to 3,940 ft) elevation, preferring grassy places in forests, hillsides, and along stream banks. The specific epithet miltiorrhiza means “red ochre root” as can be seen in the photo below:

DanshenRoot

Salvia militorrhiza BUNGE (Danshen) roots

Scientist have identified over 80 compounds in Danshen, both water soluble and fat soluble:  1  2  3

  • 50 water soluble compounds
    • Salvianolic acid B
    • Danshensu (Salvianolic acid A)
    • Protocatechuic aldehyde
  • 30 fat soluble compounds
    • Tanshinones
      • Tanshinone I
      • Tanshinone IIA 
      • Cryptotanshinone

The two compounds that show the most pharmalogical significance is the Salvianolic acids, Salvianolic acid A (danshensu) and the tanshinones, Tanshinone I and Tashinone IIA.

Salvianolic acid B is a potent antioxidant and has been investigated for its ability to protect against cerebrovascular disorders.  4  5

The Tanshinones (Dihydrotanshinone, tanshinone I, and tanshinone IIA) are currently being investigated for their anti-cancer effects.  6  7

The Table below lists the active compounds that have been studied for their therapeutic benefits in human health with references to various scientific studies for each compound:

Active Compounds in Salvia miltorrhiza Bunge

Compounds in Salvia miltorrhiza Bunge Clinical ApplicationsFunctions and UsesReferences
Cryptotanshinone1. Coronary heart disease and sugar diabetes; 2. Anti-infections; 3. To treat hepatitis and lepra disease.Cryptotanshinone is a major tanshinone isolated from Salvia miltiorrhiza that uses in many different fields. It has a good effection cardiovascular disease resisting fungus, also been effective to inhibit bacterium and diminish inflammation.1 2 3
Danshensu sodium1. Anti-bacterial 2. Anti-atherosclerotic 3. Enhancing immune1. Prevention for cardiac muscle, inhibit platelet aggregation; 2. Prevention for nerve cell and hepatic fibrosis; 3. Anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, anti-atherosclerotic and anticoagulation. Hypolipidemic effect and enhancing immune1 2 3
Danshensu/Salvianic Acid A1. Coronary heart disease 2. Anti-platelet aggregation 3. Protection for heartDanshensu is mainly used as raw material for clearing heat, anti-inflammation, detumescence and increasing coronary flow.1 2 3
Dihydroanshinone1. Antibacterium 2. Antifungal activity 3. Anti-thromboticSome inhibitory effects on Staphylococcus aureus, human-type Mycobacterium tuberculosis, Mycobacterium, leather bacteria etc. Inhibit platelet aggregation, anti-oxidants and expansion of coronary activity. Applied in medicine, healthcare food, food additive1 2 3 4 5 6
Magnesium Lithospermate B1. Anti-oxidative junction 2. Protection for heart 3. Protection for brain 4. Prevention for hepatic fibrosis 5. Anti-aging and anti-tumorPromoting blood circulation and removing blood stasis, Stimulate the menstrual flow and activate the collaterals. It is used for apoplexy and the angina caused by coronary artery disease. Anti-fibrosis of liver. Mainly applied in Medicine, healthcare food, food additive.1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Protocatechuic aldehyde1. Anti-inflammation 2. anti-prostaglandin 3. anti-lipid peroxidationIt has a strong effect on antithrombotic, improving the blood circulation and anti-oxidant. Applied in medicine, healthcare food, food additive.1 2 3 4
Salvianolic Acid B1. Anti-oxidative junction 2. Protection for heart 3. Protection for brain 4. Prevention for hepatic fibrosis 5. Anti-aging and anti-tumorPromoting blood circulation and removing blood stasis, Stimulate the menstrual flow and activate the collaterals. It is used to cure apoplexy and the angina caused by coronary artery disease. Anti-fibrosis of liver. Mainly applied in Medicine, healthcare food, food additive.1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Sodium tanshinoneⅡA sulfonate1. To ease postpartum pain 2.To remove goreSodium tanshinoneⅡA sulfonate is used to remove blood stasis and relieve pain, promote the flow of blood and stimulate menstrual discharge, expand blood vessels. It has a good effect on abnormal menstruation.1 2 3 4 5 6
Tanshinone I1. To depress pains in bodies 2. Promote the secretion of estrogen 3. Against angina pectoris1.It has a strong inhibition on human strains of Mycobacterium and is for the treatment of acne, and angina pectoris; 2. It is effective on the treatment of hepatitis and lepra disease. Applied in medicine, healthcare food, food additive.1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Tanshinone IIA1. To expend vessel 2. Depress blood pressure 3. Anti-thrombotic 4 AntioxidantUsed in medicine, healthcare food, food additive.1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Source of Columns 1, 2 and 3 is Xi 'an Honson Biotechnology Co., Ltd.
References provided by BioFoundations.org

 


Hibiscus sabdariffa (Roselle) Shows Promise as an Antihypertension Agent

Hibiscus sabdariffa, commonly known as Roselle is a member of the species of Hibiscus.  It is an annual or perennial that is native to West Africa.  The leaves and stems of Roselle are commonly used throughout the world as a tea.

The leaves of Roselle has been used medicinally for centuries and contain a large variety of polyphenols.  The major identified compounds include:  1

  • anthocyanins
  • caffeoylshikimic acid
  • chlorogenic acid
  • chrysanthenin
  • cryptochlorogenic acid
  • daphniphylline
  • delphinidin
  • gossypetin
  • hibiscetine
  • hibiscin
  • kaempferol
  • neochlorogenic acid
  • protocatechuic acid
  • quercetin
  • sabdaretine

Image result for hibiscus sabdariffa

Figure 1.  Dried Hibiscus sabdariffa (used in tea)

Extracts of the calyces of Roselle have demonstrated hypocholesterolemic and antihypertensive properties. The potential mechanisms for Roselle’s antihypertensive effects may be the antioxidant effects of the anthocyanins inhibition of LDL-C oxidation, which impedes atherosclerosis, an important cardiovascular risk factor.   2 

There are five important researched studies that have found consumption of Roselle had antihypertensive effects and were able to lower systolic and diastolic blood pressure:

Study 1

A study from February 2010 examined the antihypertensive effects of Hibiscus sabdariffa tisane (hibiscus tea) consumption in humans. A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial was conducted in 65 pre- and mildly hypertensive adults, age 30–70 y, not taking blood pressure (BP)-lowering medications, with either 3 240-mL servings/d of brewed hibiscus tea or placebo beverage for 6 wk. A standardized method was used to measure BP at baseline and weekly intervals. At 6 wk, hibiscus tea lowered systolic BP (SBP) compared with placebo (−7.2 ± 11.4 vs. −1.3 ± 10.0 mm Hg; P = 0.030). Diastolic BP was also lower, although this change did not differ from placebo (−3.1 ± 7.0 vs. −0.5 ± 7.5 mm Hg; P = 0.160). The change in mean arterial pressure was of borderline significance compared with placebo (−4.5 ± 7.7 vs. −0.8 ± 7.4 mm Hg; P = 0.054). Participants with higher SBP at baseline showed a greater response to hibiscus treatment (r = −0.421 for SBP change; P = 0.010).  3

These results suggest daily consumption of hibiscus tea, in an amount readily incorporated into the diet, lowers BP in pre- and mildly hypertensive adults and may prove an effective component of the dietary changes recommended for people with these conditions. 

Study 2

Previous studies have demonstrated that Hibiscus sabdariffa extracts reduce blood pressure in humans, this study from 2010 demonstrated that this effect is due to angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitor activity.  The aim of the current study was to isolate and characterizer the constituents responsible of the ACE activity of the aqueous extract of H. sabdariffa.  Bioassay-guided fractionation of the aqueous extract of dried calyces of H. sabdariffa using preparative reversed-phase HPLC, and the in vitro ACE Inhibition assay, as biological monitor model, were used for the isolation.  The isolated compounds were characterized by spectroscopic methods.  The anthocyanins delphinidin-3-O-sambubioside (1) and cyanidin-3-O-sambubioside (2) were isolated by bioassay-guided purification.  These compounds showed IC(50) values (84.5 and 68.4mug/mL, respectively), which are similar to those obtained by related flavonoid glycosides.  4   Researchers in this study did not find that Roselle was not as strong an ACE inhibitor as pharmaceutical reference drugs.

Study 3

In this study from 2004, researchers compared the antihypertensive effectiveness and tolerability of a standardized extract from Hibiscus sabdariffa with captopril, a controlled and randomized clinical trial was done. Patients from 30 to 80 years old with diagnosed hypertension and without antihypertensive treatment for at least 1 month before were included. The experimental procedure consisted of the administration of an infusion prepared with 10 g of dry calyx from H. sabdariffa on 0.51 water (9.6 mg anthocyanins content), daily before breakfast, or captopril 25 mg twice a day, for 4 weeks. The outcome variables were tolerability, therapeutic effectiveness (diastolic reduction > or = 10 mm Hg) and, in the experimental group, urinary electrolytes modification.

The results showed that H. sabdariffa was able to decrease the systolic blood pressure (BP) from 139.05 to 123.73mm Hg (ANOVA p < 0.03) and the diastolic BP from 90.81 to 79.52mm Hg (ANOVA p < 0.06). At the end of the study, there were no significant differences between the BP detected in both treatment groups (ANOVA p > 0.25).  5

Study 4

This study from 2009 compared the antihypertensive effectiveness of sour tea (ST; Hibiscus sabdariffa) with black tea (BT) infusion in diabetic patients.

Sixty diabetic patients with mild hypertension, without taking antihypertensive or antihyperlipidaemic medicines, were recruited in the study. The patients were randomly allocated to the ST and BT groups and instructed to drink ST and BT infusions two times a day for 1 month. Their blood pressure (BP) was measured on days 0, 15 and 30 of the study. The mean of systolic BP (SBP) in the ST group decreased from 134.4+/-11.8 mm Hg at the beginning of the study to 112.7+/-5.7 mm Hg after 1 month (P-value <0.001), whereas this measure changed from 118.6+/-14.9 to 127.3+/-8.7 mm Hg (P-value=0.002) in the BT group during the same period. The intervention had no statistically significant effect on the mean of diastolic BP (DBP) in either the ST or BT group. The mean pulse pressure (PP) of the patients in the ST group decreased from 52.2+/-12.2 to 34.5+/-9.3 mm Hg (P-value <0.001) during the study, whereas in the BT group, it increased from 41.9+/-11.7 to 47.3+/-9.6 mm Hg (P-value=0.01). In conclusion, consuming ST infusion had positive effects on BP in type II diabetic patients with mild hypertension.  6

Study 5

This study from 2012 investigated the effect of the water extract of the dried calyx of HS and Hibiscus anthocyanins (HAs) on left ventricular myocardial capillary length and surface area in spontaneously hypertensive rats (SHRs). Twelve-week-old male SHRs were divided into eight groups (six rats in each group). Three groups were given three doses; 10%, 15% and 20% of the water extract of HS in lieu of drinking water for 10 consecutive weeks (HS10, HS15 and HS20) with one group kept as control (C). Another three groups were given three doses of the HAs orally at doses of 50, 100 and 200 mg/kg for five consecutive days with one group kept as a control (C). Systolic (SBP) and diastolic (DBP) blood pressures, as well as heart rate (HR), were measured weekly. After the experimental protocols, the left ventricles (LV) of all rats were obtained. Capillary surface area density and length density were determined by unbiased sterological methods on 3 μm LV tissue samples from perfusion-fixed hearts. HS ingestion significantly reduced SBP, DBP and LV mass in a dose-dependent fashion but did not affect the HR. HS significantly increased surface area and length density of myocardial capillaries by 59%, 65% and 86%, and length density by 57%, 77% and 57%, respectively. Myocyte nuclear volume was significantly decreased in HS-treated rats. There was a decrease (although insignificant) in SBP and DBP with HA ingestion compared with controls. These changes suggest that the observed beneficial effect of HS on high BP in SHRs could be mediated through a reduction in the diffusion distance between capillaries and myocytes, as well as new vessel formation.  7

A published paper from January 2010 concluded that there is insufficient clinical evidence that Roselle can control and lower blood pressure.

The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews published an meta-analysis in which they searched for evidence from clinical studies to evaluate the effectiveness of red tea compared with placebo or no treatment in hypertensive patients. They found that there is a lack of evidence from randomised control trials to demonstrate a benefit of Roselle tea in reducing blood pressure. They concluded that rigorous studies need to be done in order to answer this question.  8