Polypodium leucatomos is an epiphytic fern native to tropical and subtropical regions of the Americas. It’s alternative botanical name is Phlebodium aureum.
The common names for this fern include:
- golden polypody
- golden serpent fern
- cabbage palm fern
- gold-foot fern
- hare-foot fern
Other common names in other languages include:
- calaguala (Spanish language)
- laua`e haole (Hawaiian)
- samambaia (Portuguese)
- hartassbräken (Swedish)
Figure 1. Polypodium leucotomos fern
Extracts from the Polypodium leucotomos fern have been used for centuries in South America and Spain, primarily for the treatment of:
- various skin disorders
- atopic dermatitis
- sun protection from ultraviolet radiation
The phenolic components of Polypodium leucotomos extract include: 1
- chlorogenic acid
- coumaric acid
- vanillic acid
- ferulic acid
Multiple Benefits From the Oral Supplementation of Polypodium leucotomos
A number of recent studies have demonstrated through their data that the oral administration of polypodium leucotomos postively effects health and affords the following photoprotective effects: 2
- activates tumor suppressor p53
- inhibits UV-induced Cox-2 expression
- reduces inflammation
- enhances the removal of UV-induced photoproducts, such as cyclobutane pyrimide dimers (CPDs)
- reduces oxidative DNA damage and decreased UV-induced mutagenesis
- reduces the number of 8-hydroxy-2’-deoxyguanosine-positive (8-OH-dG+) cells, which are markers of early DNA damage
Polypodium leucotomos Helps Prevent DNA Damage
Oxidative damage of DNA has been implicated as a fundamental cause of the physiologic changes and degenerative diseases associated with aging. When DNA is impacted by oxidative stress, the chemical 8-Oxo-2′-deoxyguanosine (8-oxo-dG) is produced as a byproduct.
Because 8-oxo-dG is a major product of DNA oxidation, concentrations of 8-oxo-dG within a cell is a ubiquitous marker and measurement of oxidative stress.
8-oxo-dG increases with age in DNA of mammalian tissues. 8-oxo-dG increases in both mitochonndrial DNA and nuclear DNA with age. 5
8-oxo-dG is a pre-mutagenic marker of oxidative damage to DNA and is caused by the UV-induced generation of reactive oxygen species. 8-oxo-dG positive cells were reduced by approximately 59% at 24 hours and by 79% at 48 hours in Polypodium leucotomos-treated animals compared to control animals.
These findings support the concept that Polypodium leucotomos reduces oxidative DNA damage.
Two weeks after UV exposure, mutations in Polypodium leucotomos-fed-mice were approximately 25% less than those from mice treated with UV alone. 6
A clinical trial from 2010 found that a daily does of 240 mg of polypodium leucotomos by healthy volunteers aged 29 to 54 before UVA exposure decreased levels of a marker of DNA damage. 7
Among the placebo volunteers a low dose of UV light produced a 217% increase in common DNA deletions.
Among the polypodium leucotomos supplemented volunteers showed a corresponding 84% decrease in common DNA deletions. 8
When the UV exposure was increased the common DNA deletions increased by 760% for the placebo volunteers, whereas in the polypodium leucotomos volunteers there was only an increase of 61%. 9