Polypodium leucotomos Extract Reduces Oxidative DNA Damage and Enhances DNA Repair

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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)

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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:

  • psoriasis
  • various skin disorders
  • atopic dermatitis
  • vitiligo
  • sun protection from ultraviolet radiation

The phenolic components of Polypodium leucotomos extract include:  1

  • chlorogenic acid
  • coumaric acid
  • vanillic acid
  • caffeic
  • 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

Two studies from 2009 and 2010 suggest that Polypodium leucotomos helps prevent DNA damage before and during UV exposure. 3  4 

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  

Polypodium Leucotomos Extract: A Photoprotective Anti Aging Oral Supplement