Dr. John J. Cannell, Executive Director of the Vitamin D Council, sat down with Purity Products. Here he explains how much vitamin D is recommended per day.
An ever-increasing volume of evidence from research studies has built a strong case for the heart health-protecting benefits of a diet loaded with fruits and vegetables. Eating multiple servings every day appears to benefit the heart and reduce the risk of death from heart disease. Do fruit and vegetables contain natural constituents can confer this protection? In search for the answer, science has focused on a diverse group of compounds called “flavonoids” that are abundant in plants. Over 4,000 flavonoids have been identified in the plant kingdom. These substances are also commonly known as “bioflavonoids”; meaning they are found in living things, in this case fruits and vegetables.
Flavonoids are plant-based phytonutrients with cardiovascular protective properties that have come to light in studies on cellular biology. A 2012 study reported in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition examined data on lifestyle behaviors, food consumption and medical histories from questionnaires completed by nearly 100,00 people (38,180 men; 60,289 women. Using a sophisticated statistical analysis method called “cox regression”, the researchers found a strong association between total dietary flavonoid intake and cardiovascular disease (CVD) mortality. Compared to those in the lowest fifth of flavonoid consumption, people in the highest fifth had a nearly 20 percent lower risk. In men, there was a particularly strong link between flavonoid intake and reduced risk of death from stroke. As stated in the report: “Flavonoid consumption was associated with lower risk of death from CVD.”
How do flavonoids deliver their heart health benefits? There appear to be a number of physiological mechanisms. According to a research review published in the scientific journal Pharmacological Reviews: “The mechanism for a cardioprotective role of flavonoids likely involves more than one pathway, including antioxidant and anti-inflammatory functions and vascular effects.”
McCullough ML, et al. Flavonoid intake and cardiovascular disease mortality in a prospective cohort of US adults. Am J Clin Nutr 2012;95(2):454-64.
Middleton M, et al. the effects of plant flavonoids on mammalian cells: implications for inflammation, heart disease and cancer. Pharmacol Rev 2000;52(4):677-751.
The colon is a dynamic ecologic system in which human colon cells and immune cells, microbes and ingested foods interact in the near-absence of oxygen. The human gastrointestinal tract normally contains trillions14 of living bacteria, representing over 400 individual species. Most live in the colon. The goal of dietary maintenance of colon health is to foster a symbiotic relationship, with the human host and its microbial guests living in harmony and balance.
The colon harbors a large variety of microorganisms. The most common bacterial species in the healthy human colon are the Bifidobacteria and Lactobacilli. In addition, even the healthy colon normally contains pockets of Clostridia, yeasts and protozoa. The species of bacteria that most quickly and efficiently produce butyrate in the human colon, and which therefore are the most beneficial and the most desirable, are the Bifidobacteria and Lactobacilli.
Beneficial Probiotic Organisms
The Bifidobacteria are the most common microorganisms in the healthy human digestive tract and are the predominant microbes in human breast milk. Bifidobacteria comprise about 50% of all intestinal microflora in the healthy colon and ferment dietary fiber to short chain fatty acids, especially butyrate. By producing large amounts of butyrate, the Bifidobacteria support the health and function of human colon cells. In addition, the Bifidobacteria suppress the growth of harmful bacteria by keeping the acidity of the colon interior just high enough to inhibit bacterial growth but not too high to affect the colon cells. Bifidobacteria also compete with unhealthy bacteria for space within the colon.
Lactobacilli (the “lactic acid bacteria”) comprise about 25% of all intestinal microflora. The Lactobacilli perform many of the same colon-friendly functions as the Bifidobacteria but produce a little more lactic acid, helping the Bifidobacteria keep the colon slightly acidic. The Lactobacilli also secrete an enzyme that breaks down lactose from milk.13
Species of Saccharomyces, a yeast commonly living in both the small and large intestines, help stimulate intestinal digestive activities. In addition, they are antagonistic to Candida albicans and keep them at bay. These yeasts also enhance immunity in the gut and dietary supplementation with Saccharomyces boulardii has been found to support the consistency of healthy bowel movements.14
The most common and beneficial bacteria and yeasts share an important fundamental characteristic. They all prefer to feast on soluble dietary fiber. Feed them and they will produce all the butyrate your colon can eat. Starve them and risk the health of your colon.
Disturbances of Colon Ecology
The colon is a dynamic system. Its health is directly influenced by our dietary choices. These choices impact the supply of nutrition to the gut bacteria and our intestinal cells. A number of common dietary and medical practices can disturb the symbiotic relationship between microorganisms and human cells that is absolutely vital to the health of the colon. Among these are infant formula feeding, low fiber diets, and oral antibiotic therapy.
Infant Formula Feeding — The human gastrointestinal tract is sterile at birth. During birth, the tract is seeded initially by organisms living in the maternal vagina. During breastfeeding, mammary gland microflora contribute the early populations of Bifidobacteria that begin to populate the infant’s colon. Food borne microflora and self-inoculation also contribute to early intestinal ecology. Species distribution in the newborn digestive tract is modulated for the first few days of life by maternal antibodies transferred in colostrum. In breastfed infants, over 90% of intestinal bacteria consist of Bifidobacterium infantis. In contrast, the intestinal tracts of infants who are not breastfed are characterized by low numbers of Bifidobacteria and Lactobacilli and high numbers of less healthy Enterococci, Coliforms and Clostridia. The lack of proper healthy gut bacterial species in childhood has been associated with a number of digestive health issues.14
Low Fiber Diets — Lack of dietary fiber for fermentation reduces the supply of butyrate available to colon cells and interferes with their ability to seal the colon off from the bloodstream, increasing the likelihood of toxins and bacteria from the guts entering circulation. As discussed above, butyrate starvation also slows the renewal of colon cells. Insufficient amounts of nonfermentable fiber slows the rate of passage of the digesta, increasing the time available for water absorption by colon cells and providing increased exposure of the longer-lived colon cells to free radicals.15 Increased water absorption results in stool hardness and affects the consistency of bowel movements.16 Fiber provides the food for intestinal bacteria and the bulk for optimal bowel function.
Oral Antibiotic Therapy — Antibiotics can also kill beneficial Lactobacilli and Bifidobacteria. As the numbers of these beneficial bacteria decrease, there is a compensatory increase in the unhealthy species that have been kept under control by the beneficial bacteria, resulting in disturbances in gut ecology. This shift in microbial populations can have a severe impact on colon health. Most importantly, this disturbance of gut ecology may lead to decreased levels of butyrate as most of the overgrown microbial species are inefficient fermenters of dietary fiber. The combination of reduced ability to seal off the colon and increased populations of unhealthy organisms can compromise the colon lining and affect immune function.
Supplemental Prebiotics and Probiotics
The colon is dependent on its microbial residents for nourishment and defense. In turn, our microbes need to eat foods that are healthy for them. Ideally, good food sources of fiber would have been a major part of our diet all of our life, and our colon and its residents would require very little attention from us. Realistically, the average American is fiber deficient and has a colon to reflect it. Restoring the healthy ecological balance in the colon is absolutely mandatory if health and healthy aging are your objectives.
Prebiotics — Starter Foods for Your Microbes
Prebiotics are dietary ingredients often consumed in the form of foods and dietary supplements that stimulate the growth of Bifidobacteria and Lactobacilli species and foster the production of butyrate within the colon. The most widely available prebiotics are fructans (fructooligosaccharides; FOS), inulin and the oligofructoses, galactooligosaccharide and the levans (occurring in tubers and grasses). Foods that contain large amounts of these prebiotics include wheat, onions, asparagus, chicory, banana and artichokes.
These compounds all are indigestible by humans within the small intestine, are converted to short chain fatty acids in the colon and are essentially calorie-free. Fructooligosaccharides (FOS) – These long-chain indigestible sugars are specifically fermented to short-chain fatty acids (especially butyrate) by Bifidobacteria. The results of a study published recently in the Nutrition Journal confirm that the daily consumption of as little as 2.5 g of FOS increases the proportion of Bifidobacteria in the colon.17 The consumption of FOS by infants has been documented to be safe and to decrease the incidence of infant emesis and regurgitation. In addition to fostering colon health, the products of FOS fermentation may promote cardiovascular health.
Probiotics — Dietary Supplements to Repopulate Your Colon
Probiotics have been defined as oral dietary supplements containing live microbes that enhance colon health. When effective, such supplements increase the numbers of intestinal Bifidobacteria and Lactobacilli and decrease the numbers of those microbial species that do not produce butyrate. An ideal probiotic supplement will have the following characteristics:
1) The bacteria must survive passage through the stomach and small intestine so that they reach the colon while still alive,
2) They must produce short-chain fatty acids from dietary fiber while in the colon
3) They must maintain a slightly acidic colonic pH, and 4) They must be capable of eventually permanently repopulating the colon themselves or stimulate other healthy bacterial species to do so.
As suggested by the results of a recently published study, successful reseeding of the colon’s microbial populations can support increased immune defenses.18 According to articles published recently in Gut and the American Journal of Physiology, this benefit may result from an effect of the probiotic organisms leading to an increase in the stimulation and vigilance of the immune cells that are interspersed within the lining of the colon.19,20
Successful reseeding with probiotic species requires at least 6 months of daily ingestion of at least 10 billion “colony forming units” (1010 CFU) per species. Successful reseeding may not be possible in some individuals with chronically compromised colon health; they may well require life-long daily supplementation in order to maintain appropriate microbial populations in their colon.
Bacillus coagulans: A Novel, Unique Probiotic Organism
Bacillus coagulans is a bacterial species that may offer unique benefits to digestive health. This bacterium is a spore former and is especially hardy with respect to different intestinal environments. A specific strain of Bacillus coagulans known as BC30™ is available as a dietary supplement for digestive health. Research indicates that this particular strain has beneficial immune effects while it also enhances the repopulation of the digestive tract with other friendly bacterial strains. While BC30™ is a transient organism in that it does not colonize the digestive tract itself, it promotes optimal gut ecology and aids in crowding out other non-beneficial organisms.
BC30™ can be an effective nutritional tool on its own or in combination with other multi-strain probiotic dietary supplements to support digestive tract wellness. Since BC30™ is a spore former and is a hardy strain of bacteria; it does not need to be refrigerated.
Combinations of Prebiotics and Probiotics
Because probiotics are the bacteria you want to live in your colon and prebiotics are the food they love best, it would make sense to combine the two, so that you can be sure that the newly-arriving residents have plenty to eat after their trip through your digestive tract. The benefits of “combination supplementation” are well-documented.
The published human clinical trials have been summarized recently in the Journal of Bioscience and Bioengineering and the World Journal of Gastroenterology.14,21 This large body of scientific evidence demonstrates conclusively that dietary supplementation with prebiotic/probiotic combinations consistently yields health benefits that extend beyond digestive wellness on several fronts. A review article published recently in the World Journal of Gastroenterology recommended Lactobacillus-containing “combination supplements” for enhancing digestion of lactose.22 Conversely, because it encourages normal water management by colon cells and healthy contractions by colonic smooth muscles, “combination supplementation” also promotes the consistency of healthy bowel movements.21,23
The Bottom Line
Maintaining healthy digestive function consists of supporting multiple aspects of the complicated physiological function of the gastrointestinal system. While the process of digestion itself is complex, supporting several fundamental aspects of the process can lead to tangible benefits for overall health. Dietary factors are critical as the foundation for digestive health. This entails consuming foods that are healthy and eating an adequate amount of dietary fiber. Nutritional interventions are also a key element. These include supplemental enzymes, fiber supplements, prebiotics and probiotics. An optimally functioning digestive system can yield dividends that can lead to a lifetime of health and wellness.
13. He T, Priebe MG, Harmsen HJ, Stellaard F, Sun X, Welling GW, Vonk RJ.Colonic fermentation may play a role in lactose intolerance in humans. J Nutr 2006;136:58-63.
14. Nomoto K. Prevention of infections by probiotics. J Biosci Bioeng 2005;100:583-592.
15. Topping DL, Clifton PM. Short-chain fatty acids and human colonic function: Roles of resistant starch and nonstarch polysaccharides. Physiol Rev 2001;81:1031-1064.
16. Kay RM. Dietary fiber. J Lipid Res 1982;23:221-242.
17. Bouhnik Y, Raskine L, Simoneau G, Paineau D, Bornet F. The capacity of short-chain fructo-oligosaccharides to stimulate faecal bifidobacteria: A dose-response relationship study in healthy humans. Nutr J 2006;5:8 doi:10.1186/1475-2891-5-8 (http://www. nutritionj.com/content/5/1/8).
18. Tubelius P, Stan V, Zachrisson A. Increasing work-place healthiness with the probiotic Lactobacillus reuteri: A randomised, doubleblind placebo-controlled study. Environ Health 2005;7;4:25 doi:10.1186/1476-069X-4-25 (http://www.ehjournal.net/ content/4/1/25).
19. Rook GA, Brunet LR. Microbes, immunoregulation, and the gut. Gut 2005;54:317-320.
20. Shanahan F. Physiological basis for novel drug therapies used to treat the inflammatory bowel diseases. I. Pathophysiological basis and prospects for probiotic therapy in inflammatory bowel disease. Am J Physiol Gastrointest Liver Physiol 2005;288:G417-G421.
21. Chermesh I, Eliakim R. Probiotics and the gastrointestinal tract: Where are we in 2005? World J Gastroenterol 2006;12:853-857.
22. Montalto M, Curigliano V, Santoro L, Vastola M, Cammarota G, Manna R, Gasbarrini A, Gasbarrini G. Management and treatment of lactose malabsorption. World J Gastroenterol 2006;12:187-191.
23. Hamilton-Miller JM. Probiotics and prebiotics in the elderly. Postgrad Med J 2004;80:447-451.
Study after study continues to affirm the heart health benefits of omega-3 fatty acids. Experts say that the evidence is fairly conclusive and that anyone who is concerned about their cardiovascular condition should consider adding more of the nutrient to their weekly diet.
The latest in this string of research came from the University of California, San Francisco. Investigators from the school assessed the heart health of a group of patients after a period of five years and examined the level of omega-3 consumption during the study period, according to news station THV.
Their results showed that those who consumed the highest levels of the nutrient had the best heart health. The researchers said that their findings confirm the understanding that omega-3s benefit the cardiovascular system.
“The results of our study do underscore the recommendations of the American Heart Association, that patients with known coronary artery disease should be getting at least one gram a day of omega-3 fish oil,” lead researcher Raimin Farzaneh-Far told the news source.
The findings confirm the results of a 2002 study published in the journal Circulation, which was among the first to assert the heart health benefits of omega-3s.
New findings indicate that omega-3 fatty acids can positively affect ocular health. A research team at the Children’s Hospital in Boston found that omega-3 fatty acids, which can be found in fish oil, promote the growth of healthy blood vessels while simultaneously hindering the development of abnormal vessels.
A previous study of the impact of omega-3, which was conducted by the same researchers, examined the effects of omega-3 on mice. The study revealed that the pathologic vessel growth in the retinas of mice that were fed an omega-3 diet was 50 percent lower than in the mice that were fed diets rich in omega-6. Western diets are more likely to contain omega-6 than omega-3.
In the recent study, the researchers isolated the compounds and enzymes within omega-3 that caused the positive outcome observed in the mice. An examination of the components of omega-3 revealed that its benefits are not inhibited by taking aspirin or non-steroid anti-inflammatory medication.
Lois Smith, a senior researcher and an ophthalmologist at the Children’s Hospital, is also collaborating with the National Eye Institute to study the effects of omega-3 on ocular diseases.
Scientists, cautious as they are, have debated as to whether organic vegetables and fruits are indeed healthier than inorganic. Even though studies have found higher levels—as much as nearly 70 percent higher – of antioxidant compounds in organic foods when compared to inorganic foods, the research data as a whole has been called inconclusive, from a strict scientific point of view. Just the same, there’s little argument that organic crops have lower levels of toxic substances; that alone is enough for many consumers to make the switch. Expectedly better nutritional value is an added value to the safety factor that comes with lower toxicity.
But now, one of the largest data reviews performed to date should settle the issue once and for all. Published in the British Journal of Nutrition, meta-analyses of data pooled from 343 scientific studies “indicate statistically significant and meaningful differences in composition between organic and non-organic crops and crop-based foods,” according to the report. The content of antioxidant plant-based nutrients such as flavonoids, “were found to be substantially higher” in organic crops. Non-organic crops, on the other hand have four times more pesticide residues. Levels of cadmium, a toxic heavy metal, are also higher in conventional crops. And this holds true regardless of where the crops are grown, showing that organic farming practices do make a difference. “Organic crops, on average, have much higher concentrations of antioxidants, lower concentration of Cd (cadmium) and a lower incidence of pesticide residues than the non-organic comparators across regions and produce seasons”, the report concludes.
For those of you who’ve made the transition to organic shopping, you can now be assured that, where your health is concerned, it’s well worth the effort and expense.
Barański M, et al. Higher antioxidant and lower cadmium concentrations and lower incidence of pesticide residues in organically grown crops: a systematic literature review and meta-analyses. Br J Nutr. 2014 Jun 26:1-18. [Epub ahead of print].
A scientific review published in the International Journal of Endocrinology examined biological relationships between magnesium in the system and testosterone, using data from observational and intervention studies of male subjects. ”In particular, there is evidence that magnesium exerts a positive influence on anabolic hormonal status, including testosterone, in men,” the report states. Magnesium has an effect on Sex Hormone Binding Globulin (SHBG) that increases the amount of bioavailable testosterone, commonly known as “free-T” in the bloodstream. There is also a connection between magnesium deficiency and oxidative stress, leading to low-grade inflammation, and these in turn can negatively impact T levels in men, according to the report.
Pointing out that “magnesium supplementation has been shown to have an apparent beneficial effect on male gonadal system, as observed in a very recent study performed on sexually mature male rats,” the report concludes by saying “Male individuals with impaired magnesium status and T deficiency (accurately assessed) could benefit from magnesium and/or T treatment targeting physical performance.”
Maggio M, et al. The Interplay between Magnesium and Testosterone in Modulating Physical Function in Men. Int J Endocrinol. 2014;2014:525249.
Traditionally, hyaluronic acid has been used as an injectable to promote joint health and support joint structure. There have also been questions regarding the absorbability of hyaluronic acid when taken orally. Research shows that oral hyaluronic acid is in fact absorbed and that it functions in at least three important ways. Hyaluronic acid is a large molecule with repeating subunits that, when taken orally, naturally goes through the process of digestion in the digestive tract. Studies show that 1) A portion of the hyaluronic acid is absorbed intact, 2) A portion of it is broken down into its component sugars and absorbed in this way (providing building blocks the body can use to remanufacture hyaluronic acid, and 3) Hyaluronic Acid acts to stimulate the growth of beneficial bacteria in the digestive tract, which promote immune system health and lead to overall health of the joints, skin and connective tissue throughout the body. These three unique and distinctly separate mechanisms of activity illustrate the ability of oral hyaluronic acid to benefit and support the body’s connective tissue.
To reaffirm the efficacy of oral hyaluronic acid for joint support, let’s look at the results of an important Japanese study. This study, which was published in 2008, was carried out to assess the efficacy of oral hyaluronic acid in promoting healthy joint function and mobility. Fifteen individuals with achy knees were supplemented with 240 mg of highly purified hyaluronic acid daily for twelve weeks. Positive results were evident after 4 weeks of supplementation as the individuals had significant improvements in knee joint function and comfort. The benefits continued throughout the duration of the study, showing that oral hyaluronic acid supplements are effective for promoting healthy joint function.11
Now that we know that studies affirm the effectiveness of oral hyaluronic acid, let’s look at evidence supporting the three mechanisms of activity. Bioavailability studies in animals show that hyaluronic acid taken orally reaches joint tissue. Radioactively-labeled particles of hyaluronic acid were found to reach the skin, bone and joints of rats after oral administration, showing that a percentage of orally administered hyaluronic acid is absorbed intact.12 A further percentage of hyaluronic acid taken as supplements is digested and broken down into its component molecules. These components are absorbed into the bloodstream, providing the body with the building blocks necessary to produce hyaluronic acid on its own, allowing it to replenish its own stores. Finally, a very interesting study was carried out in which rats were administered hyaluronic acid orally. Researchers found that the orally administered nutrient was fermented by gut bacteria as a source of nutrition. Hyaluronic acid was shown to act as a prebiotic, as it increased the level of Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium species in the intestinal tract.13 Taking these important studies into account, we can see that oral hyaluronic acid supplements have both direct and indirect effects in supporting the health of our joints, skin and connective tissue. Given its broad range of potential benefits, hyaluronic acid is a crucial and important nutrient for healthy aging.
11. Sato T, Iwaso H. An Effectiveness Study of Hyaluronic Acid (Hyabest® (J)) in the Treatment of Osteoarthritis of the Knee. J New Rem & Clin 2008;57(2):128-137.
12. Balogh L, Polyak A, Mathe D, Kiraly R, Thuroczy J, Terez M, Janoki G, Ting Y, Bucci LR, Schauss AG. Absorption, uptake and tissue affinity of high-molecular-weight hyaluronan after oral administration in rats and dogs. J Agric Food Chem 2008 Nov 26;56(22):10582-93.
13. Ishibashi G, Yamagata T, Rikitake S, Takiguchi Y. Digestion and Fermentation of Hyaluronic Acid. Journal for the Integrated Study of Dietary Habits 2002; 13(2): 107-111.
Creatine is a standout dietary supplement for building muscle and boosting athletic performance. More importantly, the benefits of creatine are supported by hundreds of scientific studies; establishing creatine as the most extensively researched products for fitness, muscle strength and maintenance of lean body mass. As shown in a recent study, creatine can be even more powerful when taken with a protein supplement.
A randomized double-blind clinical trial, published in the scientific Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, looked to see if supplementing protein combined with creatine would improve strength and muscle mass in a group of men aged 55 to 77 who engaged in a resistance training program. Measurements were taken of lean tissue mass and muscle size before and after starting the program. Leg strength and arm bench press strength was also measured. Study subjects taking creatine plus protein realized increases in body mass, muscle size and arm bench press strength. At the same time, muscle protein breakdown decreased as indicated by a reduction in levels of “3-MH” a urinary marker of muscle fiber degradation.
Candow DG, et al. Low dose creatine combined with protein during resistance training in older men. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2008 Sep;40(9):1645-52. ineral content and density in older men. J Nutr Health Aging. 2005 Sep-Oct;9(5):352-3.
The effectiveness of the HMG-CoA reductase inhibitor drugs, the so-called “statins,” in lowering serum cholesterol concentration cannot be denied. However, CoQ10 production and cholesterol synthesis share the same biochemical pathway. As could be predicted from these pathways in the liver effectively blocking cholesterol production can also lead to blocking CoQ10 production. Numerous studies have proven this to be the case.14,15
The results of this drug-induced mild CoQ10 deficiency is not without harm – it is associated with damage to hard-working muscles. These potentially detrimental effects have been reported in several journals.16,17 In terms of the side effects of statin therapy, published studies have found fundamental derangements in muscle cell metabolism with exposure to statins.18 Several recent reports indicate that these drugs impact the nerves that communicate with muscles in addition to affecting the mitochondria of all muscles, including the heart muscle.19,20 Depleted levels of CoQ10 could play a major role in these side effects of statin drugs.
The good news – dietary supplementation with CoQ10 may help overcome the potential interference of statin drugs with CoQ10 metabolism.21 And CoQ10 is very safe – amounts of up to 3000 mg daily are considered safe.22
Thus, if you choose to use cholesterol-lowering medication to protect your heart and circulatory system, don’t be counterproductive. Really protect yourself – supplement with CoQ10 to replenish what you lose with the use of statin drugs. Add this vital nutrient to your Healthy Heart program.
14. Rundek T, Naini A, Sacco R, Coates K, DiMauro S. Atorvastatin decreases the coenzyme Q10 level in the blood of patients at risk for cardiovascular disease and stroke. Arch Neurol 2004;61:889-892.
15. Thompson PD, Clarkson P, Karas RH. Statin-associated myopathy. JAMA 2003;289:1681-1690.
16. Tomlinson SS, Mangione KK. Potential adverse effects of statins on muscle. Phys Ther 2005;85:459-465.
17. Baker SK. Molecular clues into the pathogenesis of statin-mediated muscle toxicity. Muscle Nerve 2005;31:572-580.
18. Paiva H, Thelen KM, Van Coster R, Smet J, De Paepe B, Mattila KM, Laakso J, Lehtimaki T, von Bergmann K, Lutjohann D, Laaksonen R. High-dose statins and skeletal muscle metabolism in humans: A randomized, controlled trial. Clin Pharmacol Ther 2005;78:60-68.
19. Baker SK, Tarnopolsky MA. Statin-associated neuromyotoxicity. Drugs Today 2005;41:267-293.
20. Nawarskas JJ. HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors and coenzyme Q10. Cardiol Rev 2005;13:76-79.
21. Ferrante KL, Shefner J, Zhang H, Betensky R, O’Brien M, Yu H, Fantasia M, Taft J, Beal MF, Traynor B, Newhall K, Donofrio P, Caress J, Ashburn C, Freiberg B, O’Neill C, Paladenech C, Walker T, Pestronk A, Abrams B, Florence J, Renna R, Schierbecker J, Malkus B, Cudkowicz M. Tolerance of high-dose (3,000 mg/day) coenzyme Q10 in ALS. Neurology 2005;65:1834-1836.
22. Chopra RK, Goldman R, Sinatra ST, Bhagavan HN. Relative bioavailability of coenzyme Q10 formulations in human subjects. Intern J Vit Nutr Res 1998;68:109-113.
Astaxanthin is a natural pigment belonging to the class of nutrients known as carotenes. Similar to beta-carotene, the more familiar carotene that makes carrots orange, astaxanthin produces the reddish-orange color of salmon. (Ocean-growing salmon get their astaxanthin by eating Krill, a tiny shrimp-like crustacean.) Like beta carotene and other members of the carotene family, astaxanthin is a powerful antioxidant—this biological property works at the cell level to protect a diverse range of tissues from “oxidative stress”, an ongoing metabolic process in the body that can be damaging if not kept under control. Astaxanthin is now one of the most popular ingredients in dietary supplements—thanks to a wealth of research exploring its many health benefits.
Carotenes are good for skin, and astaxanthin is no exception. As the body’s most external tissue, the skin is vulnerable to rogue molecules called “free radicals” that can accumulate in tissues on the heels of a surge in oxidative stress. Ultraviolet light (UV) exposure subjects the skin to oxidative stress and accumulation of free radicals that contributes to skin damage and aging. In view of this, a study was undertaken to investigate the ability of astaxanthin and other carotenes to mitigate the effects of UVA light on fibroblasts in the dermis. Fibroblasts, cells that are abundant in connective tissues like skin, build collagen and other structural components. The experiments, published in the scientific journal Experimental Dermatology, demonstrated a “photoprotective effect” of carotenes on dermal fibroblasts. Astaxathin was a stand-out: as stated in the report, “The data indicated that the oxo-carotenoid astaxanthin has a superior preventative effects towards photo-oxidative changes in cells culture.”
Emanuela C, et al. Astaxanthin, canthaxanthin and ß-carotene differently affect UVA-induced oxidative damage and expression of oxidative stress-response enzymes. Exp Dermatol 2009;18:222-31.