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Natural Products Expo West 2015 Part Two

March 26, 2015 Written by JP    [Font too small?]

In some ways, Natural Products Expo West is like a gigantic “candy store” for those of us who are passionate or, maybe, too passionate about natural health. There’s a seemingly endless array of brand new extracts and technologies with all of the bells and whistles that compete for attention. Because of this, some supplements containing time honored, well established ingredients are often overlooked. They’re simply not exciting or novel enough to make a splash. The truth is, just like many other industries, natural product buyers and sellers are susceptible to gimmicks and trends. The key, as a researcher and consumer, is not to fall prey to the flavors of the moment or unsubstantiated hype. Instead, it’s important to look for genuine substance in product formulations and to reward manufacturers who provide well crafted wares.

Super Sprout is an example of a unique line of whole food extracts. This Australian company offers a line of non-GMO fruit, sprout and vegetable powders. The additive-free, 100% pure powders are prepared using a proprietary freeze dried extraction process which concentrates and retains antioxidants, nutrients and other biologically active compounds including enzymes. In addition to popular extracts such as beetroot, blueberry, carrot and strawberry, they also feature whole apple, lemon and ginger root. But, the star of their current roster is an organic broccoli sprout extract. What sets it apart from other broccoli sprout supplements is its documented glucoraphanin and myrosinase content. Myrosinase is an enzyme that converts glucoraphanin into sulforaphane – a potent antioxidant with chemoprotective properties. This is encouraging because recent studies indicate that active sulforaphane shows promise in diseases ranging from autism to prostate cancer.

Generally speaking, anti-aging skincare products tend to be very expensive and of questionable merit. Verisol, a collagen-based supplement, bucks this stereotype. A one month supply of this clinically validated product can cost as little as $10 or less for a month’s supply. “Bioactive Collagen Peptides”, the principal ingredient in Verisol, is responsible for reducing the appearance of wrinkles by boosting levels of key skin proteins (elastin and pro collagen type I). The dosage used in a successful trial appearing in the February 2014 edition of Skin Pharmacology and Physiology was 2.5 grams daily. Verisol is available in chewable, powder and tablet forms. Also, it’s possible that Verisol may have other connective tissue benefits. For instance, BioCell Collagen, another patented extract, has been shown to improve arthritic symptoms, recovery from exercise and skin appearance. In short, when a supplement supports connective tissue in one area of the body, it often does so in other sites as well.

In the past, I’ve written about research on blackcurrants in relation to ocular health. Vision Spark, is a tasty supplement containing a potent blend of anthocyanins (50 mg) and polyphenols (90 mg) derived from New Zealand blackcurrants. The liquid formula is rounded out with 100 mg of active Q10 (aka ubiquinol) and 60 mg of Vitamin C. Recent trials reveal that blackcurrant extracts and CoQ10 may benefit retinal function, lower intraocular pressure in cases of glaucoma and protect against age related macular degeneration (ARMD).

A high quality fish oil supplement is a good adjunct to Vision Spark and most wellness routines. At this year’s Expo West, I tried Barlean’s Lemon Zest Omega Swirl – a genuinely good tasting fish oil that is easily digested and well absorbed. It’s not specifically intended to support eye function and health, but there is a considerable amount of research showing that omega-3 fats do just that. It doesn’t matter whether you need help with dryness caused by prolonged computer use or if you’re at high risk for ARMD. Fish oil is one of my top supplemental recommendations and Barlean’s Lemon Zest Omega Swirl is another fine addition to their stellar line of products.

Disclaimer: For the sake of full disclosure, I want to clearly state that I was not compensated or paid in any way for my review of the previously mentioned products. I tried all of the aforementioned supplements by accepting samples that were widely distributed on the convention show floor. My primary objective in sharing these reviews is to spread the word about potentially beneficial products to all those who did not attend Natural Products Expo West 2015.

Note: Please check out the “Comments & Updates” section of this blog – at the bottom of the page. You can find the latest research about this topic there!

To learn more about the studies referenced in today’s column, please click on the following links:

Study 1 – Absorption and Chemopreventive Targets of Sulforaphane in Humans (link)

Study 2 – A Phase II Study of Sulforaphane-Rich Broccoli Sprout Extracts in Men (link)

Study 3 – Sulforaphane Treatment of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) (link)

Study 4 – Oral Intake of Specific Bioactive Collagen Peptides Reduces Skin (link)

Study 5 – Effects of BioCell Collagen® on Connective Tissue Protection and (link)

Study 6 – Ingestion of BioCell Collagen, A Novel Hydrolyzed Chicken Sternal (link)

Study 7 – Black Currant Anthocyanins Normalized Abnormal Levels of Serum (link)

Study 8 – Effects of Black Currant Anthocyanins on Intraocular Pressure in Healthy … (link)

Study 9 – Improvement of Visual Functions and Fundus Alterations in Early Age- (link)

Study 10 – Oral Omega-3 Fatty Acids Treatment in Computer Vision Syndrome (link)

Higher Serum Omega-3’s May Lower AMD/ARMD Risk

Source: Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2014 Mar 28;55(3):2010-9. (link)

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Posted in Alternative Therapies, Nutritional Supplements, Product Reviews

6 Comments & Updates to “Natural Products Expo West 2015 Part Two”

  1. JP Says:

    Update: SuperSprout makes a freeze-dried blueberry powder.


    J Acad Nutr Diet. 2015 Mar;115(3):369-77.

    Daily blueberry consumption improves blood pressure and arterial stiffness in postmenopausal women with pre- and stage 1-hypertension: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial.

    BACKGROUND: Postmenopausal women have a high prevalence of hypertension and often develop arterial stiffness thereby increasing cardiovascular disease risk. Although antihypertensive drug therapies exist, increasing numbers of people prefer natural therapies. In vivo studies and a limited number of clinical studies have demonstrated the antihypertensive and vascular-protective effects of blueberries.

    OBJECTIVE: To examine the effects of daily blueberry consumption for 8 weeks on blood pressure and arterial stiffness in postmenopausal women with pre- and stage 1-hypertension.

    DESIGN: This was an 8-week, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial.

    PARTICIPANTS/SETTING: Forty-eight postmenopausal women with pre- and stage 1-hypertension recruited from the greater Tallahassee, FL, area participated.

    INTERVENTION: Participants were randomly assigned to receive either 22 g freeze-dried blueberry powder or 22 g control powder.

    MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Resting brachial systolic and diastolic blood pressures were evaluated and arterial stiffness was assessed using carotid-femoral pulse wave velocity and brachial-ankle pulse wave velocity. C-reactive protein, nitric oxide, and superoxide dismutase were measured at baseline, 4 weeks, and 8 weeks.

    STATISTICAL ANALYSES PERFORMED: Statistical analysis was performed using a split plot model of repeated measures analysis of variance.

    RESULTS: After 8 weeks, systolic blood pressure and diastolic blood pressure (131±17 mm Hg [P<0.05] and 75±9 mm Hg [P<0.01], respectively) and brachial-ankle pulse wave velocity (1,401±122 cm/second; P<0.01) were significantly lower than baseline levels (138±14 mm Hg, 80±7 mm Hg, and 1,498±179 cm/second, respectively), with significant (P<0.05) group×time interactions in the blueberry powder group, whereas there were no changes in the group receiving the control powder. Nitric oxide levels were greater (15.35±11.16 μmol/L; P<0.01) in the blueberry powder group at 8 weeks compared with baseline values (9.11±7.95 μmol/L), whereas there were no changes in the control group.

    CONCLUSIONS: Daily blueberry consumption may reduce blood pressure and arterial stiffness, which may be due, in part, to increased nitric oxide production.

    Be well!


  2. JP Says:

    Update: Broccoli sprout supplementation may protect against airborne pollutants …


    Cancer Prev Res (Phila). 2014 Aug;7(8):813-23.

    Rapid and sustainable detoxication of airborne pollutants by broccoli sprout beverage: results of a randomized clinical trial in China.

    Broccoli sprouts are a convenient and rich source of the glucosinolate, glucoraphanin, which can generate the chemopreventive agent, sulforaphane, an inducer of glutathione S-transferases (GST) and other cytoprotective enzymes. A broccoli sprout-derived beverage providing daily doses of 600 μmol glucoraphanin and 40 μmol sulforaphane was evaluated for magnitude and duration of pharmacodynamic action in a 12-week randomized clinical trial. Two hundred and ninety-one study participants were recruited from the rural He-He Township, Qidong, in the Yangtze River delta region of China, an area characterized by exposures to substantial levels of airborne pollutants. Exposure to air pollution has been associated with lung cancer and cardiopulmonary diseases. Urinary excretion of the mercapturic acids of the pollutants, benzene, acrolein, and crotonaldehyde, were measured before and during the intervention using liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry. Rapid and sustained, statistically significant (P ≤ 0.01) increases in the levels of excretion of the glutathione-derived conjugates of benzene (61%), acrolein (23%), but not crotonaldehyde, were found in those receiving broccoli sprout beverage compared with placebo. Excretion of the benzene-derived mercapturic acid was higher in participants who were GSTT1-positive than in the null genotype, irrespective of study arm assignment. Measures of sulforaphane metabolites in urine indicated that bioavailability did not decline over the 12-week daily dosing period. Thus, intervention with broccoli sprouts enhances the detoxication of some airborne pollutants and may provide a frugal means to attenuate their associated long-term health risks.

    Be well!


  3. JP Says:

    Update: Omega-3, found in fish oil, improve dry eyes caused by contact lens use …


    Cornea. 2015 Apr;34(4):413-20.

    Oral omega-3 Fatty Acid treatment for dry eye in contact lens wearers.

    PURPOSE: The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of dietary omega-3 fatty acid (O3FA) supplementation on dry eye symptoms, tear film tests, and conjunctival impression cytology in patients with contact lens wear-associated dry eye.

    METHODS: In this randomized, double-blind, multicentric trial, contact lens wearers (n = 496) were randomized to receive either O3FAs or placebo capsules (corn oil) twice daily for 6 months. Subjects underwent examinations at baseline, 3 months, and 6 months. At each visit, a questionnaire of dry eye symptoms and lens wear comfort was administered. Subjects further underwent measurement of tear film break-up time (TBUT) and a Schirmer test. Conjunctival impression cytology was performed by the transfer method. Improvement in symptoms and lens wear comfort were primary outcome measures. Changes from baseline in TBUT, Schirmer, and Nelson grade at 6 months were secondary outcome measures.

    RESULTS: The mean improvement in symptom score in the O3FA group was 4.7 ± 2 (2.0) as compared with 0.5 ± 2 (0.9) in the placebo group (P < 0.0001). Lens wear comfort levels improved significantly (P < 0.0001) from baseline. There was a significant increase in TBUT [3.3 ± 2 (1.5)] and Nelson grade [0.7 ± 2 (0.6)] in the O3FA group (P < 0.0001) as compared with 0.3 ± 2 (0.6) and 0.1 ± 2 (0.4) in the placebo group (P = 0.164 and 0.094, respectively). However, the magnitude of increase in Schirmer score [2.0 ± 2 (1.5)] was relatively small (P = 0.08). CONCLUSIONS: The results of this study point toward benefits of orally administered O3FAs in alleviating dry eye symptoms, improving lens wear comfort, and cytological changes in contact lens wearers. Be well! JP

  4. Ben Says:

    I miss New Chapter’s Berry Green.. it was perfect, high quality Vegetables, some fruits, and no cheap grass fillers. Alas it’s discontinued.

    Any suggestions for a vegetable powder blend, with no grass, spirulina, wheatgrass, etc?

    For the eyes I like bioastin supreme hawaiian astaxanthin and Doctor’s best High Absorption CoQ10 (although not sure if it’s ubiquinol or ubiquinone)

    Aside from Barlean’s, have you ever tried omega-3s from Nordic Naturals? Or Green Pasture Blue Ice Butter / Fermented Cod Liver Oil?

  5. JP Says:

    Hi, Ben.

    Eclectic Institute used to make a few, pure fruit + veggie blends. But, it appears that their pure formulas have been discontinued.

    Activz, a relatively new product line, makes a veggie blend containing carrot, kale and spinach:


    They also make a mixed berry blend:


    A combination of the two might be worth considering.

    I like astaxanthin for ocular health and for many other reasons – brain, cardiovascular support, etc. IMO, Doctor’s Best is a fine brand. I don’t always love their formulas, but their quality control appears to be solid. IMO, the same is true of Nordic Naturals.

    I haven’t tried Blue Ice Butter or Fermented Cod Liver Oil yet. I’m familiar with them, I just haven’t gotten around to them yet.

    Be well!


  6. JP Says:

    Updated 08/21/18:


    Nutr Res. 2018 Sep;57:97-108.

    Daily oral supplementation with collagen peptides combined with vitamins and other bioactive compounds improves skin elasticity and has a beneficial effect on joint and general wellbeing.

    Aging is a multifactorial and natural process that causes physiological changes in organs, tissues and cells over time. In the skin and cartilage, aging leads to a decrease in the synthesis and changes in the arrangement of proteoglycans and collagen, in addition to the loss of glycosaminoglycans, which are responsible for the integrity and health of these tissues. We hypothesized that daily oral supplementation with a liquid nutraceutical containing hydrolyzed fish collagen, vitamins, antioxidants and other active ingredients could improve skin texture and elasticity, and in addition have a protective effect on joint health. A double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trial was conducted on 120 subjects who consumed either the test product or placebo on a daily basis for 90 days. Subjects consuming the test product had an overall significant increase in skin elasticity (+40%; P < .0001) when compared to placebo. Histological analysis of skin biopsies revealed positive changes in the skin architecture, with a reduction in solar elastosis and improvement in collagen fiber organization in the test product group. As reported in the self-perception questionnaires, these results were confirmed by the subjects' own perceptions in that participants agreed their skin was more hydrated and more elastic. In addition, the consumption of the test product reduced joint pain by -43% and improved joint mobility by +39%. Oral supplementation with collagen bioactive peptides combined with chondroitin sulphate, glucosamine, L-carnitine, vitamins, and minerals significantly improved the clinical parameters related to skin aging and joint health, and therefore, might be an effective solution to slow down the hallmarks of aging. Be well! JP

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