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Natural Products Expo West 2016 Part Three

April 18, 2016 Written by JP    [Font too small?]

One of the distinct pleasures of attending Natural Products Expo West is the opportunity to take part in some fascinating educational events. This year, three lectures in particular struck a cord with me. At the core of each presentation was a focus on specific supplements that have yet to break into the mainstream. However, based on the data that I’ve reviewed, this is likely to change in the near future.

The lectures that are the basis for today’s blog were given by three well-respected members of the integrative health community: Dr. Michael Murray, the author of more than 30 influential books, including The Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine, Dr. Cass Ingram aka “Dr. Oregano”, the man behind the best selling book, The Cure is in the Cupboard; and Dr. Chandan K. Sen, the director of the Center for Regenerative Medicine & Cell-Based Therapies at Ohio State University.

Presentation #1: The New Frontier of Nutrigenomics and Molecular Nutrition

The words, pyrroloquinoline quinone, don’t exactly roll off the tongue. This coenzyme, also known as PQQ, was first identified in 1979. Subsequent research has found that PQQ is present in a variety of common foods and the human body – even in breast milk. At present, it is primarily considered a supplemental means of promoting healthier aging by mitigating oxidative stress and neurodegeneration. In both cases, it acts differently than most other antioxidants and neuroprotective nutraceuticals. As an antioxidant, it lasts longer and works more efficiently against free radicals. In terms of the brain and cognition, PQQ promotes mitochondrial and Nerve Growth Factor biogenesis. In essence, this allows for cells to function in a more energetic manner, while increasing the number of neurons – the nerve cells that are responsible for sending messages within the brain and throughout the body.

Recent studies report that supplementing with 20 mg/day of PQQ improves attention and working memory in seniors. Combining PQQ with CoEnzyme Q10 (100 – 300 mg/day) appears to synergistically heighten this benefit. Additionally, studies reveal that supplemental PQQ can be successfully applied to a wide range of health concerns including dry skin, elevated LDL cholesterol and systemic inflammation. The naturally-derived form of PQQ, which has the strongest clinical track record, is available commercially under the name Bio-PQQ. Some Bio-PQQ products advise that you take this tiny capsule on an empty stomach. However, Dr. Michael Murray assured me that there is no reason to avoid taking it with food. This is welcome news for those who decide to stack it with CoQ10, a fat soluble antioxidant which is best taken with meals.

Presentation #2: Supporting Bone Density – The Novel Powers of Wild Spice Extracts

Fruits, herbs and spices for bone health? If this is a somewhat foreign concept to you, I completely understand! As it turns out, certain fruits and common seasonings may very well provide an important adjunct to more conventional bone building practices, such as mineral supplementation, optimizing Vitamin D levels, stress management and weight bearing exercise. After sifting through the medical literature, Dr. Cass Ingram created two food-based products for those concerned about skeletal integrity: 1) Bone Complete Savory combines garlic, onion, oregano (wild thyme), parsley, rosemary and wild mushrooms; 2) Bone Complete Sweet & Sour features acerola cherry, camu camu, orange, prune and sour grape. These powdered products, manufactured by NAHS (North American Herb and Spice), are intended for daily use and can be added to broth, juice, smoothies, soups or simply mixed with water.

I think this is a rather novel approach to supporting the skeletal system. There are plenty of animal and some human studies that demonstrate bone benefits relating to the ingredients contained in these products. Perhaps the strongest case can be made for prunes. But, that’s just the beginning. For instance, a 2012 study that appeared in the Journal of Dietary Supplements reported that a garlic supplement reduced pro-inflammatory cytokines in osteoporotic women. This is relevant because elevated inflammation has been linked to hastened bone loss. Other trials have found that: a) apigenin, a polyphenol contained in parsley, suppresses bone loss; b) grape seed and pomegranate extracts affect gene expression in a manner that stimulates collagen and bone formation; c) orange pulp enhances the “microarchitexture” of bones making them stronger and thicker.

Presentation #3: Natural Collagen Synthesis – Dramatic Breakthrough for Sports Nutrition and Anti-Aging

Shilajit is just about the strangest nutraceutical I’ve ever come across. It’s been used in the Ayurvedic healing tradition for several thousand years as a revered adaptogen and medicine. Historically, it’s been called everything from “mountain blood” to “rock juice”. Technically, it’s a resin taken from the surface of ancient sedimentary rocks – primarily from the Himalayas. PrimaVie is a purified Shilajit extract that contains consistent and therapeutic levels of fulvic acid and over forty minerals. Also, it is guaranteed to have very low concentrations of heavy metals, such as aluminum. While interesting, you might be wondering why you or anyone should care about this rather odd sounding supplement. The answer is simple: modern science is backing it up in a big way.

Dr. Chandan K, Sen is a serious scientist by any standard. At Expo West he revealed details about a soon to be published study regarding the effects of PrimaVie on exercise performance, collagen and muscle growth on a genetic level. I can’t divulge too much information about the specifics of this data except to say that it appears very encouraging for those concerned about muscle wasting conditions. What I can tell you is that other published trials report that taking 250 mg of PrimaVie twice-daily helps to restore a more youthful hormonal profile (increased DHEA, free and total testosterone) in aging men. Additionally, PrimaVie improves fertility in men with oligospermia or a low sperm count. I wish I could tell you about a few other trials that are also pending publication. Without disclosing any exact details, I’m quite enthusiastic about the potential of this “rasayana” or rejuvenator in managing many of the biggest threats in the modern world, such as cardiovascular disease, dementia and diabetes. I’ll be sure to add more information about this in the “Comments & Updates” section (at the bottom of the page) when it becomes available.

In closing, I want to let you know that Bio-PQQ can be found in products distributed and manufactured by many different companies. At the moment, I’m using a BioPQQ supplement sold by Natural Factors, for whom Dr. Murray works as the Director of Product Science and Innovation. In general, I think Natural Factors is a high quality and reasonably-priced brand. The reason I’m taking it in a pill form is that it’s just about impossible to get enough PQQ from food to prompt a therapeutic effect. PrimaVie is also included in numerous brands. Personally, I’m not using it at this moment. If I decide to, I’ll shop for both the best price and a reputable brand like Jarrow Formulas. The Bone Complete products are exclusive to NAHS (North American Herb and Spice). However, if you can’t afford them or prefer not to take yet another supplement, you can always make it a point to add more of the foods contained in these functional powders to your daily diet.

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 – Effect of the Antioxidant Supplement Pyrroloquinoline Quinone (link)

Study 2 – Effects of Orally Administered Pyrroloquinoline Quinone Disodium (link)

Study 3 – Effects of Pyrroloquinoline Quinone Disodium Salt Intake on the (link)

Study 4 – Dietary Pyrroloquinoline Quinone (PQQ) Alters Indicators of (link)

Study 5 – Pyrroloquinoline Quinone Disodium Salt Improves Higher Brain (link)

Study 6 – The Effect of Garlic Tablet on Pro-Inflammatory Cytokines in (link)

Study 7 – Apigenin Inhibits Osteoblastogenesis and Osteoclastogenesis and … (link)

Study 8 – Bone Health Nutraceuticals Alter Microarray MRNA Gene Expression (link)

Study 9 – Feeding Orange Pulp Improved Bone Quality in a Rat Model of Male (link)

Study 10 – Effects of PrimaVie and Exercise Training on Human Skeletal Muscle (link)

Study 11 – Clinical Evaluation of Purified Shilajit on Testosterone Levels in Healthy (link)

Study 12 – Clinical Evaluation of Spermatogenic Activity of Processed Shilajit in (link)

Study 13 – Can Nutraceuticals Prevent Alzheimer’s Disease? Potential Therapeutic (link)

Study 14 – Safety and Efficacy of Shilajit (Mumie, Moomiyo) (link)

Study 15 – Shilajit: Evalution of its Effects on Blood Chemistry of Normal Human (link)

PQQ Reduces Inflammation (CRP & IL-6) Quickly

Source: J Nutr Biochem. 2013 Dec;24(12):2076-84. (link)

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Posted in Bone and Joint Health, Memory, Nutritional Supplements

4 Comments & Updates to “Natural Products Expo West 2016 Part Three”

  1. JP Says:

    Updated 04/18/16:


    J Med Food. 2016 Apr;19(4):390-7.

    Anthocyanin-Rich Blackcurrant Extract Attenuates Ovariectomy-Induced Bone Loss in Mice.

    Although several animal and cell studies have indicated that blackcurrant anthocyanins exert antioxidative and anti-inflammatory properties, which could potentially improve bone mass, the effect of blackcurrant on bone health has not been reported yet. Thus, this study was aimed to evaluate the effect of blackcurrant anthocyanins on bone mass in an estrogen deficiency mouse model. Fourteen-week-old C57BL/6J mice (n = 54) were ovariectomized or sham operated. The ovariectomized mice were divided into two groups, basal diet (OVX) or basal diet containing 1% anthocyanin-rich blackcurrant extract (OVX+BC), and sacrificed at 4, 8, and 12 weeks. Femoral bone mineral density (BMD) and trabecular bone volume by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry and micro-computed tomography, respectively, and serum bone markers were measured. Ovariectomy significantly reduced BMD and trabecular bone volume at all time points (P < .05). Blackcurrant supplementation attenuated ovariectomy-induced bone loss measured by BMD and trabecular bone volume at 8 weeks (P = .055 and P = .057) and the effect was more pronounced at 12 weeks (P = .053 and P < .05). Ovariectomy and blackcurrant treatment did not alter serum biomarkers of bone formation and resorption. Bone marrow cells extracted from OVX mice significantly induced osteoclast-like (OCL) cell formation compared with cells from sham controls (P < .05). Blackcurrant treatment decreased the number of TRAP(+) OCL compared with OVX mice at 8 and 12 weeks (P < .05). Furthermore, blackcurrant supplementation reduced bone resorption activity when measured by resorption pit assay, compared with OVX group (P < .05). These results demonstrate that blackcurrant may be effective in mitigating osteoclast-induced postmenopausal bone loss. Be well! JP

  2. JP Says:

    Updated 04/18/16:


    J Bone Miner Res. 2016 Apr 8.

    Fruit and Vegetable Intake and Hip Fracture Incidence in Older Men and Women: The CHANCES Project.

    The role of fruit and vegetable intake in relation to fracture prevention during adulthood and beyond is not adequately understood. We investigated the potential association between fruit and vegetable intake and hip fracture incidence in a large sample of elderly from Europe and United States. A total of 142,018 individuals (among which 116,509 women), aged ≥60 years old, from five cohorts, were followed-up prospectively for 1,911,482 person-years accumulating 5,552 hip fractures. Fruit and vegetable intake was assessed by validated, cohort-specific, food-frequency questionnaires. Ηip fractures were ascertained through national patient registers or telephone interviews/questionnaires. Adjusted hazard ratios (HR) derived by Cox proportional-hazards regression were estimated for each cohort and subsequently pooled using random-effects meta-analysis. Intake of ≤ 1 servings/day of fruit and vegetables combined was associated with 39% higher hip fracture risk [pooled adjusted HR:1.39, 95% Confidence Intervals (CIs): 1.20, 1.58] in comparison to moderate intake (>3 and ≤5 servings/day) (pfor heterogeneity  = 0.505), whereas higher intakes (>5 servings/day) were not associated with lower risk in comparison to the same reference. Associations were more evident among women. We concluded that a daily intake of one or less servings of fruits and vegetables was associated with increased hip fracture risk in relation to moderate daily intakes. Older adults with such low fruit and vegetable consumption may benefit from raising their intakes to moderate amounts in order to reduce their hip fracture risk.

    Be well!


  3. JP Says:

    Updated 04/18/16:


    J Bone Metab. 2016 Feb;23(1):27-33.

    Relationship between Serum Inflammatory Marker and Bone Mineral Density in Healthy Adults.

    BACKGROUND: Inflammatory markers have been shown to play an important role in bone remodeling. The purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship among serum C-reactive protein (CRP), adiponectin, tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α) and bone health in healthy adults.

    METHODS: We measured serum levels of CRP, adiponectin, TNF-α as well as lumbar spine and femoral neck bone mineral density (BMD) in 76 adults. Anthropometric measurements and nutrient intake survey of participants were carried out. The participants were divided into two groups (normal BMD group=40; 52.6%, decreased BMD group=36; 47.4%).

    RESULTS: The CRP concentration was significantly higher in the decreased BMD group. The adiponectin concentration was lower in the decreased BMD group but the difference was not significant. The TNF-α concentration was higher in the decreased BMD group, the difference was not significant. The participants in the decreased BMD group were found to have lower calcium intakes. The sodium intake of the decreased BMD group was significantly higher. The BMD in the decreased BMD group showed inverse correlations with CRP and dietary sodium intake.

    CONCLUSIONS: Serum CRP and dietary sodium intake is associated with BMD. Further research is needed to confirm the potential role of inflammatory marker to modulate the effects on bone.

    Be well!


  4. JP Says:

    Updated 08/27/16:


    Adv Exp Med Biol. 2016;923:215-22.

    Effects of Antioxidant Supplements (BioPQQ™) on Cerebral Blood Flow and Oxygen Metabolism in the Prefrontal Cortex.

    Pyrroloquinoline quinone (PQQ) is a quinone compound originally identified in methanol-utilizing bacteria and is a cofactor for redox enzymes. At the Meeting of the International Society on Oxygen Transport to Tissue (ISOTT) 2014, we reported that PQQ disodium salt (BioPQQ™) improved cognitive function in humans, as assessed by the Stroop test. However, the physiological mechanism of PQQ remains unclear. In the present study, we measured regional cerebral blood flow (rCBF) and oxygen metabolism in prefrontal cortex (PFC), before and after administration of PQQ, using time-resolved near-infrared spectroscopy (tNIRS). A total of 20 healthy subjects between 50 and 70 years of age were administered BioPQQ™ (20 mg) or placebo orally once daily for 12 weeks. Hemoglobin (Hb) concentration and absolute tissue oxygen saturation (SO2) in the bilateral PFC were evaluated under resting conditions using tNIRS. We found that baseline concentrations of hemoglobin and total hemoglobin in the right PFC significantly increased after administration of PQQ (p < 0.05). In addition, decreases in SO2 level in the PFC were more pronounced in the PQQ group than in the placebo group (p < 0.05). These results suggest that PQQ causes increased activity in the right PFC associated with increases in rCBF and oxygen metabolism, resulting in enhanced cognitive function. Be well! JP

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