Category Archives: Antioxidants

Study Shows Daily Supplementation of Setria® Glutathione Increases Glutathione Levels in the Body

glutathione supplement

A new study published in the European Journal of Nutrition revealed that daily supplementation of Setria® Glutathione – the form of L-Glutathione used in Lypo-Spheric™ GSH – is effective at increasing body stores of glutathione by 30-35% over a 6 month period.

The randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial was conducted at Penn State University School of Medicine and lead by Dr. John P. Richie, Jr., Ph.D., Professor of Public Health Sciences and Pharmacology. Dr. Richie has studied glutathione for more than 25 years, focusing primarily on glutathione’s ability to fight oxidative stress.

“It is well-known in the science community that glutathione is one of the primary protective molecules in the body; however, whether or not glutathione levels could be supplemented by oral glutathione administration has been hotly debated and clinical data has been lacking,” said Dr. Richie. “Now we have evidence to illustrate the potential benefit of glutathione supplementation …”

The study measured the effect of supplementation with Setria® Glutathione on glutathione levels in 54 healthy adults, 28-72 years of age. One group of subjects took 250 mg/day (low-dose), the second group took 1,000 mg/day (high-dose), and the third group took 470 mg/day of placebo. Glutathione levels were measured over a six month period in different blood components, including erythrocytes (red blood cells) and lymphocytes (white blood cells), as well as the buccal mucosal cells that line the inside of the cheeks.

Results of the study showed glutathione levels in the blood increased after one, three and six months when compared to baseline levels at both doses.And at six months, average glutathione levels increased 30-35% in erythrocytes, plasma, and lymphocytes, and 260% in buccal cells in the high-dose group.

In addition to the increase in glutathione levels, the study showed that daily supplementation of 1,000 mg/day enhanced the function of natural killer (NK) cells more than two fold after three months. NK cells are vital to a well-functioning immune system because they can rapidly identify and kill abnormal cells. This two fold increase in NK cytotoxicity means the NK cells were two times as effective at killing abnormal cells, such as cells that are virally infected or tumorigenic.

A secondary endpoint analysis of the data also indicated that daily supplementation of 250 mg – 1,000 mg of Setria® Glutathione may result in a significant decrease in oxidative stress after 6 months. While the majority of glutathione in cells is in the reduced form (the “active” form), it becomes oxidized when it is used to neutralize free radicals and other toxins that cause oxidative stress.  So as oxidative stress increases, the level of oxidized glutathione in the body increases, and the level of reduced glutathione in the body decreases. Therefore, a reduction in oxidative stress was demonstrated with a decrease in the ratio of oxidized to reduced glutathione.

Why is all of this data important?

Glutathione is often called the “Master Defender” due to its vast functions as an antioxidant, detoxifier and immune system supporter. It is found in nearly all cells, tissues and organ systems in the body. Our bodies produce glutathione naturally, but everyday factors including the intake of medication, ill health, exposure to environmental toxins, aging and diet dramatically reduce the body’s stores of glutathione. As glutathione levels decrease, a detrimental drop occurs in the cellular functions that help maintain a healthy heart, brain, eyes, liver, kidneys, pancreas, and joints.

Previously, the only reliable way to boost glutathione levels was with IV infusions. With Setria® Glutathione and the superior bioavailability offered by liposome-encapsulation, this is no longer the case. Orally-ingested Lypo-Spheric™ GSH combines Setria® Glutathione with Liposomal Encapsulation Technology to protect the glutathione from being destroyed in the digestive system, making Lypo-Spheric™ GSH an efficient and cost-effective way to boost glutathione levels.

References

  • Richie JP Jr, Nichenametla S, Neidig W, Calcagnotto A, Haley JS, Schell TD, Muscat JE. Randomized controlled trial of oral glutathione supplementation on body stores of glutathione. Eur J Nutr. 2014 May 5. PubMed PMID: 24791752.
  • Suntres ZE. Liposomal Antioxidants for Protection against Oxidant-Induced Damage. Journal of Toxicology 2011 May 24. Article ID 152474.
  • Topham NJ, Hewitt, EW. Natural killer cell cytotoxicity: how do they pull the trigger? Immunology. 2009 Sep. PubMed PMCID: 2747134.

Setria® is a registered trademark of Kyowa Hakko USA, Inc.

© 2014 LivOn Labs

The newest addition to LivOn Labs, Lypo-Spheric™ R-ALA

alpha lipoic acid benefits

WHY YOU NEED LYPO-SPHERIC™ R-ALA

Along with experts like Burt Berkson, MD, PhD and Lester Packer, PhD, we believe R-Alpha Lipoic Acid (R-ALA) may be the most important antioxidant ever discovered.

R-ALA directly affects the health of nearly every cell in the body, and can even cross the blood-brain barrier. This means R-ALA can neutralize free radicals in nearly every part of the body.

Reducing the damage caused by free radicals is the key to aging gracefully, and maintaining the health of your heart, brain, eyes, and every other organ in the body.

Lypo-Spheric™ R-ALA

  • Promotes, maintains and supports cellular energy production*
  • Recycles other vital antioxidants, including vitamin C and vitamin E
  • Helps maintain optimal nerve health*
  • Helps maintain healthy glucose levels*
  • Promotes healthy insulin sensitivity*
  • Supports weight-loss when combined with a low calorie diet*

Lypo-Spheric™ R-ALA uses the more bioavailable, “R” form of alpha lipoic acid, the form found in nature. Research shows that R -Alpha Lipoic Acid is a more biologically active form of ALA that offers greater antioxidant and neuroprotective benefits at substantially lower doses than the “S” form of lipoic acid that is more commonly available.* The body has a strong preference for natural R-ALA.

Use Lypo-Spheric™ R-ALA in combination with Lypo-Spheric™ Vitamin C and GSH (Glutathione), and you get an antioxidant powerhouse delivered directly to your cells.

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

What are some of the benefits of B Complex Vitamins?

B complex vitamins are an important group of water-soluble vitamins that support cell metabolism and other vital body functions, including the nervous system, the digestion and the production of red blood cells. Vitamin B complex includes all the water-soluble vitamins except vitamin C. Various other vitamins and nutritional components are often included as part of a B-complex vitamin supplement. A multivitamin containing B complex is a highly recommended supplement to maintain overall health.

The B Vitamins

Discovery of the B vitamins and their importance to health has led to major breakthroughs in healthcare. Among the historic importance of Vitamin B complex is the role of B vitamins in preventing birth defects. B vitamins are also necessary for optimal nervous functions, food metabolism, and healthy hair, nails and skin. Vitamin B complex is vital for most essential body functions, down to the cellular level.

Healthy Pregnancy

Spinal bifida and anencephaly are birth defects in which the fetal nervous system does not develop properly. A deficiency of folic acid (vitamin B9) in the mother was found to be related to the occurrence of these defects. Since that discovery, the USDA has required folic acid to be added to most enriched breads and other grain products. Today, the incidence of folic acid deficiency and of these birth defects has dropped dramatically.

Healthy Blood Sugar Levels

People with blood sugar imbalances are often found to be deficient in thiamine (vitamin B1). Thiamine is important for the metabolism of carbohydrates, and may help regulate blood sugar levels in the body. Benfotiamine – a fat soluble derivative of Thiamine – is especially helpful in protecting the body against high blood sugar levels.

Healthy Hair, Skin and Nails

Vitamins B5 and B6 have been shown to aid memory and concentration by reducing high levels of homocysteine in the blood. Homocysteine is a substance that is normally converted to protein, and its accumulation in the blood is toxic to healthy brain function. Vitamin B-complex is often used to help prevent anxiety, depression and cognitive decline because B vitamins aid in normal hormonal functioning.

Nervous System Functions

Vitamins B5 and B6 have been shown to aid memory and concentration by reducing high levels of homocysteine in the blood. Homocysteine is a substance that is normally converted to protein, and its accumulation in the blood is toxic to healthy brain function. Vitamin B-complex is often used to help prevent anxiety, depression and cognitive decline because B vitamins aid in normal hormonal functioning.

Digestive System

Vitamin B-complex is essential to proper digestion. Deficiency of vitamins B1, B6 and B7 (Biotin) can impair absorption of nutrients. Vitamin B6 in particular has been shown to promote vitamin absorption in the digestive system. The body produces energy from food through cell metabolism, and even a moderate deficiency of vitamins B1, B6 and B7 impairs energy production and can result in fatigue, irritability and weakness.

Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)

Because of the role that vitamin B-complex plays in hormonal functioning, the tension produced by hormonal fluctuations in women’s regular cycles can be helped by supplementation of B vitamins.

Heart Disease

As part of a well-balanced diet that is low in saturated fat and cholesterol, Folic Acid, Vitamin B6 and Vitamin B12 may reduce the risk of vascular disease. However, the FDA evaluated this claim and found that, while it is known that diets low in saturated fat and cholesterol reduce the risk of heart disease and other vascular diseases, the evidence in support of the claim is inconclusive.

B Complex Vitamins and Nutrition

A diet rich in whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables will supply a healthy amount of B vitamins. Vitamin B12 is the only B vitamin that is not available from plants.

Good sources for B vitamins include whole grains, potatoes, bananas, beans and lentils, chili peppers and molasses. Fermented foods, including tempeh and dark beer, are also rich in B vitamins. Yeast, both nutritional yeast and brewer’s yeast, is high in B vitamins. Turkey, tuna and liver are among the animal proteins high in B vitamins.

  • Lentils and legumes, dark green vegetables, eggs, fish and poultry are high in Vitamin B1.
  • Green leafy vegetables, fresh fruits and dairy products are good sources of Vitamin B2.
  • Salmon, tuna and white-meat chicken are high in vitamin B3. So are beans and lentils.
  • Look to mushrooms, broccoli, yogurt, avocados and legumes for vitamin B5.
  • Vitamin B6 is found in high concentration in animal protein and dairy products.
  • Vitamin B7 is found in a wide range of foods. Eat a well-balanced diet to obtain this vitamin. Vitamin B7 deficiency is rare.
  • Folic acid is naturally available in green leafy vegetables, other fruits and vegetables and dried beans.
  • Vitamin B12 is available from animal and dairy products.

B Vitamin Supplements

Vitamin supplements are not a replacement for a well-balanced diet, but rather a way to ensure that all vitamin needs are being met.  The best way to get your B vitamins is through a carefully balanced diet and a complete Vitamin B-complex supplement.

What is Vitamin B6 Good For?

what are b vitamins

There are many benefits to adding some B6 to your diet. This water-soluble vitamin is not stored in the body. Your system takes what it needs and eliminates the balance, so you cannot go wrong with this supplement. In addition to being safe, it’s also a great way to maintain healthy brain functioning levels, reduce stress levels and stay healthy. Here’s what you should know about this wonder vitamin, as well as ways to spot a deficiency of this important vitamin.

Clear, Healthy Looking Skin

Research indicates that B6 helps control breakouts by regulating hormone levels.

Helpful for Women

Women who experience premenstrual syndrome may benefit from taking this supplement. It helps the liver remove excessive estrogen from the body, raises progesterone and helps manufacture serotonin. This can lead to calmer feelings and less distressing PMS symptoms.

Help with Depression

Vitamin B6 is essential for producing neurotransmitters like serotonin in the brain. Up to 25 percent of people who are living with depression are B6 deficient, so the supplement is often recommended to help combat depression. People with low levels of B6 are typically more anxious and distressed, and adding B6 to the diet may help lessen those feelings.

Maintain Healthy Brain Function

This vitamin is vital to healthy mental function and even your mood. It’s believed that only one-third of the public gets enough B6, and deficiencies can lead to serious problems. The vitamin performs several functions throughout the course of the day, including being a necessary component of producing antibodies and red blood cells. It manufactures brain chemicals and can release stored energy. It can help improve attention levels and memory, and that makes it an important vitamin for people of all ages.

Signs of Deficiency

It’s hard for people to know when they’re deficient in a certain vitamin. However, a B6 deficiency carries some unique signs and symptoms. General depression, confusion and anemia are common. You may also feel irritable, and in extreme cases, have convulsions.

Protect your health now and in the coming years by making sure that you’re getting all the vitamins and minerals you need. Government guidelines indicate that adult women need 1.6 mg of B6 per day while men should take 2.0mg per day. You may require a higher dose to achieve different health goals, and a health practitioner can help you determine which dose would be most effective for you. \

Hopefully this answered your question on what is vitamin b6 good for? below are more resources and informational articles.

Resources

http://www.wholehealthchicago.com/757/vitamin-b6/
http://holistichealthliving.wordpress.com/2010/09/01/the-brain-benefits-of-vitamin-b6/
http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/benefits-vitamin-b6-brain-4217.html
http://www.newsmax.com/FastFeatures/benefits-of-b6-vitamin/2011/02/10/id/385671/

Foods High in Glutathione

People are always looking for ways to maintain their health, decrease unwelcome symptoms of aging and boost their immune systems. While a variety of vitamins and minerals can help with some of these functions, there is one nutrient that can help with them all. That nutrient is glutathione, which can be found in a variety of foods. Here are some foods high in glutathione.

Glutathione is a combination of three amino acids known as glutamine, glycine and cysteine. Amino acids are the precursors of proteins. Usually there is a gene in the body that produces an enzyme that combines these amino acids into glutathione. However, this gene does not work correctly in some people. The reasons for this are manifold. For example, it may stop working due to a serious illness. Much of the time, it stops working due to the increased workload on the body’s immune system, such as from air and water pollution and toxins in processed foods. Toxins, such as mercury and lead, can also build up in the body through fish and other foods. Other ways that glutathione levels are decreased include medicines, increased stress and radiation. Even the normal aging process decreases this molecule.

Glutathione is an antioxidant. Without it, the body has great difficulty removing toxins from the blood and from cells in the organs and the skin. Antioxidants decrease the negative effect of free radicals on the cells within the body. Without antioxidants, every cell in the body will readily show the effects of age. Glutathione can also help detoxify the body because the sulfur molecules within glutathione attach to toxins, or poisons, in the body and carry them out as waste products.

A glutathione deficiency may make individuals feel run down. It can leave them with headaches and fatigue. As the body ages, it cannot replenish its supplies of glutathione as well as it once did. Therefore, people must be sure to eat foods high in this molecule to protect their immune systems.

One of the easiest ways to get glutathione from foods is to eat fresh fruits and vegetables. Many of these foods contain some level of glutathione, and those that are raised naturally without chemicals and picked at the peak of ripeness are the best. Fruits that have the highest levels of glutathione include:

  • Apples
  • Bananas
  • Peaches
  • Melons

The best vegetables include:

  • Green peppers
  • Potatoes
  • carrots
  • squash
  • broccoli
  • Spinach

Dark green vegetables are typically rich in sulfur and are therefore rich in glutathione. Milk thistle in a tea, eaten as a seed or sprinkled as a powder, is a great source of glutathione as well.

The second easiest way to consume glutathione is by eating meats and dairy products. Of course, cooking meats decreases the levels of this nutrient; however, there are still smaller levels of glutathione available even after the food is processed or cooked. Beef, chicken, pork, milk and eggs all contain some glutathione.

Selenium and alpha lipoic acid must be consumed as well in order for glutathione to be used in the body. Foods containing selenium include:

  • nuts
  • legumes
  • red meat
  • poultry and cheese

Alpha lipoic acid can be found in several vegetables, including spinach and tomatoes.

Those who are not getting enough glutathione in their diets should consider supplements. These supplements will fill in the gaps in nutrition and may bolster the immune system. As an antioxidant, glutathione is a vital part of anyone’s diet.

Glutathione (GSH) and Electron Flow

GSH and Cellular Health. Glutathione (GSH) is so important to the health of every cell in the body that cells die, when GSH levels inside cells drop too low 1.  It is at this very cellular level where most of the battles against toxins, pathogens, free-radicals, and aging are won or lost.

Even without the extra toxic demands exerted by 21st century living, the requirement for GSH production is high. Immune system cells like mast cells and white blood cells, as well as organ tissues – most notably the brain, heart, lungs, liver, and eyes – depend on GSH for survival. Healthy, unchallenged cells can produce a sufficient amount of GSH for a host of protective (see Table 1.1) and metabolic (see Table 1.2) functions. When additional pressures ensue — like emotional and physical stress, radiation, infection, an unhealthy diet, toxins, heavy metals, and the invasion of pathogens — cellular levels of GSH can be quickly depleted.

Table 1.1 Cell-Protective Functions of GSH
Neutralization and reduction of various toxins and carcinogens
Protection against intracellular oxidative damage
Enhancement and support of the immune system

As long as sufficient quantities of it are present, GSH effectively defends the cell’s DNA, membranes, nucleus, and other organelles by neutralizing this continuous oxidative stress. When GSH is depleted, however, cellular damage can be expected.

Table 1.2 Cell-Metabolic Functions of GSH
Facilitating DNA synthesis and repair
Facilitating protein and prostaglandin synthesis
Facilitating amino acid transport across cell
membranes
Activation of enzymes (includes glutathione reductase, glutathione peroxidase, and glutathione S-transferase) Czeczot 2006

The Miraculous GSH Molecule

The unique molecular characteristics of GSH account for its vast range of functions. In addition to its role as an electron donor (antioxidant), GSH also joins with a large number of different compounds to form complexes (conjugates) with very special properties. This conjugating ability allows GSH to function as a:

  • potent antioxidant
  • powerful detoxifier as the primary participant in the neutralization and/or excretion of many toxins
  • “Super food” for the immune system including B-cells, T-cells, mast cells, phagocytes, and macrophages
  • intracellular source of organic sulfur
  • cofactor for the function of different critical enzymes
  • participant in maintaining integrity of protein’s critical disulfide bonds
  • transporter of amino acids across cell membranes
  • DNA synthesis and repair
  • protein synthesis
  • electron exchanger in many redox reactions

Electron Flow: Key to Continuous Intracellular Defense. The amazing power of GSH, in large part, lies in its ability to promote a healthy flow and supply of electrons within each cell in the body. Even though it is not possible to take a teaspoon of electrons, one can ingest medications and/or nutrients that are extremely rich in their electron content. Once a sufficient quantity of electrons is delivered to the body, it brings about what can only be described as fantastic results.

For more information on Glutathione, read Dr. Thomas Levy’s book GSH Master Defender.

 

Beaver 1995, Ghibelli 1998, Hammond 2004, Franco 2006

What is a Pro-oxidant?

What is a Prooxidant? An oxidant, or prooxidant, is any substance that seeks to take electrons away from another substance. When enough electrons are lost without prompt replacement, this process of oxidation eventually results in cellular, and ultimately tissue, damage. Although a very limited amount of oxidation is a necessary and normal part of cellular metabolism, an excess of oxidation is always damaging, will always make you vulnerable to disease, and will always accelerate the aging process.

Virtually every substance that enters the body through respiration, absorption, or ingestion will ultimately be broken down, or digested, into components that are antioxidant or prooxidant. In other words, except for the very rare completely chemically inert substance, everything entering the body will ultimately give or take away electrons at the cellular and subcellular level.

How an Antioxidant Works

An antioxidant, then, is any substance that inhibits or prevents oxidative damage by supplying electrons back to the substance that was oxidized (repair) or by supplying electrons directly to the oxidant substance before it has the opportunity to take or deplete electrons from the target substance (prevention). An antioxidant “cures” oxidation and its free radicals by neutralizing them with an infusion of electrons.

When antioxidants cannot be supplied promptly and in a high enough quantity, oxidative damage will invariably result in electron-depleted cells and tissues, eventually leading to a clinically recognizable disease or toxic condition. Conversely, when there is an adequate supply of antioxidants present while oxidation is occurring, electrons can be supplied back quickly enough and in a sufficient amount so that no significant damage will result.

The cells of the body utilize electrons as their fuel. Antioxidants, in tandem with their oxidized counterparts, can be considered the transport mechanism for allowing adequate access and delivery of this electron “fuel” to all of the different cellular and subcellular sites in the body.

What are Antioxidants and Destroy Free Radicals?

what are antioxidants

Free radicals were little known to most of us 25 years ago. Free radicals are formed in our bodies during normal processes, but as researchers have learned in recent years, excess free radicals can cause major damage throughout the body.  See our full article on free radicals here.

So how do you combat free radicals? By using antioxidants.

What are Antioxidants?

Antioxidants are nutrients that donate electrons to free radicals. Antioxidants neutralize free radicals and assist in returning your body to a balanced state. Antioxidants are found in leafy vegetables and fruits, and they are an essential part of any well balanced diet. Free radicals are formed in our bodies during normal processes. To control the balance of free radicals, you need a constant supply of antioxidants. Some are more powerful than others. Here are a few of the more notable antioxidants.

Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid)

What are antioxidants? The most recognized antioxidant is vitamin C, which is effective in neutralizing hydroxyl and superoxide radicals. This makes vitamin C one of the most essential nutrients in any diet. Humans, primates, fruit bats and guinea pigs are unable to synthesize vitamin C, making proper nutrition and/or supplementation important in defending against free radical damage. Some great sources for vitamin C include:

Source Serving Vitamin C
Mustard Greens 1/2 Cup 107.8 mg
Red bell peppers 1/2 Cup 95 mg
Green bell peppers 1/2 Cup 60 mg
Kale 1/2 Cup 40 mg
Broccoli 1/2 Cup 67 mg
Papaya 1/2 Cup 44 mg
Strawberries 1/2 Cup 40 mg
Cauliflower Small Head 127 mg
Kiwi 1/2 Cup 137.2 mg

Vitamin E

Vitamin E is a major fat-soluble antioxidant found within the membranes of cells. It protects the fatty acids from damage from peroxyl radicals. Vitamin E is also the principal antioxidant against ozone (O3). Vitamin E must be provided daily through dietary sources or supplementation and can be found in many fresh fruits and vegetables.

Spinach
Spinach is an all-around healthy food. Filled with vitamin E and many other antioxidants and essential nutrients, spinach is easy to incorporate in any diet or dietary plan.
Nuts
Almonds and other nuts are a great source for vitamin E. They are convenient and have a long shelf life. Stick a bag in your desk drawer for a quick healthy snack.
Kale
Kale makes the cut again for being filled with antioxidants.
Fruits
Fruits like papaya and kiwi are great sources of vitamin E and vitamin C, making them a popular food for antioxidant protection.
Red bell peppers
Are you seeing a trend? Many foods are filled with various antioxidants making them a perfect snack or meal for full antioxidant protecting. Red bell peppers are stuffed with vitamin E and C among other essential nutrients.

Beta-carotene

One of about 50 carotenoids, beta-carotene is effective against singlet oxygen. It is considered a weak antioxidant compared to vitamins C and E, however it is is able to convert into vitamin A, a fat-soluble antioxidant. You can find substantial amounts of beta-carotene in yellow and green fruits and vegetables.

Glutathione

Glutathione is not as popular as vitamin C and E however it is one of the most powerful antioxidants available. Glutathione is composed of three amino acids, cysteine, glutamic acid, and glycine. Glutathione (GSH) is able to destroy the free radicals which cause the formation of cross-links in collagen tissue. GSH is also capable of recycling other antioxidants including vitamins C and E. GSH is only available as a dietary supplement.

Asparagus
Asparagus contains rich amounts of glutathione, sometimes referred to as “the mother of all antioxidants.” Asparagus is also rich in other antioxidants such as beta-carotene and selenium.
Nuts
Almonds and other nuts are a great source for vitamin E. They are convenient and have a long shelf life. Stick a bag in your desk drawer for a quick healthy snack.

Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA)

ALA is both water- and fat-soluble, granting it the ability to protect inside and outside the cell membrane. Like glutathione, ALA is capable of recycling other vital antioxidants giving it significant benefits over other antioxidants. Alpha Lipoic Acid is found in small amounts in meat, potatoes, carrots, spinach, and brewer’s yeast, but to obtain a significant amount of it one must supplement.

Selenium

Selenium is the principal mineral antioxidant and is a cofactor in glutathione peroxidase, the body’s own free radical controller. Selenium is also capable of magnifying the effectiveness of vitamin E against free radicals. Great sources for selenium are tuna, wheat germ, sesame seeds, pecans, and other meats.

What are Antioxidants and When Do I need More?

The human body produces tens of thousands of free radicals every second. This makes antioxidants a necessary part of everyone’s daily diet.  The following activities and environmental factors cause an increase in the production of free radicals, and require that you obtain a larger amount of antioxidants.

  1. Exercise
  2. Stress
  3. Exposure to environmental pollutants
  4. Illness
  5. Inflammation
  6. Infection
  7. Elevated blood lipids
  8. Elevated blood sugar
  9. Excessive exposure to UV Light (Sun)

Researchers Claim RDA For Vitamin C is Flawed

The controversy over vitamin C and orthomolecular medicine began with the publication of Linus Pauling’s book, “Vitamin C and the Common Cold”. A quarter of a century later the controversy around vitamin C continues.

Steve Hickey, PhD and Hillary Roberts, Phd, pharmacology professors and graduates of the University of Manchester in Britain, are challenging the established Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for vitamin C, which is 75 and 90 milligrams for males and females respectively. In their book “Ascorbate, The Science of Vitamin C”, Hickey and Roberts point out some biological flaws to justify their attack on the RDA for vitamin C. The rapid elimination of vitamin C was demonstrated graphically; however, the Institute of Medicine (IM) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) did not account for the half-life of vitamin C. This flawed approach is one of the main contentions that Drs. Hickey and Roberts maintain.

Half Life of Vitamin C

The half life of any substance is the time it takes for half of the substance to be removed from the body. Vitamin C’s half life is quite short, about 30 minutes in blood plasma, a fact that the IM and NIH failed to recognize. NIH researchers established the RDA for vitamin C by conducting a test 12 hours or 24 half life’s after consumption. Due to the short half life of vitamin C, many studies make the conclusion that high-dose supplemental vitamin C is ineffective. Drs. Hickey and Roberts state that due to its rapid deterioration, a very high dose of vitamin C would not achieve the same concentration in the blood serum over time as several administered doses.

Drs. Hickey and Roberts decided to perform an experiment to measure the blood plasma levels of liposomal vitamin C, which was published in the Journal of Nutritional and Environmental Medicine. It was titled Pharmacokinetics of oral vitamin C. Their results indicate that, following oral intakes, high blood plasma levels can be achieved with liposomal vitamin C formulations. The results suggest that such levels (400microM/L or above) could be sustained indefinitely with repeated dosing at short intervals (say 5-grams every 4-hours).

RDA for Vitamin C

In the past, Drs. Hickey and Roberts have shaken the foundation and confidence of the IM and NIH for failing to investigate the use of high-dose vitamin C properly. They have repeatedly challenged the RDA for vitamin C on studies using only 15 healthy subjects and single dosages. They also contend that the RDA is intended to set a level of nutrient consumption that would prevent disease, specifically Scurvy, among the vast majority of the population. However their research shows that 35% of the population is in need of more than the RDA including:

  • Smokers ( 50 million)
  • Estrogen and Birth Control Pill Users (13 and 18 million)
  • Diabetics (16 million)
  • Pregnant females (4 million)
  • and even people taking aspirin

Contradictory Data

Drs. Hickey and Roberts confronted the IM and NIH with their own data however they claim the saturation point is reached at a certain concentration of ascorbic acid in blood plasma. They later published a paper in early 2004  showing they had achieved three times greater concentration of vitamin C in the blood circulation than previously thought possible using high-dose vitamin C [Annals Internal Medicine, April 6, 140: 533-37,2004]. A similar published German study also confirms vitamin C supplements can elevate vitamin C concentrations beyond what NIH scientists said was possible. [Archives Biochemistry Biophysics, March 423: 109-15, 2004]. NIH researchers continue to maintain that no more than 200 milligrams of oral vitamin C is required for human health and that a diet which includes the recommended five servings of fruits and vegetables would provide adequate vitamin C. But only 9 percent of the US population consumes 5 servings of plant foods daily. The National Cancer Institute has abandoned their 5-a-day recommendation in favor of a 9-a-day servings of fruits and vegetables once they realized five servings did not provide the proper dietary intake of vitamin C and other essential vitamins in the prevention of cancer or heart disease.

Hickey has called for the IM and NIH to retract the current RDA or provide scientific justification for their recommendation.

What do you think? Is the RDA for vitamin C adequate?

For more on the RDA for vitamin C, check out our article about the RDA for Guinea Pigs.

Liposomal Alpha Lipoic Acid Benefits and Facts

Here is a quick list of Alpha Lipoic Acid benefits and facts. LivOn Labs has successfully encapsulated Alpha Lipoic Acid (R-ALA) and we are excited to tell you all about it!

  • Also known as: Thioctic acid, Lipoic Acid, LA, ALA
  • ALA was discovered in 1948 and officially named Alpha Lipoic Acid in 1951 by Irwin C. Gunsalus and Lester Reed
  • ALA is naturally synthesized in small amounts by plants and animals, including humans.
  • ALA contains an asymmetric carbon, meaning there are two possible isomers: R-LA and S-LA. Only the R- isomer is endogenously synthesized and bound to protein. R-Alpha Lipoic Acid is considered the most bio-available and biologically active form of ALA in the body
  • Alpha Lipoic Acid is a vital cofactor for several important mitochondrial enzyme complexes.
  • The amounts of R-ALA available in dietary supplements are as much as 1,000 times greater than the amounts that could be obtained in the diet.  Animal tissue that includes R-ALA include liver, heart and kidney. Plants with R-ALA include spinach and broccoli, tomatoes, peas and Brussels sprouts.
  • Plasma concentrations of ALA generally peak in an hour or less and decline rapidly.
  • In cells, ALA is quickly reduced to DHLA.
  • ALA functions as an antioxidant.
  • ALA is considered the most important mitochondrial antioxidant given its vital role in mitochondrial electron transport reactions that convert glucose into ATP to produce energy.
  • Recycles other antioxidants, including vitamin C and vitamin E.
  • Shown to increase natural glutathione synthesis in aged animals.
  • There is no documented “nutrient deficiency” disease associated with ALA.
  • Intravenous ALA is approved for the treatment of diabetic neuropathy in Germany. R-ALA is available by prescription in Germany.  Dosage used in a trial with 1,258 diabetic patients found that a treatment of 600mg/day if IV R-ALA for 3 weeks significantly reduced the symptoms of diabetic neuropathy to a clinically meaningful degree.[1]
  • R-ALA should always be taken on an empty stomach.
  • Most frequently reported side effects of oral ALA supplementation include rashes, hives, itching, abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. These generally occur when supplementing at doses of 1,200 – 1,800 mg/day.
  • ALA should be taken under the guidance of a physician by anyone taking glucose lowering medication or receiving treatment for under-active or over-active thyroid.
  • ALA should not be taken by children under the age of 18, unless under the care of a physician.
  • “Without ALA, you could not obtain energy from the food you eat, and you could not stay alive.” Burt Berkson, MD, MS, PhD

[1] Ziegler D, Nowak H, Kempler P, Vargha P, Low PA. Treatment of symptomatic diabetic polyneuropathy with the antioxidant alpha-lipoic acid: a meta-analysis. Diabet Med. 2004;21(2):114-121.  (PubMed)