Coming from a traditional pharmacy background, I have always been intrigued by the technology that went into creating medications. What has been great to see are the technological advancements in natural medicines too. This blog will cover just a few of the “cool” advancements that lead to better absorption into the bloodstream, better extraction of botanicals, identifying whether a particular supplement really improves longevity, and being able to make a supplement not mixable in water become mixable. This is not the definitive list of the technological advancements in natural medicine, but a small selection of those I find interesting.
Bioavailability is the technical word used for how well an ingredient is absorbed into your bloodstream. If an ingredient is not easily absorbed into the bloodstream, it is less likely to have the benefits to the health we seek. There are two examples of technology to share here. One is LipiSperse® which has been applied to several ingredients such as Curcumin (HydroCurc®) and PEA (Lipogen®+). “LipiSperse® is a novel delivery system that uses dispersion technology to enhance the bioavailability of hydrophobic agents.”[i] Translation: LipiSperse® makes ingredients that have poor absorption or don’t mix well in water to be better absorbed and easily dispersed in water. Two basic benefits here:
- Better absorption into the bloodstream should yield better results from your supplement.
- Better solubility allows for more methods of consuming the supplement i.e., instead of just tablets or capsules, we can have effervescent, gummies, and stick packs. Who doesn’t have “pill fatigue”?
Another example of improved absorption was previously covered in one of my blogs. This blog mentioned the lycopene supplement SibeliusTM: LactoMato. SibeliusTM: LactoMato is a unique form of lycopene in which lycopene is embedded in a whey protein matrix. This may sound technical, but simply put, they take lycopene and implant it inside whey protein to help reduce the particle size of lycopene. This reduction in particle size is believed to be the reason SibeliusTM: LactoMato has improved bioavailability compared to other sources of lycopene. As stated above, you will get better absorption and enhanced amounts in circulation by enhancing the bioavailability.
Extraction isn’t normally something the average consumer is aware of when they buy their supplements. In the industry of natural medicine, how and with what something is extracted plays a critical role in the potential effectiveness and safety of the product. With botanicals (herbs) specifically, extraction can mean everything. A few examples here would be the extraction process for affron® and a recently published article explaining the many methods of extraction. Affron® uses the proprietary extraction process AFF®ON Cool-Tech, which uniquely concentrates and preserves the bioactives found in saffron. This process also uses less energy and would be considered “Earth Friendly”. The paper mentioned above found that “Extraction yield of phytochemicals is the critical step.”[ii] The proper extraction method for the right plant and the proper yield of the beneficial nutrients and chemical compounds will play a role in whether or not your supplement works.
Beneficial to Longevity
The technology here is ChronoscreenTM. ChronoscreenTM is a patented testing method that measures the effect natural ingredients have on the life span extension of whole organisms exposed to a treatment. This testing method identifies and confirms the evidence of a botanical’s potential health benefits, from which can then determine the pathways essential for the ingredient’s activity. Once an ingredient has shown to be beneficial with ChronoscreenTM, the next step of gene expression or “BioMap®” can be utilized to determine the key areas of impact on human health. Chronoscreen™ has shown that even though two plants may be the same in name, where and how they are grown can have a significant impact on their effectiveness. An example of this was done with Roman chamomile grown in a specific region in the United Kingdom, Eastern Europe and Egypt. The chamomile grown in the United Kingdom proved to be superior to the other two regions. ChronoscreenTM has already been used to test more than 750 ingredients and products.
[i] Briskey D, Sax A, Mallard AR, Rao A. Increased bioavailability of curcumin using a novel dispersion technology system (LipiSperse®). Eur J Nutr. 2019 Aug;58(5):2087-2097. doi: 10.1007/s00394-018-1766-2. Epub 2018 Jul 4. PMID: 29974228.
[ii] Ordaz-Trinidad N, Dorantes-Alvarez L, Salas-Benito J. Patents on Phytochemicals: Methodologies of Extraction, Application in Food and Pharmaceutical Industry. Recent Pat Biotechnol. 2015;9(3):158-67. doi: 10.2174/1872208310999160317145333. PMID: 27316220.