Healthy Happenings with Dr. Holly Lucille and James Frame on Maca Phenotypes

On this Healthy Happenings, Doctors Holly Lucille and James Frame explore the different phenotypes of maca. Maca naturally grows together in varied phenotypes, which in a balanced ration have traditionally been used for energy and stamina by the Peruvians. About 20 years ago, Dr. Meisner started doing clinical research on the different colors of maca to find they elicit different physiological effects. Some phenotypes are specifically more effective on men’s fertility, women’s fertility, reducing prostate size in men, some have no effect, some can affect cholesterol and even bone density. Because of this, Dr. Frame encourages other physicians to look at maca more like mushrooms because of how diverse the phenotypes are.

Even the Peruvians are starting to shift their research to specific phenotypes. Now research is focusing on what types of maca you want to use for specific conditions. Dr. Meisner published a DNA profile a few years ago which caused sensation in the industry. For more companies to align with this research, more abstracts were published and the USDA came up with very similar results, further validating this research. More detail around this story will be elaborated on down the road. For the future of using maca as an effective medicine, quality is key. Arguably, the best maca still comes from Peru, but stability for maca is paramount for effectiveness. Capsules in blister packs seem to offer the best environment for stability. Interestingly, different types of maca grown in different regions and elevations, it’s effectiveness on specific conditions varies. This is why clinical research is so important, especially because some phenotypes used incorrectly can actually make a condition worse.

James Frame has been working in the natural products industry for 15 years and during this time has set up a global supply network with operations in Australia, Vanuatu, France, Pakistan, Peru and the United States. Over the last 5 years James and the SNH team have created Symphony Natural Health’s distribution network and business in the US and are now expanding around the world to 20 countries by the end of 2014.  James experience spans nutrition, exercise physiology and natural products. He has a comprehensive knowledge of each area of the Global Natural Products Industry from seed to shelf. He has established strong commercial ties with some of the largest natural product manufacturers in the USA - Pure World Botanicals and in Europe – Indena and was involved in the privatization of the kava market in Vanuatu, which up until February 1998 was a prescribed commodity. Since this time he has moved on to become one of the biggest exporters of kava out of Vanuatu, with sales in excess of 300 tons, as well as expanding into Tamanu Oil. James was also instrumental in establishing the St. John’s Wort industry in Australia as a viable alternative to product from Chile and Eastern Europe, supplying 200 tons of St. John’s Wort in the first year. From 1999 to the present he has been involved in establishing and growing SNH’s joint venture operation in Peru which includes growing, harvesting and manufacturing with a capacity of 1,500 tons per annum. James also oversaw SNH’s five years of research into Femmenessence and has since been involved in our continued research into women’s health, men’s health and now mental health. In 2010 he successfully acquired and rolled the leading Himalayan Crystal Salt business into SNH.

Dr. Holly Lucille, ND, RN serves as the President of California Association of Naturopathic Physicians. Dr. Lucille works at the Los Angeles Free Clinic providing health education, promotion and prevention. Dr. Lucille serves as a Naturopathic physician, an expert on women's health issues. In her private practice, Healing from Within Healthcare in Los Angeles, California, she specializes in Women's Wellness. She has extensive education in various modalities, including homeopathy, clinical nutrition, botanical medicine, body and energy work and mind body and lifestyle counseling. She serves as a Member of the Scientific Advisory Board of PhytoPharmica Inc. She serves as a Member of Scientific Advisory Board at EuroPharma, Inc. She serves as a Member of Medical Advisory Board at Integrative Therapeutics, Inc. She served as Member of the Scientific Advisory Board of Enzymatic Therapy, Inc. She serves as Member of Naturopathic Scientific Advisory Committee at Kamedis Bio Herbal Skincare. She is the recipient of the 2004 Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine Legacy Award recognizing her incredible service and contributions to the naturopathic medical community. She is a Registered Nurse. Dr. Lucille has Doctorate from the Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine where she received the 'Daphne Blayden' award for her 'Commitment to Naturopathic Medicine.

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Healthy Happenings with Dr. Holly Lucille and Dr. Nathan Bryan on Nitric Oxide

On this Healthy Happenings, our doctors go into a deep discussion about Nitric Oxide. It can be one of the most important molecules in the human body because it’s a signaling molecule that’s responsible for blood vessel dilation and regulation of blood pressure. It is also a neurotransmitter in the central nervous system and even helps our immune system fight off infections and pathogens.

Dr. Bryan worked on methods to detect nitric oxide gas and we’re just now learning about nitric oxide in the body, how we produce it and what can go wrong when people can’t produce it any more. Usually the first sign is blood pressure increasing and many people experience sexual dysfunction, you can lose insulin signaling, and chronic fatigue because of mitochondrial ATP production. People in turn need help “fixing” these nitric oxide pathways. Much of the root cause of disease can come from Nitric Oxide deficiency.

Some of the major pitfalls that inhibit Nitric Oxide production include, using antiseptic mouthwash that kills off good oral microbiota, proton pump inhibitors, and antiseptics that kill off good microflora on the skin. One of the most important factors to consider with Nitric Oxide is education because the general public still doesn’t know how important it is for bodily functions. Educating physicians and practitioners on nitric oxide deficiencies in their patients is very important as well. Besides diet and lifestyle changes, supplementation is very important, but you must look at the quality of the source. For example, a generic beet root product may not provide much nitric oxide, if any at all.

Dr. Nathan Bryan is an industrial researcher and adjunct assistant professor at the Baylor College of Medicine. He received an undergraduate degree in biochemistry from the University of Texas at Austin and a Ph.D from Louisiana State University. He studies nitric oxide restoration in humans, and he is co-founder of HumanN, a firm developing products to increase nitric oxide levels. Dr. Nathan Bryan has co-edited or written three books: Food, Nutrition & The Nitric Oxide PathwayNitrates and Nitrites in Human Health and Diseaseand Blood & Tissue Nitric Oxide Products.

Dr. Holly Lucille, ND, RN serves as the President of California Association of Naturopathic Physicians. Dr. Lucille works at the Los Angeles Free Clinic providing health education, promotion and prevention. Dr. Lucille serves as a Naturopathic physician, an expert on women's health issues. In her private practice, Healing from Within Healthcare in Los Angeles, California, she specializes in Women's Wellness. She has extensive education in various modalities, including homeopathy, clinical nutrition, botanical medicine, body and energy work and mind body and lifestyle counseling. She serves as a Member of the Scientific Advisory Board of PhytoPharmica Inc. She serves as a Member of Scientific Advisory Board at EuroPharma, Inc. She serves as a Member of Medical Advisory Board at Integrative Therapeutics, Inc. She served as Member of the Scientific Advisory Board of Enzymatic Therapy, Inc. She serves as Member of Naturopathic Scientific Advisory Committee at Kamedis Bio Herbal Skincare. She is the recipient of the 2004 Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine Legacy Award recognizing her incredible service and contributions to the naturopathic medical community. She is a Registered Nurse. Dr. Lucille has Doctorate from the Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine where she received the 'Daphne Blayden' award for her 'Commitment to Naturopathic Medicine.

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Bone Morphogenetic Proteins as An Oral Supplement to Support Bone and Cartilage Health

Bone morphogenetic proteins (BMP's) are a family of soluble cytokines (signaling factors) which play a prominent role in the development, growth, maintenance and repair of bone and cartilage tissues. Originally identified in the mid 1960's, BMP's have been successfully employed by orthopedic surgeons to assist in the re-growth of bone tissue, post surgery, since the late 1980's. Additionally, BMP's are structurally robust and survive, intact, the acidic environment within the stomach, thereby allowing these proteins to be used as an orally administered nutritional supplement in support of a joint and bone healthy lifestyle.

To truly grasp the power of BMP's it is first necessary to understand their history. Dr. Marshall Urist, an orthopedic surgeon and head of the Bone Research Center at UCLA began with a simple question, "What makes bone re-grow after injury?" During the course of his research, Dr. Urist extracted a protein from bones which had the ability to transform mesenchymal stem cells (MSC) into cartilage and bone matrix synthesizing cells known as chondrocytes and osteoblasts. This "osteoinductive" ability would become the distinguishing feature for all BMP's.

Modern molecular biologists built upon this foundation and identified approximately 20 additional proteins with osteoinductive properties. Over 11,000 peer reviewed articles have been published on BMP's and their mechanism of action. Both in vivo and in vitro BMP's work by  binding to extra-cellular receptors which initiates a signaling cascade resulting in the expression of genes specific to osteoblast and chondrocytes, thereby promoting the differentiation of MSC's into mature, matrix secreting cells.

The implications of this protein's signaling powers are profound. It is generally accepted that numerous chronic bone and joint conditions are a result of decreased matrix synthesis. Chief among these conditions is osteoporosis which is the result of an imbalance between osteoblast and osteoclast activity (bone degrading cells). After menopause, estrogen levels decrease in women. Estrogen is also a key regulator of osteoblast activity. A reduction in estrogen signaling, hinders the deposition of de-novo bone material and results in a net weakening of the tissue. BMP's may therefore be used to replenish the pool of activated osteoblasts. These activated osteoblasts synthesize a collagen platform upon which calcium and other necessary minerals bind in order to strengthen bone tissue.

The synergistic response between mineral supplementation and osteoblast activation is not surprising. Mineral supplementation has limitations in restoring bone mineralization if the mechanism of utilization (osteoblast activity) is down regulated. The synergistic impact of both BMP and mineral supplementation was presented in a case study on a postmenopausal woman with 53 months of documented bone loss. When given a BMP complex as a nutritional supplement, in conjunction with her normal calcium/vitamin D regiment, the subjected stabilized her bone mineral loss in 8 months then proceeded to see a recovery of 51.5% of her bone density over a subsequent period of 34 months (Tripodi 2013).*

BMP's also promote the differentiation of MSC's into chondrocytes which are key to synthesizing the long protein chains found with cartilage tissue. These chains possess remarkable elastic properties, which when coupled with their ability to retain water, serve to stabilize and lubricate joints. This claim is supported by clinical evidence that demonstrated BMP-6 is key to maintaining joint integrity. Additionally decreased levels of BMP-4 and BMP-5 were observed in the synovial membrane of individuals suffering from knee pain further supporting the claim that BMP's provide a central role in maintaining the structural integrity of articular cartilage.

In addition to BMP's impact on bone and cartilage synthesis, preclinical evidence has demonstrated that BMP's have an immunoprotective effect. Specifically BMP's are known to down regulate interleukins -1 and -6, which are key signaling molecules in the inflammation response pathway. Specifically, IL-1 activates and matrix metalloproteinases which are known to destroy cartilage (Bobacz  et al., 2003, Bramlage et al., 2006).

Based upon these results, it seems clear that there is a connection between a reduction in BMP signaling  activity and the progression of degenerative joint disease. Therefore supplementation of the diet with BMP's would have a beneficial effect on overall joint health and inflammation response. This was proven true during a small case study in which an all-natural BMP complex was administered individuals with degenerative joint disease. At the conclusion of the 6 month study, subjects reported a 40% increase in all quality of life markers and a decrease in inflammation and pain (Garian and Scaffidi 2013).

The usage of BMP's as a bone and joint supplement is in its infancy, yet it is supported by nearly 40 years of academic research and nearly 25 years of surgical usage. Supplements containing a BMP complex are available through ZyCal Bioceuticals.


Written by: 
Matthew Walker Ph.D.
Senior Clinical Trials Manager
ZyCal Bioceuticals

Sources:

Bramlage C.P., Häupl T., Kaps, C., Ungethüm U., Krenn V., Pruss A., Müller G.A. , Strutz  and Burmester G. Decrease in expression of bone morphogenetic proteins 4 and 5 in synovial tissue of patients with osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Arthritis Res Ther 2006;8(R58).
Bobacz Z., Gruber R., Soleiman A., Erlacher L., Smolen S., and Graninger W.B. Expression of Bone Morphogenetic Protein 6 in Healthy and Osteoarthritic Human Articular Chondrocytes and Stimulation of Matrix Synthesis In Vitro. Arthrits Rheumatol 2003; 45(9): 2501-2508
Garian R., Scaffidi J. Evaluating Clinical Response and Activity of Cyplexinol Osteoinductive Proteins in Osteoarthritis of the Hip and Knee: A Randomized, Controlled Trial. IMCJ 2013; 12(2):18-24.
Tripodi D. The Osteoinductive Effects of Cyplexinol in the Effective Management of Osteoporosis: A Case Study. IMCJ 2013;12(5):43-46.


*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
**This blog was written by an outside source. This blog does not necessarily reflect the views or positions of Natural Partners.