Current Issues - Newsletter

October-November 1998

A matter or Quality : Boswellin®

Boswellin®, the standardized extract of boswellic acids from Boswellia serrata is valued for its anti-inflammatory and anti-allergic properties. However, a number of non-standardized generic extracts of Boswellia serrata have recently appeared in the marketplace.

These non-standardized products with extraneous impurities could pose health hazards to unwary consumers. In addition, this wanton disregard for quality by some manufacturers could spell disaster to legitimately standardized products of a similar nature.

It is important that manufacturers of nutritional raw materials supply standardized extracts that adhere to stringent quality specifications. In the case of Boswellia serrata, generic extracts could contain upto 15-20% of gummy residue which is known to cause stomach irritation and other gastrointestinal problems. SABINSA’s manufacturing process has been devised to totally eliminate the gummy fraction.

The biologically active constituents in Boswellin® include:

ß-boswellic acid Acetyl

ß-boswellic acid

11-keto ß-boswellic acid Acetyl
11-keto ß-boswellic acid

Research focus : Dr. Yvonne Nujoma


Dr. Yvonne Namukuwa Nujoma recently joined Sabinsa’s technical research department. Dr. Nujoma obtained a B.S. in Chemistry with a minor in Business Administration from Beaver College.and a Ph.D. in Pharmaceutics, this year, from Temple University School of Pharmacy. She also received hands-on experience in Pharmaceutical research during her internships with reputed manufacturing companies.

At Sabinsa Corporation, Dr. Nujoma is involved in the collection and compilation of technical documentation, technical writing and in preparing and delivering technical presentations in the "Sabinsa-on-Wheels" educational programs. We take this opportunity to welcome Dr. Nujoma aboard.

Procuts for the Cold and Flu season

Incidence of the common cold, flu and respiratory problems often increase at the onset of the fall season. The natural approaches to managing these conditions include providing herbs and nutritional support to strengthen immune functions, and help respiratory congestion, provide antioxidant action, and moderate nutritional imbalance.

Respiratory and Immunological support

Piper longum (long pepper) has been used in traditional systems of medicine in the prevention and treatment of respiratory congestion and bronchial asthma.

Adathoda vasica has been traditionally included in preparations for the relief of cough, asthma and bronchitis. The component alkaloid, vasicine, has bronchodilating properties which helps to clear the air passages.

Tylophora indica (asthmatica) This herb has been used traditionally in the management of bronchial asthma and respiratory problems.

Andrographis paniculata has been used in Nordic countries to provide relief from and to reduce the duration of symptoms of the common old and flu. This plant is traditionally used in the management of infections through strengthened immune functions. Current research on the active principles, the andrographolides, has validated their immunological effects.

Ocimum sanctum or Tulsi belongs to the class of adaptogens or bioprotectants, that help to enhance adaptability to changing weather conditions.

Glycyrrhiza glabra, licorice, helps to soothe the respiratory system. Glycyrrhiza glabra has four rather remarkable constituents: glycyrrhizin, glycyrrhetin, glucuronic acid and glycerrhizinic acid, which in combination act in a manner similar to steroidal hormones, in suppressing inflammation of mucous membranes.


The shivering in the initial stages of flu is caused by compounds called pyrogens which act like free radicals and propogate extensively. Antioxidants not only alleviate these symptoms, but may also retard the replication of the flu virus.

Curcuma longa, (turmeric) and its yellow principles called curcuminoids are well recognized phenolic antioxidants which also have antibacterial and antiviral properties. Curcuminoids provide two-pronged ntioxidant activity: prevention of free radical formation and intervention to neutralize existing free radicals.

Green tea is yet another bioprotectant, which based on a reported study, can prevent the flu virus from entering the cells. In this study, Amandatine, a promising anti-flu drug, was required in up to 100 times higher concentration to match the antiviral potential of green tea catechins.

N-Acetyl Cysteine, a precursor of reduced glutathione, is proven to enhance immune system functions and offer protection against the influenza virus. In a six-month clinical study, subjects receiving 600 mg NAC twice daily, were less likely to develop influenza, as compared to controls receiving a placebo.

The trace element selenium, supplied in a bound form with the amino acid, methionine, (selenomethionine), is a highly bioavailable antioxidant which regenerates glutathione. Based on epidemiological studies there is a high positive correlation between body selenium levels, glutathione levels and the overall state of good health.

Zinc monomethionine, a highly bioavailable form of the essential trace element zinc is a valuable adjunct to antioxidants. Zinc is a key component of the enzymes that participate in antioxidant reactions and support the immune functions.

Hot Sip® is a formulation containing Adhatoda vasica, Alpinia galanga, Glycyrrhiza glabra, and Piper longum.

Alpinia galanga contains antiseptic constituents which exert antimicrobial action, primarily in the large intestine.

Digestive functions support

The fruits of Terminalia chebula, Terminalia belerica, and Emblica officinalis combined in equal proportions is known as Triphala. This formula and its individual ingredients are highly valued in Ayurveda, being compared to a "good manager of the house" in aiding digestion, nutrient absorption, and metabolism. Triphala can be particularly useful in alleviating indigestion, which is more likely to occur during autumn

Ginger extract and Deglycyrrhizinated licorice extract (DGL) also help to promote digestive functions.

Probiotics (Lactospore®) and digestive enzymes (DigeZyme®) help to rectify impaired digestion and improve gastrointestinal functions.

  Understanding Alpha - Lipoic Acid  
  What is DHLA? Is it pharmacologically active?

DHLA is the reduced form of a-Lipoic acid, an effective biological antioxidant. The chemical structure of the a-lipoic acid molecule (Figure 1) is responsible for its wide range of actions and its active involvement in metabolic processes, particularly the glycolytic or "energy" cycle.

The molecule consists of an 8 carbon fatty acid chain with two interlinked sulfur atoms attached. When each sulfur atom picks up a hydrogen , breaking the bond between the sulfur atoms, the molecule is "reduced" to dihydrolipoic acid, DHLA, which can be readily oxidized to lipoic acid (LA) (Figure 2). The "redox couple" formed by DHLA and LA can transfer hydrogen atoms or electrons back and forth and therefore help in complex enzymatic processes and also assist in regenerating other antioxidants. In the glycolytic energy production cycle, the -COOH group in the molecule releases and recovers carbon dioxide.

DHLA is a potent reducing agent. It scavenges hypochlorous acid and peroxyl radicals and probably scavenges hydroxyl radicals. DHLA is known to regenerate ascorbate and (indirectly) vitamin E from their radical forms. DHLA is also believed to prevent lipid peroxidation by reducing glutathione. Current evidence suggests that DHLA can recycle vitamin E through glutathione, vitamin C, ubiquinol, NADPH, or NADH1.

  • Ref: 1. Packer, L. (1995) Free Radical Biology and Medicine, 19(2):227-250.
  Bioperine®: Mechanism of Action  
A thermonutrient like Sabinsa’s multi-patented Bioperine® (min. 98% piperine content) can enhance the process of nutrient absorption by enhancing thermogenesis. The leading theory of food-induced thermogenesis relates to the autonomous nervous system. The autonomous nervous system is represented by two main receptors in the gastrointestinal tract, the alpha and beta adrenergic receptors.

Most of the food or thermonutrient-induced thermogenesis is facilitated by beta receptors, which include a compound known as cyclic adenosine 3’, 5’ monophosphate (cAMP). The role of cAMP as a "second messenger" to the hormonal and enzymatic actions in the body is well recognized. When thermogenesis occurs, the demand for fresh nutrients to sustain the metabolic processes rapidly increases.

Piperine has been found in independent studies to stimulate the release of catecholamines, thermogenic hormones whose action is made possible by the presence of cAMP. However, the nature of the thermogenic response mediated by catecholamines is relatively short-lived. Therefore the window of opportunity for piperine-induced thermogenesis and enhanced nutrient absorption is narrow.

These thermogenic properties may explain how a small amount of Bioperine® (5 mg) can afford such a profound effect on serum nutrient levels (as shown in our studies on water soluble, fat soluble and botanical ingredients). It is possible that when piperine is ingested, it has a localized thermogenic effect on epithelial cells which increase the uptake of nutrients.

Other mechanisms by which piperine stimulates nutrient absorption have also been discussed in literature. These include increased micelle formation, stimulation of active transport of amino acids (gamma-glutamyl transpeptidase), and epithelial cell wall modification due to the affinity of piperine towards fats and fatty substances.

In view of these findings it is proposed that piperine ingested in relatively small amounts would act as a thermonutrient. Localized thermogenic action on the epithelial cells would in turn increase the rate of absorption of supplemented nutrient(s).

"The information presented in the "Current Issues" Newsletter from Sabinsa Corporation is for informational purposes only. It is abstracted from web and print media sources. Readers are advised to refer to the original sources for additional information".