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Quest Vitamins LTD,
8 Venture Way,
Aston Science Park,
B7 4AP.

Tel: 0121 359 0056
Fax: 0121 359 0313
Registered in England No. 2530437

Issue # 59.2 - Importance of Piperine, Red Clover, Butterbur and Potassium

Red clover may protect DNA?

Red clover has been found to contain beneficial compounds called isoflavones. One such isoflavone is known as biochanin A, which has been shown to possess anti-mutagenic (DNA protection) effects in bacterial cells.

This study was designed to investigate whether biochanin A could protect DNA from injury induced by polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. DNA injury, without an efficient repair mechanism is thought to be responsible for the onset of many diseases.

The results showed that biochanin A present in red clover, could protect DNA from potentially disease-inducing damage.

British Journal of Nutrition 2003, 90, 87-92

Can Potassium Reduce Blood Pressure?

A recent study was designed to investigate whether daily supplementation of potassium would help decrease blood pressure in healthy people. A double-blind placebo controlled trial was performed on fifty-nine volunteers who received either low-dose potassium supplementation or placebo for a period of 6 weeks. During the course of the six weeks, blood pressure (BP) and changes in weight were recorded.

The results showed that low dose daily supplementation with potassium, reduced blood pressure. It was discovered that the dose was equivalent to five portions of fruit and vegetables a day, with bananas being particularly high in potassium.

British Journal of Nutrition 2003, 90, 53-60

Butterbur vs. Cetrizine

This study investigated whether there was a difference between butterbur (Petasites hybridus) and cetrizine for the treatment of allergic rhinitis (hay fever). 125 patients, who suffered from hay fever, were randomly assigned to receive either butterbur tablets (four times daily) or cetrizine (once daily), which is a pharmaceutical treatment for hay fever.

The study lasted for two consecutive weeks and the results showed that while both treatments were effective at relieving the symptoms of hay fever, those taking the butterbur extract experienced fewer side-effects.

In conclusion, it was recommended that butterbur should be considered for treating hay fever when the sedative effects of antihistamines need to be avoided.

BMJ 2002 Jan 19; 324(7330):144-6

Does Black Pepper increase absorption?

Piperine, the active ingredient found in black pepper, has been the subject of many scientific studies regarding its potential ability to increase intestinal absorption. However, the mechanism of this increase is largely unknown and is therefore the purpose of this study.

Piperine has been shown to increase the absorption of many nutrients including coenzyme Q10, beta-carotene and selenium and it was concluded that the mechanism for this may be due to the alteration of intestinal membrane dynamics by piperine.

It was also suggested that piperine could increase the surface area of the small intestine absorptive site by possibly increasing the length of the villi (which are the primary absorptive surface of the small intestine).

Phytomedicine 2002 Apr; 9(3): 224-31

Issue # 59.1 - Antitoxidant Effects

Can carotenoids reduce the risk of heart disease?

This study was originally designed in 1984 for the purpose of monitoring the dietary carotenoid intake of 73,286 female nurses over a period of 12 years. The objective of the study was to examine the relationship between specific dietary carotenoids and the incidence of coronary artery disease (CAD).

During the 12 year period, 998 incident cases of CAD were identified and after adjustment for age, smoking and other CAD risk factors, a significant association between high intakes of alpha carotene and beta carotene and a decreased incidence of CAD was observed.

A high dietary consumption of carotenoids may help to reduce the risk of heart disease which may be due to their potent antioxidant activity.

J Clin Nutr 2003; 77: 1390-9

Can a multivitamin supplement cut work absences?

The object of this study was to determine the effect of a daily multivitamin and mineral supplement on infection and wellbeing, among subjects with type-2 diabetes. It was a randomised, double-blind, placebo controlled trial which incorporated 130 adults who were assigned to take either a multivitamin and mineral supplement or placebo daily for 1 year.

The results of the study showed that more participants receiving placebo reported an infectious illness during the year than those taking the supplement.

The study concluded that the multivitamin and mineral supplement reduced the incidence of infection and related absenteeism in a sample of participants with type-2 diabetes and a high prevalence of subclinical micronutrient deficiency.

Ann Intern Med. 2003; 138: 365-371

Quit smoking and increase antioxidant levels!

This study was designed to investigate whether the cessation of smoking could help to increase plasma antioxidant levels. There is already evidence which supports the theory that smoking increases free-radical production and decreases antioxidant levels, but no study has been done which assesses the effects of stopping smoking.

The results showed that cigarette smoking cessation is followed by a marked increase in plasma antioxidant levels and also increases plasma resistance to oxidative stress.

These findings suggest that quitting smoking is an irreplaceable preventive strategy against tobacco-induced oxidative stress and vascular damage.

British Journal of Nutrition 2003, 90, 147-150