Artichoke Extract Supplements
Vitacel 8 with Artichoke+ Milk Thistle + Ginkgo Biloba + Grape Seed + GH7
Health Benefits and Side Effects
Artichoke extract has been shown to improve digestion, liver function, and help lower high ldl cholesterol levels and prevent heart disease and artherosclerosis.**
Artichoke has been shown to be a natural remedy which improve various digestive health disorders, shown to significantly lowered blood ldl cholesterol levels, prevent heart disease and atherosclerosis - plaque problems, enhance detoxification reactions, as well as protect the liver from damage. This combination of benefits is very important to healthy liver function. During detoxification of the liver, the toxic substance is often initially converted to an even more toxic form. Without adequate protection, every time the liver neutralizes a toxin, it is damaged in this process. Artichoke extract has been shown to provide these valuable preventitative health benefits and protection.
The naturally occuring flavonoids found in the grape seed extract along with the flavonoid glycosides found in the Ginkgo biloba extract, those from the silymarin group found in the Milk Thistle, combined with the bioflavonoids and cynarine in the artichoke extract, all work synergistically with the procaine complexes to feed and protect damaged cells from free radical damage.
*Pycnogenol is a registered trademark of Horphag Research, Ltd.
Best Artichoke Source; Vitacel 8 with Artichoke+ Milk Thistle + Ginkgo Biloba + Grape Seed
**Artichoke Extract: Improves digestion, liver function, and cholesterol levels. By Dr. Michael T. Murray N.D.
More Research, Studies and Side Effects
The Jerusalem Artichoke, is one of the oldest medicinal plants used as a remedy, dating back to 4th century B.C. Ancient Greeks and Romans utilized the artichoke primarily as a digestive aid. In the 16th century, medicinal use of the artichoke was documented for liver problems and jaundice. In 1850, a French physician successfully treated a young boy sick with jaundice for one month using artichoke leaf extract with positive results. This brought attention to artichoke leaf extract as having medicinal value. In Germany, artichoke leaf extract became known in the 17th century, but did not become a popular food item and a promising pharmaceutical plant until the beginning of the 20th century.
The artichoke is a large, thistle-like plant native to the regions of southern Europe, North Africa and the Canary Islands. More recently, artichoke is growing in southern Europe, as well as South America. Medicinally, the extract is manufactured from the long, deeply serrated basal leaves utilizing highly standardized procedures. The roots and the flower heads may also contain beneficial compounds, however, the leaves contain the higher concentration of these compounds.
The first clinical research studies regarding artichoke leaf extract and its relation to liver conditions were conducted in the 1930's with encouraging results. From 1954 on, Cynarin (one of the essential pharmacologically relevant ingredients in artichoke extract) was synthesized more extensively as the presumed effective ingredient of the artichoke. During the 1990's further clinical studies were conducted which verified artichoke leaf extract and its healing properties. Since this time, several excellent clinical studies have been conducted with positive findings. We have discovered the artichoke plants' major active components and have a better understanding of its mechanism of action in the human body.
The artichoke leaf extract has choleretic, lipid-lowering, antioxidant and hepato-protective effects. It has also been shown to help alleviate abdominal pain. Current research also verifies antiemetic effects of the leaf extract confirming its indication for dyspeptic syndrome. With these clinical and experimental results, it has been determined that artichoke leaf extract is suitable for treating chronic gastrointestinal and specific liver/gallbladder conditions with elevated blood fat values.
Artichoke extract is one of the few herbal remedies where the clinical and experimental trials have complemented each other. Both experimental and clinical effects have been verified through extensive biomedical herbal renedy research. Specifically, antioxidant, choleretic, hepatoprotective, bile-enhancing and lipid-lowering effects have been demonstrated, which correspond with its historical use.
The leaves of the artichoke contain a high content of pharmacologically active ingredients, including three essential groups consisting of caffeeolyquinic acid (CCS), flavonoids and bitter substances. Within these groups are constituents such as caffeic acid, chlorogenic acid, cynarin (1,5-dicaffeolyquinic acid), luteolin, and the glycosides scolymoside and cynaroside. Among the most important of the CCS are the 1,3-Di-O-CCS, choloregenic acid and the non-genuine Cynarin, which was the first constituent to be extracted. Cynarin was originally thought to be the single active component in artichoke leaf extract and was often used as a monosubstance. However, further research observes that other active ingredients play a significant role in the effectiveness of artichoke leaf extract antioxidant. It was found that the whole complex of compounds are considered just as active and aid in the many beneficial results.
A Herbal Remedy
The beneficial health side effects of artichoke leaf extract are due to the promotion of bile flow in the body. The increased bile flow promotes the digestion of fat and contributes to the protection of intestinal mucosa, which is sensitive to acids since the bile fluid contains a considerable amount of bicarbonate. Larger quantities of bile acids entering the duodenum stimulate intestinal peristalsis resulting in better digestion. As the human body consumes toxins in many different forms through food, water, and the air we breathe, these toxins constantly bombard the liver. Bile serves as a carrier, moving these toxins from the liver on to the intestine for further elimination.
When bile excretion is inhibited (cholestasis), these toxins and cholesterol may remain in the liver and have damaging effects. Bile flow inhibition may manifest itself as bile duct obstruction or gallstones. Other reasons that may factor into bile inhibition are excess alcohol ingestion, viral hepatitis, and certain chemicals and drugs.
Early stages of liver disease and dysfunction often go undiagnosed because such tests as serum bilirubin, alkaline phosphatase, SGOT, LDH, and GGTP levels remain normal. These tests alone are not to be relied upon for sufficient liver disease diagnosis.
German researchers confirmed bile promotion by artichoke leaf extract with a double blind clinical study. This study proves that high-dose extracts of artichoke leaves increased bile flow into the duodenum of healthy participants compared to placebo recipients. Bile secretion was measured with special techniques at specific times after participants were given either a single dose of artichoke leaf extract or a placebo. Those who received the artichoke leaf extract showed a significantly higher bile secretion than those who received the placebo.
Lipid Lowering Effects
It is estimated that in America today, approximately 100 million people have high or borderline high levels of serum LDL cholesterol, with an estimated 1,100,000 new cases of recurrent coronary heart attacks per year. One third of these cases will lead to death. We have foods made with hydrogenated oils, saturated fats, high amounts of processed sugar, and fruits lacking important nutrients. Instead of butter, physicians often recommend margarine which can actually increase blood fat values. This occurs due to margarine binding with bile salts. Therefore, margarine is not as beneficial in reducing cholesterol as it may seem. Over-consumption of these products contribute greatly to high levels of LDL cholesterol and interfere with cholesterol metabolism.
Total cholesterol measurements include LDL (low-density lipoprotein) and HDL (high-density lipoprotein). Oxidized LDL is damaging to the arteries, and causes the formation of atherosclerotic plaques in humans, whereas HDL is beneficial. LDL cholesterol levels should be under 130 mg/dl, HDL cholesterol levels should be above 35 mg/dl with total cholesterol levels under 200 mg/dl according to the American Heart Association. Serum cholesterol levels of 200 mg/dl or above are a major risk factor for Coronary Heart Disease (CHD) which is the single leading cause of death in America today. Two thirds of these 100 million adults also do not receive any form of therapy according to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute.
High Cholesterol Drugs and Side Effects
There are numerous varieties of cholesterol lowering pharmaceutical drugs available, which are the primary choice of therapy for many adults. Unfortunately, many of these drugs can have very serious side effects prompting further therapeutic treatment. Recently in the news, Baycol (Lipobay) was recalled after it played a role in at least 100 deaths. Baycol has been linked to numerous cases involving an adverse muscle reaction known as rhabdomyolysis, a life threatening condition in which muscle cells are broken down and the contents released into the blood stream. It was estimated that approximately 700,000 people had been taking Baycol.
Standardized pharmaceutical grade artichoke leaf extract has been proven as a safe, non-toxic, natural way to prevent and treat high cholesterol. It accomplishes this in two different ways. Artichoke leaf extract increases the breakdown of cholesterol to bile salts, thus increasing bile production and flow, and regulates the internal production of cholesterol in the liver.
In one very interesting study done on rat hepatocytes, a high concentration-dependent inhibition of cholesterol synthesis was found. The 1997 study indicates that artichoke leaf extract reduces the formation of cholesterol and continues to persist for hours after ingestion. This study also indicates that artichoke leaf extract may work through indirect inhibition of the enzyme HMG-CoA reductase similar to "statins" effect. This finding was supported by the fact that artichoke leaf extract blocked insulin-dependent stimulation of HMG-CoA reductase without affecting insulin in general. HMG-CoA reductase is a key enzyme in cholesterol synthesis and generally reduces total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and triglyceride levels. Gebhardt's study also demonstrated that the extract did not interfere with other pathways leading to cholesterol synthesis, which is why adverse effects due to sterol precursor accumulation are not to be expected.
In addition to the findings from the animal experiments, numerous studies were also conducted on isolated human hepatocytes. In 1995, Fintelmann published a report on a multicenter structured investigation of 557 patients treated with a special extract from artichoke leaf. Over a period of 43.5 days, the average daily dose given was 1.5 g extract. On average, serum cholesterol was reduced by 11.5%, and serum triglyceride concentrations decreased 12.5% in patients whose cholesterol values were routinely determined (n=302).
Another major benefit of artichoke leaf extract is the discovery of its role in dyspeptic syndrome (irritable stomach, nervous gastropathy, meteorism and flatulence, irritable colon functional biliary tract disease). As more and more clinical studies are conducted, the benefits of artichoke leaf extract in the treatment of dyspeptic syndrome confirms its antioxidant health benefits.
A recent post-marketing surveillance study was conducted with 553 patients over a loner period of time. (12) Notable in this study was that symptoms improved dramatically within 6 weeks of treatment; 98% of these patients believed that artichoke leaf extract was considerably better, somewhat better, or equal to that achieved during previous treatment with other drugs.
More Evidence of Antioxidant
Numerous other studies have shown that there are also many other health benefits involving artichoke leaf extracts. Such studies have already proven hepato-protective effects. Artichoke leaf extract protects the liver from the damaging effects of toxins similar to the effect of milk thistle. Like Milk Thistle, artichoke leaf extract stimulates liver tissue regeneration. In 1997, it was discovered that chlorogenic acid and cynarin were the primary constituents which contributed to the strong antioxidative effect of artichoke leaf extract. These findings documented that artichoke leaf extract prevented oxidative damage to hepatocyte membranes, and suggested that cell protection should not be limited to the hepatocytes.
Laboratory investigations are ongoing all over the world regarding the clinical applications of artichoke leaf extract. These investigations include such areas as HIV, cancer and diabetes, and studies so far have been promising. Further investigations continue to find and support the use of artichoke leaf extract as a herbal remedy.
Are Artichoke Extracts Safe?
Artichoke leaf extract is well tolerated in 95% of cases, with few side effects noted when used in recommended doses. More importantly, numerous studies report absence of adverse side effects using standardized extract compared to placebo. In one large study, 1 in 100 particpants reported a transient increase in flatulence. As with other composite flowers (daisies, thistle, echinacea, chrysanthemums), local atopic reactions have been reported after skin contact with fresh plant or its dried parts. Artichoke leaf extract should not be taken in the presence of gallstones or other bile duct occlusion, due to its bile stimulating effects. Those who are pregnant or nursing a baby should consult their physician before using artichoke leaf extract.
Artichoke leaf extract has been used as a herbal medicine for many years. Traditional use, as well as recent clinical studies continue to verify the multi-beneficial health benefits of the artichoke leaf extract including lipid-lowering, antioxidant, hepato-protective, choleretic, as well as aiding dyspepsia, and abdominal pain where the stomach, gallbladder, liver and pancreas are primarily affected. Further studies suggest artichoke leaf extract beneficial in such areas as HIV, cancer, IBS and diabetes.
* Many constituents of artichoke leaf extract have been identified, and ongoing clinical studies report the medical benefit at different therapeutic levels.
* Artichoke leaf extract is well tolerated and no side effects are known.
* Artichoke supplementation has been proven to be a safe and natural way to improve and maintain general health due to its many general supportive effects of essential physiological functions.