Glossary

Alpha Lipoic Acid is known as the universal antioxidant as it is effective in both fat-soluble and water-soluble environments, meaning that it can travel easily throughout the body.  It can also help maintain glutathione levels, thereby increasing its benefits for the liver[xiv]

Aloe vera (Aloe barbadensis Miller) has antiviral, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, laxative and immune stimulating effects; making it especially beneficial for constipation when taken internally[ix].

Apple pectin is a soluble fibre that can bind to bile acids, amino acids and sugars aiding absorption[xxv].  It is also a great source of beneficial short chain fatty acids following its fermentation in the large intestine.  Another potential benefit of apple pectin is its ability to aid the removal of some heavy metals from the body, such as lead[xxvi].

 Aniseed (Pimpinella anisum) has been used as a medicinal and fragrant plant since ancient times.  Medicinally it is used to settle digestion by reducing wind and bloating and other symptoms of indigestion[22].  Aniseed also has strong antioxidant actions which may be more potent against some free radicals than alpha-tocopherol (vitamin E)[23].  Aniseed is also used as an expectorant as it helps to loosen mucous thereby being useful for respiratory ailments[22].

Beetroot is traditionally believed to benefit the liver and blood.  It contains various polyphenols and trimethylglycine (TMG).  TMG is beneficial for lowering high homocysteine levels, which is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease[xvi].  TMG may also increase cellular oxygen uptake, assist energy production, lower homocysteine and improve circulation[xvii].

Betacarotene is the most popular member of the carotenoid family.  Carotenoids, are colourful antioxidant plant pigments, that are found mostly in carrots, tomatoes, spinach and blueberries. They can be converted to vitamin A in the body when needed, ensuring that an optimum level of vitamin A is maintained.  Betacarotene is important for immune function, as it can increase and activate our white blood cells and also improve immune cell communication[16].  Betacarotene is also essential for eyesight, bone development and wound healing.  It may also reduce damage by cholesterol and protect against UV light and some cancers[22].

Bearberry (Arctostaphylos uva-ursi) leaves contains tannins and hydroquinones, the natural plant chemicals that give it urinary antiseptic properties[1].  This action makes it useful for urinary tract infections, such as cystitis and urethritis[1].  Its urinary antiseptic properties work best when the urine is alkaline, therefore to neutralise any acids from the cranberries, it can be taken with alkalinising minerals, such as potassium bicarbonate.  It is not recommended in kidney disease.

Black pepper (Piper longum) contains the compound piperine, which has been shown in in-vitro and in-vivo studies to have liver protective properties against a number of chemicals[viii].

Blackcurrants are a rich source of the antioxidants Vitamin C, quercitin and anthocyanins[xix]. 

Blueberries have a deep blue colour due to the presence of anthocyanins[4].  They also contain other flavonoids including ellagic acid, catechins and quercetin[30].  Blueberries may protect capillaries from damage due to diabetes and radiation and may also inhibit platelet aggregation; the cause of clots[31].

Boswellia (Boswellia serrata) resin is an Indian herb that has anti-inflammatory and anti-arthritic actions[xiv],[xv].  It is used in Ayurvedic medicine for lung diseases, liver disorders, diarrhoea and menstrual problems.  Clinical trials in India and Germany have shown it to be useful for rheumatoid arthritis[xvi], ulcerative colitis[xvii] and Crohn’s disease[xviii].

Brahmi (Bacopa monnieri) has been traditionally used in Indian Ayurvedic medicine since the 6th century for brain function, epilepsy and insomnia.  Brahmi is mostly known for its ability to enhance brain function, which is supported by a number of studies and clinical trials.  One double-blind clinical trial showed that 300mg daily over 12 weeks significantly improved cognitive function, memory and learning rate, as well as reducing anxiety[2].  Another study in mice found positive effects on learning and memory after only 3 days of supplementation[3].  The mechanism by which Brahmi improves cognition has been deduced in studies to be via its antioxidant and anticholinesterase activities[4].

Bromelain is a natural enzyme derived from pineapple.  It has many uses including reducing inflammation, inhibiting tumour growth and enhancing drug absorption[xxiv].  Studies agree that bromelain’s actions are only partly due to its proteolytic (protein digesting) enzymes, indicating that other factors in bromelain are important[xxv].

Brahmi (Bacopa monnieri) has been traditionally used in Indian Ayurvedic medicine since the 6th century for brain function, epilepsy and insomnia.  Brahmi is mostly known for its ability to enhance brain function, which is supported by a number of studies and clinical trials.  One double-blind clinical trial showed that 300mg daily over 12 weeks significantly improved cognitive function, memory and learning rate, as well as reducing anxiety[2].  Another study in mice found positive effects on learning and memory after only 3 days of supplementation[3].  The mechanism by which Brahmi improves cognition has been deduced in studies to be via its antioxidant and anticholinesterase activities[4].

Cardamom (Elettaria cardamomum) is one of the oldest spices in the world, originating from ancient Egypt and used extensively in Indian Ayurvedic medicine.  No Chai tea is complete without a decent amount of Cardamom.  Cardamon seeds are also chewed after meals in many countries as it helps to ease indigestion and wind and is also believed to have antibacterial effects especially against dental decay[11].  Interestingly cardamom seeds are also considered to be an aphrodisiac in India[11]. 

Carrots are a rich source of carotenoids, especially beta-carotene, which can be converted into vitamin A in the body. Other carotenoids include alpha-carotene, lycopene and lutein[xv].

Calcium is essential for the development and maintenance of healthy bones and teeth. It also plays a vital role in muscle contraction, heartbeat regulation, energy production, immune function, nerve impulse transmission, hormone release and blood clotting[18]. Due to their increased growth rates, it is important to ensure that children receive adequate amounts of calcium.

Calcium ascorbate is a non-acidic form of vitamin C, making it gentle to the stomach.  Vitamin C is one of the most important antioxidants in the body. It also increases the antioxidant activity of vitamin E[16][12].  It is essential for collagen formation, iron absorption, thyroid hormone production, fat metabolism and healthy immune function[22].  Studies show that it may be beneficial for diabetes, cardiovascular disease, eye problems, osteoporosis and even some cancers[12].

Chondroitin occurs naturally in the body, however its supplemental form is mainly derived from shellfish.  Chondroitin is considered a slow acting osteoarthritis drug due to its beneficial effects on inhibiting joint narrowing and modulating bone and joint metabolism[x].  However, some studies show that chondroitin may work best when combined with glucosamine[viii]. Although most studies agree that chondrotin inhibits inflammation there is some confusion regarding its effectiveness for all types of arthritis, with one study showing that a combination of glucosamine and chondroitin didn’t produce any improvement in mild osteoarthritis of the knees, but showed a significant effect on moderate to severe knee osteoarthritis[xi]

Cinnamon (Cinnamomum aromaticum) is another essential part of the chai spice blend.  In traditional Chinese medicine cinnamon is believed to improve energy, vitality, and circulation.  Cinnamon may also have a beneficial effect on blood glucose levels were one study showed that 1-6g of cinnamon daily for 40 days reduced fasting blood glucose by 18 – 29%, triglycerides by 23 – 30%, LDL cholesterol by 7 – 27%, and total cholesterol by 12 – 26% compared to placebo[9].  Cinnamon also has antiseptic properties most likely due to its volatile oils that are active against a range of bacteria[10].

Citrus Bioflavonoids, obtained from citrus fruits, include hesperidin, quercetrin and rutin all of which usually possess anti-inflammatory properties. Additionally, citrus bioflavonoids have significant antioxidant activity and facilitate the absorption of Vitamin C[iv]. Bioflavonoids have also been shown to strengthen capillaries which thereby may improve poor circulation[v].

Choline is a vitamin that is required by the liver for the detoxification of chemicals.  It is also needed for the production of bile, thereby helping reduce blood cholesterol and aiding in the transport and metabolism of fats[xvii].

Cloves (Eugenia caryophyllata) are known for their use as a spice but are also highly valued as a herbal medicine, especially in India and South East Asia.  Cloves contain volatile oils especially eugenol, which has anti- inflammatory, analgesic and antiseptic properties.  They have an inhibitory effect on many bacteria, fungi and viruses, including Herpes simplex 1, Hepatitis C, salmonella and bacteria that cause tooth decay[10],[14].  Clove’s analgesic effects are thought to result mainly from eugenol’s ability to block pain receptors[15] and also inhibit the production of inflammatory prostaglandins[16].

Cranberries contain a variety of phytonutrients, including flavonol glycosides, anthocyanins, proanthocyanidins and phenolic acids[6].  The proanthocyanin content of cranberries inhibits bacterial adhesion to the bladder wall, making them exceptionally useful for preventing urinary tract infections[7].  Cranberries have also been shown to have potential anti-proliferative effect on cancer cells[8].

Couch grass (Elytrigia repens) rhizome contains mannitol, a sugar alcohol that is absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract and eliminated unchanged by the kidneys.  This causes a diuretic effect as the mannitol molecules attract water via osmosis, thereby increasing urine volume[1].  The mannitol is also believed to help soothe the urinary mucosal lining[1].  Due to these actions it is recommended for urinary tract infections and urinary calcium deposits (calculi)[5]

Cyanocobalamin (Vitamin B12) is necessary for the metabolism of fats, proteins and carbohydrates, as well as the production of fatty acids and DNA.  It is also necessary for detoxifying homocystiene, a compound that is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease[ix].

Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) root can help to decrease high phase I liver activity and also enhance the phase II glucuronidation pathway[xiii]. It also enhances digestion by stimulating bile production and secretion[vii].  

Devil’s Claw (Harpagophytum procumbens) root contains iridoid glycosides that are thought to be the main compounds responsible for its anti-inflammatory effects.  Clinical studies show that it may be effective for the treatment of arthritis and back pain21.

Echinacea (Echinacea purpurea) is a well-known herb used for infections such as colds, strep throat, bacterial sinusitis and flu[12]. Many studies have confirmed Echinacea to have immune-stimulating and anti-inflammatory properties[12].  The German government regulatory agency, Commission E recommends Echinacea for upper and lower respiratory tract infections[13].

Elderberry (Sambucus nigra) has been used throughout Europe for many generations due to its renowned health promoting properties. It contains a range of anthocyanins, polyphenolics and flavonoids all of which contribute to its high antioxidant content[36]. Elderberry has also demonstrated substantial chemopreventive potential which indicates anti-initiation and anti-promotion properties. 

Elderberry Extract is rich in vitamin C and bioflavonoids. A standardised extract of elderberries has been shown to inhibit the replication of a number of strains of the influenza virus (type A, type B and animal strains) in vitro. This research study was done to compare a standardised extract to a placebo on 40 flu patients and the health changes were recorded over six days. The extract has been shown to speed the recovery from influenza infection with the infections lasting 2-3 days for 90% of the patients taking elderberry extract, compared to 6 days for the patients taking placebo[viii].

Folate (Vitamin B9) also known as folic acid, is essential for DNA, protein and cellular growth and differentiation. This makes it necessary for the health of red blood cells, bones, and hair, as well as the nervous, digestive and immune systems[22].

Fructo-oligosaccharides (FOS) are carbohydrate molecules that are not digested in the human small intestine but are fermented by bacteria in the colon.  For this reason they promote the growth of some species of beneficial bacteria, reduce the growth of harmful species and stimulate healthy immune function[xx][xxi].  Furthermore, FOS has been shown to dramatically reduce the incidence of colon tumours and support gut-associated lymphoid tissue[xxii]. 

Folate (Vitamin B9) also known as folic acid, is essential for DNA, protein and cellular growth and differentiation. This makes it necessary for the health of red blood cells, bones, and hair, as well as the nervous, digestive and immune systems[xxii].

Fructo-oligosaccharides (FOS) are naturally occurring carbohydrate molecules (fibres) that are not able to be digested by humans, and instead are fermented in the colon.  They are considered prebiotics, which means they promote the growth of beneficial bacteria.  They may also reduce the growth of harmful species and stimulate healthy immune function[9],[10]. Furthermore, FOS has been shown to dramatically reduce the incidence of colon tumours and support gut-associated lymphoid tissue[11]. 

Ginger (Zingiber officinale Roscoe) root is a customary addition to Chai tea.  Chai is considered a ‘warming’ beverage in traditional Indian Ayurvedic medicine, so the warm pungent taste of ginger is essential.  Ginger also acts as a digestive stimulant and helps settle the stomach, especially during nausea and vomiting[14].  It also has antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and circulatory stimulant properties[22].  It also may have beneficial effects on the heart[7] and liver[8].

Gingko (Gingko biloba) is the world’s oldest living tree species and can be traced back more than 200 million years.  It is believed to offer the most benefit to the brain, nerves and blood vessels.  It also assists blood flow by promoting vasodilation and prevents platelet coagulation, a cause of clots[9].  Most notably however, Gingko improves learning and memory.  A 12 week trial comparing Gingko supplementation to placebo in patients with dementia and cognitive impairment found that Gingko significantly improved cognition, as well as the mood and emotions of the patients[1].  Numerous studies have also been done on Gingko supplementation in healthy people, most of which have shown positive outcomes in concentration and memory, generally over a 6 week period[9].  Gingko’s modes of action are thought to be via improving cerebral blood flow, preventing acetylcholine degradation and via its antioxidant properties[4,[9].

Globe artichoke (Cynara scolymus) contains a unique compound called cynarin, which has been found to increase bile production, help lower cholesterol, support kidney function and protect liver cells[iii][iv][v][vi].

Glutathione is an extracellular antioxidant that protects cells against free radicals, prevents lipid oxidation and recycles vitamin C and E[xvi]  It is also required for the liver’s phase II glutathionation pathway which detoxifies chemicals, such as DDT and epoxides in glues[xvii][xix] Furthermore glutathione supplementation may help facilitate liver regeneration.[xi]

Glucosamine is a compound that is present in joint tissues, including cartilage, synovial fluid (the fluid that cushions and lubricates the joint), tendons and ligaments.  Due to its proven effectiveness in many studies it is considered a slow acting drug for osteoarthritis (SADOA)[vi].  However, unlike other osteoarthritis drugs it is completely safe and free from side-effects6.

Glycine is required for the liver’s phase II glycination pathway, where it detoxifies many compounds including some found in cigarettes, artificial flavours and preservatives[xvii][xx]. It also assists liver recovery from alcohol and liver damaging toxins and is required for the production of bile[xxii] Other important functions of glycine include uric acid elimination by the kidneys and growth hormone release[xvii].

Grapeseed Extract is a rich source of oligomeric proanthocyanidins (OPC’s), which are potent antioxidants thereby inhibiting free radical tissue damage[ix].  Grapeseed OPC’s have also demonstrated anti-cancer effects on human breast, lung and gastric adenocarcinoma cells; and also promote normal human gastric mucosal cells[ix].

Gravel root (Eupatorium purpureum) is used primarily for its diuretic properties that are thought to also help breakdown kidney stones[1].  For this reason the British Herbal Pharmacopeia recommends it for calcium stones (calculus).  It is also believed to have a positive effect on rheumatism, making it useful for arthritis and gout.  The mechanism responsible for this action is its ability to increase kidney excretion of waste products.

Green Tea (Camilla sinensis) is a popular beverage in Japan, Korea, India and China[5].  Both green and black teas are from the same plant, however green tea is steamed after harvesting to inhibit the enzymes that turn the leaves black.  This process also protects many of the teas antioxidant properties.  Green tea contains antioxidants called epicatechins, most notably epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG).  EGCG has been shown to have protective effects against a range of different cancers, as well as offering potential therapeutic benefits[6][5].

Goji berries (Lycium barbarum L.) also known as wolfberries, are bright red and have one of the highest levels of antioxidant activity of all foods.  Goji berries are used in Traditional Chinese Medicine, where it is believed they enhance immune function, improve eyesight, protect the liver and improve circulation.  Goji berries contain flavonoids[13] (including anthocyanins), vitamin C, carotenoids, vitamin E, polysaccharides and superoxide dismutase (SOD)[14][23].  Animal studies show that goji polysaccharides may be beneficial for lowering cholesterol[15], protecting against the complications of diabetes[16], improving immune function[17],[18], inhibiting cancer[18],[19][20] aiding exercise recovery[21] and improving fertility in males[22][23].

Horsetail (Equisetum arvense) is traditionally used as a diuretic in Europe.  It contains a number of constituents, including flavonoids[4].  It is also a rich source of the mineral, silica.

Inositol is also required for liver function as it is necessary for the production of lecithin – a compound that may prevent the accumulation of fats in the liver[xv].  It functions closely with choline, folate, B6, B12, betaine (TMG) and methionine.

Juniper (Juniperus communis) berries have diuretic, urinary antiseptic and anti-rheumatic actions[1].  Juniper contains numerous volatile oils, which are thought to be responsible for its actions on the urinary system[1]. 

Lemons have a high Vitamin C content, whilst also containing Vitamins A, B1, B2, B3 and bioflavonoids. Lemons have antiseptic and cleansing actions making them beneficial for those prone to infections and fevers[xvi].

Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) was first documented as being used in the 17th century, where it was said to improve the mood and stimulate clear thinking[9].  Clinical trials support these traditional uses, as they show Lemon balm may help reduce anxiety in severe dementia[10] and improve memory performance and calmness in Alzheimer’s disease patients[11].

Licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra) root is one of the most widely used herbs and has an important place in both Western and Eastern herbal medicine. It has hormonal, anti-inflammatory, adrenal tonic, anti-allergic, antibacterial and antiviral effects[iii]. It is also used to increase the effects of the other herbs that it is combined with and to help improve flavour[xxvii].

Limes are a good source of vitamin C and other antioxidants including ellagic acid, quercetin and kaempferol (a type of polyphenol)[xvii]

L-Glutamine is a precursor to glutathione which has antioxidant actions in the liver and is involved in phase II liver detoxification[xv]. It also nourishes intestinal cells thereby improving gastrointestinal immunity and allows acid (ammonia) removal via the kidneys[xvii].

L-Methionine is essential in the liver for the phase II methylation and sulphation pathways, which detoxify many drugs, heavy metals, hormones and neurotransmitters[xx]  It also functions as an antioxidant, protects DNA and is required for choline and taurine synthesis[xvii]. 

L-Taurine is required in the liver for the phase II sulphation pathway, as well as for bile synthesis[xiv].  It also acts together with glycine and GABA (glutamine) to calm the nervous system, and is required for the release and function of many hormones including growth hormone and insulin[xvii].

Magnesium is involved in over 300 enzyme reactions in the body[22]. Magnesium is vital for healthy heart function, muscle relaxation, blood vessel dilation, nerve impulse transmission, blood sugar regulation, immune function, as well as the synthesis of DNA, amino acids and proteins[12].

Mandarins are high in vitamin C, betacarotene and potassium. They also contain pectin (a soluble fibre) which helps to control blood cholesterol levels[xiv].

Mangoes are high in betacarotene, Vitamin C and Vitamin E, whilst also being high in pectin (soluble fibre)[xiv].

Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) is a naturally occurring sulphur containing compound that has anti-inflammatory properties.  MSM has been effective for the treatment of osteoarthritis in human clinical trials[xii].  A combination of glucosamine and MSM was found to be more effective and quicker for pain relief, reducing swelling and improving joint function than MSM alone in mild to moderate osteoarthritis[xiii].

Milk Thistle (Silybum marianum), also called St. Mary’s Thistle is believed to have liver protective, liver regeneration, antioxidant and bile stimulating properties[i].  It was traditionally used as a remedy for snake bite, depression, liver conditions and to promote lactation.  The main active constituents are collectively called silymarin.  Its liver protective effects have been proven against many chemicals and hormones, including paracetamol[ii], alcohol, oestrogen, antibiotics, iron overload and even Amanita mushroom (death cap) poisoning[ix] .

Mixed tocopherols consist of a number of forms (isomers) of vitamin E, not just the most common form – alpha tocopherol.  Vitamin E is a fat-soluble antioxidant that is necessary for cellular membrane health, immunity, fertility and controlling blood clotting.  Vitamin E has also been shown to have potential use in cancer treatment[18]. Although the majority of studies have focused on the benefits of d-alpha tocopherol, new research is showing that consuming a combination of vitamin E isomers has a greater health benefit[23].

Niacin (Vitamin B3) is the common name for nicotinic acid and niacinamide.  It is  involved in over 200 enzyme reactions in the body; and like other B vitamins is an essential coenzyme for energy production due to carbohydrate, protein and fat metabolism. Niacin is also important for detoxification, blood sugar regulation, hormone synthesis and DNA protection and function[12],[22].

Nutmeg (Myristica fragrans) is most commonly used as a cooking spice yet has been used in both Western and Chinese medicine for many years.  Nutmeg may have beneficial effects on memory and cognition with one study showing significant improvements in memory and learning ability of mice after just 3 days[12].  Nutmeg may also help lower cholesterol levels and prevent platelet aggregation, a cause of clots[13].  Nutmeg is also used medicinally for digestive complaints including gas, indigestion, nausea and vomiting.

Oranges contain abundant levels of Vitamin C plus folate and potassium. They also possess the plant pigments rutin, hesperidin and bioflavonoids[xiv].

Pineapple contains significant levels of Vitamin C, A and the enzyme bromelain, which is a protein splitting enzyme that may benefit digestion[xvi].

Potassium bicarbonate is a complex of the mineral potassium and the alkalising compound, bicarbonate.  Potassium is essential for the intracellular fluid balance of every cell in the body.  It is essential for heart, nerve and kidney function; maintaining blood pressure and regulating pH in the body[9].  Bicarbonate binds acids in the tissues and allows them to be eliminated by the lungs and kidneys.  Potassium bicarbonate supplementation may also help correct low-grade metabolic acidosis and reduce urinary amino acid excretion[10].

Pomegranate (Punica granatum L.) contains polyphenols including punicalagin, ellagitannin, and ellagic acid[24].  All of these compounds have proven antioxidant activity, however the whole fruit (or juice) has a higher activity then the individual components, demonstrating that other polyphenols in pomegranate may also play a role in its potent antioxidant and anti-cancer actions[24].  Studies also show that pomegranate may be beneficial in the treatment of cardiovascular disease[28], osteoarthritis[25], benign prostate hypertrophy (BPH)[26] and even some types of cancer[27].  Pomegranate juice has been shown to help prevent plaque build-up in the arteries[28] and improve blood flow to the heart under stressful conditions[29].

Pyridoxine (Vitamin B6) is needed for energy production from proteins, carbohydrates and fats. It is also necessary for red blood cell production, nervous system development and function, hormone regulation and immune defence[22]. 

Quercetin is a plant derived flavonoid with potent anti-inflammatory effects on both acute and chronic inflammation[xxvi].  These anti-inflammatory properties may make it useful in the treatment of both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis20

Rooibos (Aspalathus linearis), pronounced “roy-boss”, is a bushy shrub that grows in a small area of south western South Africa called Western Cape Province.  It is a popular beverage in South Africa and is commonly consumed with milk and sugar.  After harvesting the Rooibos tea leaves are allowed to oxidise, creating their characteristic reddish brown colour.  In fact, Rooibos is Africaans for “red bush”. 

Riboflavin (Vitamin B2) is essential for the production of energy from foods, as well as for normal growth, development and repair of almost all body tissues.  It is also needed for immune function, nerve development, as well as hormone production and regulation[iii].

Rosehips are the fruit of a rose after the petals have fallen. They are a rich source of vitamin C and also contain the carotenoid, lycopene[x]

Riboflavin (Vitamin B2) is essential for the production of energy from foods, as well as for normal growth, development and repair of almost all body tissues.  It is also needed for immune function, nerve development, as well as hormone production and regulation[22].

Rosehips are the fruit of a rose after the petals have fallen. They are a rich source of vitamin C and also contain the carotenoid, lycopene[17]. 

Pyridoxine (Vitamin B6) is involved in numerous chemical pathways in the body including detoxification of homocysteine, fat metabolism in the liver and the production of important neurotransmitters including the mood regulators, serotonin and dopamine[xiii].

Sage (Salvia officinalis) has been used since medieval times to improve memory and as a treatment for dementia.  A clinical study on Alzheimer’s patients found sage (Salvia officinalis) to be effective for improving cognition[7], whilst two other clinical trials showed that a different species of sage (Salvia lavandulaefolia) improved cognition in healthy young adults[8].  Sage also has antioxidant, antimicrobial, astringent and antispasmodic properties[9]

Schisandra (Schisandra chinensis) fruit is traditionally used for its liver protective, antioxidant and stress-reducing properties[vi].  Schisandra fruit, as well as many of its individual constituents, have been shown in studies to enhance both phase I and phase II liver function[viii]. Numerous in-vitro and in-vivo studies have also shown it to protect the liver from chemical induced damage[ix]. Several compounds isolated from Schisandra have been shown to have a stronger antioxidant activity than vitamin E at the same concentration[ix].

Selenium is an essential trace mineral that works closely with vitamin E as an antioxidant.  It can also help to maintain glutathione levels, thereby assisting phase II liver detoxification[xviii] It also protects the body against heavy metal toxicity and is required for normal thyroid hormone production, activation and metabolism[xiii].

Strawberries contain high levels of flavonoids, especially ellagic acid[34].  In one study they had the second highest antioxidant capacity and had the highest protective effect against single oxygen radicals, compared with blackberries, cranberries and blueberries[35].

Thiamin (Vitamin B1) acts as an enzyme cofactor in the body. Some of its main functions include metabolism of carbohydrates and branched chain amino acids; as well as the synthesis of DNA precursors and red blood cells[12]. Thiamin is also required for immune function and the production of neurotransmitters, which are involved in mood regulation and memory[22].

Turmeric (Curcuma longa) root contains phenolic phytonutrients called curcuminoids, the most powerful being curcumin.  Curcumin can inhibit almost all components of the arachadonic acid cascade[xix], which is the main pathway responsible for pain and inflammation.  These anti-inflammatory properties may benefit arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis[xx].  Turmeric and curcumin also have antioxidant, anti-cancer, cardiovascular protective and liver protective qualities[xxi].

Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) acts as an antioxidant, protects the liver and is beneficial for memory function[5],[9].  Adults exposed to rosemary oil for 3 minutes were shown in a study to be more alert and relaxed.  The increase alertness was believed to be due to a measured decrease in frontal alpha and beta brain function, which increased alertness[6]

Wheat grass is naturally alkaline and helps to neutralise excess acidity in the body.  This may be partly to do with wheat grass being an extremely rich source of chlorophyll.  It also contains a wide range of vitamins, minerals and every amino acid (except tryptophan)[1]; along with antioxidant compounds superoxide dismutase, P4D1 (a unique glycoprotein) and mucopolysaccharides[1].  

Whey protein isolate is high in protein isolated naturally from milk. Whey protein isolate is a rapid source of essential amino acids, thereby helping build and maintain lean body mass by increasing the body’s production of muscle protein[20]. It is commonly used by bodybuilders and athletes as protein supplements to accelerate muscle development and aid in recovery. It has also been shown to be beneficial for preventing muscle loss in the elderly[20].  In addition to its effects on muscles, whey protein isolate may decrease the negative effects of cholesterol oxidation on immune function, most likely via an antioxidant action[21].

Withania (Withania somnifera), also known as Indian Ginseng, is widely used in Ayurvedic (traditional Indian) medicine. Withania is particularly recommended when mental stress impairs immune function, thereby making us more susceptible and slower to recover from illnesses[14],[15].  Studies suggest that Withania modulates our response to stress, protects our nervous system and aids immune response[12].  It also appears to decrease anxiety, improve memory and stimulate blood cell production[12].

Zinc is an essential trace mineral that is needed for the function of over 300 enzymes in the human body, including carbohydrate metabolism, protein and DNA production, protein digestion, bone metabolism and antioxidant protection[18].  As an antioxidant, zinc protects vitamin E, controls vitamin A, restricts internal free radical production and is needed for sulphuroxide dismutase (SOD) production[19].

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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