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Some of The Science Behind The Benefits of Zambroza and Paw Paw

By William J. Keller, Ph.D.

At Nature’s Sunshine, I firmly believe that original basic science research is of paramount importance. I feel that this belief is shared by my colleagues because everyone recognizes the important correlation between company prestige and research that supports the products that we well. We ask fundamental questions about product benefits and then design experiments that provide the answers. This approach separates Nature’s Sunshine from the competition. After considerable thought, I have listed below salient points that define the importance of original basic science research:

• Verifies and/or establishes the identity of actives from an ingredient
• Correlates benefits with identifies actives
• Substantiates the science behind ingredient claims
• Establishes ingredient value
• Confirms Nature’s Sunshine as an industry leader through publication in peer reviewed scientific journals
• Honors the scientific integrity of defining and characterizing the highest quality products available
• Instills high degree of consumer confidence

Again, recognizing, embracing, and pursuing these points distinguishes Nature’s Sunshine as a first class nutritional supplement company.

I have known Professor Doug Kinghorn for 30 years. He is a world class scientist in the discipline of natural product chemistry (Pharmacognosy). Professor Kinghorn occupies an endowed research chair at the prestigious Ohio State University. Professor Kinghorn and I have collaborated on many projects that focus on Nature’s Sunshine high quality products. Zambroza has been a major research effort for the past four years. Mangosteen (Garcinia Mangostana), the core fruit of Zambroza, has yielded some fascinating research results.

Xanthones are a class of plan chemicals that are found abundantly in mangosteen. Not only are the xanthones powerful Antioxidants, but we also believe that they possess many other beneficial effects. Our first scientific investigation of mangosteen resulted in the isolation of ten different xanthones in chemically pure form and three of these were new from Nature. Once we determined the chemical structure of these three xanthones, we knew no one else had ever isolated them. These pure xanthones were then shown to having outstanding antioxidant activity. Further evaluation of these isolated xanthones suggested cancer chemoprevention potential. These data were first published as in abstract presented as a poster paper at the Annual Meeting of the American Society of Pharmacognosy in 2005 and then published as a full paper in the peer reviewed Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.

A follow-up study on mangosteen xanthones was recently published as an abstract, presented as a poster paper, and a manuscript has been accepted for publication in the peer reviewed Journal of Natural Products. In this work, five additional xanthones were isolated in chemically pure form and two of these had never been isolated from Nature before. These isolated xanthones showed powerful cancer chemo preventive activity in our quinine reductase induction bioassay which suggests an inhibition of cancer initiation.

Focusing on another benefit of the mangosteen xanthones, several researchers have published on their anti-inflammatory properties. For example, it has been shown that by neutralizing free radicals, the polyphenolic xanthones relieve oxidative stress which, in turn, reduces inflammation. Other researchers have demonstrated that mangosteen xanthones reduce the production of pro-inflammatory prostaglandis by inhibiting COX (cyclooxygenase). My collaboration with Professor Kinghorn recently revealed a new mangosteen xanthone mechanism. We found that by inhibiting a nuclear factor called NF-KB, the xanthones block the production of pro-inflammatory proteins (cytokines) and enzymes (COX) to afford a powerful anti-inflammatory effect. We now have three mechanisms that can be used to explain how the xanthones suppress inflammation.

I am sure that many of you remember my seminars on Paw Paw (Asimina triloba) as well as Paw Paw presentations by Dr. Jerry McLaughlin, Spence Masson, and others. Recall that our product Paw Paw contains a Paw Paw twig extract. This extract is composed of over 500 active acetogenins. The fact that the twigs needed for extraction are expensive to source (collect) prompted me to conduct more research. A collaborative research project with Dr. Kirk Pomper from Kentucky State University yielded some surprising results. We found that ripe Paw Paw fruits contained higher concentrations of active acetogenins as compared to the twigs. These findings may lead to a less expensive product because ripe fruits are much easier to collect and extract than the twigs.

For a long time it was assumed that Paw Paw could not be combined with antioxidants. This old view suggested to avoid this combination because the Paw Paw induced cell apoptosis (programmed cell death) would be blocked by antioxidants. The current view, based on our research efforts, is that antioxidants have no effect on Paw Paw’s action. In collaboration with the Ford Cancer Center, we have demonstrated that with cultures of HCT-116 (human colon cancer) cells, Paw Paw, in combination with a wide variety of different antioxidants, including Zambroza, showed the same effect as when Paw Paw was used alone. Furthermore, it appears that antioxidants may actually complement Paw Paw. Recently published data show that antioxidants block cellular HIF -1 (Hypoxia Induced Factory) by depriving this protein of needed free radicals. Without free radicals HIF-1 cancer cells cannot grow in anaerobic conditions that occur when tumors are rapidly growing. Therefore, it appears that Zambroza and Paw Paw is a beneficial combination in most cases.

The science behind pharmacognosy is fascinating and in this article I have presented a brief scientific tale of two products. I believe that you can now see a correlation of ingredient actives with the health benefits of these products. These correlations are supported by scientific evidence, much of which came from our original research. This original research contributes to the scientific substantiations of product value and is a mark of distinction that characterizes Nature’s Sunshine. And finally, through this paper you have come away with an understanding of how an industry leader creates knowledge that facilitates and development of their truly outstanding products.

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