Natural Ways to Protect Against Skin Cancer

After decades of heightened sun-risk awareness, skin cancer is still the most common malignancy in the United States.1 In fact, one in every three diagnosed cancers is a skin malignancy.2

About 87,000 new cases of melanoma of the skin are predicted to be diagnosed in the US in 2017. Nearly 10,000 Americans will die from metastatic melanoma.3

And according to the latest report by the Environmental Working Group,4 almost 75% of sunscreens contain “worrisome ingredients” and offer inferior sun protection. For example, about 70% still contain a compound that, when applied to the skin and exposed to sunlight, generates reactive oxygen species4-6 — meaning increased sunscreen use may be a factor in increased skin cancer rates! Few people realize that the highest-SPF products are often the riskiest.7

Game-changing sunscreen formulas have been developed that block the full spectrum of harmful ultraviolet radiation and provide plant extracts that inhibit and even reverse solar-induced skin damage.

Over the past 40 years, deadly skin melanoma cases have skyrocketed more than four-fold for young men — and more than eight-fold for young women!8 Non-melanoma cases of skin cancer affect over 3 million people.3 Meanwhile continuing ozone layer depletion continues to increase skin cancer risk globally.2

The Escalating Skin Cancer Epidemic

This daily risk goes beyond cancer.

Sun-induced aging of the skin (photoaging) is clinically characterized by deep wrinkles, mottled pigmentation, rough skin, skin-tone loss, dryness, spider veins, leathery appearance, loss of elasticity, and precancerous lesions.9,10 Photoaging occurs most frequently on sun-exposed areas such as the face, neck, upper chest, hands, and forearms.10

Only about 14% of men and 30% of women regularly wear sunscreen on their face and other exposed skin.11 Many people half-heartedly limit their sun exposure. But effective protection is needed every day, as solar rays damage skin far more than anyone realizes!

Even those who wear sunscreen daily generally apply it incorrectly and fail to reapply it regularly as required. Many consumers apply only 25% to 50% of the recommended amount.12 And it’s still important to avoid unnecessary sun exposure even after proper sunscreen application.13,14

Consumers are often fooled by a high and very misleading sun protection factor, or SPF. All SPF means is that these creams block the UVB rays that affect the superficial epidermis skin layer.7,15 Sure, this helps prevent sunburn — but does nothing to block the UVA radiation that makes up 95% of ultraviolet radiation and causes vastly greater damage.4,15 UVA penetrates more deeply — accelerating skinaging, suppressing immunity, and fostering skin cancer.16-18

Equally misleading are the labels on so-called “broad-spectrum” sunscreens that claim to block carcinogenic UVA radiation in addition to sunburn-causing UVB. The Environmental  Working Group determined that only half of all sunscreens would offer enough UVA protection to be sold in Europe (which has much higher standards).19

Most frightening, the public is led to believe that higher SPF ratings are superior, but they give people a false sense of security. A 100 SPF blocks barely 1% more UV rays than a 50 SPF —although the higher rating encourages longer exposure.7

But any sunscreen will provide some cancer defense, right? Wrong. A 2016 review of sunscreen products found that almost three-fourths of the examined sunscreens contain “worrisome ingredients” that may increase cancer risk, thus defeating the purpose of using them. For example, 70% of the sunscreens evaluated in this report still contain a compound (oxybenzone) that, when applied to the skin and exposed to sunlight, generates reactive oxygen species (ROS).4-6

Armed with a unique new sunscreen option, individuals now have the ability to ensure they don’t become a part of these statistics.

Blocking the Multiple Mechanisms of Ultraviolet Radiation

An effective sun-protection formulation needs to work on different levels because skin damage itself occurs via multiple mechanisms.

UV rays generate free radicals and other substances that damage DNA.20

And ultraviolet light decreases Langerhans cells, specialized immune cells found abundantly in the skin that protect against invading pathogens and participate in the immune response against skin cancer.20-22

UV-ray photons oxidize proteins, correlating with accelerated aging.23-25 This activates matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) enzymes that break down elastin and collagen, proteins responsible for firm and supple skin.23

Solar radiation-induced oxidative stress also triggers the release of proinflammatory cytokines and growth factors, further damaging elastin and collagen and breaking down the skin’s structural integrity.26

Unique Formulation Safely Blocks Skin Cancer

Science-based topical formulas are now available that safely block solar radiation — while adding a second line of defense against the destructive mechanisms of any UV light reaching the skin.

One of these new sunscreens can be found in a light lotion that readily absorbs into the skin without a white, greasy mess. Health-conscious individuals should apply this formula daily, even on cloudy days, and reapply every two hours if they are remaining outdoors.

This new sunscreen lotion contains ingredients that safely block UV radiation and may reverse its DNA damaging and photoaging effects. Unlike many commercial products, the ingredients in this new lotion formulation rate scores of between 1 and 3 on the hazard scale of the independent Environmental Working Group — a scale that rates “high hazard” chemicals as being between 7 and 10.

The new lotion formulation includes zinc oxide, which blocks both UVA2 and UVA1 rays. Although some products exclusively rely on zinc oxide to fight UVB, it provides incomplete UVB protection. Therefore, this new lotion also contains titanium dioxide, which more effectively reflects and blocks UVB and further blocks UVA2.27

Convenient Spray Bottle Option

For convenient whole body application, a new sunscreen spray has been developed that provides similar benefits to the new lotion. Zinc oxide and titanium dioxide cannot be used in this formula because they will clog a spray bottle.

To accommodate a spray mist, scientists combined the following UV-blocking agents: avobenzone to absorb UVA1 rays;27 octocrylene to filter out UVA2 and UVB;27,28 and octisalate and homosalate to fully enhance UVB radiation defense.27

Most spray-on sun products are slow-drying, but this formulation contains just enough alcohol, allowing for instant drying and encouraging convenient reapplications throughout the day.

A review panel assessing this (FDA-approved29) alcohol found no evidence of phototoxicity on the human skin, even at higher concentrations.30

This sunscreen innovation includes a botanical second line of defense against skin cancer and photoaging.

Let’s review its UV-protective mechanisms:

Inhibiting UV’s Skin-Damaging Mechanisms at the Cellular Level

Formulators included an exciting skin-protective discovery — oat beta-glucans — found in cell walls of whole oat (Avena sativa) kernels and clinically demonstrated to provide strong skin-regenerative effects.

Also included are extracts of green tea, licorice, milk thistle, and rosemary, collectively shown to deliver potent antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, and DNA-protective effects that inhibit and repair UV radiation’s skin-destructive effects.

This lineup was specifically indicated by studies that concluded: “These botanicals may favorably supplement sunscreen protection and may provide additional anti-photocarcinogenic protection, including the protection against other skin disorders caused by solar UV radiation.”31

Oat Beta-Glucans

Published in Phytotherapy Research in 2014, a review concluded that beta-glucans strengthen the 24
skin’s ability to inhibit environmentally triggered aging and wrinkling.

Green Tea Extract

Green tea-treated skin has shown less depletion of epidermal Langerhans cells, and photoprotective 25, 32-34
effects against UVA. Adding green tea extract to sunscreens may help thwart skin cancer at multiple stages in its development.

Beyond cancer, studies show that green tea and green tea extract prevent photoaging when used orally or topically.35-39 Significantly, a lab study demonstrated that topically applied green tea polyphenols and EGCG have clearly greater photoprotective efficacy than when taken orally.25

In 2017, a review of previous studies concluded that green tea polyphenols “protect against UV irradiation-stimulated skin photoaging” and inhibit its hyperpigmentation, wrinkling, and immunosuppression.40

Licorice Root Extract

A double-blind study concluded that licorice extract is potentially effective for treating atopic dermatitis — a chronic, inflammatory skin disease. 41 So it came as no surprise when two years later, other researchers found that the licorice constituent glycyrrhizin “might offer protection from the damage induced in humans by UVB radiation.”42

Milk Thistle Extract

Studies document that milk thistle compounds — silibinin and silymarin — deliver potent antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and immune-enhancing properties. 43-48 Significant decreases in skin cancer number and size were shown for topical application of both silymarin and silibinin.47,48

Specifically investigating UV radiation, scientists found that silibinin blocks DNA skin damage and impedes cancer cell growth in mice.48 It may do this in part by enhancing the activity of the p53 gene, which protects against cancer.43 Compellingly, researchers found that silibinin helps repair DNA damage caused by previous exposure to UVB radiation.49

Similarly, silymarin exceptionally protected against skin tumor promotion.47 One investigation concluded that silymarin “may favorably supplement sunscreen protection and provide additional anti-photocarcinogenic protection.”43

Rosemary Extract

Critically, rosemary enhances the body’s ability to eliminate potential carcinogens.50 It slows or stops 51-53 Two rosemary compounds — carnosic and ursolic acids — particularly benefit the skin.54-56

 DNA damage and tumor-cell proliferation, induces tumor-cell apoptosis, and markedly suppresses genes that enable tissue invasion and metastatic spread.

Ursolic acid inhibits reactive oxygen species in skin cells and prevents the skin-aging effects of UVA rays.57 Remarkably, ursolic acid also powerfully blocks the growth of cancerous melanoma cells.56


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  31. Baliga MS, Katiyar SK. Chemoprevention of photocarcinogenesis by selected dietary botanicals. Photochem Photobiol Sci. 2006 Feb;5(2):243-53.
  32. Chung JH, Han JH, Hwang EJ, et al. Dual mechanisms of green tea extract (EGCG)-induced cell survival in human epidermal keratinocytes. Faseb J. 2003;17(13):1913-5.
  33. Katiyar SK. Skin photoprotection by green tea: antioxidant and immunomodulatory effects. Curr Drug Targets Immune Endocr Metabol Disord. 2003;3(3):234-42.
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  40. Roh E, Kim JE, Kwon JY, et al. Molecular mechanisms of green tea polyphenols with protective effects against skin photoaging. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2017;57(8):1631-7.
  41. Saeedi M, Morteza-Semnani K, Ghoreishi MR. The treatment of atopic dermatitis with licorice gel. J Dermatolog Treat. 2003;14(3):153-7.
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  49. Singh RP, Agarwal R. Mechanisms and preclinical efficacy of silibinin in preventing skin cancer. Eur J Cancer. 2005 Sep;41(13):1969-79.
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Beyond Vitamin C: The Health Benefits of Rose Hips

Rose hips are best known in the field of nutrition as a significant source of vitamin C. Vitamin C
supplements with added rose hips have long been a staple of health food store shelves and rose hip tea is popular for colds or flu.

What are rose hips? Rose hips are the small, red fruit of the Rosa genus, which contains more than a hundred species of roses. The fruit appears after the flowers have been pollinated and ripens during late summer and autumn. While indigenous medicine has utilized rose hips from a variety of roses, the dog rose (Rosa canina) is a common source of commercially available rose hips today.

After harvesting, rose hips can be used in tea, jams, syrups, wine, or powdered and added to supplement formulas. In addition to vitamin C, they contain the carotenoids beta-carotene and lycopene, as well as lutein and zeaxanthin which may help protect against macular degeneration. Other compounds identified in rose hips include pectins, organic acids, flavonoids, tannins, fatty acids and vitamins B1, B2, E and K.1

An experiment that tested the effects of a rose hip extract deprived of vitamin C on a type of white blood cell under inflammatory conditions found an inhibitory effect on reactive oxygen species, demonstrating that rose hips’ antioxidant effects are not due solely to their vitamin C content, but also to polyphenolics such as proanthocyanidins and flavonoids.2

Arthritis and Inflammation Management

In addition to helping alleviate the symptoms of colds, rose hips may be worth trying for those who suffer with osteoarthritis. A randomized, double-blind trial that compared the effects of four months of rose hip supplementation to a placebo in patients with osteoarthritis of the knee or hip found improvement in hip joint mobility and discomfort among those treated with rose hips.3 Another randomized trial of knee and hip osteoarthritis patients revealed a reduction in discomfort and the need for medication after three months of daily treatment with rose hips in comparison with a placebo.4 A systematic review of rose hips’ clinical efficacy in supporting joint comfort concluded moderate evidence for powdered rose hip husks and seeds.5

A survey of patients with acute exacerbations of chronic pain, nonspecific low back pain, nonspecific low back discomfort with joint discomfort, and specific lower back discomfort found that treatment with rose hip and seed powder for up to 54 weeks was associated with overall improvement without serious adverse events.6

In rheumatoid arthritis, a double-blind, placebo controlled trial found improvement in disease duration, quality of life and other factors among participants who received encapsulated rose hip powder for six months in comparison with those who received a placebo.7

Rose hips contain a galactolipid compound that has been shown to ease inflammation, which could help explain its benefit in maintaining joint comfort and other inflammatory issues.8 Other research has revealed activity against cyclooxygenase-1 (COX-1) and COX-2, both of which are involved in inflammation.9 In research involving human white blood cells and cartilage cells, powdered rose hips with or without rose hip seeds demonstrated the ability to ease inflammation and support cartilage structure.10

In a study of healthy humans, daily intake of rose hip powder lowered C-reactive protein, a marker of inflammation, leading the researchers to conclude that “These results indicate that rose hip can ease inflammation and might be used as a replacement or supplement for conventional drug therapies in some inflammatory issues such as joint soreness.”11

Heart and Metabolic Health

Supplementing with rosehips has also been associated with a cardiometabolic benefit. In mice, rose hip supplementation was associated with improved glucose tolerance, less liver fat accumulation, downregulation of lipogenic protein expression, and lower total plasma cholesterol and LDL to HDL ratio in comparison with animals that were not given the supplement.12

Another rodent study found improvements in impaired glucose tolerance, pancreatic beta-cell function and other metabolic factors in spontaneously diabetic rats supplemented with rose hip extract for 12 weeks.13

In obese men and women with or without impaired glucose tolerance, six weeks of daily supplementation with a drink that contained powdered rose hips resulted in lower systolic blood pressure, plasma total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, and LDL to high-density lipoprotein (HDL) ratio compared to those who received a control drink, indicating a reduction in cardiovascular disease risk.14

Anti-Aging Effects

Most recently, rose hips have been recognized as a source of trans-tiliroside, a compound that increases the activation of the enzyme adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase (AMPK), which is the body’s master regulating switch. AMPK, found in every cell, stimulates the biogenesis of mitochondria — the cells’ energy-producing plants. It has been described as “a major survival factor in a variety of metabolic stresses and also in the aging process.”15

AMPK activation results in many of the benefits of calorie restriction, an approach that has resulted in an extension of life span in nearly every species in which it has been tested.16 It has been proposed that AMPK ultimately controls the aging process, via its signaling network.17 Loss of AMPK activation during aging has been associated with impaired metabolic regulation and increased oxidative stress, leading to chronic inflammation and metabolic disorders.

Research involving tiliroside derivatives has found an increase in GLUT-4, which transports excess glucose from the blood to the cells where it is used for energy.18 In mice given trans-tiliroside, blood glucose levels after glucose loading were significantly reduced.19

“The Rosa genus is a treasure waiting for further exploration by researchers interested in the development of safe and effective anti-arthritic agents,” concluded a review published in Pharmacological Research.20 Perhaps more exciting is rose hips’ recently discovered benefit as an AMPK activator that could help prevent some of the signs of aging.

It will be interesting to observe the unfoldment of future research associated with the rose: “Queen of Flowers.”


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Decluttering Your Space for Health and Happiness

Jesse Silkoff

If you think the decluttering craze is just for Martha Stewart-wannabes, think again. Environmental factors, like whether our homes are cluttered or clean, can play a big part in our happiness, mental wellness, and ultimately our physical fitness.

In fact, health professionals have linked excess clutter to increased anxiety, depression, and even weight gain. A study led by Cornell University’s Food & Brand Lab, for instance, found that people with messy kitchens tend to consume more calories — and often make worse food choices than those with tidier homes.

This finding supports what decluttering experts have been saying for years. There’s a link between chaotic environments and out-of-control eating habits. Our homes often correlate to our inner life, and if you’re feeling stressed and overwhelmed, you may feel like you have absolutely no time for picking up.

Sadly, however, that may end up contributing to anxiety, rather than relieving it, since cluttered environments can tax your brain’s cognitive functioning. Specifically, here’s how clutter affects your mental and physical health — and what you can do about it.

Your Brain on Clutter

There’s a reason we hang on to things long after they’ve stopped serving their purpose. Yale imaging studies show that decluttering actually triggers the same regions of the brain that are stimulated when we feel pain. So if you’re feeling stressed, overwhelmed, or anxious in your day-to-day life, keeping these items around you may help you avoid additional suffering — at least in the short term.

Unfortunately, just like overeating, hoarding behaviors avert perceived pain rather than offering solutions to life’s problems. Ironically, these kinds of emotional “shortcuts” usually end up causing more frustration and anxiety in the long run. For instance, a cluttered environment can overtax our cognitive centers, overwhelming the brain with external stimuli — which ratchets up anxiety and competes for our attention when we try to complete high-concentration tasks.

If you’re already prone to self-soothing with external items, like food or shopping, then that clutter can soon become part of a negative cycle: You buy or acquire new things to feel less stressed, then feel more stressed because your home is cluttered with too many things, so you go shopping again. Somewhere, you have to draw the line and take back control over your life. That’s where this next part comes in.

Taking on a Really Messy Home

If you’ve really let your house go (don’t feel embarrassed, we’ve all been there), sometimes just getting started is the biggest obstacle to a clean, decluttered home. Not only do you have to overcome any shame you may feel, you may also feel overwhelmed and unsure where to begin — particularly if your emotional resources are overtaxed as it is.

Start Small: Begin with a smaller task, like clearing off a countertop, the kitchen table, or a small part of the floor. Narrowing your focus this way makes the whole job seem less intimidating—and helps you celebrate the small victories. Whatever you do, don’t try to clean your whole house in a day. Organizing experts say that people rarely have the stamina for an extended eight-hour cleaning session.

Don’t Just Sort It, Get Rid of It. Stop me if you’ve heard this one: you’re knee-deep in piles of clothes. You’ve got your “to donate” pile, your “to toss” pile, and your “to keep” pile. But instead of going the full mile and actually taking the clothes to the donation center or out to the curb, you let them sit in a heap in your room for a couple weeks, where eventually they merge with all the junk on your floor. When you start cleaning your home, try to take each job to completion — even if that means a drive to Goodwill.

Find a Home for Things. Try to think of the surfaces in your home as workspaces — not just another place to store junk. For instance, your kitchen counters should be used for food preparation and cooking, and not to hold overflow for a stuffed pantry. Cooking instruments that you don’t use regularly, like a food processor or a rice steamer, can go in the closet or an extra drawer to keep things clear. No room? Purchase a utility shelf from a restaurant supply store — anything to get those surfaces cleaned off.

Cleaning and Exercise Go Hand and Hand

If you’re trying to declutter and get healthier, you’re in luck. Many household chores burn calories, too. According to Reader’s Digest, sweeping or mopping burns about 240 calories an hour — about on par with an hour-long walk. Moving boxes or adjusting furniture, meanwhile, nets you more like 340 calories per hour, so you can definitely fit in a light workout while you clean up.

Of course, if you really want to lose weight and get healthy, you’ll probably need to add in a full workout routine. Stressed, busy people often find that a personal trainer helps keep them going — especially when life gets hectic. A trainer can act like a personal support system, offering the inspiration you need to hit the gym when you feel a little overwhelmed. Hey, you may even find that working out is an even better way to cope with stress than adding to your shoe collection. Your closets will thank you!

Jesse Silkoff is an avid runner and tennis player. He currently resides in Austin, TX where he works as the President and Co-Founder of FitnessTrainer, the leading online marketplace to find a local personal trainer that can help you achieve your health and wellness goals.


The Buzz on Bee Pollen: Nature’s Superfood

Chef Shashank Agtey

We could all learn a thing or two from the work ethic of a honeybee.  Small but mighty, this tiny
creature spends its entire life diligently working to protect and care for its colony and home. While tasks are divided throughout the colony, worker bees are dedicated to traveling from plant to plant to carefully collect and share its food source: pollen and nectar.

In doing so, bees effectively help pollinate a large percentage of flowers and plants that, without bees or other pollinating insects, would not be able to produce seeds or fruits. In fact, bees are responsible for pollinating over 75% of our flowering plants and nearly 75% of our crops. We owe them many thanks.

To put into perspective the commitment of a honeybee, it takes one working bee eight hours a day for one month to gather just one teaspoon dose of pollen. It is important to note that bee pollen is unable to be reproduced by humans as it contains powerful, so far unidentified, elements that can only be produced by bees.

Remarkably, there are additional benefits humans are able to reap from these dedicated insects which come in the form of bee pollen. Bee pollen is one of nature’s most nourishing foods.

It is approximately up to 40% protein, half of which is in the form of free amino acids that are ready to be used directly by the body. Bee pollen is also dense in vitamins, such as B-complex and folic acid.

Throughout the world, bee pollen is used to treat a variety of health problems including allergies, obesity, infertility, anemia, the common cold, and more. It contains properties that help keep bad bacteria in check, helps blood cells, improves endurance, extends longevity, regulates the intestines, and is also thought to have qualities that support cellular health. It is no wonder why many nutritionists and food experts continue to incorporate bee pollen into diets and health products.

Unfortunately, there is increasing evidence that populations of honeybees are declining. A variety of factors may be contributing to this, including habitat loss and disease from toxic pesticides. For all that the amazing bee is able to provide for us, we certainly should help protect its diminishing population. Ways we can do this include avoiding use of pesticides that are harmful to bees and investing in research on bees and pollination.



About the Author:

Indian-born Shashank Agtey, also known as the Sidewalk Chef, is a culinary expert and athlete. Over the past 45 years Chef Agtey has held the position of executive chef at numerous establishments throughout South Florida and, through classes and seminars, has taught average home cooks how to prepare gourmet, healthy, and budget-friendly meals. Chef Agtey is dedicated to leading a healthy and active lifestyle and is an avid runner and competitor.

Fusing his passion for healthy eating and fitness, Chef Agtey recently developed an all-natural energy bar system, Hop Step Jump Energy Bars, made from five superfoods and nutrient-rich ingredients. As a prominent ingredient in all of its products, bee pollen naturally helps boost energy levels.

As a way to say thank you to the bees, Hop Step Jump Energy Bars partners with the University of Florida’s Honey Bee Research and Extension Lab to donate a portion of its proceeds directly to the lab’s research and education which aims to improve the health and productivity of honeybee colonies in Florida and globally.


Modern Research Confirms the Health Benefits of Ayurvedic Terminalia Bellerica Fruit

Terminalia bellerica
 is the name of a deciduous tree that grows in Southeast Asia. The fruit, and sometimes the leaves of the tree are used in Ayurvedic and other traditional medicines.

The Terminalia genus encompasses approximately 100 speciesTraditional use aside, researchers are now scientifically validating many of the effects attributed to Terminalia bellerica.

Effects on Blood Sugar

Marked blood glucose lowering effects have been documented for T. bellerica, which suggests its use in diabetes and metabolic syndrome.1 In rats that were given a compound that destroys insulin-producing cells, T. bellerica fruit given two to three times daily returned blood glucose levels to near normal fasting levels within two weeks.

In spontaneously obese type 2 diabetic mice, T. bellerica suppressed the absorption of triglycerides and inhibited pancreatic lipase activity, the latter of which was determined to be dependent upon the fruit’s gallic acid content.2 The authors suggested that T. bellerica could be useful in the prevention of metabolic syndrome by suppressing meal-derived lipid absorption.

Research has confirmed that gallic acid is responsible for T. bellerica’s benefit in metabolic disorders, through its ability to regulate fat cell differentiation.3 Other research has revealed that gallic acid in T. bellerica inhibits the COX-1 and COX-2 enzymes, which are involved in inflammation.4

An in vitro study involving four antidiabetic indigenous medicinal plants found that T. bellerica had the greatest inhibitory effect against markers of glycation, including fructosamines, protein carbonyls and advanced glycation end-products.5 The administration of T. bellerica was also associated with protective effects in red blood cells against glycated albumin mediated toxicity, and showed an antioxidant effect.

An investigation of Terminalia bellerica’s antidiabetic action conducted by researchers at the National Institute for Interdisciplinary Science and Technology in India revealed anti-glycation activity and an ability to inhibit the enzymes alpha amylase and alpha glucosidase, as well as prevention of low density lipoprotein (LDL) oxidation.6

Heart Health

Experimental research has shown that an alcohol extract of T. bellerica leaf encouraged the formation of new blood vessels.7 This ability of T. bellerica to promote angiogenesis could be helpful to reduce ischemia in cardiovascular disease. In a study involving white blood cells known as macrophages, a T. bellerica extract showed free radical scavenging activity and inhibited free radical-induced oxidation of LDL.8

The extract also decreased the expression of the inflammatory proteins tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-a) and interleukin 1 beta, as well as LOX-1, the major receptor for oxidized LDL. “These results show that T. bellerica extract has the inhibitory effects on LDL oxidation and macrophage inflammatory response in vitro, suggesting that its in vivo use might inhibit atherosclerosis plaque progression,” authors M. Tanaka and colleagues at Japan’s Ochanomizu University conclude.

Uric Acid Balance

In a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial involving 110 subjects with elevated serum levels of uric acid (which is associated with gout), T. bellerica at a 500 milligram twice daily dose significantly reduced uric acid beginning as early as four weeks.9 Terminalia bellerica has been determined to inhibit xanthine oxidase, an enzyme involved in uric acid synthesis, which is inhibited by the gout treatment febuxostat.10

Immunity and Lifespan

Terminalia bellerica has been found to contain lignans that have demonstrated action against human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), the malaria parasite, and fungi.11 Its traditional use against colic, diarrhea and asthma have been determined to be due to anticholinergic and other properties.12
A recent in vitro study showed an ability of T. bellerica to inhibit cell proliferation of nine human cancer cell lines that included leukemia and prostate, breast, colon and lung cancers .13 

Another investigation revealed growth inhibitory effects for T. bellerica extracts in human liver cell carcinoma and lung carcinoma lines as well as synergism at some doses with the chemotherapeutics cisplatin and doxorubicin.14 An acetone extract of T. bellerica has been discovered to have an antimutagenic effect, which could help prevent carcinogenesis.15

Of interest to life extensionists, an extract containing T. bellerica and other Ayurvedic herbs extended average lifespan of the roundworm C. elegans by a mean of 16%.16 Authors L. Rathor and colleagues attribute the delay in aging to its reactive oxygen species scavenging ability and regulation of aging-associated genes.

Terminalia bellerica is gaining recognition in its own right. It will be interesting to observe the outcome of further research evaluating T. belllerica’s disease-preventive and longevity potential.


  1. Kar A et al. J Ethnopharmacol. 2003 Jan;84(1):105-8.
  2. Makihara H et al. J Nat Med. 2012 Jul;66(3):459-67.
  3. Maikhara H et al. Biol Pharm Bull. 2016;39(7):1137-43.
  4. Reddy TC et al. Protein Pept Lett. 2010 Oct;17(10):1251-7.
  5. Tupe RS et al. J Food Sci Technol. 2015 Apr;52(4):1911-23.
  6. Nampoothiri SV et al. Food Chem Toxicol. 2011 Jan;49(1):125-31.
  7. Prabhu VV et al. J Young Pharm. 2012 Jan;4(1):22-7.
  8. Tanaka M et al. Antioxidants (Basel). 2016 Jun 14;5(2).
  9. Usharani P et al. Clin Pharmacol. 2016 Jun 22;8:51-9.
  10. Ojha R et al. Expert Opin Ther Pat. 2017 Mar;27(3):311-345.
  11. Valsaraj R et al. J Nat Prod. 1997 Jul;60(7):739-42.
  12. Gilani AH et al. J Ethnopharmacol. 2008 Mar 28;116(3):528-38.
  13. Diab KA et al. Asian Pac J Cancer Prev. 2015;16(15):6423-8.
  14. Pinmai K et al. World J Gastroenterol. 2008 Mar 14;14(10):1491-7.
  15. Kaur S et al. J Environ Pathol Toxicol Oncol. 2003;22(1):69-76.
  16. Rathor L et al. Biogerontology. 2017 Feb;18(1):131-147.

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