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June 10, 2011

Today’s Leading Herbal Supplements

Anti aging herbal supplements and grapesAnti Aging Herbal Supplements

Herbs have long been used to enhance health and prevent disease.  In addition to eating well supplementing your diet with herbal supplements can improve your chances of living a longer and healthier life. Today’s leading anti aging herbal supplements include resveratrol, green tea, and curcumin.


Of all the anti aging herbal supplements resveratrol may be the most impressive. Resveratrol has been shown to increase the lifespans of yeast, worms, fruit flies, fish, and mice fed a high calorie diet.  In addition, resveratrol has been shown to inhibit cancer in animals.  Resveratrol also possesses antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties expanding its anti-aging effects.

Resveratrol improves vascular health in at least 3 ways.  It improves nitric oxide, a potent vasodilator.  It inhibits proliferation of smooth muscle cells, and it inhibits platelet aggregation.  All of this improves blood flow and reduces the chances of heart attacks.

Resveratrol is found in wine, grapes, peanuts, and berries.  It’s presence in wine probably explains the “French Paradox”, the finding that French have a low incidence of heart disease despite consuming a diet high in saturated fats.

Resveratrol is well tolerated.  The exact dose is not known.  Some studies suggest that 100 to 250 mg a day is enough, but many of those actively researching resveratrol’s health benefits report to take 500 mg to 1,000 mg a day.

Green TeaToday's Leading Herbal Supplements

Green tea has been shown to have a multitude of health benefits in several published studies.  EGCG or epigallocatechin-3-gallate is the most potent constituent of green tea.  As an antioxidant EGCG is 25 to 100 times more potent than vitamins C and E.

Green tea also boosts levels of other antioxidant systems and suppresses nuclear factor-kappaB (NF-kB), the master control of inflammation.

Green tea has many beneficial cardiovascular effects.  EGCG enhances production of nitric oxide enabling blood vessels to relax improving blood flow. This also helps to reduce blood pressure. Green tea also lowers LDL cholesterol.

Green tea improves fat metabolism mainly by limiting absorption of fats.  Studies show that green tea increases metabolism in the range of 4%, or around an extra 80 calories a day leading to a loss of 8 pounds over the course of a year.

Green tea improves satiety providing a sense of fullness after eating which may reduce calorie intake contributing to weight loss.

It takes about 3 to 6 cups of green tea to obtain its health benefits.  Taking an extract of 500 mg of green tea is the equivalent of consuming 5 to 6 cups of the herb.


Curcumin comes from the turmeric, an Indian spice.  It has potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.  Curcumin disrupts several steps necessary for cancer to develop and grow.

Like green tea curcumin blocks the master inflammation control molecule called nuclear factor-kappaB, or NF-kB.  Free radicals accelerate the aging process. Curcumin combats free radicals by increasing glutathione levels.  Glutathione is the body’s main antioxidant.

In cancers, curcumin disrupts cell cycle leading to apoptosis, or cellular death.  It also prevents cancers from spreading by blocking formation of new blood vessels, thus depriving cancer cells of oxygen and nutrients needed grow and expand.  Curcumin also increases the effectiveness of many chemotherapy agents.  This is one reason leading cancer-research centers are actively studying curcumin in the treatment of a variety of cancers.

One potential drawback to curcumin is that it is not well absorbed and doses of 3.6 grams a day are probably needed to obtain any health benefit.  However, one curcumin product called BCM-95® has been shown be very absorbed 7 times better than the typical curcumin supplement achieving necessary blood levels in doses of 400 mg a day.

Consider adding these anti aging herbal supplements to your health/wellness plan that should also include a low glycemic diet and regular exercise.

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Dr. Joe Jacko

Dr. Joe is board certified in internal medicine and sports medicine with additional training in hormone replacement therapy and regenerative medicine. He has trained or practiced at leading institutions including the Hughston Clinic, Cooper Clinic, Steadman-Hawkins Clinic of the Carolinas, and Cenegenics. He currently practices in Columbus, Ohio at Grandview Primary Care. Read more about Dr. Joe Jacko

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