In the start of US Pharmacopeia (USP), most drugs were plant or mineral based. During the underlying 100 years, from 1820 through 1920, USP contained around 875 natural plant sections and two or three sections for minerals.
Regardless, with the improvement of medicines in the 1920’s, botanicals were still the treatment of choice for the clinicals. However, this began changing in the 1930’s as newer pharmaceuticals were developed.
Supplements as Prescription
The improvement in standards for supplements came in a surprising way. At the dawn of the century, there were various diseases caused by the lack of good foods and nutrition – such as rickets from the lack of vitamin D, to beriberi from consuming foods lacking in vitamin B, etc. Fish oil, a dietary supplement containing vitamins A and D, became a popular supplement.
There was an abundance of cures, but few of the remedies touted by the formula makers. To ensure quality, during the 1920’s USP declared that medicine makers had to prove effectiveness according to USP rules.
Dietary Supplements Today
According to Jeffrey Millstein, MD, a physician at Penn Internal Medicine at Woodbury Heights, “Whether in pill, powder, or liquid form, the purpose of dietary supplements is often the same: to fortify your diet to receive enough nutrients and boost your health.”
At least one nutritional component, such as vitamins, minerals, herbs, botanicals, amino acids, or enzymes, is present in the dietary supplements. Some of the most well-liked supplements are also available as single supplements.
What is the lowest common factor? They bear the designation of dietary supplements. A few popular dietary supplements are: Vitamin B12, which can help you keep your nerves and blood cells healthy, but also create DNA and reduce the risk for anemia. Vitamin D, in turn strengthens bones and well-being, while the antioxidant vitamins C and E may prevent damage to our cells.
Antioxidants, such as resveratrol, fisetin, apigenin, curcumin, astaxanthin, and NMN – helps to keep our mind and body healthy as we age.
The Novel Dietary Supplements
Resveratrol appears to have a number of beneficial health effects, including improving vasodilation, reducing blood viscosity, inhibiting platelet coagulation, and boosting the immune system. It appears to be a potent inhibitor of the development of certain cancers, atherosclerosis, coronary and ischemic heart disease, and hyperlipidemia. The stilbenoid’s estrogen-like effects could potentially be used to treat breast cancer and other serious illnesses. Studies conducted in vitro reveal cytotoxic effects against a variety of human tumor cell types, including lymphoid and myeloid malignancies. Finally, it seems to have a senolytic effect and slow down animal species’ aging processes.
Another naturally occurring flavonoid polyphenol known as fisetin can be found in trace amounts in a few fruits and vegetables. Compared to the majority of other antioxidants, such as resveratrol, the substance is still fairly unknown. Scientists have more recently become interested in it due to its potential for medicine. Studying the polyphenol’s senolytic impact, which is known for slowing animal aging and extending lifespans, is of particular interest. This antioxidant’s promising health benefits are made all the more interesting by the fact that polyphenol is categorized as a dietary supplement and is thus widely accessible to most individuals.
The algae Haematococcus pluvialis creates astaxanthin, a potent antioxidant that is thought to be up to ten times more effective than other carotenoids. This means that it may reduce inflammation and neurological disease while being particularly useful to the immune system and the cardiovascular system. It is bioavailable to the eye, brain, and central nervous system because it can pass the blood-brain barrier, and by doing so, it may reduce the oxidative stress that underlies ocular and neurodegenerative illnesses including glaucoma and Alzheimer’s.
A bioavailable precursor to cellular NAD levels is NMN (nicotinamide mononucleotide). All live cells in the body contain the necessary compound NAD, which is engaged in a number of vital biological processes. Our cellular NAD levels start to drop as we age, and as a result, our cells and organs begin to degenerate. According to recent scientific studies, raising cellular NAD levels can prevent age-related disorders and slow down the rate of aging. The key precursor that has been shown to be a successful booster for increasing cellular NAD levels is NMN. The seven sirtuins are activated by increasing NAD, and as we age, they accumulate DNA damage that needs to be repaired.
A Return to Our Dietary Roots
Today we find more and more evidence for the benefits of select dietary supplements for specific purposes. The purpose may be for athletics and fitness, living a healthy and long-life, or for supporting brain health and cognition. Increasingly people are looking for products that support and maintain health, as opposed to curing diseases after they have occurred. Often there are effective dietary supplements for this purpose, and generally with few side-effects. In this sense, we are back to where we started a century ago when people relied on supplements. Yet, at this time with a much better understanding of the various effects, benefits, and draw-backs of using dietary supplements. Not at least, we can rely on using a single supplement and not being fooled by formulas with unknown ingredients.