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Smart Basics May 1996 IntelliScope

One Per Meal Radical Shield

This month Smart Basics introduces the latest updated version of Durk Pearson & Sandy Shaw's unique state-of-the-art multivitamin/ multimineral formulation, ONE PER MEAL Radical Shield. The following is part one of our interview with Durk & Sandy as they discuss their new formula and shed light on some prevalent misconceptions concerning various antioxidants and their role in fighting free radical damage.

Jim: I'd like to start this discussion with some background on the design of your new ONE PER MEAL formula.

Durk: We originally formulated Personal Radical Shield for our own personal use, and in doing so we included all the important nutrients we thought necessary for the formula. What we ended up with was a supplement that was intended to be taken in the form of four capsules, three times a day with meals.

Eventually we discovered that some people were uncomfortable with the idea of taking 12 capsules per day and were skipping capsules, or only taking one or two servings per day. What they didn't understand was that this was not how the product was designed to be used.

You see, there are certain things that you want to take a lot of, like vitamin E and vitamin C, and there are a lot of other things you don't want to take too much of. You want to take a certain amount, and that's it. For example, copper. . .

Sandy: Generally, unlike vitamins, you don't want to take minerals in megadose amounts. Usually the RDA of things like copper are about right and you don't want to take a lot more than that.

Durk: Something like half the population is deficient in copper, and of course copper is used in a lot of enzymes, including the cytostolic super oxide dismutase.

Sandy: We designed Personal Radical Shield so that a person taking 12 capsules a day would get the RDA level or slightly more of certain minerals, like copper. People who were only taking 3 capsules a day were only getting a quarter of the amount we intended to be taken in a day.

Durk: That also applies to things like selenium. There's a good amount, but if you take several times that amount it's not good for you at all. The same sort of thing applies to manganese and a lot of the other minerals.

Sandy: When we found that some people only wanted to take 3 capsules per day we redesigned the formula so people would get just the right amount of minerals in just three capsules a day and as much of the other nutrients as we could stuff into three capsules. It turned out quite potent.

Durk: Yes, far, far more powerful than a one-per-day supplement. One Per Meal is what we refer to it as, and our slogan is to take One Per Meal when One Per Day just isn't enough. There is simply no way that you can take a one per day type of formulation and get the kind of protection that you read about in the scientific papers.

Sandy: Well it's not just that there's a limit to the total amount of material that you can stuff into one capsule, it's the fact that the water soluble nutrients are being excreted very rapidly so if you take them just once per day, you can't maintain high serum levels over the course of a day.

Jim: The water soluble nutrients reach their highest serum levels in about 4 to 5 hours and then drop rapidly to nothing.

Durk: That's right - for example, when you take vitamin C it reaches peak serum levels in about two to two and a half hours and it's down to about half peak in about five hours. You can get an idea of how fast many of the water soluble vitamins leave your blood stream and end up in your urine by taking a 25 mg. tablet of vitamin B-2. In half an hour your urine will be a bright fluorescent yellow, but in another four hours it's gone and your urine is back to the pale color it was before.

Sandy: There have been a number of changes in One Per Meal over the years. For example when we started out we had a fair amount of PABA (Para Aminobenzoic Acid) in the supplement. When we found out about Taurine, a sulfur containing antioxidant, we decided that it was more important to have a substantial amount of Taurine in the formula rather than a large amount of PABA, so we took out some of the PABA and put the taurine in place of it.

Durk: Yes, actually there have been quite a few changes over the years. The most recent one is that we've added quercetin which is a polyphenolic bioflavonoid that is a very strong antioxidant . . .

Sandy: And a very powerful anti-carcinogenic . . .

Durk: Yes, in animal experiments it really reduces the incidence of gut cancers and skin cancers. It's also a very good agent for chelating heavy metals. The amount of quercetin we have in each capsule is about the amount that a person on a diet rich in grains and vegetables would get per day. This is not to say that you should forget about eating your veggies and grains and just take your One Per Meal Radical Shield because there are other important protective nutrients in vegetables and grains as well.

Sandy: Our supplement gives you the opportunity to get an additional amount of certain nutrients that you find in foods without having to eat excessive amounts of those foods that contain the nutrients you're interested in. You get the protective benefits of specific nutrients without them being diluted with all the other unwanted stuff in food, including unwanted calories.

Jim: The problem is that people rarely eat a proper diet to begin with. Just go to your local grocery store and glance at what shoppers fill their grocery carts with.

Sandy: That's right - only about 10% of the American public actually eats the recommended five or more servings of fresh fruits and vegetables a day. I think one of the interesting things about formulating a nutrient supplement that is designed as a health maintenance or health enhancement formulation, like the One Per Meal, is to consider that the antioxidants that are contained in the formula all do different things.

A lot of people have gotten the wrong idea about antioxidants, thinking that if you can put together a supplement that contains a lot of antioxidants it's just the same thing as another formula that has a bunch of antioxidants. Many people mistakenly think that antioxidants are pretty much the same and do pretty much the same thing and can be substituted for one another. This isn't true at all. Antioxidants do very different things and it is very important to have a good variety of antioxidants that work together in the proper ratios.

Durk: For example if you have a cell membrane with some polyunsaturated fats in there and a free radical comes along - it could be from mitochondrial metabolism, it could be from a cosmic ray, it could be from a whole lot of different things. Now the free radical could be taken up by the tocopherol (vitamin E) and thereby turn it into a tocopherol radical. Now this is a dangerous free radical, but it's nowhere near as dangerous as the hydroxyl radical that it just soaked up. Vitamin C then comes along in the form of an ascorbate ion and regenerates the tocopherol radical back into tocopherol, vitamin E. Now you have an ascorbyl radical, which is less dangerous than a tocopherol radical and far less dangerous than the hydroxyl radical, but it's still a bad thing to have around.

Sandy: Then you have glutathione peroxidase which regenerates the ascorbyl radical back into vitamin C.

Durk: We need the selenium dependent enzyme glutathione peroxidase, for example, which can regenerate the ascorbyl radical back to ascorbate, and so you really need to have a series of antioxidants. Remember what a free radical is - it's an atom or molecule with an unpaired electron. Electrons like to go around in pairs for reasons of symmetry in space-time and it's effects on quantum mechanics. What that means is that in order to get rid of a free radical you basically have to match it up with another free radical. And since there's not that many of them around, assuming that the concentration isn't that high or you'd be as dead as a door nail, that means that you have to stabilize that free radical.

Sandy: That's right, and particular antioxidants quench particular free radicals. You can't just throw in any antioxidant and expect it to scavenge a hydroxyl radical, for example.

Durk: And what you need is a step-like chain of reactions where every time an unpaired electron is passed from one molecule to another, it's passed downhill in terms of the energy that's available. The free radical becomes less and less energetic at each step, becoming more and more stable. Finally you end up at the bottom of the energy chain after you've absorbed all the energy from that free radical and it just goes away when you finally pair it up with another low-energy, relatively stable free radical.

Sandy: This way you've drained the excess energy and eliminated the free radical. But if you're missing just one of the antioxidants required in that particular chain then you may not really be doing yourself a whole lot of good with all the other antioxidants that you've added to your diet, because you've got a block, or too little of a particular antioxidant that's needed in order to complete the chain and eliminate the free radical.

Durk: Think of it as having one of those old anarchist bombs, the round cannonball with the burning fuse sticking out of it. Picture yourself throwing a lit bomb into a river rapids, and it goes bouncing down the rapids a step at a time. As it bounces down from one cascade to another the powder in the bomb gets wetter and wetter and finally the whole thing is completely quenched and won't go off.

Jim: Let me ask you about some specific antioxidants in your One Per Meal Radical Shield. I noticed that you've increased the vitamin E in this updated formula from 150 iu to 200 iu per three capsules.

Durk: Yes, we increased the vitamin E, based upon epidemiological studies in human beings, to provide the sort of cardiovascular protection that the epidemiological studies suggest can be obtained. There is no study which shows that you get any protection at 50 units of vitamin E per day, yet that level is already beyond anything that you're able to get from a natural diet.

Sandy: Of course taking 50 units of vitamin E per day will prevent the dire deficiency syndrome that you can get with really low dietary vitamin E, just as taking as little as 10 milligrams of vitamin C a day can prevent scurvy in some people.

That's fine, but that's hardly the amount of vitamin C you should be taking for a good supplement.

Jim: So you're differentiating between the minimal amount of a particular antioxidant that's required to avoid the onset of a deficiency disease versus the higher amount of antioxidant that may be required to obtain a maximal level of protection as evidenced from human studies.

Durk: Yes, there's a tremendous difference between the two levels. You won't get a vitamin E deficiency disease until you're below 15 units per day, or maybe as little as 5 units per day, for an extended period of time. But to get a statistically significant reduction in cardiovascular disease, based on the results of epidemiological studies and a recent double-blind placebo controlled intervention study, you need to have considerably more. Studies show that above 100 units per day you start getting very substantial cardiovascular protection.

Sandy: In the case of something like vitamin E, if you're waiting for what some might consider to be the Gold Standard of evidence, a double blind placebo controlled study showing that vitamin E reduces cardiovascular death, that sort of thing is very unlikely to happen. What we have to rely upon are human epidemiological studies, animal studies, and short-term studies in humans looking at risk factors for cardiovascular disease, like oxidized LDL (low density lipoprotein) and mechanistic studies that detail the mechanisms that put people at risk for cardiovascular disease, and how vitamin E effects those factors.

On the basis of this kind of evidence there simply can be no doubt that vitamin E reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease very significantly in humans. There's no way now that you could ethically take a very large population of people and require them not to take any vitamin E supplements for some 10 or 15 years so you could get a long term study on vitamin E and it's effects on cardiovascular disease where you compare the number of deaths that occur in people who take vitamin E and those who don't. You just can't ethically do a study like that.

Durk: On the other hand you could argue that it would be ethically possible to do a study comparing say 200 iu per day to 800 iu per day to see if there's a significant difference between the two.

Sandy: That's actually an area where more information is needed, on the exact dosage that provides most people with the optimal level of protection. That is something that isn't known very accurately at this time.

Durk: One could take 12 capsules per day of our Personal Radical Shield, or optionally even 16 capsules, and get1,200 units per day of vitamin E. Though this is much higher than the 200 units in our One Per Meal Radical Shield it doesn't mean that you're getting 6 times the protection. What appears to be the case is that the degree of protection rises with the log of the dose rather than linearly. So what that means is that taking 12 capsules per day does not give you four times as much protection as taking three capsules per day.

Jim: Could you take a minute and offer your opinion regarding the debate over natural vitamin E versus synthetic vitamin E? We occasionally speak with clients with a preference for the natural form of vitamin E and I know you prefer to use the synthetic dl-alpha tocopherol acetate in your formulations.

Durk: When people speak of `natural' vitamin E it's really a misnomer because plants primarily produce a mixture of delta, beta and gamma tocopherols, particularly soybeans, and soybean oil is the main source for most natural vitamin E on the market.

Sandy: These are the mixed tocopherols that you find naturally in vegetable oils.

Durk: What you find is that when you put vitamin E in mammals only the alpha tocopherol has any activity and the liver very rapidly destroys all the other tocopherols. So in fact what manufacturers do is to take the natural vitamin E mixed tocopherols and chemically alter them to turn them into the d-alpha tocopherol, and that of course is just fine. However here's the problem that we have with the natural vitamin E. It doesn't have to do with the chemicals used in the conversion, because they know what those are, they're very nasty, but they can clean those up quite adequately.

Sandy: And we agree that they should convert the beta, gamma and delta tocopherols into alpha tocopherol because that is the biologically active form of vitamin E in mammals.

Durk: The problem is that for practical reasons you can't start out with 100% pure mixed tocopherols to put into the conversion process. You have a lot of other things in the mix, including plant steroids, basically what's left over after the soybean oil has been fractionated and distilled. This residue is stuff that doesn't get removed by the distilling process, leaving a bunch of gunk, and this gunk has things in it that produce, for example, estrogenic activity. It also includes compounds that alter blood clotting. If you take a look at scientific experiments that have been performed with this so-called natural vitamin E . . .

Sandy: Most of the studies have been conducted with synthetic vitamin E.

Durk: Right, but studies have been done with the natural vitamin E and if you look at the studies where trouble occurred at high doses, for example problems with sperm counts, or problems with clotting abnormalities, either too much clotting or too little, they occurred in the studies with natural vitamin E. Vitamin E should not cause too much clotting, but the thing is that there are impurities in natural vitamin E that apparently did because at 1,000 to 3,000 units per day of the so-called natural vitamin E, some of those experiments did show adverse results.

However those adverse results did not occur with the synthetic dl-alpha tocopherol acetate we get from Hoffmann LaRoche, which is very, very pure. In fact, let me just say that the highest dose human experiment that I know of with vitamin E was performed by Hoffman LaRoche with LaRoche vitamin E with a group of medical students.

Sandy: It was a toxicological study.

Durk: It was a 10 month test at 55,000 iu per day, and what they found was that while some people had headaches and other people had upset stomachs, virtually everybody had tacky skin. The vitamin E was literally oozing out of their skin and making it sticky.

Sandy: There were no problem changes in physiological measurements.

Durk: There were no liver enzyme elevations, which have been observed with the so-called natural vitamin E in very high doses. There were no abnormalities in clotting either, of either too big a delay in clotting or accelerating in the clotting, both of which have been reported in very high dose natural vitamin E.

Sandy: So what it comes down to is that if you're going to just be taking the RDA (Recommended Daily Allowance), 15 units of vitamin E per day, you're really unlikely to run into any problems with the use of natural vitamin E . . .

Durk: Or even 50 or 100 units per day. The thing is that once you get into really high levels, like 1,000 units a day or so, then I think you really need to ask yourself "How pure is the stuff I'm taking?" Purity counts a lot because it's the dosage that makes the poison. If a person receives a small amount of carbon monoxide, say 1 part per million in the atmosphere, it's not going to do a damn thing to them. On the other hand if they get 100 parts per million in the atmosphere they're going to die in an hour.

Sandy: It is known from a number of studies that the natural vitamin E is taken up by the body and incorporated in the tissues that use vitamin E better than the synthetic vitamin E. However, you can compensate for that by taking a little more of the synthetic vitamin E and that takes care of that issue.

Durk: Vitamin E is measured in International Units (IU) and there's a difference in what the International Unit is for synthetic vitamin E versus the natural. It's about a 10% difference between the two. This is based on the biological effects of vitamin E from about 20 different in vivo animal test systems. They average the results - sometimes one may be 20% better than the other, sometimes 5% better, and another one may even go the other way - and they established the IU for each form of vitamin E.

One interesting thing which is going to be happening in the near future is that Hoffmann LaRoche is developing a way of making very pure synthetic d-alpha tocopherol acetate, and as soon as this is commercially available we will be switching all of our formulas over to that form.

Once again, Hoffmann LaRoche is very, very picky about purity. I don't know of anybody else's vitamin E that has been tested for 10 months in human beings at 55,000 iu per day. That's the equivalent of taking a little bit more than 2 ounces of pure vitamin E per day.

Sandy: That was not a test to determine what beneficial health effects you could get from taking vitamin E, but it was purely a toxicological study to see what possible problems there could be with vitamin E in large doses, and that was an incredibly large dose.

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