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Posted by QGlobal Health Team / Stephen Kimberley, MD - Qsciences Chief Science Officer, Senior Editor WebMD - October 2014 on November 06, 2014
Qscience's Scientific Formulation Process
Stephen Kimberley, MD - Qsciences Chief Science Officer, Senior Editor WebMD
At Qsciences, we take great effort to create products that are not just good, but ground-breakingly superior to what has come before in the world of combination nutritional supplements. This is what you deserve, and what we are committed to delivering. This means thinking outside the box and utilizing absolutely all our knowledge and capabilities to produce supplements that combine the best possible ingredients in the optimum dosage combinations. In this article, I will shine a light on our scientific process, so that you might better understand the revolutionary thinking and meticulous care we use in formulating each supplement. Along the way, I fill focus on two of the fascinating and miraculous herbal components of we have selected for our products as examples.
The time has come for the next frontier in herb and micronutrient therapy. Most of the supplements I see use a very tired set of herbs etc, and the results are mediocre at best. There is no reason for this lack of innovation, as the expansion in global communication has opened up new areas of plant-based therapies, and there are many "new" options available using some remarkable herbs that have been used traditionally to heal and enhance by niche cultures for millennia. One of the barriers to innovative formulation is the relative lack of clinical studies on nutritional supplements. In fact, other than the 25 studies of Qscience's Q96 mineral and vitamin formula, there are very few, if any, articles in peer-reviewed scientific journals that investigate the benefits of a "combination" supplement. There are lots of articles on individual components however, and while we still have a long way to go, we can build on reasonable assumptions when combining these ingredients. That being said, the number of herbs and nutraceuticals that have been studied for effectiveness is small compared to those available. The good news is that there is lots of information on the chemical compounds present in most herbs, and this can be used to plan and predict the effects of a particular combination.
Recently I had the opportunity to put my experience and knowledge to work in formulating a caffeine-free version of our popular Qssential's Qvitals Men's and Women's herb and amino acid energy supplement. The original version contained 8 potent and proven adaptogenic herbs combined with quercitin (bioflavenoid), N-acetyl-cysteine, and tyrosine amino acids. As some have objections to caffeine for one reason or another, removing the caffeine components (green coffee, green tea, guarana) was something that would make QVitals an attractive option for a much broader group of people. In so doing, I was now left with some room to experiment and enhance - how exciting!
When granted this task I immediately started searching for potential candidates to replace these herbs - components that would deliver a solid and reliable energy boost, while also serving to improve overall health and a sense of well-being. Key to this process is the blend, as combining herbs is both an art and a science, and certain herbs could detract from the formula, while others could supercharge it - magnifying and balancing the effects of the other ingredients. The other factors to consider are the form (dry herb, extract, etc) and the dosage, as that must be precise. The proper dose means avoiding an overload of one or more ingredients, as that may cause negative side effects and not deliver the results we are looking for. Bear in mind that I have selected potent herbs that contain more than one active ingredient, so I am ever mindful of the overall effects on the mood, mind, and physical energies so crucial to the goal of sustained well-being.
When we were formulating our original Qvitals herb/amino acid formula we used a stellar set of tonic herbs, and even without the caffeine components, so selecting the right herbs in the right dosage was key in producing a superior caffeine-free energy tonic blend. As such, the first herb I chose for its energizing effect was the Amazonian herb Suma (Muira Puama), as this herb blocks the breakdown of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. Low acetylcholine levels are seen in Alzheimer's dementia. Higher levels in the brain are linked to better cognitive function and elevated mood, and clinical studies have shown that it rapidly improves memory and mental function.
The Amazonian indigenous communities use muira puama roots for treating various central nervous system conditions, including those associated with aging. Muira puama has been found to in young and aged mice prompt by elevating acetylcholine activity in memory relevant brain areas, such as the frontal cortex, hippocampus and striatum . These are crucial brain areas for information processing and emotional balance. This complemented the effects of the tyrosine, rhodiola, Siberian ginseng, and other herbs in the Qvitals blend that enhance dopamine, serotonin, and adrenalin. Now we had all the neurotransmitter bases covered!
We still had room for one more blockbuster herb, and after much research I found it! Zembrin, the dried extract of Sceletium tortuosum, has proven to be the best single herb ingredient I have ever encountered in 40 years of research and experimentation. The leaves of the plant were traditionally dried and chewed by the indigenous people of South Africa to provide a feeling of relaxation and well-being. Not only was there solid science behind this herb, including clinical studies, but it has a broad mechanism of action as a potent serotonin and adrenalin booster as well as a PDE-5 inhibitor. PDE-5 inhibitors, such as sildenafil (Viagra) increase nitric oxide levels in the blood, which improves general mood and blood circulation in the brain and other tissues by relaxing blood vessels. This effect has been shown to improve cardiac blood flow and reduce prostate enlargement.
Combining Qvitals with the arginine in Q10-Plus in Qsciences Qssentials packs, along with the citrulline in QAminos further increases circulating nitric oxide. Enhancing nitric oxide levels in the blood has been shown to have a wide range of health benefits, and as we age nitric oxide levels decrease considerably. Higher levels can be achieved by these supplements and this helps increase strength, stamina, immune response, and organ tissue resilience. It also acts to reduce cortisol, the stress hormone, and lower blood pressure with considerable improvements in heart health.
Zembrin has been shown to have profound stress-relieving, anti-anxiety and antidepressant properties, due primarily to the dual effects on nitric oxide and neurotransmitter metabolism. Clinical studies have shown that this potent dry extract of Sceletium tortuosum is safe, non-addictive and remarkably free of side effects. It is extremely beneficial in all forms of depression, and improvements can generally be felt within a few days, and it is now being used by forward-thinking psychiatrists for the treatment of severe clinical depression. As one would expect, combining it with a revolutionary foundational supplement such as Q96 only enhances this effect and provides a great deal of protection from developing mood disorders. People without mood disorders also benefit greatly, with a sense of relaxed alertness usually felt within an hour of taking it and with none of the "brain fog" they might experience with pharmaceutical antidepressants. The mood-enhancing properties of Sceletium tortuosum are due to various alkaloid chemicals that it contains, the most important of which are mesembrenone and mesembrine. These compounds help clear the mental processes by improving both brain blood flow and cellular metabolism. Women who are pregnant and people taking antidepressants of the rarely-used MAOI group should not use Zembrin.
These two wonderful herb additions really make caffeine-free Qvitals POP (purify, optimize and protect), with a reliable, smooth energy boost that makes life a little easier and a lot sweeter. My colleagues at Qsciences continue to support my decisions completely without concern for the costs of the ingredients, and since Zembrin costs $4,000 per kilo wholesale this is greatly appreciated! The value of the product, when considering the costs of each ingredient, is remarkable. Both forms of Qvitals blend synergistically with Q96, Qbiotics, Qomega and the other Qsciences products for unsurpassed results.
The world of herbal and nutritional supplements is vast indeed, but when you combine ingredients magic can occur - or not! Using scientific principles, careful research, and a spirit of enlightened adventure can yield fantastic results with far-reaching benefits to mental, physical, and emotional health. I am grateful for the opportunity at Qsciences to use what I have learned to help others gain optimal health. To climb the highest mountain, you need to prepare, strive hard, and never lose the vision of the glorious summit shining in the near-distance.
Ptychopetalum olacoides (Muira Puama), a traditional Amazonian "nerve tonic", possesses anticholinesterase activity. Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 2003.
- Simon Chiu MD PhD FRCP ( University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, Canada), et al.The effect of extract Sceletium tortuosum (Zembrin®), targeting Phosphodiesterase subtype-4 ( PDE-4 ), on cognitive function: a proof-of-concept randomized double-blind, single site, placebo-controlled cross-over study in healthy adults." 2012.
- Taddei S, Virdis A, Ghiadoni L, Salvetti G, Bernini G, Magagna A, Salvetti A. Age-related reduction of NO availability and oxidative stress in humans. Hypertension. 2001 Aug;38(2):274-9.
Guoyao WU, Morris SM. Arginine Metabolism: nitric oxide and beyond. Biochem J 1998; 336:1-17