THE SEARCH FOR A CURE-ALL PRODUCT – OXIDATIVE STRESS TO THE RESCUE
For centuries the people of South-Western Nigeria depended on a herbal extract to cure diseases of diverse origin, including Anemia, Sickle Cell Anemia, Arthritis, Stroke, Hypertension, Diabetes, Infertility, Malaria, Cardiovascular diseases, HIV/AIDS, Leukemia, Multiple Myeloma, Breast Cancer, Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, Lupus, neurological diseases etc. This remedy was handed over by their forefathers from generation to generation. Scientists would ordinarily dismiss this claim as it was difficult to substantiate with credible evidence. The main ingredient for the preparation of this medicinal product is the special Sorghum bicolor leaf sheath which is only available at a particular location in Nigeria.
It has taken more than 20 years to unravel the mystery behind this miraculous herbal remedy. I had a strong resolve to pursue this mystery scientifically and only in recent times I am having a clue that would be accepted as credible. In the series of blogs that would follow, I will explain the various stages of the development of this product and show how almost all diseases have a common factor known as OXIDATIVE STRESS.
WHAT IS OXIDATIVE STRESS?
Oxidative stress is defined as a disturbance in the balance between the production of reactive oxygen species (free radicals) and antioxidant defenses
Oxidative stress happens when the pro-oxidants are in excess of anti-oxidants and the destruction of human cells lays the foundation for the development of all diseases like Anemia, Anemia, Sickle Cell Anemia, Arthritis, Stroke, Hypertension, Diabetes, Infertility, Malaria, Cardiovascular diseases, HIV/AIDS, Leukemia, Multiple Myeloma, Breast Cancer, Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, Lupus, neurological diseases etc.
Oxidative Stress (OS) is a general term used to describe the steady state level of oxidative damage in a cell, tissue, or organ, caused by thereactive oxygen species(ROS). This damage can affect a specific molecule or the entire organism. Reactive oxygen species, such as free radicals and peroxides, represent a class of molecules that are derived from the metabolism of oxygen and exist inherently in all aerobic organisms.
There are several sources by which the reactive oxygen species are generated. Most reactive oxygen species come from the endogenous sources as by-products of normal and essential metabolic reactions, such as energy generation from mitochondria or the detoxification reactions involving theliver cytochrome P-450 enzyme system. Exogenous sources include exposure to cigarette smoke, environmental pollutants such as emission from automobiles and industries, consumption of alcohol in excess, asbestos, exposure to ionizing radiation, and bacterial, fungal or viral infections.
The level of oxidative stress is determined by the balance between the rate at which oxidative damage is induced (input) and the rate at which it is efficiently repaired and removed (output). The rate at which damage is caused is determined by how fast the reactive oxygen species are generated and then inactivated by endogenous defense agents called antioxidants. The rate at which damage is removed is dependent on the level of repair enzymes.
The determinants of oxidative stress are regulated by an individual’s unique hereditary factors, as well as his/her environment and characteristic lifestyle. Unfortunately, under the present day life-style conditions many people run an abnormally high level of oxidative stress that could increase their probability of early incidence of decline in optimum body functions.
Your body constantly reacts with oxygen as you breathe and your cells produce energy. As a consequence of this activity, highly reactive molecules are produced known as free radicals.
Free radicals interact with other molecules within cells. This can cause oxidative damage to proteins, membranes and genes.
Oxidative damage has been implicated in the cause of many diseases, such as cancer and Alzheimer’s and has an impact on the body’s aging process.
External factors, such as pollution, sunlight and smoking, also trigger the production of free radicals.
Working to protect the body on a cellular level
To counteract oxidative stress, the body produces an armoury of antioxidants to defend itself. It’s the job of antioxidants to neutralise or ‘mop up’ free radicals that can harm our cells.
Your body’s ability to produce antioxidants (its metabolic process) is controlled by your genetic makeup and influenced by your exposure to environmental factors, such as diet and smoking.
Changes in our lifestyles, which include more environmental pollution and less quality in our diets, mean that we are exposed to more free radicals than ever before.
We know it’s a bad thing for the body, and doctors tell us to eat lots of antioxidant fruits and vegetables. But how does oxidation happen anyway?
We need oxygen for life. Our lungs take it in, and a complex network of capillaries and alveoli enable red blood cells to acquire the oxygen and deliver it throughout the body. But, as oxygen is used in various processes, tiny electrons can break off. These unpaired electrons are called free radicals. Think of them as the waste product of cellular processes.
There are some processes where free radicals are actually a good thing – for instance, to kill bad bacteria in certain immune system functions. But, generally free radicals are not helpful. They bounce around hitting cells and causing damage, sometimes even breaking off portions of DNA. The grand sum of this cellular damage is at the root of many health conditions including cardiovascular challenges, poor immune response, and even the appearance of wrinkles on the skin. This is the cumulative wear and tear that results from simply living life. Oxidation is also aggravated by stress, environmental factors, and poor diet.
The effects can be tempered though, through a diet and supplement program rich in antioxidants. Just like it sounds, an antioxidant is a substance that naturally combats oxidation. Antioxidants are substances that bind up the stray electrons and render them harmless. Antioxidant foods and dietary supplements are rated using the ORAC scale, which is a measure of the substance’s ability to absorb free radicals. When compared to other recommended antioxidant foods, Jobelyn boasts one of the highest food-source ORAC ratings known. That makes it a superior choice for antioxidant supplementation.
Applying the Science:
How Sorghum bicolor leaf extract helps specific conditions
Blood Cell Health
Jobelyn provides strong antioxidant support for red blood cells. Understanding the oxidation process, it’s easy to see how red blood cells might be particularly vulnerable to the damaging effects of oxygen radicals. Red blood cells are the body’s oxygen carriers. In the course of their 120-day lifespan, they are constantly in contact with this double-edged sword – the element that we require for life, which is also the origin of oxidation. Adding to the challenge is the fact that mature red blood cells do not have a nucleus, so they cannot produce new proteins in response to oxidative damage. One way to support red blood cell health is to prevent oxidation through strong antioxidant supplementation.
Antioxidant supplementation is especially important for people whose red blood cell health is compromised due to anemia, including Sickle Cell Disease. Recent scientific studies have looked specifically at the effects of Jobelyn on anemia and found that it effectively increases packed cell volume (PCV – the sheer number of blood cells) and hemoglobin concentration (Hb – an indicator of red blood cell health). Preliminary human clinical research in Nigeria has confirmed these results, showing some beneficial effects after just a week of supplementation and significant improvements for 102 of 113 patients after 6 weeks.8
In the case of Sickle Cell Disease, not only does Jobelyn help in its antioxidant activity, but its anti-inflammatory properties may be of benefit too. Some researchers believe that sickle red cells can provoke inflammation throughout the circulatory system because the deformed cells physically hinder smooth blood flow. Jobelyn works both at the level of protecting the red blood cells from oxidation and on the level of protecting the circulatory system from the inflammation state that can create even more free radicals. This herbal remedy cuts off the cycle of oxidation and inflammation that aggravates sickle cells. While it can’t cure the physical shape and structure of the sickle cells, it can lessen the damage and effects of the cell deformity.
Seeing how helpful Jobelyn is for the stressed circulatory system in Sickle Cell Disease patients, it’s a small step to recognize how helpful it is for cardiovascular health in general. The medical community now views free radical oxidation and ongoing inflammation as primary contributors to heart disease, cholesterol build-up, and arteriosclerosis (severe thickening and hardening of artery walls).
Just as red blood cells are exposed to lots of free radicals, so are heart and blood vessel cells. Heart cells also have the added stress of being involved in constant contraction. This muscle activity produces plenty of free radicals as a byproduct. Antioxidant protection is vital for the cardiovascular system.
Not only do antioxidants prevent damage to individual cells, they can also prevent the breakdown of nitric oxide (NO). NO is a gas naturally produced in the cardiovascular system, which helps promote relaxation and expansion of the blood vessels. By supporting NO, antioxidant supplementation can enhance blood flow. This explains why Jobelyn has been found to enhance circulation.
The cardiovascular system also benefits from Jobelyn’s anti-inflammatory effects. Fatty plaque build-up in blood vessels often occurs due to low-grade inflammation and irritation throughout the vessel walls. This inflammation makes it easier for cholesterol particles to stick to the lining of the blood vessels. Reducing inflammation can actually lower the incidence of atherosclerosis (fatty plaque deposits) and coronary events.
Just as oxidation and inflammation are at the core of blood cell and cardiovascular health threats, this troublesome duo is also involved in causing joint degeneration and pain. The intricate connective tissue and surfaces of our joints are under constant challenge from daily use. Ongoing wear and tear, along with occasional injury, result in plenty of free radical production and inflammation. Without antioxidant support and balancing of the inflammation process, the result can be achy joints and limited range of motion.
We’ve touched on the role of Jobelyn as a powerful antioxidant and a very selective COX-2 inhibitor. Jobelyn has also demonstrated an ability to inhibit the release of pro-inflammatory proteins called cytokines. We learned how the combination of anti-inflammatory and antioxidant support results in dramatic improvements for the cardiovascular system. The same benefits can improve joint health too.
In the joints, inflammation and oxidation create a self-reinforcing cycle. Inflammation creates oxygen free radicals as a byproduct, which can in turn cause more damage, which creates more inflammation, and so the cycle goes. Sorghum leaf sheath extract, which provides both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects, has been found to bring a dynamic end to this cycle.
A reduction in inflammation and pain means more range of motion and the freedom to work the joint and build strength. Strength-building through physical therapy helps prevent future injury. By ending a damaging pain cycle, Jobelyn has been found to begin a positive cycle of improving joint health especially when combined with an appropriate exercise program.
Immune System Response
It takes a little more explanation to understand how Jobelyn supports the immune system. As with the case of red blood cell health, we need to drop down to a cellular and molecular level and think very small. It’s the antioxidant activity that is most vital for immune system support. Specifically, the extract provides components for the body to build its own super antioxidant: glutathione peroxidase.
The body creates glutathione and uses it for several protective tasks including protecting certain immune system cells called CD4 T-lymphocytes. Glutathione contains selenium and three amino acids (cystein, glutamine, and tryptophan). Jobelyn contains all three of these amino acids, providing the body with some major building blocks of glutathione.
Scientists believe this explains some astounding research coming out of Africa right now. In a preliminary human clinical study involving HIV-positive patients, Jobelyn supplementation improved compromised CD4 cell counts (30-300/1) by 200-300%. Those with initial CD4 counts greater than 300 also saw an increase of 20-30%. The increase in cellular immunity occurred regardless of whether the patient was taking other antiretroviral drugs.
Jobelyn is incredibly beneficial for the immune system when the body is under one of the heaviest attacks imaginable. It makes sense that the herbal would be helpful as a general immune system boost for anyone in fine health. Its effects appear to be moderated too; meaning it won’t make the immune system become overactive. That’s why we see such a dramatic increase for those with very compromised CD4 counts and a moderated increase for those who had higher initial counts. So, Jobelyn is a safe immune support supplement whether you’re looking for a little extra help during cold and flu season, or if you’re facing a much more daunting immune system challenge.
We have researched to find scientific evidence to support the role of oxidative stress in many diseases to buttress the assertion that Jobelyn, being one of the most powerful natural antioxidants has a prominent role to play in maintaining wellness and treating of many diseases.
We present to you a book that dealt exhaustively with this subject matter and hope you will enjoy reading through it.
Oxidative Stress and Diseases
Edited by Volodymyr I. Lushchak and Dmytro V. Gospodaryov, ISBN 978-953-51-0552-7, 624 pages, Publisher: InTech, Chapters published April 25, 2012 under CC BY 3.0 license
The development of hypothesis of oxidative stress in the 1980s stimulated the interest of biological and biomedical sciences that extends to this day. The contributions in this book provide the reader with the knowledge accumulated to date on the involvement of reactive oxygen species in different pathologies in humans and animals. The chapters are organized into sections based on specific groups of pathologies such as cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, cancer, neuronal, hormonal, and systemic ones. A special section highlights potential of antioxidants to protect organisms against deleterious effects of reactive species. This book should appeal to many researchers, who should find its information useful for advancing their fields.