Recent research supports the effects of natural ingredients, including black pepper fruits extract to increase mitochondrial function and Terminalia bellerica to reduce serum uric acid levels, while researchers further explore the heart and brain health effects of tocotrienols.

Rachel French

June 29, 2016

4 Min Read
Research: Healthy Effects of Black Pepper Fruits Extract, Tocotrienols, Terminalia Bellerica

Recent research supports the effects of natural ingredients, including black pepper fruits extract to increase mitochondrial function and Terminalia bellerica to reduce serum uric acid levels, while researchers further explore the heart and brain health effects of tocotrienols.

A recent human clinical study by the University of Georgia Department of Kinesiology found resveratrol fortified with black pepper fruits extract (as BioPerine® by Sabinsa) increased mitochondrial function. The study was conducted on participants who ingested a combo of resveratrol and BioPerine for four weeks with moderate exercise. Near infrared spectroscopy was used to study the mitochondrial capacity of wrist flexor muscle of one arm while the other arm served as the control. Results showed skeletal muscle mitochondrial performance increased with consumption of resveratrol (500 mg) and BioPerine (10 mg). The double-blind study was published in Applied Physiology, Nutrition and Metabolism.

Researchers at Ohio State University Medical Center, in collaboration with the Malaysian Palm Oil Board, initiated the “NUTRITION" (Natural Tocotrienol Against Ischemic Stroke Event) Phase II B human clinical trial using EVNol SupraBio™ full spectrum palm tocotrienol complex from ExcelVite Inc.

The NUTRITION Phase I human clinical trial began in 2012 and aimed to evaluate the efficacy of a patented and bio-enhanced natural full spectrum tocotrienols in platelet function and blood lipid profile in ischemic stroke event. Upon obtaining significant and positive findings from the NUTRITION Phase I trial, researchers started the Phase II B trial to determine the blood thinning and cholesterol lowering properties of palm tocotrienol complex in stroke or mini-stroke (transient ischemic attack, TIA) survivors who are taking standard treatment for the prevention of recurrent stroke. Blood thinning effect or platelet aggregation activity, and cholesterol will be measured using established and recognized clinical laboratory procedures. Approximately 300 patients who have had an ischemic stroke or TIA event within six months and meet predefined inclusion and exclusion criteria are enrolled in the clinical study. These patients are then randomized and divided into three groups to receive placebo, 400 mg or 800 mg tocotrienol capsules for up to one year.

A standardized aqueous extract of Terminalia bellerica (as Ayuric® by Natreon), significantly reduced serum uric acid levels in subjects with hyperuricemia, according to a clinical study recently published in Clinical Pharmacology: Advances and Applications

Asymptomatic hyperuricemia is common and serum uric acid levels greater than 10 mg/dL may lead to symptoms of gout, a form of inflammatory arthritis. Hyperuricemia is caused by an overproduction or under excretion of uric acid, and is not only a risk factor for renal disease progression, but may also affect patient survival by inducing or aggravating cardiovascular disease. Due to the increasing prevalence of gout and the adverse effects associated with prescription gout medications, consumers are searching for a natural alternative to help lower serum uric acid levels.

The randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study evaluated the effects of Ayuric, a natural xanthine oxidase inhibitor, and the prescription gout medication febuxostat on uric acid levels in 88 subjects with hyperuricemia. Subjects were randomized to receive Ayuric 250 mg twice daily, 500 mg twice daily, febuxostat 40 mg once daily (with a placebo dose given in the evening), and placebo for 24 weeks. The primary outcome measure of the study was the absolute change in serum uric acid levels from baseline to the end of 24 weeks of treatment. Secondary outcome measures included the percentage of subjects whose serum uric acid levels have decreased to < 6.0mg/dL and measurements of tolerability following treatment at the end of 24 weeks. At the end of 24 weeks, the mean percentage decrease in serum uric acid levels with Ayuric was dose dependent at 28 percent in the 500 mg group (p<0.001) and 14 percent in the 250 mg group, while febuxostat decreased uric acid levels by 48 percent. The reduction in serum uric acid levels in the Ayuric group was observed as early as four weeks after starting therapy and maximum results were seen after four months. With the placebo group, there was an increase of 7 percent in uric acid levels. 

The percentage of subjects who achieved the target serum uric acid level &#8804; 6 mg/dL at the end of 24 weeks was the secondary outcome measure.  All the subjects in the febuxostat group achieved the target serum uric acid level, whereas 88 percent of the Ayuric 500 mg group reached this target.  Measurement of tolerability was assessed at the end of 24 weeks as "good" because no serious side effects were observed in either of the study groups. (Visit the Natreon Global Storefront to learn more.)   

About the Author(s)

Rachel French

Rachel French joined Informa’s Health & Nutrition Network in 2013. Her career in the natural products industry started with a food and beverage focus before transitioning into her role as managing editor of Natural Products Insider, where she covered the dietary supplement industry. French left Informa Markets in 2019, but continues to freelance for both FBI and NPI.

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