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By Ted Waszkuc, NOW Quality Control Dept.
Brain Elevate capsules, a NOW Foods product designed to enhance cognitive performance, contains nutrients believed to be involved specifically in brain cell function. Ginkgo Biloba, Glutamine, Choline and Huperzine may all help to improve memory, especially among the elderly. Another powerful brain nutrient, Phosphatidylserine, is a naturally occurring phospholipid and a building block for brain cell membrane, which is essential for normal neuronal function.
Phospholipids, the main constituents of cellular membranes, play a crucial role in assuring proper cell function. The phospholipids of cellular membranes generally contain unsaturated fatty acids with cis double bond configurations that help to maintain proper fluidity of the membrane. Fluidity of a membrane significantly affects its permeability and facilitates movement of molecules within the membrane, as well as the transfer of nutrients into and out of the cell.
To maintain healthy cell membrane status, the structure of unsaturated fatty acids within the phospholipid bilayer should be preserved. Unfortunately, in biological systems, free radicals generated during normal oxygen metabolism attack primarily unsaturated double bonds of lipid molecules. The resultant chemical transformations of lipid free-radical oxidation cause changes in cell membrane phospholipids that adversely effect membrane fluidity, leading to increased cellular dysfunction and accelerated aging.
RoseOx, another ingredient included in the Brain Elevate formulation, is a lipid soluble extract from the leaves of the Rosemary plant (Rosemarinus officinalis L) standardized to contain a minimum of 6% Carnosic Acid, a potent antioxidant. As a phenolic diterpene, Carnosic Acid owes its strong antioxidant activity to the presence of the o-phenolic hydroxyl groups (two hydroxyl groups connected to adjacent carbon atoms) in its molecular structure. O-phenolic antioxidants can readily quench the harmful radicals by donating a hydrogen atom to the lipid peroxide free radical. As a highly effective antioxidant, Carnosic Acid is transformed into Carnosol, another o-phenolic diterpene with a somewhat lower antioxidant activity. Carnosol in turn, acting as an antioxidant, gives rise to Rosmanol with still lower antioxidant power. This multi-step process, known in biological systems as the ?Carnosic Acid cascade,? involves series of chemical reactions wherein the free radicals are quenched.
Research has shown that RoseOx acts as a potent inhibitor for peroxidation of highly polyunsaturated fatty acids present in biological membranes. It is also one of the most effective inhibitors of the superoxide anion, more effective than flavonoids, which are well-known superoxide anion scavengers. Moreover, RoseOx antiradical activity has a special affinity to the mitochondrial membrane. Published research indicates that the RoseOx ? fed animals had fewer lipid peroxides in their mitochondrial membranes, while the amount of antioxidants in the membrane was significantly higher as compared to control.
There are practical challenges related to quantification of Carnosic acid, Carnosol and the other phenolic diterpenes. Carnosic Acid is a quite labile molecule, especially in hydrophilic media, is degradation being accelerated by light and high temperatures. To assure an accurate measurement of Carnosic Acid and Carnosol, considered as unwanted impurities in Brain Elevate capsules containing RoseOx, NOW Foods Quality Control group applies the HPLC method specifically designed to prevent the initiation of the Carnosic Acid cascade in analytical conditions. Special care is also be taken to maintain proper storage conditions, assuring the extended shelf life of this product.
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