Scientific white paper by John H. Maher, DC, DCCN, FAAIM, Vice President Education and Research – ©BioPharma Scientific, Inc. 2008

by John H. Maher, DC, DCCN, FAAIM
Vice President Education and Research
BioPharma Scientific, Inc

In June of 2002, an article from researchers from the Medical School and School of  Public Health at Harvard University agreed with a ever larger list of scientific experts who recognize the benefits of vitamins by stating in the June 19 issue of JAMA that “we recommend that all adults take one multivitamin daily.”

The researchers, Robert H. Fletcher, M.D., M.Sc., and Kathleen M. Fairfield, M.D., Dr.P.H., reviewed over three decades of English-language articles about vitamins in relation to chronic diseases and published their findings in two companion articles.1,2

The well known vitamin deficiency syndromes like beriberi and scurvy are uncommon in current Western societies. However, “suboptimal” defeciencies, though not descending to the level that elicit the classic signs and symptoms of deficiency syndromes, are common in the general population, especially in the elderly, and are now recognized as a risk factor for chronic diseases including coronary heart disease, cancer, and osteoporosis.

In their review of 9 vitamins they site as examples of such risk relationship:

Folate and vitamins B6 and B12 are required for homocysteine metabolism and are associated with coronary heart disease risk. Suboptimal levels of vitamins B6, B9 (folic acid), and B12, are a risk factor for not only for cardiovascular disease, but also neural tube defects, and colon and breast cancer as well.

Low levels of vitamin D contribute to osteopenia and fractures, and the falling associated with osteoporotic fractures; Vitamin D supplementation is recommended at a level of 400 IU daily, a common dose in multivitamins.  Fletcher and Fairfield note further, “The addition of calcium may be required to realize the beneficial effects of vitamin D in preventing fracture risk.”  

Low levels of the antioxidant vitamins (vitamins A, E, and C) may increase risk for several chronic diseases, such as AMD.  Vitamin E and lycopene may decrease the risk of prostate cancer.

With regard to B vitamins and CVD, the author’s surmise,  “Until results of trials provide more specific information on vitamin doses required to minimize homocysteine levels, recommending a daily multivitamin for most adults may be the most prudent approach.”

As regards vitamin E and CVD, the Harvard researchers  recognize that some clinical trials have failed to find a beneficial effect in people already at high risk for heart disease or in patients with known coronary artery disease. Nonetheless, they suggest that long term use of vitamin E may yet prove useful in the primary prevention of CVD.

As it  well known that most of us do not consume an optimal amount of all vitamins and minerals in our diets, even as we wait for yet stronger evidencence of effectiveness from randomized trials, Fletcher and Fairfield conclude, ” it appears prudent for all adults to take vitamin supplements”. The authors note that the elderly, vegans, alcohol-dependent individuals, and patients with malabsorption are at even higher risk of inadequate intake or absorption of several vitamins and minerals. Nonetheless, the warn that avoiding dangerous practices such as high doses of vitamin A during pregnancy or massive doses of fat-soluble vitamins at any age still need to be guarded against.

Annette Dickinson, Ph.D., vice president, scientific and regulatory affairs, Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN), and the author of “The Benefits of Nutritional Supplements” states “There is no question that the amount of scientific evidence in favor of consistent use of vitamins, particularly multivitamins, is formidable and must be taken seriously, both by the medical community and by those who create public policy.  As Drs. Fletcher and Fairfield also point out, most people do not get an optimal amount of nutrients by diet alone.  Supplements are a convenient and affordable way to bridge the nutrition gap.”  

More recently, in a study published in Archives of Internal Medicine, Nov 2006, researchers Bartali and Benedetta from Cornell University have linked low serum concentrations of selenium and vitamins B6 and B12 to age-related difficulties in conducting in daily activities, leading them to conclude that nutritional status is a key factor in helping people live an active life for longer.3

The study, entitled “Low micronutrient levels as a predictor of incident disability in older women”, defined disability in activities of daily living as self-reported difficulty in performing two or more activities such as bathing, dressing, toileting, transferring and eating.

Deficiencies in vitamins B6 and B12 cause hyper-homocysteinemia. “The association of high levels of homocysteine with oxidative stress, endothelial dysfunction, occlusive vascular diseases, and, in particular, with decline of cognitive function may explain, at least in part, our findings on the association of low concentrations of B6 and B12 with disability,” wrote the authors.

Selenium prevents cellular damage through seleno-protein antioxidant enzymes. “Low antioxidants may tip the balance between antioxidants and free radicals and allow increased oxidative stress,” wrote the authors. “This imbalance may lead to disability through dysregulation of cellular function and up-regulation of proinflammatory cytokines, muscle and neuronal damage, and the exacerbation of degenerative diseases.”

1) Vitamins for Chronic Disease Prevention in Adults Scientific Review  Kathleen M. Fairfield, MD,DrPH; Robert H. Fletcher, MD,MSc JAMA. 2002;287:3116-3126.

2) Vitamins for Chronic Disease Prevention in Adults Clinical Applications  Robert H. Fletcher, MD,MSc; Kathleen M. Fairfield, MD,DrPH JAMA. 2002;287:3127-3129

3) Bartali, Benedetta et al. “Low micronutrient levels as a predictor of incident disability in older women.” Archives of Internal Medicine. 2006; 166:2335-2340.

Omega 3 Fatty Acids

A report from the University of Maryland School of Medicine, Center for Integrative Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland declares that omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to significantly reduce the risk for sudden death caused by cardiac arrhythmias and all-cause mortality in patients with known coronary heart disease. It state sfurther that the omega-3 fatty acids are both antithrombotic and anti-inflammatory. As such they are used to treat hyperlipidemia, hypertension, and rheumatoid arthritis.

Fattty cold water fish and fish oil are rich sources of the omega-3 fatty acids EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid). Flaxseed, canola oil, and walnuts also are good dietary sources of omega-3 fatty acids, but they must be converted to EPA and DHA in the body. Humans do not do this efficiently, especially in the case of DHA.

EPA is considered most important for cardiovascular health and a balanced, appropriate inflammatory response. DHA is most important for nerve tissue, including the retina, and of note is high in breast milk in well nourished women.

The American Heart Association recommends consumption of two servings of fish per week for persons with no history of coronary heart disease and at least one serving of fish daily for those with known coronary heart disease. Approximately 1 g per day of eicosapentaenoic acid plus docosahexaenoic acid is recommended for cardioprotection. Higher dosages of fish oil omega-3 fatty acids are required to reduce elevated triglyceride levels (2 to 4 g per day) and to reduce morning stiffness and the number of tender joints in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (at least 3 g per day). Modest decreases in blood pressure occur with significantly higher dosages of omega-3 fatty acids. There are no significant drug interactions with omega-3 fatty acids.

Most fish oils contain 180 mg and 120 mg of EPA/DHA per gm, respectively. Newer products contain higher amounts per gram and can result in fewer tablets being needed.

In contrast, omega-6 fatty acids, which are present in most seeds, vegetable oils, and meat, are prothrombotic and proinflammatory. Nutritionists recommend a maximum of a 4 to 1 ratio of omega 6 to omega 3 fatty acids in the diet. Estimates are that the standard american diet has a ratio as high as 40 to 1!

Therefore it should be of little surprise that “many of the placebo-controlled trials of fish oil in chronic inflammatory diseases reveal significant benefit, including decreased disease activity and a lowered use of anti-inflammatory drugs.”2 

EPA/DHA are also important for both maintaining visual longevity and cognitive function, “Our general conclusion is that there is consistent evidence to suggest that omega-3 LCPUFAs may act in a protective role against ischemia-, light-, oxygen-, inflammatory-, and age-associated pathology of the vascular and neural retina.”3 

“It has been reported that Omega-3 fatty acids may play a role in nervous system activity and that they improve cognitive development and reference memory-related learning, increase neuroplasticity of nerve membranes, contribute to synaptogenesis and are involved in synaptic transmission.”4 

1) Covington MB.m Omega-3 fatty acids. Am Fam Physician. 2004 Jul 1;70(1):133-40

2) Simopoulos AP, Omega-3 fatty acids in inflammation and autoimmune diseases, J Am Coll Nutr. 2002 Dec;21(6):495-505.

3) SanGiovanni JP, Chew EY,  The role of omega-3 long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids in health and disease of the retina, Prog Retin Eye Res. 2005 Jan;24(1):87-138.

4) Fontani G, Corradeschi F, Felici A, Alfatti F, Migliorini S, Lodi L, Cognitive and physiological effects of Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid supplementation in healthy subjects, Eur J Clin Invest. 2005 Nov;35(11):691-9.

04/26/06 – Beijing Gingko Group (BGG), as a High Quality manufacturer with thecertificates of GMP, ISO 9000, Kosher certificate, IP non-GMO emphasizes the Tocotrienol and mixed Tocopherol’s function in Humans.

In nature, eight substances have been found to have vitamin E activity: α-, β-, γ- and δ-tocopherol; and α-, β-, γ- and δ-tocotrienol. Yet, of all papers on vitamin E listed in PubMed less than 1% relate to tocotrienols. α-Tocotrienol, γ- tocopherol, and δ-tocotrienol have emerged as vitamin E molecules with functions in health and disease that are clearly distinct from that of α-tocopherol.

At nanomolar concentration, α-tocotrienol, not α-tocopherol, prevents neurodegeneration. On a concentration basis, this finding represents the most potent of all biological functions exhibited by any natural vitamin E molecule.

Micromolar amounts of tocotrienol suppress the activity of HMG-CoA reductase, the hepatic enzyme responsible for cholesterol synthesis. Tocotrienols are thought to have more potent antioxidant properties than α-tocopherol.

Along these lines, it may not be prudent to express frustrations about the net yield of vitamin E research as a whole (Meta-Analysis in Vitamin E, 2005) when all that has been tested for efficacy on a limited basis in clinical trials is α-tocopherol mainly.

The high concentration of BGG can make:

Tocotrienol: oil 92%; powder 65%

Mixed Tocopherol: oil 95%; powder 67% BGG list one of the quality comparison data of Ginnovay Rice-Tocotrienol, Palm-Tocotrienol and Mixed Tocopherol below:

Report by Drs. Yan-Mei Li and Jay Lee in Jinke Group USA Inc. and Beijing Gingko Group BioTechnology Company

A randomized, placebo-controlled, clinical trial of high-dose supplementation with vitamins C and E, beta carotene, and zinc for age-related macular degeneration and vision loss: AREDS report no. 8.  Arch Ophthalmol. 2001 Oct;119(10):1417-36