The Power of Plant Proteins

Protein powders are enjoying the spotlight among consumers more than ever before. It wasn’t too long ago when protein powders were aimed at, and used by, male bodybuilders and competitive athletes. They are now used by people of all ages and in all states of physical shape. The goals are health, vitality, and nutrition, to help achieve one’s personal best health and fitness status. Protein powders are no longer just for competition and extreme muscle building.

Although whey proteins are still a top choice as these products have been widely available for several decades, there have become more choices of plant-based proteins for consumers who don’t want whey or have problems digesting whey. Additionally, for many with sensitivities whey may cause indigestion, abdominal distention or lactose allergy.

An early plant-protein that is also widely available now is soy protein; and while soy protein is suitable for vegans, it is also a common allergen and can also cause indigestion and flatulence. Additionally, soy contains phytoestrogens – genistein and daidzein – which men may want to stay away from.

Vegetable protein possesses some unique characteristics compared to animal protein. First, it is abundant in various amino acids (protein building blocks) and key nutrients including antioxidants in a balanced content. Secondly some studies have suggested vegetable proteins support healthy blood pressure and cholesterol profiles. Also, vegetable protein is much more easily absorbed than animal protein.

Our new Pumpkin Protein Powder and Hemp Protein Powder are rich in health-building and fitness-shaping amino acids, as follows: glutamic acid, arginine, aspartic acid, leucine, glycine, serine, phenylalanine, valine, alanine, lysine, proline, isoleucine, tyrosine, threonine, histidine, methionine, tryptophan and cystine.

Potential label and marketing claims for Pumpkin Protein Powder include:

  1. Supports serotonin production (via its tryptophan content)
  2. Naturally improves mood balance
  3. Magnesium and zinc play roles in enzyme reactions and muscle growth
  4. Supports recovery of impaired tissues and cells
  5. Offers an attractive macro-nutrient profile (monounsaturated fat, carbohydrate and fiber), making it a perfect fitness powder

Potential label and marketing claims for Hemp Protein Powder include:

  1. Hypoallergenic protein, suitable for people who are allergic to egg, milk, gluten and soybeans
  2. Rich in heart-healthy omega-3 EFAs, vitamins, minerals and fiber
  3. Promotes muscle growth and recovery
  4. Supports thermogenesis and reduces catabolism
  5. Easily digested and absorbed.

Myricetin: a crucial role in inflammation management

Aging is responsible for exacerbating many habits held onto for years. One such example is years of unhealthy diet combined with sedentary lifestyle or intermittent exercise, which lays the foundation for unhealthy inflammatory response. And in recent years, medical research has revealed that uncontrolled, or poorly managed inflammatory response spurs a number of ill health conditions. So, therefore, it is crucial to try to encourage your body to control inflammatory response.

Myricetin is a naturally occurring flavonol that has various pharmacological effects, and it is known to be a powerful antioxidant. It is a naturally occurring compound in vegetables, fruits, nuts, berries tea and in red wine; and in China, it is typically obtained from Myrica Rubra Sieb. Et Zucc leaves. It has numerous biochemical effects, and one we are excited about is its role in inflammation control. In fact, traditionally, foods containing myricetin were used to help control fever.

The cytokine tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) is a cytokine is known to generate inflammatory response and is thus involved in inflammatory health issues. Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) is involved in TNF-alpha-mediated diseases.

According to the online journal Phytochemicals, researchers found that myrecetin inhibited TNF-alpha-induced VEGF expression in cultured mouse epidermal cells by targeting mitogen-activated protein kinase 4 (MKK4) and extracellular signal-regulated kinase kinase 1 (MEK1).

Researchers in another study looked at the anti-inflammatory effect of a form of myrectin (myricetin glucuronide), rat paw edema [3]. They found that the myricetin inhibited expression of inflammatory compounds lipoxygenase 5-LOX, COX-1 and COX-2. They also found that small changes in the molecular structure of myricetin resulted in a lower anti-inflammatory activity.

Beginning with myricetin 80% tested by HPLC, Cactus Botanics has focused on the research and development of myricetin for more than 12 years. We offer high-potency myricetin up to 90%.

Immune-Support Botanicals

OK, so many people don’t really consider their immune health during the summer, but they should. Bugs still abound and are passed around. Summer colds, say many, are “nasty.” So, immune support should be considered all year around, and creating supplements marketed as year-round, overall immune support is an attractive concept. For decades, immune health products have always been the most important category of various traditional medicine and nutritional supplements.

Also remember that consumers are increasingly looking at immune health products as an option to maintain good health, as opposed to just seasonally. Vitamin C and zinc, plus the herb Echinacea have been and remain the top-of-mind “immune friendly” ingredients, and they most certainly are. That said, the marketplace is quite crowded with those supplements, either singularly or in combination.

Besides Echinacea, which many still feel need to be cycled (some days on, some days off) and thus may be a hindrance for many people, there are several other core and long-standing botanicals for immune health, such as ginseng, astragalus, and reishi. There are numerous clinical trials on these herbs and immune function, performed in China and published in prestigious peer-reviewed journals, validating why Chinese people have used these herbs to enhance the immune system for thousand years.

Each category of active ingredients of the plant is different. For example, the phytochemicals in ginseng that support immune health are ginsenosides. And the phytochemicals in astragalus that enhance immune health are polysaccharides. At Cactus Botanics, we analyze various different active ingredients carefully and investigate the different mechanisms in different metabolic pathways in the body, and then mix a variety of ingredients from various botanical extracts together into a formula to make its function more comprehensively.

With the ascension of scientific research, many new ingredients have been found to improve immune health, such as fucoidan from brown seaweed, this is also a key product for us in recent years.

Fucoidan, extracted from brown seaweed is another nutrient we carry. Now, for a PhD-level summary of how it works: Fucoidan is a complex sulfated polysaccharide with a wide variety of biological actions for modulating immune cell functions. Fucoidan increases the viability of dendritic cells (DCs). Fucoidan-treated DCs showed decreased antigen uptake and increased proliferation of allogeneic splenocytes. A study suggests that fucoidan induces immature DCs maturation and drive their differentiation towards a Th1-polarizing phenotype. Moreover, data suggest that DCs appear to be a potential target for the immunomodulatory capacity of fucoidan and fucoidan may be used on DC-based vaccines for cancer immunotherapy.

Summer Skin Glows with HA

You may have heard of hyaluronic acid (HA, also called hyaluronan), notably for joint health, but it is a powerful nutrient for skin support, notably during the summer when sun exposure is more potent and constant, despite excellent suncare practices. Further, synthetic ingredients slathered on skin, environmental toxins that land upon skin, and even poor nutrition can affect how skin looks and feels.

Hyaluronic acid is a glycosaminoglycan, and is the primary glycosaminoglycan found in skin. One of its attributes is that it is extremely hydrophilic – it loves water – so it holds onto moisture, adding plumpness. It has been shown that one gram of HA can retain as much as six liters of water.

This is very attractive for middle-agers who are beginning to see loss of plumpness, firmness, elasticity and more dryness, typically caused by lessening stores of HA.

A more elegant explanation of HA’s role in skin health comes from Wikipedia, which explains that HA is highly involved in tissue repair in the skin. “When skin is exposed to excessive UVB rays, it becomes inflamed, (sunburn) and the cells in the dermis stop producing as much hyaluronan, and increase the rate of its degradation. Hyaluronan degradation products then accumulate in the skin after UV exposure. While it is abundant in extracellular matrices, hyaluronan also contributes to tissue hydrodynamics, movement and proliferation of cells, and participates in a number of cell surface receptor interactions.”

Call or email us to find out about our different grades of HA, and how we can help you develop a successful skincare product.

Maintain Energy with Eleuthero

Energy drinks and supplements are hotter than ever – it’s because Americans are busier than ever, and thus consistently want more and better energy. There are many products that purport to do that — but eleuthero (Eleutherococcus senticosus) — also known as Siberian ginseng — remains one of the best-studied, effective and safe natural energy-promoting herbs.

If your company is thinking about launching a natural energy product, consider using Siberian ginseng. Siberian ginseng is native to the Taiga region of the Far East (southeastern part of Russia, northern China, Korea, and Japan). Note that it is completely different from Asian ginseng (Panax ginseng), and has different active chemical components. A bonus: Eleuthero is much less expensive than Panax Ginseng.

Eleuthero contains remarkable compounds known as eleutherosides (eleutherosides B and eleutherosides E), which stimulate mental and physical vigor. Numerous published human trials on Eleuthero have demonstrated anti-fatigue effects, improved stamina and performance, increased alertness and learning ability.

In Asia and elsewhere around the world, eleuthero has been a popular self-medication among people who are convalescing, under excessive stress or strain, and overworked, as well as those who want to achieve peak physical and mental performance.

In addition, there are also many reports about eleuthero’s ability to support the immune system, healthy blood pressure, circulation, normalization of disturbances in sugar and fat metabolism, and anabolic effects in the liver, testes, bone marrow and other vital organs.

Eleuthero is frequently used in dietary supplements, such as tablets, capsules and powders. It is also used in foods, but is mainly used in beverages to enhance energy and immunity and marketed often as “anti-aging.”

Cactus Botanics has abundant Siberian Ginseng Powder Extract raw materials both in our China and USA warehouses.

Eleutherosides B+Eleutherosides E=0.8%
Eleutherosides B:Eleutherosides E≈3:5

Depending on your special requirements, Cactus Botanics, as a senior supplier in the raw materials market, may provide tailored formulations to meet your needs. Please contact us at: info@cactusbotanics.com.

Brown Seaweed Supports Healthy Skin Appearance

Aging can lead to changes in the levels of gene expression of the skin, negatively affecting skin’s structural integrity and resulting in dry, dull and sagging skin as well as the appearance of wrinkles. However, brown seaweed polysaccharides have been found to restore the expression levels of specific genes in senescent fibroblasts, in turn improving barrier function and hydration, increasing elasticity and reducing wrinkles. With regular use, it can improve the skin barrier and slow the aging process.

Brown seaweed is a marine-derived ingredient, and possesses excellent anti-irritant, antioxidant, moisturizing, and anti-aging properties, which make it an attractive component of products for the fast-growing cosmetics industry. Seaweed extracts are abundant in amino acids, such as alanine, glycine and proline, that stimulate collagen synthesis and inhibit enzymes that destroy collagen and elastin.

Brown seaweed is rich in antioxidants, such as fucoidan, which is known to act as a mild detoxification agent, antibacterial and antiviral, and can provide relief to psoriatic skin.

The extract of brown seaweed can be added to all kinds of cosmetics, including facial masks, anti-aging serums and facial cleansers. Products containing brown seaweed extract may remove dead skin cells and excess oil, while their deep cleansing action refreshes and revives the skin. Brown seaweed is usually applied to the skin without causing sensitization or irritation. In addition, because brown seaweed extract moisturizes and conditions skin, it is perfect for shaving creams and lotions.

Cactus Botanics began production and supply of sea products 10 years ago, and we are one of the top suppliers in the world of specific brown seaweed extracts:

  • Brown Seaweed Extract (20:1 with Polysaccharides 40%)
  • Fucoidan 85% Powder
  • Brown Seaweed Extract(20:1~75:1 with Fucoidan 4%, Alginates 50%)

Seaweed-based Antioxidants

shutterstock_669596299Some active ingredients of marine nutraceuticals, such as fucoidan and astaxanthin, are extracted from seaweed.  In its natural environment, when the water supply dries up, the active ingredient engages to protect the seaweed from ultraviolet radiation. They serve as a “force field” to protect the seaweed from lack of nutrition and/or intense sunlight. Currently, researchers believe these types of active ingredient are some of the most potent antioxidants nature offers that are crucial for human health.

The most successful and innovative marine nutraceuticals Cactus Botanics provides are fucoidan and astaxanthin. Our fucoidan is extracted from kombu, which contains more fucoidan than other types of seaweed. And our astaxanthin exists abundantly in algae and it also can be obtained by fermentation.

Because of ocean pollution, some marine nutraceuticals may have been subject to radiation and may have excess levels of heavy metals, which require the need for very strict control. In addition, for some products such as fish oil, the current trend is the transition from animal sources to plant sources. We do as much as possible to extract all the ingredients from seaweeds, which is more environmentally friendly, abundant in the oceans, and safe.

We are devoted to becoming an expert and pioneer in the extraction of algae and exploring in depth the technology of extracting various active ingredients from algae. This is an exciting area of natural health ingredients.  Please call us today to find out more; we have warehouses conveniently located in California, and in Germany.

VitaFoods Europe: A Resounding Success!

VitaFoods Europe just occurred in May (8 to 11) in Geneva, and we were pleased to be a part of it. Innovation to provide consumers with solutions they can count on to work and be safe all begin at tradeshows such as VitaFoods Europe.

Cactus Botanics has always taken part in major tradeshows worldwide because without such face-to-face presence, we cannot be effective in what we do.

VitaFoods Europe this year showcased emerging trends we found interesting. According to show organizers, an exciting area is personalized nutrition. In addition, certain seminars where spirited debate took place are essential in driving further development. As Vitafoods Insights mentioned in its show wrapup (vitafoodsinsight.com), there are two sides to an abundance of information available to consumers, and we at Cactus Botanics agree with both. One school of thought is that the more research and materials are available for consumers, they better equipped they are to make the right choices for themselves via supplementation and healthy foods; while the other side believes that too much available information can overwhelm consumers.

We, as supplier partners, believe you need to know your consumer base, in general. Are you formulating for the more sophisticated consumer? If so, they will welcome the information. If not, shape your marketing in a way that boils down essentials.

At Vitafoods, our staff made many new industry friends and colleagues, all with the same goal of providing natural products for people worldwide to take control of their health and well-being. Additionally, the most popular and highlighted products that attendees were interested in at our booth Vitafoods Europe 2017 were:

  • Brown Seaweed Powder Extract
  • Astaxanthin
  • Hyaluronic Acid
  • Chondroitin Sulfate
  • Zeaxanthin
  • Lutein
  • Rehmanniae extract
  • Turmeric Powder Extract
  • Fruit Juice Powder

CACTUS BOTANICS

What is it, really? For years, suppliers have sold specific ingredients and purchasers would rely on their word or data sheets that say that the material is what the supplier said it is.

But proving the identity of the powder material has been a priority for a long time, and is now at the forefront due to technology that is more widely available for raw materials suppliers to generate trust and loyalty for our brand marketer/manufacturer customers.

The more dietary supplements people consume, the greater attention will be paid to ensuring the identity for transparency. And consumers are now demanding this for safety reasons. For the industry, it is of significance to build up a thorough set of ID testing to ensure the raw herbs are what they are supposed to be, on our end, from our growers.

Our QC laboratories are equipped with the following technologies to ensure you receive what we say and promise.

TLC, thin-layer chromatography, is used to separate non-volatile mixtures. Different compounds travel at different rates. Therefore, there is a unique color spectrum belonging to every botanical.

HPTLC is an enhanced form of TLC. A number of enhancements can be made to increase the resolution achieved and to allow more accurate quantitative measurements. Thus, HPTLC is more accurate and popular in identity testing.

Our staff is dedicated to the task of ensuring that all our incoming raw materials from our growers worldwide are exactly what they are supposed to be, and not adulterated with any other herb or substance. Our Qualified Botanical Extract program consists of three steps:

  1. Playing close attention to the raw herbs that come in, first organoleptically, and second by performing analysis with TLC and HPTLC.
  2. Then, we meticulously check every material and verify color spectrums.
  3. Third, after validating the identity, we release it for processing.

Cactus Botanics always takes responsibility to protect the interests of our customers. WE spare no effort to ensure satisfaction, safety and purity, so our customers can deliver these qualities to their retailers and consumers.