Archive

Archive for the ‘Health’ Category

Compound K – Ginseng Saponin

September 20, 2018 Leave a comment

 

Compound-K

Compound K is a saponin metabolite from Korean Ginseng.

 

For over 2000 years, humankind have used herbal medicine to treat various kinds of symptoms and diseases. Around 400 B.C. Hippocrates, the father of medicine, recommended chewing on the willow bark and drinking tea from the willow leaves to relieve fevers and pain [1]. In the mid 1800s, the active component from the willow extract was derived to be salicylic acid – modern day aspirin. To this day aspirin is being used by millions of people worldwide for the prevention of heart attacks and strokes. While the era of antibiotics started with penicillin in the 1940s, modernization and mass production of drugs have only took off since World War II [2].

Ginseng comes from the root of Panax ginsengKorean ginseng, amongst many other ginseng variants such as the South China and American ginseng. It has been in use for at least 2000 years but only recently the secrets of ginseng have come into light. It has been well documented that saponins from Ginseng (also known as Ginsenosides) have various medicinal properties. The first of 6 saponins have been isolated during the 1960s. To date there are over a 100 saponins found in Ginseng.

Compound K has only been recently discovered as a “saponin metabolite” from Ginsenoside Rb1. While Compound K is 100% absorbable through the human gut, these saponin metabolites have not been reported to be found in raw or processed ginseng.

As most modern day drugs are metabolized in the liver, Compound K is created through the metabolism of Ginsenoside (Rb1) through the intestinal flora. In other words the human gut plays an important role in metabolizing ginseng saponin to active metabolites. Unfortunately, studies show that a majority of individuals do not possess the enzymes that can break down ginseng saponins to Compound K. This finding may help explain the discrepancies and effectiveness of ginseng between individuals [4].

Thus, metabolism of ginseng saponins to the Compound K plays an important role and effectiveness in the pharmacologic effects of ginseng. Various studies show that Compound K exhibit potent pharmacologic effects such as anti-inflammatory [5], anti-diabetic [6], anti-tumor [7], and cardiovascular protective [8] to name a few. This broad spectrum activity is most likely attributed to its activity against inflammation while boosting the immune system.

Quite a few dietary supplements contain ginseng extract but does it contain Compound K? Compound K is not found naturally in raw or (dried or heat) processed ginseng. Consumers who seek effects associated with ginseng should actively seek Compound K in order to receive maximum benefit.

References

  1. “Aspirin”. Chemical & Engineering News. August 13, 2007
  2. “Discovery and Development of Penicillin.” ACS Chemistry for Life. http://www.acs.org
  3. Kim D.H. Gut microbiota-mediated pharmacokinetics of ginseng saponins. J. Ginseng Res 42 (2018) 255-263
  4. Ministry of Food and Drug Safety, South Korea
  5. Kim J.H et al. Role of ginsenosides, the main active components of Panax ginseng, in inflammatory responses and diseases.  J. Ginseng Res 41 (2017) 435-443
  6. Korean red ginseng (Panax ginseng) improves insulin sensitivity and attenuates the development of diabetes in Otsuka Long-Evans Tokushima fatty rats. Metabolism. Vol. 58 Issue 8, August 2009. 1170-1177
  7. Kang KA et al. Compound K, a metabolite of ginseng saponin, inhibits colorectal cancer cell growth and induces apoptosis through inhibition of histone deacetylase activity. Int J Oncol. 2013 Dec;43(6):1907-14
  8. Lee C.H. et al. A review on the medicinal potentials of ginseng and ginsenosides on cardiovascular diseases. J. Ginseng Res 38 (2014) 161-166

 

Is there a “best if used by” date for breastmilk?

April 16, 2014 Leave a comment

There are many questions asked by households when mothers start breastfeeding their children. Here are some examples: Is breastmilk better than formula milk? How do I store breast milk? Is there an expiration date for breast milk? What’s the shelf-life of breast milk? How long should I breastfeed my baby?

However, there is one important question most parents fail to address or even think about:

What is the expiration date for breast milk?  Is there a "best if used by" date?

Is there a “best if used by” date?

Most people do not think twice about the quality of the food products they buy until the “sell-by” or the “best-by” date.  Breast milk also has a “best if used by date,” yet we shouldn’t view it quite the same as other foods.

Read more…

How to Store Breast Milk?

April 15, 2014 Leave a comment

How do you store or handle breast milk?  There are many websites that explain the storage of breast milk. The shelf life of breast milk is determined by a number of factors: the environment and temperature it is kept in, storage techniques, type of container used, and clean practices used to express the milk.

The CDC has an excellent chart detailing how long one can store breast milk in various environments. (Click here to download The Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine protocol for human-milk-storage information.)

How_to_Store_Breast_Milk

Read more…

Which Brand of Milk Should I Drink?

October 22, 2013 1 comment

There are many brands of milk on the market today ranging from our supermarket-labeled milk to local dairy milk to organically labeled milk.  Let’s investigate more closely the questions and steps consumers should take when buying dairy milk (from cows).

Which milk is best

Read more…

Air Quality in Cars: Ventilate your Car – Roll down the Windows!

July 9, 2013 3 comments

Love the smell of a new car?  Before you take another deep breath, before you buckle in your newborn baby, or before you tell your kids to get in the car, think about the chemicals they will be breathing in and absorbing into their bodies.  The air quality in a car that has been “baking” in the sun (especially during the hot summer) will always be far worse than the air you breathe outside.

Air Quality in Cars

Read more…

Loss of Taste after Tonsillectomy

January 24, 2013 67 comments

The loss of taste after a tonsillectomy procedure may be an uncommon complication, but in reality, it is a very serious one that can change the quality of life of those who undergo the surgery.  Therefore, it needs be addressed and acknowledged by all ENT doctors.

loss of taste after tonsillectomy

Read more…

Can Baby Wipes cause Diaper Rashes?

January 2, 2013 2 comments

Can baby wipes cause a diaper rash?

Baby Wipes can cause Diaper Rash

The medical terminology for diaper rash is  “diaper dermatitis”.  It is the most common skin disorder in babies.

Read more…