Friday, 24 October 2008
Sometimes something comes along that is so good it’s hard to believe. Imagine a plant that has been in safe use for centuries. One that heals bones & joint problems, lessens pain without side effects can aid in the healing of overuse injuries, help solve gastrointestinal issues such as ulcers or acid reflux, is full of antioxidants & vitamins, can help with fat issues. Would you pay for a product like that? Of course you would & to be honest so would a lot of us.
Well you’re in luck because this isn’t some fantasy of an ideal supplement but a real plant that has been in use & is recorded in ancient Ayurvedic texts & has been shown by modern medicine to be completely safe. Cissus quadrangularis is that plant (we’ll call it Cissus from now on just to save the extra typing :-). The science gets a little tricky & much of the reasoning behind what it does is a little speculative, but it gets results, even if the science behind this wonder plant isn’t fully understood. First of all it gives pain relief & anti inflammatory effect at around the level of aspirin or ibuprofen, note the effect is slower to come on, but it lasts & without any side effects associated with these drugs (1,2).
The bulk of the studies on Cissus has been on the repair of bone & these have shown that bone is healed at a highly accelerated rate (3,4,5). Some studies have used cortisol to stimulate bone breakdown & Cissus appears to halt the effect of this hormone on the bones. So, interestingly if cortisol is halted in bone tissue, what about muscle tissue where it has a similar breakdown effect? So, far there are no studies on this possiblity as far I know, but it’s one I have got my eye out for as the implications of a totally safe, natural anti-cortisol product that is actually beneficial is a very real possibility.
One of the primary effects of Cissus is thought to be an increase in collagen turnover, so with increased synthesis & replacement you could expect quicker recover from overuse injuries, cartilage & tendon repair & this seems to be the case through anecdotal evidence although as yet no formal research has been done in this area beyond the probable finding in bone research studies that it seems to be increased collagen repair that seems to be a major factor (3,4,5).
As well as these benefits you also get a product that is packed full of antioxidants & antimicrobial substances (6)
Let’s look at the ‘side effects’ now. First off is fat control. Cissus tends to make you leaner (7,8) The treatment of ulcers & acid reflux (9), it will ease ulcers & reduce or relieve completely acid reflux. There is also anecodotal evidence that after 15-20 days continuous usage there is increased blood flow to the muscles & so bigger pumps. This effect isn’t universal, nor is it proven scientifically, but a certain proportion of users seems to be getting this result, enough reports to make it seem worth a mention.
So basically you get a product that will help control pain with no side effects (for the vast majority of users), will aid bone health, appears to help joints & connective tissue, is packed with usable nutrients, antioxidants & antimicrobials, can aid stomach issues, can make you leaner & might well give you massive pumps. Do you really want anything more from one supplement?
Dosage & type is the final issue I’d like to cover. First of all there are a selection of preparations available out there. The active ingredient is said to be Ketosterone & there are many amounts out there from 5% Ketosterone to up to 50% in some capsules. So, you’d think the higher the dose, the better. But in my view this is wrong. Cissus is a plant extract, like many such products there are a vast number of phytonutrients that work synergistically together to produce an effect much greater than the whole. The purer, higher grade ketosterone lacks many of these nutrients & so could possibly be less effective than the less pure alternative. I would aim at a product around the 6% ketosterone mark myself, it is levels around this purity that many studies have used & so the effects are known & there’s little guess work. As for dosage, between 3-6grams per day seems to have the desired effect (although the very small or very large may need to modify the dosage up or down slightly depending upon their need) . An average sized adult should be aiming at around the 5 gram mark. Take half first thing in the morning & half in the evening. You can take it with food or without. I tend to take it away from food, but I don’t know if there is any reason you should avoid food, but it fits my timing plan well.
Are there ANY downsides? Well, there is one obvious one, & that is taste. It takes a few days to adjust to the taste. Some of you might want to cap them yourselves (or buy pre-made capsules), but realistically if you stick with it for a few days you soon adjust. It smells worse than it tastes, so don’t sniff before you drink! I suppose the other possible bad effect could be you are a non-responder or maybe an allergy, but apart from that I can’t think of any reason not to give it a try.
1 Indian Journal of Pharmacology 1984 Vol 16, issue 3 pages 162-163. An experimental study of analgesic activity of Cissus quadrangularis. SP Singh, N Misra, KS Dixit, N Singh, RP Kohli
2 J Ethnopharmacol. 2007 Mar 21;110(2):264-70. Epub 2006 Sep 26. Analgesic, anti-inflammatory and venotonic effects of Cissus quadrangularis Linn. Panthong A, Supraditaporn W, Kanjanapothi D, Taesotikul T, Reutrakul V.
3 J Indian Med Assoc. 1962 Jun 1;38:590-3. Cissus quadrangularis in healing of fractures. A clinical study. Udupa KN, Prasad GC
4Indian J Med Res. 1975 Jun;63(6):824-8. Studies on Cissus quadrangularis in experimental fracture repair: effect on chemical parameters in blood. Chopra SS, Patel MR, Gupta LP, Datta IC.
5 Indian J Med Res. 1976 Sep;64(9):1365-8. Studies of Cissus quadrangularis in experimental fracture repair : a histopathological study. Chopra SS, Patel MR, Awadhiya RP.
6 J Med Food. 2003 Summer;6(2):99-105. Antioxidant and antimicrobial activity of Cissus quadrangularis L. Chidambara Murthy KN, Vanitha A, Mahadeva Swamy M, Ravishankar GA.
7 Lipids Health Dis. 2006 Sep 2;5:24. The use of a Cissus quadrangularis formulation in the management of weight loss and metabolic syndrome. Oben J, Kuate D, Agbor G, Momo C, Talla X.
8 Lipids Health Dis. 2008 Mar 31;7:12. The use of a Cissus quadrangularis/Irvingia gabonensis combination in the management of weight loss: a double-blind placebo-controlled study. Oben JE, Ngondi JL, Momo CN, Agbor GA, Sobgui CS.
9 Journal of Medicinal Food. September 1, 2004, 7(3): 372-376. doi:10.1089/jmf.2004.7.372. Mallika Jainu, C.S. Shyamala Devi.