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Ingredient Spotlight: ActiveBlendz Defend’s Elderberry Reduces Cold Duration and Symptoms

ABSTRACT:

Intercontinental air travel can be stressful, especially for respiratory health. Elderberries have been used traditionally, and in some observational and clinical studies, as supportive agents against the common cold and influenza. This randomized, double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial of 312 economy class passengers travelling from Australia to an overseas destination aimed to investigate if a standardised membrane filtered elderberry (Sambucus nigra L.) extract has beneficial effects on physical, especially respiratory, and mental health. Cold episodes, cold duration and symptoms were noted in a daily diary and assessed using the Jackson score. Participants also completed three surveys containing questions regarding upper respiratory symptoms (WURSS-21) and quality of life (SF-12) at baseline, just before travel and at 4-days after travel. Most cold episodes occurred in the placebo group (17 vs. 12), however the difference was not significant (p = 0.4). Placebo group participants had a significantly longer duration of cold episode days (117 vs. 57, p = 0.02) and the average symptom score over these days was also significantly higher (583 vs. 247, p = 0.05). These data suggest a significant reduction of cold duration and severity in air travelers. More research is warranted to confirm this effect and to evaluate elderberry’s physical and mental health benefits.

Keywords: elderberry, travel, cold symptoms, clinical trial, nutritional supplements, complementary medicines, sambucus, physical health

Introduction

Air travel, especially on intercontinental flights can be stressful, thus putting extra strain on passenger’s physical and psychological health [1]. Studies have shown that passengers’ well-being is influenced by the cabin environment such as cabin ozone concentration and oxygen pressure, motion or vibration and oil additives used in aircraft engines [2,3]. Fatigue, impairment of immunity as well as increased stress and mental changes has been reported during and after long-distance flights [4,5,6]. A recent review of medical in-flight events lists respiratory symptoms among the most common medical complaints reported [7]. Not surprisingly, many studies have investigated the occurrence of nasal dryness and the increased risk of developing upper respiratory disorders such as allergic rhinitis and attracting virus or bacteria induced respiratory infections during long-haul air travel [8,9]. Moreover, an added risk of spreading respiratory diseases, including influenza, aboard commercial flights exists [10].

Recently, for the first time a herbal medicine, echinacea, was trialled in travellers and showed protective effect against the development of respiratory symptoms during travel involving long-haul flights [11]. Following travellers return from overseas, participants using echinacea displayed a lower respiratory symptom score and the overall percentage of participants affected by respiratory disease symptoms was marginally lower in the Echinacea group compared to placebo.

However, there are other herbs that have traditionally been used to treat respiratory symptoms and aid in the recuperation from a cold. Black elderberries for example, are well known to be supportive agents against common cold and flu like symptoms and have been used for centuries [12]. Interestingly, a non-travel related clinical trial just revealed that a combination of echinacea herb and root extract supplemented with elderberry (Sambucus nigra L.) can be as effective as the conventional antiviral medicine oseltamivir for the early treatment of influenza [13].

Elderberries have shown antibacterial [14] and antiviral activities in in vitro [15]. Two clinical trials using a liquid elderberry extract (Sambucol®, Israel) showed a reduction in symptoms and duration of influenza infection [16]. A pilot trial with elderberry extract lozenges (HerbalScience, Singapore) also confirmed a beneficial effect on severity and duration of cold and flu like symptoms [17].

In recent times, elderberry has gained popularity in research and the wider community due to its reported antioxidant [18], antidiabetic [19], anti-inflammatory and immune-modulating [20], as well as antidepressant [21] properties. The berries are dark violet-black drupes which grow in clusters and owe their colour to the anthocyanins; a group of phenolic compounds which, amongst flavonoids, are abundant in elderberries and considered the active constituents of the fruits [22]. However, elderberries also contain a variety of nutrients ranging from various vitamins (A, B1, B2, B6, B9, C and E), trace elements such as Cu, Zn, Fe and minerals such as K, Ca and Mg to phytochemicals such as carotenoids, phytosterols and polyphenols. These additional constituents and activities make elderberries a likely candidate for beneficial nutritional and/or medical supplementation not only for respiratory, but also for cardiovascular and mental health, all of which may be affected during travel.

Given that elderberry supplementation has never been investigated so far for its possible beneficial effects in air-travelers, we conducted a randomized controlled trial aimed at identifying whether capsules containing a proprietary membrane filtered Elderberry extract (Iprona, Italy), standardized to polyphenols, are effective in preventing respiratory symptoms, but also if they positively impact on the overall physical and mental health of travelers when using long-haul, commercial flights as means of transport.

Click here to read more about this published 2016 study.

 


Health Benefits of Defend’s Featured Fruits Revealed

 

 

The combination of powerful antioxidants acai fruit, acerola cherries. blueberries and Ayurvedic elderberry provide unprecedented immune and respiratory support, not to mention potentially cut your “sick time” in half in Javita’s delicious, all natural ActiveBlendz Defend.

A summary of some of the health benefits of each of the respective fruits is listed below:

Acai ; berry ; berries ; tropical ; super ; fruit ; anti ; oxidant ; antioxidant ; healthy ; health ; food ; drink ; brazil ; amazon ; rain ; forest ; produce ; medicinal ; heart ; medicine ; alternative ; heal ; prevent ; attack ; preventative

Acai actives NK cells which enhance the proliferation of T-cells. T cells (t-lymphocytes) are like soldiers that are sent out the destroy invaders that the immune system has identified usually through previous invasions. Acai actives the NK cells which basically is like the general standing ready waiting to deploy these soldier cells. So even in instances where you are not sick but are just taking the product daily, you are getting your troops ready to go on the attack when needed. Acai also impairs the replication of several strains of gram negative bacteria through this activation of NK cells, meaning it is incredibly beneficial for protecting from virulent intracellular pathogens such as E. coli.

Because it induces this T-lyphocyte activity, researchers tested and concluded positively that acai also enhances innate immune responses, which are the “memory” immunity, basically similar to how a vaccination works.

Acai is also currently the highest scoring free radical scavenger of all the known fruits or vegetables tested. It has been involved in literally hundreds of trials measuring antioxidant capacity and the benefits that stem from this. When foreign invaders enter our body, they do immense damage on a cellular level while they are making us sick and weak. This antioxidant protection can prevent and help repair the damage these invaders do, so that when we are done fighting off the infection itself, our cells are not compromised from it.

blueberries1

Blueberry not only has been shown to support the functionality of the immune system itself but also to protect the liver also, which is one of the “cleaning” organs in our bodies that helps us process and eliminate negative substances. But one of the main reasons we included blueberry in this formula was for prevention. Whether we are already at our peak health and are maintaining or whether we are striving to lead a healthier life, we joined Javita to make healthy choices. With this comes exercise, whether moderate or intense, we encourage this as part of a healthy lifestyle. Unfortunately, research has found that intensive exercise actually leaves us vulnerable to viral infections due to the strain it puts on all of our body systems including immunity. However, blueberry taken regularly helps to prevent the replications of viruses and can actually prevent us from getting sick when we are trying to be healthy.

Blueberry also is a very strong antioxidant and especially an anti inflammatory that specifically targets gut inflammation. It has been shown to aid in the colonization of beneficial microbiota in the gut, which is critical to our overall immunity.

t2-largeAcerola cherries contain a very high concentration of naturally occurring vitamin C. This nutrient is essential for life, but it is actually produced naturally by the body. So why are there so many vitamin C supplements out there, and why is there a minimum RDA for this vitamin? It is because when the body is compromised, when it is sick, stressed, over exerted, Vitamin C can be used up and put us into a state of deficiency from our natural production. Since Vitamin C is a cofactor in several essential enzymatic reactions, it can wreek havoc on our bodies when it isn’t abundant. Vitamin C has actually not been found to directly prevent infection; however, when illness are encountered, it us used to regulate the activity of immune cells, including phagocytes, lymphocytes and cytokines, and it is quickly used up. Keeping your levels up prior to infection is your best bet, and because it is water soluble, it tends to have a more rapid “shelf life” in your body, meaning it leaves your body at a rapid rate. This is why it is safe to take everyday; however, keep in mind that there is an upper limit set for vitamin c of 2 grams per day. So if you are taking a vitamin C supplement in addition to Defend, make sure you are not going over this amount.

10600002-elderberryElderberry seems to be less well known to the western world unless you are involved with more natural medicines, which is unfortunate because it is such a strong herb for immune support. It has the ability to fight both bacterial AND viral infections which is why it can be used for both the cold and the flu. In trials evaluating elderberry with regards to the human influenza A virus, ehlderbrry was shown to suppress viral replication in the bronchoalveolar lavage fluids while at the same time increasing the levels of antibody in the serum. This means that it not only helped fight the infection but aided in preventing its reoccurrence. (This is why it has been included in some cough syrups- it targets the virus in the bronchioles, which can benefit someone fighting an infection with cough)

Elderberry also has been shown to activate cytokine production and activity. Cytokines are produced by many different immune cells and help modulate the balance between antibody mediated immunity and cell based immunity, again helping to balance the immune system, which is what Defend is designed to do. These researchers though found that this balance was achieved not just in situations of infection but also in healthy individuals, meaning that Elderberry helps promote prevention not just treatment.


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