Nutraceutical services


The skincare potential of silibinin

What is silibinin?

Silibinin is a purified form of Silymarin, a standardized extract from the seeds of the milk thistle (Silybum marianum)—a traditional herbal medicine that has been used since antiquity (1). Silibinin is also found abundantly in globe artichokes (Cynara scolymus).

The flower of the milk thistle (Silybum marianum)

The molecular structure of silibinin

Silibinin is a strong antioxidant chemical (2), but both it and the Silymarin extract have a growing range of other effects that are now gaining recognition in Western medicine. Both extracts have promising uses in the treatment of some liver diseases and diabetes (1,3), as immune system modulators (4), and they may also have anti-cancer properties—but more studies are needed (5).

Silibinin and skin

Protection from the damaging effects of the sun?

When skin is exposed to sunlight—and particularly to the high-energy ultraviolet spectrum (UV) it contains—many chemical changes take place within its cells, in the DNA and proteins. A major mechanism by which these changes take place is known as photo-oxidation, a kind of damage caused by sunlight-induced free radicals (a kind of reactive, damaging chemical). This kind of oxidative damage leads to skin ageing and a range of dermatological conditions—including various skin cancers.

Antioxidants are so-called “scavengers” of free radicals, as they prevent and treat oxidative damage. The safest antioxidants are those found in nature, like silibinin—a strong antioxidant that scavenges free radicals (2). In recent studies silibinin appears to have a range beneficial effects on skin, including protective effects against environmental toxins, anti-inflammatory effects, and protective effects against UV damage (6). Silibinin given orally (i.e., ingested) or applied directly to the skin of lab animals protected them against sunburn (i.e., skin damage caused by UV-B light), and protected them against skin thickening and DNA damage caused by UV exposure (6,7). Perhaps as a result of these effects, silibinin-treated animals were also protected against UV-induced skin cancers—reducing the size and number of cancers by up to 97% when compared to untreated animals (8).

These exciting effects are unique to silibinin.

Silibinin for treating melasma?

A large melasma, on the face (left cheek).

Melasma is a kind of skin hyperpigmentation disorder, manifesting as tanned, greyish or dark skin discolourations, usually on the face. Although melasma can affect anyone, more than 90% of all cases occur in women. Often it is a patch or spot (or group of spots), but can appear as a “mask” across the upper cheek, nose, lips, upper lip, and forehead. Especially prone are pregnant women or women taking hormonal replacements. It does not cause any other symptoms, but the cosmetic discolouration can be severe.

A 2012 clinical trial using a Silymarin cream resulted in tremendous improvements in treated melasmas, with complete resolution of their clinical appearance within four weeks (i.e., the discolouration disappeared) (7). No side effects were observed, confirming the results of earlier animal studies that found Silymarin and silibinin treatments were safe (7,8). Milk thistle has traditionally been taken as a tea, and side effects are rare (5).

Do you want to try silibinin?

There is a vast amount of information to support the safe use of silibinin in “cosmeceutical” preparations for your skin (6). We have silibinin available for incorporation into our range of personalised creams, BCP Skincare—or we can add it to another formulation to suit you.

Since silibinin may protect against UV damage to the skin, a combination skin care product might also contain niacinamide (Vitamin B3) as it, too, shows promise in protecting against UV damage and skin cancers.

Silibinin might also be used to help with skin hyperpigmentation conditions, such as melasma, where a good combination product might also contain other natural antioxidants (such as Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid and/or Vitamin B3, niacinamide).

The choice is yours. Why not talk to one of our friendly pharmacists about a silibinin product to suit you… and your skin?

References

  1. Federico A, Dallio M, Loguercio C. (2017) Silymarin/Silybin and Chronic Liver Disease: A Marriage of Many Years. Molecules. 22: 191. (doi: 10.3390/molecules22020191)
  2. Carini R, Comoglio A, Albano E, et al. (1992) Lipid peroxidation and irreversible damage in the rat hepatocyte model: Protection by the silybin-phospholipid complex IdB 1016. Biochem Pharm. 43:2111–15.
  3. Stolf AM, Cardoso CC> and Acco A (2017) Effects of Silymarin on Diabetes Mellitus Complications: A Review. Phytother. Res. 31: 366–374. (doi: 10.1002/ptr.5768)
  4. Esmaeil N, et al. (2017) Silymarin impacts on immune system as an immunomodulator: One key for many locks. Int Immunopharmacol. 50:194-201. (doi: 10.1016/j.intimp.2017.06.030)
  5. Cancer Research UK (accessed 01 Nov 2017): http://www.cancerresearchuk.org/about-cancer/cancer-in-general/treatment/complementary-alternative-therapies/individual-therapies/milk-thistle-and-liver-cancer
  6. Singh and Agarwal (2009) Cosmeceuticals and Silibinin. Clin Dermatol. 27(5): 479–484. (doi: 10.1016/j.clindermatol.2009.05.012)
  7. Altaei T (2012) The treatment of melasma by silymarin cream. BMC Dermatol. 12: 18. (doi:  10.1186/1471-5945-12-18)
  8. Mallikarjuna G, Dhanalakshmi S, Singh RP, et al. (2004) Silibinin protects against photocarcinogenesis via modulation of cell cycle regulators, mitogen-activated protein kinases, and Akt signaling. Cancer Res. 64:6349–56. (doi: 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-04-1632)

Are you low in Vitamin D?

Vitamin D3, or cholecalciferol

What is Vitamin D?

Vitamin D is not technically a vitamin at all, but rather a kind of hormone that is essential for life.  It increases the absorption of calcium from foods in the gut, promotes the healthy growth of bone, and is important for the absorption of iron, magnesium, phosphate, and zinc. It also has beneficial effects on nerve, muscle and immune functions.

Vitamin D deficiency

Normally, Vitamin D is made by your skin following exposure to ultraviolet light in sunlight (UV-B). Overseas, Vitamin D is added to dairy and other foods as a supplement, but in Australia the only mandatorily fortified food in Australia is margarine. In southern Australia (>35ºS in latitude), as much as 58% of the adult population is Vitamin D deficient during winter, due to insufficient sun exposure (due to indoor lifestyles and “Sun Smart” skin cancer prevention) and low dietary intake. Deficiencies are more common in the elderly population.

In vitamin D deficiency, bones can become thin, brittle, or misshapen over time — classically seen in the diseases rickets (in children) and osteomalacia (in adults). Older adults are particularly at risk of osteoporosis without sufficient Vitamin D and calcium. Improving vitamin D levels in the elderly reduces their risk of falls and bone fractures, through improving balance and strengthening muscles.

Increasing Vitamin D levels using sunshine

The amount of daily sunshine you need on your skin to make enough Vitamin D depends on your skin colour, your location and the season. For moderately fair-skinned people, adequate vitamin D levels may be achieved through summer exposure of the arms (or equivalent) for 6-7 minutes during mid-morning or mid-afternoon. In winter this is increased to 7 to 40 minutes (the longer times are for more southern latitudes) at noon on most days, with as much bare skin exposed as feasible. People with darker skin require exposures that are 3-6 times longer.

Clearly many people cannot receive sufficient sun exposure, especially during a rainy southern winter. For many Australians, supplementation is advisable for at least a part of the year.

Vitamin D supplementation

If you are prone to Vitamin D deficiency, you should have your levels checked every 3-6 months, or as recommended by a doctor.

A daily oral intake of 600-1,000 IU of Vitamin D3 is sufficient for most people, but higher doses may be required in moderate to severe deficiency. Talk to your doctor about high-dose vitamin D (e.g., 50,000 IU taken once a month).

Are there any side effects?

Vitamin D supplementation is very unlikely to cause side effects when used as directed, even with high doses. Side effects that have been reported only very rarely include nausea, vomiting, poor appetite, constipation, weakness, weight loss and kidney damage.

Got questions about Vitamin D?

Why not contact us to ask them, and learn more about Vitamin D?


Nutrigenomic and Neutraceutical Services

Are you always feeling tired and run down, and can’t understand why?

Or, do you suspect your health problems may be caused by some nutritional deficiency?

It is possible that you have a specific vitamin or mineral deficiency. Lifestyle (and particularly diet) and illness can play havoc with the nutrients your body needs for optimal health, but did you know that your genes may also play a role?

Not all equal

Your body is as entirely unique as your genetic make-up. Just as your genetics makes you look different from everyone else around you, it also influences the way that your body uptakes individual nutrients from the food you eat, and the way your body uses them. Genetic deficiencies occur when one or more of the body’s pathways for handling a nutrient (e.g. for its absorption from the gut, or for converting it from an inactive to an active form) does not function adequately.

In extreme cases of genetic deficiency, one may consume the correct amount of a specific nutrient—or even take a supplement—and not experience the health benefit of that nutrient.

For more information about some deficiencies, read our other posts about Key minerals and B group Vitamins, about how many Australians are deficient in Vitamin D, and about Folate deficiency and why folic acid supplements may NOT work.

Fortunately, a suite of tests are available to identify the causes of nutritional deficiencies. When a specific deficiency’s cause is known, it may be overcome by taking an appropriate supplement. Sometimes, no appropriate supplement is commercially available and can only be formulated in a compounding pharmacy.

What we offer

Available-without-a-prescriptionAt Border Compounding Pharmacy, we offer a comprehensive nutrigenomic and nutraceutical service that may include any or all of the following:

  • Pathology testing for nutritional deficiencies
  • Genetic testing for common nutritional processing defects
  • Formulation of custom nutritional supplements to suit your needs

Please contact us to arrange our services, or to learn more about how we can help you.


What is Germanium?

Germanium is a rare element.  It is hard with a grayish-white appearance and structurally is similar to diamond. Generally speaking, there are two types of Germanium: inorganic forms, which are used in manufacturing processes and of which many can be harmful to humans, and organic forms, which may have health benefits.

Our understanding of the role of germanium in the body, is very much in its infancy at present.  Despite initial research in the 1940’s reporting positive health results, very few trials have been conducted to date.  Research to date has suggested Germanium may aid in the prevention of cancer and AIDS as well as being toxic to certain bacteria. It is thought that Germanium does not directly kill cancerous cells, but rather stimulates the body’s immune system and causes the body to change its response to tumours.

A summary of Phase I and Phase II human clinical trials revealed that orally administered organic germanium induced interferon production, restored previously impaired immune response, and showed extremely low toxicity.

It has also been suggested that Germanium may boost the body’s oxygen supply, make a person feel more energetic, destroy damaging free radicals and protect against radiation.

The estimated daily intake for Germanium is 1 mg and a deficiency can be identified with a simple pathology test.

At Border Compounding Pharmacy we are able to order a pathology test to have your Germanium levels tested and include it in your own customised multimineral supplement based on the results. Simply contact our professional staff.


The benefits of Magnesium glycinate

Magnesium supplements are not all the same.

Magnesium supplements come in a variety of forms or ‘salts’. Examples include magnesium chloride, magnesium oxide, magnesium citrate, magnesium orotate and magnesium glycinate. While all of these salts can provide the body with elemental magnesium, they vary in one important way.  That is, they differ in how well they are absorbed from the gut.

This is important for two reasons.  Firstly, and most obviously, the more magnesium that gets absorbed the more the tissues of the body receive. Secondly, if the magnesium does not get absorbed it stays in the digestive tract and works as a laxative.  This can impair the absorption of other nutrients by decreasing the time they have to be absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract.  As little as around 5% of supplemental Magnesium oxide (one magnesium salt) may be absorbed.  Epsom salts is an effective laxative because of the magnesium it contains (Magnesium sulfate).

Magnesium glycinate, on the other hand, contains magnesium bound to glycine, a non-essential amino acid. It is absorbed extremely readily (up to 95%) because the body absorbs it as if it were an amino acid – a building block of protein.  Because it is so well absorbed, it has a very minimal laxative effect.

Magnesium glycinate is an excellent choice for deficiency, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, nerve pain, chronic pain, muscle cramps and also to help improve mood.

A further advantage of magnesium in its glycinate form is the glycine amino acid component.  Glycine has been shown to have a calming effect on the nervous system, enhancing the effect of the magnesium. In addition, glycine helps remove mercury from the body by a process called chelation. Mercury can lead to emotional instability and is often found in very minute quantities in ocean derived fish oils.

Many commercial products use mixtures of magnesium salts that save in manufacturing costs. Furthermore, many supplements are accompanied by dubious claims and very weak research.  At Border Compounding Pharmacy, we use only premium, research backed forms of vitamins and supplements and can prepare them at individually-tailored dosages.

If you are seeking a superior Magnesium supplement, or are getting unpleasant side effects from your current magnesium supplements, let us help you.

Available-without-a-prescription


Key minerals and B group Vitamins

Every person is unique. Due to genetic variability and an individual’s diet, not everyone receives the nutrition they require for optimal health.

At Border Compounding Pharmacy, we can organise nutrient testing and compound forms of supplementation that are suitable for an individual’s deficiencies and genetics.

Simply contact us and speak with our professional staff.
Available-without-a-prescription
As a reference, the common minerals and B group vitamins are summarised in the following table:

Nutrient

Role in the body

Signs of deficiency

Signs of excess

 Calcium Bone formation, formation of fibrin for blood clotting, maintenance of electrolyte and pH balance, nerve conduction Anxiety, allergies, cognitive impairment, menstrual problems, insomnia, muscle cramps, osteoporosis Anorexia, asthma, depression, memory problems, kidney stones
 Chromium Insulin function and glucose metabolism, reduces total cholesterol, increases HDL and reduces LDL Diabetes, high cholesterol, infertility, peripheral neuropathy, obesity Liver and kidney damage
 Copper Elastin and collagen synthesis, antioxidant, wound healing, nervous system, immunity Enlarged heart, capillary damage, limb swelling, decreased hair and skin pigmentation, decreased muscle tone Alzheimer’s disease, autism, depression, dementia, diabetes, cancer, anorexia, heart disease
 Magnesium Calcium regulation, heart muscle, protein synthesis, skeletal muscle, nerve function Alzheimer’s disease, anxiety, asthma, ADHD, autism, decreased apatite, dementia, hypertension, migraines, PMS, osteoporosis Mental disturbances, heart rhythm disturbances, muscle weakness, low blood pressure, kidney disease
 Manganese Metabolism, energy production, tissue formation, hormone production, effects copper and iron levels Anaemia, diabetes, dermatitis, fatigue, epilepsy, high cholesterol, weight loss, weak tendons Anaemia, insomnia, high blood pressure, dementia, mental disturbances
 Molybdenum Cancer prevention, detoxification, fat metabolism Asthma, autism, dental cavities, impotency Anaemia
 Selenium Antioxidant, cancer prevention, detoxification, works with iodine for thyroid formation Cancer, arthritis, cataracts, low thyroid, infertility, muscle pain, diminished cognition Arthritis, nail and hair changes, skin changes, teeth mottling, fatigue, bad breath
 Zinc Protein synthesis, enzyme synthesis, neurotransmitter synthesis, sensory system, immune system, wound healing,  prostate function, growth hormone and insulin function, detoxification Acne, anorexia, ADHD Autism, decreased taste, slowed wound healing, dermatitis, diabetes, hair loss, impaired growth, pregnancy problems Anaemia, tiredness, decreased iron and copper levels, low immune response
 Vitamin B1 Converting carbohydrates into energy, fat metabolism, protein metabolism, skin, eyes, hair, liver, nervous system, brain function, stress reduction Tingling or burning sensation in hands and feet, rapid eye movements, damage to nerves in central and peripheral nervous system, memory loss, cataracts, heart failure Gastrointestinal upset
 Vitamin B6 Protein and carbohydrate metabolism, red blood cell formation, brain processes, immune function, production of neurotransmitters such as melatonin and serotonin, regulation of homocysteine levels, mood Muscle weakness, irritability, depression, brain fog, short term memory loss, heart disease, sleep disturbances, PMS, carpel tunnel syndrome, arthritis Neurological problems, loss of balance, sunlight sensitivity, loss of appetite
 Vitamin B12 Nerve function, nerve health, production of DNA and RNA, works with folate, red blood cell formation, iron homeostasis, mood Fatigue, shortness of breath, nervousness, numbness, tingling in fingers and toes, nerve damage, anaemia, heart disease, macular degeneration, breast cancer, male infertility Imbalance of other B vitamins
 Folate (Not folic acid) Brain function, mental health, emotional health, production of DNA and RNA, works with Vitamin B6 and B12 to control homocysteine levels Birth defects, heart disease, hearing loss, macular degeneration, depression, cancer, brain fog Sleep problems, skin reactions, seizures, imbalance of other B vitamins

Source: Nutripath Pty Ltd


Folate deficiency and why folic acid supplements may NOT work

Everyone has heard of folate, but what does it mean to be deficient in folate, and what can anyone do about it?

What are the possible symptoms of folate deficiency?

  • Low functioning Autism1,2,3
  • Depression4,5
  • Hypertension6
  • Cancer7,8,9,10,11
  • Muscle pain
  • InsomniaIrritable bowel syndrome
  • Fibromyalgia12
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome12
  • Memory loss
  • Headaches
  • Brain fog
  • ADD/ADHD13,14
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Migraine15
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Parkinson’s disease

What causes folate deficiency?

  • Problems with absorption of folate – e.g. Crohn’s disease, coeliacs disease
  • Drinking too much alcohol
  • Eating overcooked food
  • Haemolytic anaemia
  • Some medications (e.g. Phenytoin, sulphasalazine, trimethoprim)
  • Poor diet
  • And most importantly, genetics.

Some sources estimate that up to 50% of the Australian population have a gene that renders folic acid un-useable by the body. Folic acid is the artificial source by which the population at large acquires their folate requirements.

Folic acid, Folinic acid and 5-MTHF

Folic acid: Is a fully oxidised synthetic compound which is not formed naturally. It is commonly used in dietary supplementation and in food fortification.

Folinic acid (5-Formyl Tetrahydrofolate): Is formed when folic acid is reduced by the enzyme dihydrofolate reductase (DHFR). It is an active form of folate that is involved in nucleic acid biosynthesis

5-Methyltetrahydrofolate (5-MTHF): Is formed when folinic acid is reduced by methyl-tetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR). It is the active form of folate which is responsible for homocysteine metabolism, DNA methylation, and neurotransmitter synthesis.

What does this mean?

Folic acid is not actually used by the body. It must first be converted to folate (e.g., folinic acid) and then to 5-MTHF.

The process by which folic acid is metabolised to 5-MTHF is long and complex. This process occurs in the liver and intestines and requires several bodily enzymes. This can be a problem for folic acid supplementation for a few reasons.

Firstly, if the liver or intestines are not working optimally (for reasons such as taking certain medications or anatomical anomalies or fast intestinal transit time), this process cannot occur sufficiently enough to meet the body’s needs.

Secondly, the DHFR enzyme which initially converts folic acid to folate, is not as active in everybody. This means that some people are able to ‘activate’ folic acid quickly while others very slowly.  If the activation of folic acid happens slowly, it could potentially accumulate in the blood stream as well as not providing adequate conversion into a usable product. Furthermore, some drugs are designed to inhibit this enzyme, rendering folic acid supplementation near useless.

Thirdly, even if all the folic acid has been converted to the folate (folinic acid) form, it still requires activation by a final enzyme MTHFR. It is estimated that up to 50% of the population have a faulty gene that prevents MTHFR being made effectively by the body.

What is the solution?

For those individuals displaying any of the symptoms of low folate status mentioned above, a pathology test for folate along with an MTHFR gene test can be conducted.  If supplementation is required, then 5-MTHF should be looked at in preference to folic acid or folinic acid. Read more about our Nutrigenomic and neutraceutical services.

BCP Bio-Active B Complex with 5-MTHF

In conjunction with dieticians trained in the field of nutrigenomics, we have developed a formula containing 5-MTHF, Pyridoxal-5-phosphate, Riboflavin-5-phosphate, and methylcobalamin. These other bioactive vitamin B vitamins are required as co-catalysts with 5-MTHF in its various biochemical roles.

We are able to compound these capsules specifically to your requirements. We can also include other minerals and vitamins if they are necessary, or if you would like them included in one supplemental capsule.

To order a gene test or our capsules or to find out more please contact us.

References

  1. Ramaekers VT, Husler M, Opladen T, Heimann G, Blau N. Psychomotor retardation, spastic paraplegia, cerebellar ataxia and dyskinesia associated with low 5-methyltetrahydrofolate in cerebrospinal fluid: a novel neurometabolic condition responding to folinic acid substitution. Neuropediatrics. 2002 Dec;33(6):301-8
  2. Ramaekers VT, Blau N. Cerebral folate deficiency. Dev Med Child Neurol. 2004 Dec;46(12):843-51
  3. Ramaekers VT, Rothenberg SP, Sequeira JM, Opladen T, Blau N, Quadros EV, Selhub J. Autoantibodies to folate receptors in the cerebral folate deficiency syndrome. N Engl J Med.  2005 May 12;352(19):1985-95
  4. Coppen A, Bolander-Goualille C. Treatment of depression: time to consider folic acid and vitamin B12. J Psychopharmacol. 2005 jan:19(1):59-65
  5. Fava M, Mischoulon D. Folate in depression: efficacy, safety, differences in formulations, and clinical issues. J Clin Psychiatry. 2009; 70 Suppl 5:12-7
  6. Golbahar J, Mostafavi E.Association between low red blood cell 5-methyltetrahydrofolate and hyperhomocysteinaemia with hypertension : a cross-sectional study..High Blood Press Cardiovasc Prev. 2012 Dec;19(4):229-35
  7. Mason JB. Folate status: Effects on carcinogenesis. In: BaileyLB, ed. Folates in Health and Disease. New York Marcel Dekker, 1995; 361-378
  8. 8, Giovanucci E, RImm EB, Acherio A, et al. Alcohol low methionine low folate diets and risk of colon cancer in men. J Natl Cancer Inst 1995; 87: 265-273
  9. Glynn SA , Albanes D Pietinen P, et al. Colorectal cancer and folate status: a nested case-control study among male smokers. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 1996; 5: 487-494
  10. Sanjoaquin MA, Allen N, Couto E, et al. Folate intake and colorectal cancer risk: a meta-analytical approach. Int J cancer 2005; 113: 825-828
  11. Giovannucci E, Stampfer MJ, COlditz GA, et al. Multivitamin use, folate and colon cancer in women in the nurses’ health study. Ann Intern Med 1998; 129: 517-24
  12. Jacobson W, Saich T, Borysiewicz LK, Behan WM, Behan PO, Wreghitt TG. Serum folate and chronic fatigue syndrome. Neurology 1993 Dec: 43(12):2645-7
  13. Millichap JG, Yee MM. The diet factor in attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Pediatrics 2012 Feb:129(2): 330-7
  14. Gokcen C, Kocak N, Pekgor A. Methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase gene polymorphisms in children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Int J Med Sci 2011: 8(7):523-528
  15. Di Rosa G, Attina S, Spano M, Ingegneri G, Sgro DL Pustorino et al. Efficacy of folic acid in children with migraine, hyperhomocysteinemia and MTHFR polymorphisms. Headache 2007 Oct: 47(9): 1342-4