Recently, a tiny compound found in the root of a plant known as Astragalus membranaceus has been under heavy investigation for its incredible health benefits. Astragaloside IV is thought to have many antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, anti-aging and disease-fighting properties. Here is a quick overview of new discoveries on the subject.
1. Astragaloside IV has powerful antioxidant properties (1) – Today, we know that antioxidants are essential in order to maintain good health. The role of antioxidants is to scavenge damaged genetic material, neutralize it and prevent it from degenerating further. As we age or as we experience stress, pollution and bad nutrition, our cells become damaged and create free radicals. These small particles are unstable and steal electrons from surrounding healthy tissue, leading to the creation of more free radicals. Eventually, this free radical creation chain results in aging, cancer and disease.
Antioxidants reduce the risk of cancer and heart disease while diminishing the effects of aging. The antioxidant and anti-aging properties of Astragaloside IV have been studied and scientists concluded that the reason it contributes to health is by neutralizing free radicals and protecting telomeres (the structure that prevents DNA damage during cell replication) (2).
2. Astragaloside IV is a natural anti-inflammatory – Inflammation is a natural immune response designed to destroy harmful microorganisms and to initiate the healing process. There are two types of inflammation. Acute inflammation occurs when tissues are injured, like in the case of a sprain or a wound. Chronic inflammation is the result of the immune system sending too many inflammation messengers over a long period of time. It is the cause of medical conditions such as asthma and arthritis.
Studies on Astragaloside IV have shown that this natural compound can effectively fight inflammation by inhibiting the messengers that cause inflammation. One particular study showed the effect of Astragaloside on inflammation by measuring levels of nitric oxide in cells responsible for the immune response (3). Nitric oxide is a by-product of cell inflammation and could possibly contribute to the proliferation of cancer cells (4). The results were nothing short of amazing. Astragaloside IV was found to significantly reduce the production of nitric oxide and had no toxic effects on the cells. This indicates that inflammation was kept under control with Astragaloside IV (3)
3. Astragaloside IV has antibacterial and antiviral properties – Astragaloside IV has immune-boosting, antiviral and antibacterial properties. One study examined the link between this natural compound and a virus that causes myocarditis (infection of the heart muscle) in young people. Scientists came to the conclusion that Astragaloside IV reduced the amount of viral cells in the myocardic (heart) tissue and decreased mortality among mice treated with Astragaloside IV compared to mice that didn’t receive any treatment. Furthermore, Astragaloside IV reduced necrosis (tissue death) due to the viral infection (5).
Astragalosides were also studied as part of an experiment on the role of Astragalus compounds on bacteria such as tuberculosis. Mice that received an astragaloside supplement experienced a significantly higher rate of macrophage activity when infected with tuberculosis. Macrophages are cells that specialize in destroying viruses and bacteria (6).
By increasing the body’s ability to fight off viruses and bacteria, Astragaloside IV could prove to be a precious ally in reducing microorganism transmission and mortality from infectious diseases. The more effective our bodies are at fighting pathogens, the less likely we are to get sick.
4. Astragaloside IV acts as an organ protector – Several studies back it up: Astragaloside IV has a protective function on the liver, the heart, the nervous system and the brain, among others (7, 8, 9,10). These studies point to specific effects of Astragaloside IV in reducing complications caused by damage to these tissues. It also helps prevent deterioration of organs by regulating different physiological mechanisms.
One study explains how Astragaloside IV helps reduce cellular death caused by excess glucose in diabetics. When exposed to high levels of glucose, cells begin to deteriorate and eventually die. This explains why diabetics suffer from complications such as heart failure, amputation and blindness. Not only does Astragaloside IV help reduce blood glucose (11), it can also help prevent further tissue damage in diabetic organisms (12). Its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties protect tissues and nerves while its insulin-stimulating properties reduce blood glucose, leading to an overall improvement in diabetic symptoms.
5. Astragaloside IV has anti-aging properties – Numerous studies have shown a link between Astragaloside IV and cell protection. As cells age, the little structures that protect the ends of DNA strands, called telomeres, get shorter and can no longer perform their function adequately. Astragaloside IV activates an enzyme that restores the length of telomeres in order to maintain their protective effect on cells (13). The signs of aging are related to the degradation of cell and tissue function caused by the shortening of telomeres. Furthermore, many age-related diseases are caused by free radical damage and shortened telomeres. By fighting oxidation and maintaining a functional telomere length, Astragaloside IV shows potentially powerful age-fighting properties.
6. Astragaloside IV helps to heal wounds – A 2012 study discovered that an Astragaloside IV-enriched topical gel accelerated the healing of wounds. Researchers infused a gel with the plant compound and applied it to wounds on the skin of rats. They noticed a significant improvement in wound closure, collagen synthesis and skin recovery (14). This proves that Astragaloside IV can have beneficial effects both locally and systemically (throughout the entire body). With its antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and antifungal properties, it could become the new standard in natural wound care. As we know, proper wound care helps with the improved appearance of scars and reduces the risk of infection.
A Very Promising Natural Compound
Research on Astragaloside IV is still in its early stages. We have much to discover on its properties and how it can benefit human health. However, the research done up to this day is very promising. Studies done on this compound show positive health benefits on many different physiological functions with no toxic effects. Not very many natural products can currently live up to this claim.
Imperial Tonics utilizes the finest extract of Astragaloside IV within it Ancient Wisdom blend to take advantage of what this herb people refer to as “the Ultimate Nutriceutical” can do for you. Learn more about Ancient Wisdom and the superior extracts within, here.
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2) Harley, C. B., Liu, W., Blasco, M., Vera, E., Andrews, W. H., Briggs, L. A., Raffaele, J.M. (2011). A Natural Product Telomerase Activator as Part of a Health Maintenance Program. Rejuvenation Research, volume 14, issue 1. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3045570/
3) Lee, D-Y., Noh, H-J., Choi, J., Lee, K-H., Lee, M-H., Lee, J-H., Hong, Y., Lee S-E., Kim, S-Y. and Kim, G-S. (2013). Anti-Inflammatory Cycloartane-Type Saponins of Astragalus membranaceus. Molecules, issue 18, pages 3725-3732. Retrieved from http://www.mdpi.com/1420-3049/18/4/3725
4) Ohshima, H., Bartsch, H. (1994).Chronic infections and inflammatory processes as cancer risk factors: possible role of nitric oxide in carcinogenesis. Mutation Research/Fundamentals and Molecular Mechanisms of Mutagenesis, volume 305, issue 2. Retrieved from http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/0027510794902453
5) Zhang, Y., Zhu, H., Huang, C., Cui, X., Gao, Y., Huang, Y., Gong, W., Zhao, Y., Guo, S. (2006). Astragaloside IV Exerts Antiviral Effects Against Coxsackievirus B3 by Upregulating Interferon-γ. Journal of Cardiovascular Pharmacology, volume 47, issue 2. Retrieved from http://journals.lww.com/cardiovascularpharm/Abstract/2006/02000/Astragaloside_IV_Exerts_Antiviral_Effects_Against.5.aspx
6) Xu, H-D., You, C-G ., Zhang, R-L., Gao P., and Wang, Z-R. (2007). Effects of Astragalus Polysaccharides and Astragalosides on the Phagocytosis of Mycobacterium tuberculosis by Macrophages. Journal of International Medical Research, volume 35. Retrieved from http://imr.sagepub.com/content/35/1/84.full.pdf+html
7) Liu, S., Zhang, J. (2012). Cardiovascular protective effects of astragaloside IV. Journal of Chinese Pharmaceutical Sciences. Retrieved from http://126.96.36.199/Jwk_zgyxen/EN/abstract/abstract1234.shtml
8) Zhang, W. D., Chen, H., Zhang, C., Liu, R. H., Li, H. L., Chen, H. Z. (2006). Astragaloside IV from Astragalus membranaceus shows cardioprotection during myocardial ischemia in vivo and in vitro. Planta Medica, volume 72, issue 1. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16450288
9) Yin, Y., Liu Y., Huang, L., Huang, S., Zhuang, JH., Chen, X., Zhang, L., Wu, H., Shao, F., & Zhao, Z. (2010). Anti-Apoptosis Effect of Astragaloside Iv on Alzheimer’s Disease Rat Model via Enhancing the Expression of Bcl-2 And Bcl-Xl. Scandinavian Journal of Laboratory Animal Science, volume 37, issue 2. Retrieved from http://biomedicum.ut.ee/sjlas/37_2_75-82.pdf
10) Liu, H., Wei, W., Sun, W-Y., Li, X. (2009). Protective effects of astragaloside IV on porcine-serum-induced hepatic fibrosis in rats and in vitro effects on hepatic stellate cells. Journal of Ethnopharmacology, volume 122, issue 3. Retrieved from http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0378874109000452
11) Lv, L., Wu, S-Y., Wang, G-F., Zhang, J-J., Pang, J-X., Liu, Z-Q., Xu, W., Wu, S-G. and Rao, J-J. (2010). Effect of astragaloside IV on hepatic glucose-regulating enzymes in diabetic mice induced by a high-fat diet and streptozotocin. Phytotherapy Research, volume 24, issue 2. Retrieved from http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/ptr.2915/abstract
12)Yu, J., Zhang, Y., Sun, S., Shen, J., Qiu, J., Yin, X., Yin, H., Jiang, S. (2006). Inhibitory Effect of astragaloside IV on diabetic peripheral neuropathy in rats. Revue Canadienne de Physiologie et Pharmacologie, volume 84, issue 6. Retrieved from http://www.nrcresearchpress.com/doi/full/10.1139/y06-015
13) Molgora, B., Bateman, R., Sweeney, G., Finger, D., Dimler, T., Effros, R. B., Valenzuela, H. F. (2013). Functional Assessment of Pharmacological Telomerase Activators in Human T Cells. Cells, issue 2, volume 1. Retrieved from http://www.mdpi.com/2073-4409/2/1/57
14) Peng, L. H., Chen, X., Chen, L., Li, N., Liang, W. Q., Gao, J. Q. (2012). Topical astragaloside IV-releasing hydrogel improves healing of skin wounds in vivo. Biological and Pharmaceutical Bulletin, issue 35, volume 6. Retrieved from http://europepmc.org/abstract/MED/22687479/reload=0;jsessionid=eo5TdiHvlTXkgBf11Ora.20