From curcumin to the Peruvian maca, Dr Janakan Krishnarajah gives you the lowdown on foods that can alleviate mood and slow the ageing process
A medical doctor working in the pharmaceutical and nutraceutical product development space has revealed the six high-performance superfoods and nutrients to look out for this year, and explains their efficacy.
The global market for superfoods—foods with extremely high level of nutrients and which are seen to have health benefits—is expected to see a compound annual growth rate of 17% by 2023.
Dr Janakan Krishnarajah at Entity Health (entity-health.com)—an Australian-made nutraceutical company that researches and incorporates the world’s most effective superfoods into its line of products—says there has been a significant increase in the volume of processed foods, food extracts, supplements and herbs that contain superfoods. Part of his role at Entity Health, says Dr Krishnarajah, is to identify the best-performing emerging superfoods and nutrients that can be added to supplement formulations as key active ingredients.
“Health is multi-faceted—not only do we need to address our basic nutritional intake, but ensure we consume the right nutrients to address our cellular, hormonal and mental health as well,” says Dr Krishnarajah. At the same time, there are specific health conditions that some people are looking to resolve. Achieving overall good health includes supplementing diets with beneficial plant-based nutrients, natural immunity boosters and coenzymes that will improve nutrient intake, optimise hormonal health, improve regeneration and function of cells, and address specific health concerns.”
Dr Krishnarajah’s 6 highly effective superfoods and nutrients to look out for this year:
1. Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+)
What is it? NAD+ is a coenzyme in our bodies needed for all important biological processes and crucial to overall health. Significantly, it is responsible for turning nutrients into energy which is key to metabolism, and plays a vital role in the brain. More recently, NAD+ has been established as being vital in the aging process. There has been an explosion of research into how NAD+ relates to ageing and age-related diseases and researchers are calling it the “closest we’ve gotten to a fountain of youth”.
Health benefits: NAD+ is essential for cellular function, DNA repair and the regulation of energy metabolism—with studies reporting that increased levels of the nutrient slow the symptoms of aging and progression of age-related diseases. NAD+ levels decline as we age. Studies have shown that replenishing NAD+ increases life span when tested on animals, as it makes for more efficient DNA repair.
How it can be taken: NAD+ precursors (molecules which are converted into NAD+ in the body) can be taken orally in supplement form. RestoriX, Entity Health’s newly launched supplement, contains nicotinamide which converts to NAD+ in the body. RestoriX helps with DNA repair and can be experienced as an increase in the body’s energy levels.
What is it? Naturally produced by the liver, glutathione is a group of amino acids and an antioxidant that maintains the body’s immune system. Glutathione is often referred to as the body’s master antioxidant.
Health benefits: Glutathione has holistic health benefits as it plays a role in many chemical reactions in the body and in regulating oxidative stress and detoxification in the cells. Glutathione levels decrease in our bodies as we age, with lower levels of the antioxidant linked to several serious medical conditions. Taking glutathione can boost our immune system.
How it can be taken: Glutathione is used as an active ingredient in pharmaceutical, health food products. It is the active ingredient in Entity Health’s LumeniX supplement, which is a skin care nutraceutical—with benefits including a more even skin tone, reducing sunspots and improving dark pigmentation. As glutathione is poorly absorbed when taken orally, LumeniX enhances glutathione absorption by utilising a patented wafer technology that dissolves and rapidly absorbs glutathione when the LumeniX wafer is placed under the tongue.
3. Hovenia dulcis
What is it? Hovenia dulcis is a raisin-like fruit from a tree native to Asia. It has been used in traditional herbal Korean and Chinese medicine for hundreds of years for its abundant nutrients.
Health benefits: It is most commonly used for the treatment of liver diseases and alcohol toxicity. Hovenia dulcis works by enhancing the activity of two enzymes in the body—alcohol and aldehyde dehydrogenase—which help the body break down and metabolise alcohol toxins more quickly and efficiently.
How it can be taken: Hovenia dulcis can be eaten raw, cooked or made into a drink—juice or fermented into a wine and vinegar. It is the active ingredient in Entity Health’s best-selling liver detox supplement, LiviUp.
4. Red and black maca
What is it? Lepidium meyenii (maca) is a native medicinal plant from Peru, which only grows in the central Andes between 4000-4500m altitude. Maca exports from Peru grew to 1974 tonnes in 2015 alone.
Health benefits: Overall, maca is said to reduce our cortisol levels (stress hormone) and alleviate anxiety and improve mood. Experimental scientific evidence also reveals maca has fertility-enhancing properties, with clinical trials showing maca increasing sperm count, sexual dysfunction and motility. Additionally, black maca is a natural energiser, combating fatigue and stress. Studies have linked it to improving memory and learning functionality.
How it can be taken: Maca is most commonly dried and turned into a powder, which can be mixed into beverages. Entity Health incorporates black maca into its memory-enhancing nutraceutical ConcentriX, while a red and black maca blend is used in RevitaliX for stress relief in post-menopausal women.
What is it? Curcumin is a natural chemical and the active component in turmeric spice. The curcumin global market is expected to reach $1.88 billion by 2024, with a compound annual growth rate of 12.3 per cent in that time. Demand is expected to come from the cosmetic, food and pharmaceutical industries.
Health benefits: Curcumin has strong anti-inflammatory properties and relieves joint discomfort, thanks to its antioxidant mechanisms. Research suggests that curcumin can help in the management of oxidative stress and inflammatory conditions, metabolic syndrome, arthritis and anxiety—with one study supporting the use of turmeric for pain relief, noting that it seemed to work as well as ibuprofen for people with arthritis in their knees. Curcumin can also help in the management of exercise-induced inflammation and muscle soreness, enhancing recovery in active people.
How it can be taken: Turmeric powder can be added to cooking or drinks or form the basis of supplements. A teaspoon daily can provide benefits. Entity Health’s bone and joint supplement, FortefiX Plus, incorporates Cursol, a form of curcumin that is 400x more bioavailable than standard curcumin, to provide support for joint flexibility and relieve joint pain and inflammation.
6. Bacopa monnieri
What is it? Bacopa monnieri—commonly known as Brahmi or Bacopa—is a medicinal Ayurvedic herb native to Australia and India and is found in warm wetlands.
Health benefits: Bacopa monnieri is known to enhance memory function. Daily oral dosage of the herb found a 25% increase to cerebral blood flow. Low cerebral blood flow is associated with lower memory.
How it can be taken: Bacopa monnieri can be taken as a powder added to hot water to make a soothing herbal drink. It is also an active ingredient in brain supplements, such as Entity Health’s ConcentriX, which improve concentration and memory function.
Disclaimer: The author’s opinions in this article are his own. Please consult your physician before following this information.