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Researching supplements - What's difference between in vitro and in vivo studies?

Discussion in 'General Treatment' started by Lotus97, Mar 19, 2013.

  1. Lotus97

    Lotus97 Senior Member

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    I've been spending a lot of money on supplements the last few years. I'm not sure how much they've helped, but I try to do a lot of research. The past couple months I've been getting interested in super foods and read about something called ORAC (Oxygen radical absorbance capacity) which is supposed to measure a food/herb's antioxidant power. According to Wikipedia there isn't proof in vivo that ORAC is an accurate measurement. According to this article, the ORAC rating might have some value, but it seems supplement companies are manipulating the data to push their products
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-jonny-bowden/orac-_b_1594115.html
     
  2. SOC

    SOC Senior Member

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    in vitro (literally: in glass) means the tests are done in the lab but not in living creatures -- in a test tube (or equivalent)

    in vivo (literally: in life) means it was tested in living things

    What's relevant in this case is that reactions that happen "in glass" in the lab are not necessarily the same reactions that would occur in a human or other living creature.
     
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  3. Lotus97

    Lotus97 Senior Member

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    Thanks for the response. I sort of gathered that from Wikipedia, but I'm just wondering as far as research what information is relevant. I used the ORAC rating as an example, but it could apply to anything. Also, what about the difference between studies on animals and humans?
     
  4. invisiblejungle

    invisiblejungle Senior Member

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    Unfortunately, we can't always extrapolate animal study results to humans. After all, we're different from animals. (Most of us are, at least. :cool:) Even if we raised a sub-class of humans just to do experiments on them, the studies wouldn't be perfect because it's almost impossible to isolate factors. That's where observation comes into play, and it's always important to hold things loosely in our minds.

    Superfoods are great, but from what I've read, it seems that the antioxidant capabilities found in food are miniscule compared to our endogenous antioxidants like glutathione, superoxide dismutase, and catalase. Earthing (touching the bare ground) is a free source of electrons.
     
  5. Lotus97

    Lotus97 Senior Member

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    Now that I think about it, Rich said something similar about animal studies. A few years ago he said part of the reason he didn't want to use methylcobalamin for his methylation protocol was because there was a guinea pig study that showed methylcobalamin to methylate inorganic mercury. However, he qualified his statement by saying there wasn't much evidence (even though there was a study). I guess there needs to be a healthy dose of skepticism when choosing supplements. Although Life Extension magazine does cite human studies for many of their supplements...

    Just a quick update on Rich, when he revised his methylation protocol last year he still mentioned other reasons why he recommends starting with hydroxocobalamin, but don't remember him mentioning the thing about methylcobalamin and mercury. He also says if hydroxocobalamin doesn't work out then to switch to methylcobalamin since hb12 doesn't work for everyone.
    You're in luck then. Amla berry will increase glutathione and SOD (superoxide dismutase). Plus it's chockfull of bioflavanoids and a great source of natural vitamin C. And it can lower cholesterol! I phrased that information like a joke, but all that stuff I mentioned seems to be true.
     
  6. invisiblejungle

    invisiblejungle Senior Member

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    Yeah, amla's great stuff. You know what's cool? The vitamin C in amla is actually resistant to heat because of the way it's bound to the tannins. Supposedly you can boil amla, and it won't destroy the vitamin C.
     
  7. Lotus97

    Lotus97 Senior Member

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    There's some information about natural vitamin C and bioflavanoids. This is from Linus Pauling Institute. It seems the token 100-200 mg of bioflavanoids they add to vitamin C supplements aren't doing much good.
    http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/infocenter/vitamins/vitaminC/vitCform.html
    Natural vs. synthetic ascorbic acid
    Natural and synthetic L-ascorbic acid are chemically identical, and there are no known differences in their biological activity. The possibility that the bioavailability of L-ascorbic acid from natural sources might differ from that of synthetic ascorbic acid was investigated in at least two human studies, and no clinically significant differences were observed. A study of 12 males (six smokers and six nonsmokers) found the bioavailability of synthetic ascorbic acid (powder administered in water) to be slightly superior to that of orange juice, based on blood levels of ascorbic acid, and not different based on ascorbic acid in leukocytes (white blood cells) (1). A study in 68 male nonsmokers found that ascorbic acid consumed in cooked broccoli, orange juice, orange slices, and as synthetic ascorbic acid tablets are equally bioavailable, as measured by plasma ascorbic acid levels (2, 3).
    Vitamin C with bioflavonoids
    Bioflavonoids or flavonoids are polyphenolic compounds found in plants. Vitamin C-rich fruits and vegetables, especially citrus fruits, are often rich sources of flavonoids as well. The effect of bioflavonoids on the bioavailability of ascorbic acid has been examined in two published studies. A study of five men and three women found that a 500 mg supplement of synthetic ascorbic acid, given in a natural citrus extract containing bioflavonoids, proteins, and carbohydrates, was more slowly absorbed and 35% more bioavailable than synthetic ascorbic acid alone, wheen based on plasma levels of ascorbic acid over time and 24-hr urinary excretion of ascorbic acid (6). In that study, the ratio of bioflavonoids to ascorbic acid (weight per weight) was 4:1, which is much higher than most commercially available products. Another study in 7 seven omen and one man found no difference between the bioavailability of 500 mg of synthetic ascorbic acid and that of a commercially available vitamin C preparation with added bioflavonoids, where the ratio of bioflavonoids to ascorbic acid was 0.05:1 (7).
     
  8. adreno

    adreno PR activist

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    This is the order you should evaluate the results of studies:

    In vivo human studies > In vivo animal studies > In vitro studies

    In other words, just because something works in vitro, doesn't mean it works in vivo. And something that works in animals doesn't necessarily work in humans. In vitro and animal studies might give an indication of something, but have to be confirmed by human studies.
     
    SOC likes this.

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