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Tag: Antioxidants

FAQs on Silybin-Phosphatidylcholine Complex and its Benefits on Liver Health and Vitality

Our liver is an essential organ of our body which performs hundreds of functions including removal of toxins from the blood circulation, metabolism of food nutrients, and processing  of medications. Our liver may be subjected to various forms of injuries caused by infections, toxins, and unhealthy lifestyle leading to liver diseases. A compound that has been well recognized to protect our liver from further injury is the silybin-phosphatidylcholine complex.

Get to know more about this widely used compound and how it can help support your liver health.

1. What is silybin-phosphatidylcholine?

Silybin-phosphatidylcholine is a complex of two widely known liver protectors, silybin and phosphatidylcholine. Silybin is the major component of Silymarin, an extract of the milk thistle (Silybum marianum) plant which has been used for thousands of years as remedy for various ailments including those of the liver.

Silybin is the most bioactive component of Silymarin. It is known to provide multiple health benefits particularly for the liver through its antioxidative, anti-inflammatory, regenerative, and protective biologic activities.

Phosphatidylcholine, a type of phospholipid that naturally makes up the body cells is essential for maintaining the cell covering or membranes. Phosphatidylcholine is also reported to improve cardiovascular and liver health. It lowers blood cholesterol and increases the levels of HDL (high density lipoproteins) or the so called “good cholesterol”.

2. What benefits do silybin and phosphatidylcholine provide to the liver?

Silybin is considered as the major constituent of silymarin, a plant extract recognized for its benefits to the liver.  It was officially classified by the World Health Organization (WHO) in the 1970s as a drug with liver-protecting properties.

Studies on silybin have shown that it possesses antioxidative, anti-inflammatory, regenerative, and liver-protecting actions which may directly address the damaging processes involved in liver illnesses such as fatty liver.

Silybin is reported to have both protective and regenerative effects. Silybin as a powerful antioxidant reduces the harmful free radicals formed by toxins that damage the liver cell membrane.  Silybin also supports the production of glutathione,  the liver’s natural antioxidant.  Silybin activates the liver’s metabolism to produce more proteins thus stimulating the liver’s regenerative ability and the formation of new liver cells.

Owing to these multiple actions in protecting the liver cells, silybin has been widely used as a support in the management of various liver conditions such as different forms of hepatitis, drug induced liver injury and fatty liver disease.

On the other hand, phosphatidylcholine may also serve as a building block for cell membranes that help repair injured liver cells aside from improving the absorption of silybin.

3. Why is silybin combined with phosphatidylcholine?

One major limitation of silybin is that it is poorly absorbed by the digestive tract when taken orally as silymarin alone. This is due to its large molecular size and its poor ability to mix with lipids that make up the membranes of the cells lining the absorptive layer of the small intestine.

However, by combining silybin with phosphatidycholine which is a principal component of cell membranes, a lipid-compatible complex is formed which significantly improves its absorption. This enhances the availability of silybin in the blood circulation by as much as 4.6 times.

The formation of the silybin-phosphatidylcholine complex allows the enhanced delivery of silybin’s protective benefits to the liver.

4. What are the clinical benefits of combining silybin with phosphatidylcholine?

The silybin-phosphatidylcholine complex provides a dual support for the liver through a combination of well-known liver-protecting agents.

The clinical benefit of  silybin-phosphatidylcholine has been documented in a study on patients with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. The patients who were treated with a formulation of silybin-phosphatidylcholine with vitamin E twice daily for 12 months showed significant improvements in the markers of liver injury such as serum liver enzymes, SGPT and SGOT, and liver biopsy, compared with placebo.

Ask your doctor about naturally derived liver-protecting agents like silybin-phosphatidylcholine and their benefits to your liver health.


  1. Barzaghi N, Crema F, Gatti G, Pifferi G, Perucca E. Pharmacokinetic studies on IdB 1016, a silybin- phosphatidylcholine complex, in healthy human subjects. Eur J Drug Metab Pharmacokinet. 1990;15(4):333-338. doi:10.1007/BF03190223
  2. Loguercio C, Andreone P, Brisc C, et al. Silybin combined with phosphatidylcholine and vitamin E in patients with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease: a randomized controlled trial. Free Radic Biol Med. 2012;52(9):1658-1665. doi:10.1016/j.freeradbiomed.2012.02.008
  3. Silybin-phosphatidylcholine complex. Monograph. Altern Med Rev. 2009;14(4):385-390.

The Health Benefits of Coenzyme Q10

What is Coenzyme Q10 or CoQ10?

CoQ10, a shorthand for Coenzyme Q10, is also known as Ubiquinone, due to its ubiquitous presence in every cell of the human body. Because it also possesses vitamin-like properties, it is also sometimes called Vitamin Q despite not being technically a true vitamin. As a coenzyme, CoQ10 works in concert with enzymes of the body by accelerating the efficient metabolism of nutrients.

CoQ10 is abundant in energy demanding cells to support the function of the mitochondria, the powerhouse of the cell. The highest concentrations of CoQ10 are reportedly present in the heart, liver, kidney and pancreas. Tissue levels of CoQ10 may decline in people who are advancing in age.  Levels may not be enough when there is lack of intake of substances needed to produce CoQ10 and when the body is faced with increased requirements during illness.

CoQ10 also functions as a very powerful natural antioxidant that protect us against cell damaging effect of free radicals and various diseases.

Juan Hernandez-Camacho and his team of researchers from the Universidad Pablo de Olavide-CSIC-JA in Sevilla, Spain, and the National Institute on Aging and the National Institutes of Health in Baltimore, Maryland USA did a review of the studies done showing the numerous health benefits of CoQ10.

Role in cardiovascular health

The review discovered that daily supplementation with CoQ10 significantly helped in lowering elevated blood pressure. Short term daily treatment with CoQ10 was also seen to aid in the cardiac function of patients with heart failure. It improved ejection fraction (the fraction of blood being pumped by the heart per beat).  Furthermore, CoQ10 also improved the blood vessel function in patients with heart failure.

Role in metabolic health and diabetes

The review also reported that CoQ10 supplementation had a mild but significant capacity to lower fasting plasma glucose levels in patients with type 2 diabetes.

In terms of lowering blood cholesterol, some reports suggested that CoQ10 is very effective in reducing blood triglycerides and lipoproteins. It was also observed that CoQ10 supplementation may benefit patients taking cholesterol reducing drugs called statins by reducing its common side effects such as muscle pain and cramping.

CoQ10 relieves migraine

In a review published in StatPearls, researchers Britanny Sood and Michael Keenaghan also found CoQ10 to be beneficial in terms of alleviating migraine.

The study found that supplementation with CoQ10 was three times more likely to reduce the number of migraines than placebo. It was also observed that low levels of CoQ10 were seen in individuals with migraine. In the treatment process, patients with CoQ10 deficiency experienced fewer and less severe headaches. CoQ10 was also shown to decrease migraine frequency in adult migraine sufferers.

CoQ10 and exercise performance

It was also found that supplementation with CoQ10 can help increase stamina during exercise, reduce fatigue, and improve exercise performance. CoQ10 was shown to decrease pain, fatigue, and morning tiredness in patients with fibromyalgia, a musculoskeletal disorder characterized by fatigue and problems in sleep, mood and memory.

Multivitamin preparations with CoQ10 are readily available in drugstores allowing anyone to enjoy its health benefits. It should always be remembered that a doctor must be consulted before taking any vitamins and food supplements.


Hernández-Camacho JD, Bernier M, López-Lluch G, Navas P. Coenzyme Q10Supplementation in Aging and Disease.

Sood B, Keenaghan M. Coenzyme

CoenzymeCoQ10Nutritional supplements

Lecithin, Omega-3, Lycopene, and More: Nutrition Beyond Vitamins and Minerals

As the pandemic continues, people have become more and more acquainted with the variety of vitamins and minerals available in the market offering various health claims. But did you know that some dietary supplements can give you beyond your usual vitamins ABC’s and minerals?

Not all supplements are formulated the same. Aside from the price, check how many and how much of the active ingredients do your supplements offer. Apart from your usual vitamins and minerals, here are some important nutrients to look for in your supplements:

LECITHIN: A nerve-building nutrient

Also known as phosphatidylcholine, lecithin is a large class of fat-like substance that is essential for creating and maintaining the covering of the cells. Lecithin is important in the normal functioning of a wide range of essential body systems, including the digestive, reproductive, and circulatory systems. Lecithin can improve cardiovascular and liver health. It lowers levels of blood cholesterol and increases HDLs levels (high density lipoproteins, aka “good cholesterol”).

Among its many functions, lecithin has been specially touted for its benefits to the nervous system, giving it the moniker “nerve-building nutrient.” Clinicians find lecithin useful in helping improve memory and in sustaining endurance in strenuous physical and mental activities.

LYCOPENE and RUTIN: Not your usual antioxidants

Lycopene, a carotenoid or “colorful nutrient,” is an antioxidant abundantly found in tomatoes and tomato-based products. Lycopene is regarded as the most abundant carotenoid in the human blood. Lycopene has been demonstrated to have a strong association to a reduced risk for certain cancers, mainly of the prostate, stomach, and lungs. Lycopene has also been found to be efficient in ameliorating diabetes mellitus, heart complications, skin, bone, liver and reproductive diseases and disorders.

Rutin, also known as Vitamin P or Rutoside, is a naturally-sourced flavonoid. Rutin has demonstrated several beneficial activities, including antioxidant and anticancer properties. As a flavonoid, rutin has been shown to have a strong scavenging activity or the ability to combat deleterious substances that may damage the body cells.

OMEGA-3 FATTY ACIDS: The fat your heart loves

Omega-3 fats, which include ALA (alpha-linolenic acid), EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid), and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), belong to the family of unsaturated fats that are not produced by the body, and are obtained from food sources such as fish and vegetable oils.

Omega-3 fats have been shown to lower the risk for heart diseases and strokes. Omega-3 fats were also reported to help in lowering blood pressure and improve blood vessel function. At higher doses, omega-3 fatty acids are reported to lower triglycerides and may ease inflammation, thus preventing thickening of the arterial wall.

LUTEIN and ZEAXANTHIN: Looking after your eye health

Lutein and Zeaxanthin are two chemically similar carotenoids shown to have health benefits for the eyes. They are specifically concentrated in the macula, the area in the eye responsible for color recognition. Because lutein and zeaxanthin have antioxidant properties, they help protect the eyes from deleterious substances that may cause damage.

Intake of lutein and zeaxanthin have also been linked to a reduced risk of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and cataracts by increasing macular pigment density, thus preventing vision impairment and blindness.

It is important to be familiar with the various nutrients available in different supplements and their health benefits. Reading product labels and knowing the right ingredient to look for helps us become informed and smart consumers.

Consult your doctor regarding supplementation to get proper guidance in choosing the best supplement suited for your needs.

Nutrients that Support Immune Function

Getting enough nutrients from food and supplements is vital for the health and function of the immune cells. These nutrients help the immune system in several ways: working as an antioxidant to protect healthy cells, supporting growth and activity of immune cells, and producing antibodies.

Studies show that those who are poorly nourished are at a greater risk of bacterial, viral, and other infections.

Learn more about how key nutrients support immune function.

1. Vitamin C – stimulates the formation of antibodies and the activity of white blood cells

2. Iron – a component of enzymes critical for immune cell function.

3. Vitamin A – helps protect against infections by keeping skin and other body tissues healthy.

4. Vitamin D – helps regulate antimicrobial proteins that can directly kill pathogens.

5. Vitamin E – protects the integrity of cell membranes.

6. Zinc – needed for wound healing and supports immune response.


Support your immune function with good nutrition, by Mayo Clinic.

Nutrition and Immunity, Harvard Education