RetroGen ALPHA is the product of 40 years practical experience identifying nutritional ingredients that actually work, and over 15 years experience in the field of genetics, identifying how nutrients impact genetic function. It incorporates botanical extracts and the most bio-available form of important vitamins that have been proven to be critical to overall health and well being on a molecular level, namely that they have been found to have a beneficial effect on genetic function. It is this link between epigenetics and nutrition that finally explains how certain nutrients work in the human body and why they are critical to longevity and well being.
ALPHA addresses an area of nutritional supplementation that has, for the most part, been overlooked, or neglected, namely that of macronutrients. Micronutrients are mostly vitamins, minerals and botanical extracts. Macronutrients are mostly proteins and starches that also play a critical role in maintaining optimal health and well being. Proteins have until recently been ignored, because they appear to be abundant in our diets, since most foods contain them. The importance of proteins is now being recognized and they are increasingly being used in meal replacements, supplements drinks and products for athletes and the elderly.
Proteins are large molecules that are made of one or more amino acids. Proteins are difficult to digest, and their breakdown by our body uses about ½ of the energy value in the protein source to fuel the entire digestive process that frees up the amino acids for absorption and use by our metabolism. Of the amino acids freed up by the digestive process, approximately 50% are non-essential amino acids that were made by the animal or plant we ate, for use by their own metabolism. They are mostly of no value to humans and are discarded, since the human metabolism makes its own non-essential amino acids. As a result, we only benefit from about 25-30% of the total protein contained in our food! (Of course, this is a theoretical number, based on 100% digestive efficiency (which few of us have) and assuming that the energy is derived from amino acids rather than from carbohydrates or fat.)
Probably the most critical elements to the survival of any life form are essential amino acids (EAA’s). We get them from various proteins, and they deliver the nucleotides or building blocks for nearly every metabolic function in our body; virtually providing the bricks and mortar that build and maintain any life form. Plants are able to synthesize or produce all amino acids from their nutrients, but humans and animals cannot produce EAA’s and therefore must have them in their diet to survive.
Amino Acids – What we get from Proteins
As humans grow and mature, their bodies store the EAA’s from their diet by building muscle and collagen containing tissues and bone. Approximately 60% of our amino acids are stored in muscles and ~25% are in the collagen found in skin, bone, tendons, cartilage and blood vessels. As a result, amino acids represent about 20% of our total body mass. Since at least 65% of our body is made of water, amino acids are the second largest body component; unless of course, obesity is an issue. Knowing this, makes sense of why we need both water and EAA’s to survive.
Our EAA needs should normally be supplied by dietary protein consumption such as from beef, chicken, fish, beans, rice and other foods. However, the body’s ability to break these proteins down into the EAA needed for all metabolic functions diminishes over time, and as a result various deficiencies occur. Whether the reduced digestibility and absorption comes from a sluggish pancreas or other reasons is irrelevant for now, what is critical is the fact that we generally begin having difficulty meeting our daily EAA needs by age 35-40.
This is why EAA’s are so important in human nutritional supplementation:
- Amino Acids are the building blocks of proteins that are made by each metabolism and are fundamental to the existence of life.
Proteins are one of the most important basic nutrients needed by humans to survive and thrive.
- Nine EAA’s are derived from dietary protein and used by the human metabolism to produce 12 non-essential amino acids, functional proteins and other precursors that impact every major metabolic function.
Up to about age 35, human muscle mass is maintained or increased through diet and exercise.
- Soon thereafter humans begin to lose muscle mass at a rate of ½% to 1% per year, increasing with age to over 4% overall muscle mass lost each year, after age 75. Take a look at your parents and/or grandparents and compare them to a picture taken 10-20 years ago to get a visual of that.
Genetics of Nutrition
Although our genetic code, as laid out by the Human Genome Project is static, generally not altered during our lifetime, and is inherited identically from each parent, the Epigenome is influenced by many personal and environmental factors, but most importantly nutritional consumption.
The Epigenome is also partially heritable, meaning that changes that occur during one’s lifetime, prior to conception, can be passed on to one’s children. It can be said that the Epigenome controls many aspects of how genes function, much like software instructs computer hardware how to work. Every day new direct correlations are being made between the Epigenome and diseases such as cancers a inflammatory related conditions that are now believed to be influenced or caused by Epigenetics. Epigenomics is providing a turning point to the understanding of heredity and evolution, and how mankind can have an impact on it.
ALPHA is formulated with ingredients that have a long track record, and are known to be safe to consume on a daily basis. Although it is not intended to replace a multivitamin, ALPHA contains certain essential vitamins in a highly bioavailable form that are generally not found in common multivitamin brands. Most vitamin manufacturers do not understand for example, that one of the most fortified nutrients in our food supply, namely folic acid, does not benefit 35-40% of the people who consume it! This stems from genetic predispositions caused by mutations in a gene called that prevents certain people from being able to convert the folic acid into the bioavailable form that is needed by the body. Because of this little known fact, many people still suffer folic acid deficiencies, even though they take multivitamins (containing folic acid) and eat products that are fortified with this crucial nutrient. Since the bioavailable form of folic acid (L-methylfolate) is so important to our metabolism on an epigenetic basis, it is included in ALPHA even though its cost is ~1,000% higher than that of common folic acid. Included are also a number of botanical ingredients that have been proven to beneficially impact genetic function in a variety of ways.
The ingredients have been selected to synergistically impact the epigenetic profile of DNA, promote DNA repair, and improve gene expression, telomere maintenance and stem cells. ALPHA was developed to help maintain the Epigenome for optimal wellness. This is based not only on the ingredients found in what is believed to be a healthy diet, but includes active ingredients from substances that have been found in numerous ethnic diets worldwide, which have recently been proven to positively affect the Epigenome. Certain aspects related to how ALPHA ingredients work are not always clearly understood, but the data on them demonstrates with certainty that they impact the Epigenome in a positive manner. What is special about these natural substances is that they only turn on or off certain genes; not all genes; and they do this in a very selective intelligent manner. There are no known side effects or toxicity, and they oftentimes have been included in regional ethnic diets and herbal medicines for over 10,000 years. They impact and modify different Epigenetic regulation mechanisms as if they knew exactly what they were doing.
Overall, more than 2,600 peer-reviewed and published human studies were reviewed during the development of the current RetroGen ALPHA formulation. Over 420 human studies on individual ALPHA ingredients demonstrated abilities to impact the methylation of certain genes. 270 studies demonstrated beneficial impact on histone acetylation and over 785 human studies demonstrated genetic expression changes!
June 2011, Nutritional status affects the epigenomic profile of peripheral blood cells, Juleen R Zierath & Romain E Barrès, The Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Basic Metabolic Research, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Copenhagen, DK-2200 Copenhagen, Denmark Department of Molecular Medicine & Surgery, Section of Integrative Physiology, Karolinska Institutet, SE 171 73, Stockholm, Sweden Carcinogenesis vol.31 no.1 pp.27–36,
2010 Title: Epigenetics in cancer. Shikhar Sharma, Theresa K. Kelly and Peter A. Jones, Department of Urology, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and Department of Genetics, Molecular and Cellular Biology, USC/Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA 90089-9181, USA
2011.05.019 Title: Epigenetic Mechanisms in Cognition Jeremy J. Day1 and J. David Sweatt, Department of Neurobiology and Evelyn F. McKnight Brain Institute, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL 35294-2182, USA
PNAS 2007; Innate immunity and transcription of MGAT-III and Toll-like receptors in Alzheimer’s disease patients are improved by bisdemethoxy-curcumin, Milan Fiala, Philip T. Liu, Araceli Espinosa-Jeffrey, Mark J. Rosenthal, et al. Department of Medicine, Greater Los Angeles Veteran’s Affairs Medical Center, and Departments of Medicine, Microbiology, Immunology and Molecular Genetics, Neurobiology, and Neurology, University of California School of Medicine, Los Angeles, CA 90095
Jun;14(6A):1225-40. Epub 2010 Jan 30. Epigenetics in atherosclerosis and inflammation.
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