Study supports French oak wood extract’s liver benefits

By Stephen Daniells contact

- Last updated on GMT

Image: Horphag Research
Image: Horphag Research
Supplementation with an extract from French oak wood may support liver function by boosting the elimination of toxins, says a new pilot study from Italy.

A daily 300 mg dose of the Robuvit-brand French oak wood extract for 12 weeks was associated with faster recovery from the symptoms of temporary alcohol-related liver damage, according to findings published in Minerva Gastroenterologica e Dietologica​.

Researchers from Irvine3 Labs and D’Annunzio University report that the oak wood extract was associated with significant improvements in tiredness, fatigue, and nausea related to alcohol intoxication. “Temporary hepatic damage” is a common condition affecting the liver, which can be caused by alcohol consumption, certain prescription drugs and overuse of acetaminophen.

“Results from this registry study indicate a significant potential activity of Robuvit, associated with a very good safety profile, in patients with non-severe, temporary hepatic failure due to alcohol. The recovery of hepatic function is faster with Robuvit, compared to the best possible treatment,”​ they wrote.

“The activity of this supplement seems to be mediated by its antioxidant activity in subjects with increased oxidative stress.”

Robuvit

Horphag Research launched the ingredient, a water extract from the Quercus Robur​ species that are grown sustainably in the forest of the Massif Central region in France, without much fanfare in 2015 because the company couldn’t satisfy everyone’s demand. It was initially only available from Life Extension, Swanson, and Dr Fred Pescatore’s NuLogic Nutritionals brands.

The company announced earlier this year that they had completed a dedicated production line in France, and was extending the availability to additional US customers.

According to the company, the active compounds in Robuvit are roburins and other flavonoids unique to oak wood. Possible mechanisms of action include changes in the function of the cellular protein factories called ribosomes. 

The ingredient is already the subject of 11 published papers listed on PubMed​, and supported by US patents for the Quercus extracts for mood and energy (US Patent #9,060,999​) and sexual health (#9,066,924​).

Data from researchers in Slovakia and Italy have indicated efficacy in improving energy, tiredness, and tension in both healthy people (Phytotherapy Research​, 2015, Vol. 29, pp. 1219–1224) and individuals with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (Journal of Neurosurgical Sciences​, 2015, Vol. 59, pp. 105-117). There was also a study with triathletes, which reported significant improvements in training performance and recovery, compared with controls (Minerva Cardioangiologica​, 2015, Vol. 63, pp. 403-409).

Study details

The new open-label pilot study looked at the potential of the ingredient in 44 healthy people who consumed alcohol. The participants were randomly assigned to receive a daily Robuvit dose or a control group for 12 weeks.

Results showed that people in the oak wood extract group had higher and faster increases in albumin levels, compared with the control group after six weeks, but values after 12 weeks were not significantly different.

In addition, significant improvements in total bilirubin were observed Robuvit subjects after six weeks, compared to control, but not at 12 weeks, while significant improvements in direct bilirubin were observed Robuvit subjects after 12 weeks, compared to control.

For the liver enzymes The ALT-SGPT and AST-ASAT, significantly larger decreases were observed in the Robuvit group after 12 weeks, compared with the control group. Gamma GT values were normalized at 6 and 12 weeks in the Robuvit group, said the researchers, while decreases in the control group was less important and the numbers had not normalized after 12 weeks.

Self-reported levels of tiredness and fatigue were improved in the Robuvit group, compared with the control group.

“As the metabolites of the ellagitannins counteract all the pro-inflammatory cytokines or adhesion molecules, the beneficial action of [Quercus Robur] on [moderate functional hepatic failure] is most probably the result of its anti-inflammatory action in association with the antioxidant activity,” ​wrote the researchers.

Source: Minerva Gastroenterologica e Dietologica
Volume 62, Number 3, Pages 245-252, PubMed: 27404261
“Supplementary management of functional, temporary alcoholic hepatic damage with Robuvit (French oak wood extract)”
Authors: L. Pellegrini et al. 

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