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Gaia Herbs formulator: For liver health, botanicals ‘deal you the cards that your body needs’

By Adi Menayang contact

- Last updated on GMT

Milk thistle extract. Getty Images / Cora Mueller
Milk thistle extract. Getty Images / Cora Mueller

Related tags: botanical, Botanical extracts, Liver, NAFLD

What do we know about the efficacy of botanical ingredients in maintaining our liver health? Mary Bove, ND, director of medical education at Gaia Herbs, gives us the scoop.

Compared to single nutrients, Dr Bove argues that herbal products offer multiple dynamic effects within the function of an organ.

“If we’re looking at specific phytonutrients, sometimes they only offer one avenue of support. I like herbsbecause, you take an herb like milk thistle, it helps with regeneration, helps with protection, we know that it affects superoxide dismutase, glutathione, and other enzymes,”​ she said.

Milk thistle remains one of the leading botanical ingredients for liver health-positioned dietary supplements. Data from market research firm SPINS shows that milk thistle products make up the lion’s share of products marketed for liver support with sales of $22.7 million in the 52 weels ending Dec 30, 2018.

Other top performers in the category, per SPINS’ chart, are dandelion (which had a 10% dollar increase in sales for the same time period, the largest percentage increase), artichoke, and turmeric.

Because of the dynamic effects herbs have that Dr Bove described, it helps with communicating efficacy to consumers, she added. “We can’t just say ‘Hey, this formula is great for Hepatitis C!’ because that’s not DSHEA compliant,”​ she explained, referring to the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994, which regulates how products with Supplement Facts panel can use health claims.

“Herbs do multiple things, and I think that’s one of the beauties of botanicals. It deals out all the needed cards and the body can work with them for healthy physiology.”

Experience in botanical formulations

Dr Bove was trained as a naturopathic physician and medical physician. She had a clinical practice for general family medicine, pediatrics and home birthing for 25 years in Battleboro, VT.

“In the 1990s, I worked with Gaia Herbs to develop their children’s line of botanical remedies, and have been involved with Gaia as a consultant for around 25 years,” ​she told us.

“About five years ago I came on as an employee for doing medical education and research and development for new product development,” ​she added.

Mary-Bove_Gaia-Herbs_2268_SQ-1539107166
Dr Mary Bove, director of medical education, Gaia Herbs.

“What I bring to that process is I bring my experience in clinic, my experience as an educator in herbal medicine, and so I work with a team developing new herbal products that meet the demands of the current age.”

Dr Mary Bove is a panelist in our upcoming FREE webinar on liver health, February 28, 2019 @ 1 PM EST

Get a chance to ask your burning questions about botanicals, mushrooms, and liver health to Dr Bove at our upcoming webinar Liver Health: Demystifying the Detox Organ​.

  • Thursday, February 28, 2019 at 1 PM EST
  • Duration: 60 Minutes
  • Round-table discussion, followed by LIVE Q&A session
  • Experts from Gaia Herbs, Kaiviti Consulting, and The Think Healthy Group

From botanical blends to microbiome interventions, there is plenty of interest in better understanding how to support liver function. Join NutraIngredients-USA as we explore this topic with leading brands and industry stakeholders. CLICK HERE TO REGISTER​​

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