AstraGin improves gut health function in small cohort study

By Asia Sherman

- Last updated on GMT

© mi-viri / Getty Images
© mi-viri / Getty Images

Related tags astragalus panax notoginseng Gut health Ulcerative colitis

Supplementation with AstraGin – a standardized botanical extract of Astragalus membranaceus and Panax notoginseng (APS) – reduced inflammation and regulated gut microflora in adults with ulcerative colitis, according to a recent study.

“To the best of our knowledge, this is the first human trial that examined the effect of the APS supplementation on ulcerative colitis patients,” the team of Chinese researchers wrote in the Journal of Biochemistry and Biotechnology​. “The current study showed, after a three-month trial, participants who were supplemented with APS had improved arginine absorption, intestinal permeability, microbiota population, immune cell count and appetite.”

California-based NuLiv Science USA provided the APS, marketed as AstraGin, and the placebo for the study.

AstraGin for healthy gut function

NuLiv Science introduced AstraGin to the market over a decade ago as a proprietary food and dietary ingredient to support a healthy gut environment by improving the absorption of vital nutrients such as amino acid, omega-3, folate and glucosamine, among others, in human intestinal lumen.

“AstraGin has been shown to enhance specific nutrient absorption regulating DNA, mRNA and transporter proteins in the human body,” Michael Wang, president of NuLiv Science USA, said at the time.

The current pilot study, which follows 16 in-vitro and eight in-vivo studies, evaluated the effects of AstraGin supplementation in subjects with ulcerative colitis, a chronic inflammatory condition in which abnormal reactions of the immune system cause inflammation and ulcers on the inner lining of the large intestine.

Study details

The randomized, double-blind, parallel trial administered either two 50 mg capsules of AstraGin or a maltodextrin placebo a day to patients (four men and five women) with ulcerative colitis between the ages of 25 and 70. A total of eight people completed the trial.

The researchers carried out blood and fecal tests to evaluate plasma arginine, biochemical indicators, fecal microorganisms and indicators of inflammation and appetite. A leaky gut test and colonic tissue examination were also performed. 

According to the findings, AstraGin improved intestinal barrier integrity, increased beneficial bacteria populations (Faecalibacterium prausmitzii​ population by 420% and Bifidobacterium adolescentis​ population by 180%) and decreased or mitigated harmful bacteria populations (Enterobacteriaceae ​increased by only 14% compared to 614% in the placebo group and Prevotella ​decreased by 98% compared to a 27% increase in the placebo group). 

In addition, the intervention group registered more neutrophil cells and lymphocyte immune cells and significantly higher (49.7%) L-arginine absorption than placebo. AstraGin supplementation also increased ghrelin, an appetite hormone that can be affected by gut health issues.

“The latest findings from the AstraGin IBD patient trial, which is further augmented and validated by the intestinal barrier integrity and microbiota adhesion and growth in vitro studies, provide compelling evidence that AstraGin may greatly benefit functional food and dietary supplement products that are intended for absorption enhancement, gut health and probiotic growth,” NuLiv Science shared in a statement.

The study authors recommended more in-depth studies in larger cohorts to verify their findings.

Source: Journal of Biochemistry and Biotechnology​ (2023) Volume 6, Issue 2
“Effect of Astragalus membranaceus and Panax notoginseng extract on arginine absorption, intestinal permeability, microbiota population, immune activation, and appetite in human subjects with Ulcerative Colitis: A Pilot Study”
doi: 10.35841/aabb-6.2.138
Authors: Ching Ping Lin et al.

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