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ATP: THE CORE SOURCE OF
CARDIOVASCULAR ENERGY
An Exclusive Interview with Eliezer Rapaport, Ph.D.

 


Lee Swanson, President of Swanson Health Products


Dr. Eliezer Rapaport, Ph.D., is an expert in adenosine nucleotides and is credited with the discovery that organ and blood levels of ATP can be enhanced by oral ATP administration

Dr. Eliezer Rapaport is one of the world’s foremost authorities on Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP), having dedicated over 30 years to researching this fascinating aspect of biology. He was the first to make the revolutionary discovery that the administration of ATP results in the immediate expansion of available extracellular pools of ATP. He further discovered and characterized the physiological and pharmacological roles of ATP as they relate to the aging process and human health. His work has helped to establish therapeutic and nutritional applications of ATP benefiting cardiac, liver and skeletal muscle functions and organ protection, vascular health, glycemic (blood sugar) control, regulation of weight loss and more. Dr. Rapaport earned his Ph.D. in organic chemistry from Johns Hopkins University in 1971. Since that time, he has served on the faculties of Harvard Medical School at the Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston University School of Medicine, and Worcester Foundation for Experimental Biology. His research activities are described in 57 published, original, peer-reviewed articles.


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SWANSON: Dr. Rapaport, thank you so much for your time. We are very excited to introduce to our valued customers throughout the U.S. and Canada a researcher of your caliber. To start off, can you please give a brief overview of what ATP is and how it works in the body?
Dr. Rapaport: Thank you, Lee, for the opportunity to share what has been my life’s work. ATP, short for adenosine triphosphate, is a multifunctional molecule that serves as the primary source and carrier of cellular energy. The energy of ATP is stored in a specific phosphate-phosphate bond and can be utilized as chemical energy or mechanical energy, such as in muscle function. It exists both inside (intracellularly) and outside (extracellularly) virtually every cell of the body. The extracellular levels of ATP are less than one thousandth of its intracellular levels. ATP is largely responsible for energy, function and survival of the cells. Extracellular ATP regulates many physiological responses—such as circulatory, heart, skeletal muscle and blood sugar regulation—by interacting with specific ATP receptors on cell surfaces.

SWANSON: You’ve devoted over 30 years of your life, virtually your entire professional career, to studying the action of ATP in the human body. Can you give us a brief history of ATP research and your important involvement with it?
Dr. Rapaport: ATP was discovered in 1929, and in the 1950s it was used in the medical community as an intramuscular injection. It’s still used in the medical community today in various forms, but what is truly exciting is that we’ve only recently been able to make it orally stable. Now it can be employed as a direct oral dietary supplement.

SWANSON: You actually helped develop the process for measuring ATP levels in the body. You now hold ten patents related to ATP and, specifically, the PEAK® ATP supplement under the SWANSON ULTRA® label.
Dr. Rapaport: That is correct. I hold both composition and use patents related to ATP delivery. PEAK ATP, the oral form in your Swanson product, is the only ATP supplement that is backed by these patents. And it’s important to note that it’s enteric-coated to protect its stability through the digestive process and ensure optimum absorption.

Peak ATPSWANSON: Let’s talk about how your PEAK ATP formula can benefit people. How does it benefit cardiovascular health?
Dr. Rapaport: ATP is essential to the heart and the entire cardiovascular system. It is the universal energy source and controls all chemical reactions within the heart’s muscle tissue. Research indicates that increasing blood plasma (extracellular) levels of ATP can help relax (or dilate) blood vessels without affecting blood pressure or heart rate. Greater vasodilation enhances blood flow, which in turn supports delivery of oxygen and nutrients, and helps remove waste products such as lactic acid. As for the vascular system, adequate levels of blood plasma ATP are believed to protect vascular endothelial tissue, or the inner walls of the arteries.

SWANSON: So ATP is really, as you put it, the “universal energy source” for the tissues of the heart muscle?
Dr. Rapaport: That’s correct. And unfortunately, the aging process and reduced blood flow actually reduces ATP production in the heart. Now, PEAK ATP does not improve cardiac ATP levels by direct incorporation into the cardiac muscle ATP pools. It achieves it by promoting oxygen and nutrient delivery to the oxygen-starved tissue, which in turn stimulates cellular ATP synthesis.

SWANSON: How sharply do ATP levels in the body decline with age?
Dr. Rapaport: Research indicates red blood cell ATP pools decline by 50% at 70 years of age compared to age 20 (see chart below). Skeletal muscle ATP synthesis is reduced by 50% from 38 years of age to 68. Furthermore, the declining mitochondrial (oxygen dependent) ATP synthesis in skeletal muscle is now viewed as cause for what we call “aging.”

SWANSON: Given what you said earlier that ATP is the universal energy source for the body, it’s not surprising our energy levels decline with age when our ATP levels drop by half between the ages of 20 and 70.
Dr. Rapaport: That’s true. Because ATP powers and regulates all physiological functions, and every human cellular function as well, it is understandable that declines in ATP stores are associated with a loss of wellness and vitality.

SWANSON: In addition to the heart and cardiovascular health benefits of ATP, can you talk briefly about the research that was done on how your PEAK ATP supplement can benefit muscle strength in the body?
Dr. Rapaport: Yes, improving muscle strength is the “holy grail” of age-fighting supplements. Research shows that ATP is vital for muscle strength and recovery, muscular energy, healthy blood flow and more.

SWANSON: Let’s get back to PEAK ATP for heart and circulatory health. How do you feel about two other popular heart health supplements, CoQ10 and Ribose?
Dr. Rapaport: That’s a great question. Ribose is a “precursor” to ATP. It can be effective and has its own benefits towards helping to regenerate and recycle ATP, but it’s simply not the same as ATP itself. CoQ10, on the other hand, supports ATP synthesis in a specific manner inside the cell. So its benefits are primarily intracellular as opposed to extracellular. Taking both an ATP supplement and a CoQ10 supplement can be an effective comprehensive approach for those concerned about cardiovascular health. Improved CoQ10 levels need oxygen to be effective, and with poor blood flow and decline in oxygen disposal, no amount of CoQ10 can produce a positive effect. A combination of elevated extracellular ATP pools and increased intracellular CoQ10 can be utilized to improve oxygen delivery, enabling the CoQ10 to stimulate cellular ATP synthesis.

SWANSON: I recently read an interview with you done by Dr. Richard Passwater, which focused on the clinical research relating to how PEAK ATP helps enhance circulation and blood flow. Would this, in theory, help enhance the action of CoQ10?
Dr. Rapaport: I believe so. You can take a CoQ10 supplement, but if your cardiovascular health is compromised in such a way as to reduce available oxygen delivered by the blood, it’s not going to do you much good. Adding an ATP supplement could actually support the effectiveness of a CoQ10 supplement. Cellular CoQ10 acts only in stimulating ATP synthesis by respiration, utilizing oxygen, and not by the oxidation of sugars (glucose), a process that does not require oxygen. The heart relies heavily on its cardiac muscle cells’ ATP synthesis from energy generated by the oxidation of fatty acids in a sequence that is heavily dependent on oxygen and thus on healthy blood flow. The maintenance of vascular health and good blood flow are therefore essential to proper cardiac function.

SWANSON: In closing, Dr. Rapaport, who can benefit from taking your PEAK ATP supplement?
Dr. Rapaport: Honestly, there’s not a single person alive who cannot benefit from ATP supplementation. Because it’s so fundamental to our lives, to how well our bodies function, to our energy levels and our abilities to stay strong and healthy—its benefits have universal appeal. Certain individuals have unique interests in ATP supplementation. Athletes and sports enthusiasts find it helpful in meeting their performance goals. Older individuals appreciate it for global (or total-body) energy support. And again, the aging process and reduced blood flow decrease ATP production in the heart, so those concerned with cardiovascular health find it useful as well.

SWANSON: Dr. Rapaport, thank you very much for your time. It is an honor to speak with such a distinguished scientist, and I know our valued customers will truly appreciate your insight into the benefits of PEAK ATP.
Dr. Rapaport: It’s my pleasure, Lee. I look forward to speaking with you again, and I’m excited to help your customers at Swanson Health Products discover and take advantage of the benefits of PEAK ATP.


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