DHQ: Dihydroquercetin (Taxifolin) Energy Promoting Supplement
For decades DHQ has been an important natural antioxidant in Russia, used in both the medical and food industries. In 1999 Russian scientist Dr. Anatoliy Gavrilov recognized that existing production technology for DHQ was outmoded and insufficient. At his lab within the Russian Academy of Sciences, Dr. Gavrilov developed an innovative technology for extracting ultra-pure, native-form, super-antioxidant DHQ using only purified water and small amounts of food-grade ethanol. In 2005 he was awarded the Russian Innovation Award for his work and FlavitPURE™ DHQ became the gold standard.
On the Road with Dr. Stephen Langer Discovering DHQ in Pushchino, Russia
The town of Pushchino sits on the Oka River about 75 miles south of Moscow. Established in the early 1960s as a research outpost for the Russian Academy of Sciences, it is home to a number of biological and technological research institutions specializing in everything from protein research to cell biology and experimental biophysics. Pushchino also has the distinction of being the world center of knowledge about dihydroquercetin (DHQ), a flavonoid found throughout the natural world including the Siberian Larch trees so prevalent in the former Soviet Union.
We traveled to Pushchino in June to meet with the scientists at the Institute for Biological Instrumentation who have founded Flavit, a company dedicated to the production of ultra-pure DHQ (FlavitPURE™) using patented methods developed at this world-renowned research center. General Director and inventor Dr. Anatoliy Gavrilov, whom colleagues call “the king of DHQ,” graciously hosted our visit along with U.S. representative Cai Berg, R&D Director Sergey Filippov and their incredibly hospitable team of employees who function as much like a family as a business. We cannot thank them enough for their kindness and cooperation.
While in Pushchino, we toured the research centers and learned about the legacy of scientific inquiry, invention and advancement of knowledge that defines this proud scientific community. We learned about the history of DHQ production in Russia, its commercial and health applications and the difference between the extract produced here and inferior forms produced elsewhere in Russia and around the world. (Learn more about this special FlavitPURE DHQ in the accompanying interview).
We were even invited for an audience with the mayor of Pushchino, Mr. Ivan Savintsev, who welcomed us warmly and spoke about the importance of private-public partnerships in cultivating new business applications for the technologies and products developed at Pushchino’s scientific centers.
Here at Swanson Health Products® we believe it’s important to go the extra mile in bringing you the best dietary ingredients from around the world. This 5,000-mile journey took us to the center of Russia’s biological research community and gave us insight into the complex and powerful benefits DHQ offers for health, energy and vitality. We’re proud to present to you the result of our new international partnership—Dr. Stephen Langer’s Russian Rejuvenator with supercharged FlavitPURE DHQ.
Beyond Quercetin—The Energy-Promoting Antioxidant Power of Supercharged DHQ Dr. Stephen Langer talks with “the King of DHQ” Anatoliy Gavrilov
Dr. Langer: Mr. Gavrilov, I’m amazed at how prevalent DHQ is in foods and supplements in Russia. Can you walk us through a brief history of DHQ science and tell us why it’s so important?
Gavrilov: Yes, DHQ is very important to us in part because we are blessed with such a rich resource: the Siberian Larch tree. Larch trees, particularly the Siberian and Dahurian varieties, are among the richest natural sources of DHQ.
DHQ was first identified as a powerful antioxidant in the 1940s. In 1958 the Journal of the American Pharmaceutical Association published research establishing its safety and by the mid-1960s DHQ was being widely investigated for use as a natural preservative in all kinds of foods, which is where much of it is used today. But truly the most exciting benefits of DHQ are in human health..
In medical literature DHQ is often refered to as Taxifolin and its benefits are quite widely reported. In Russia it is classified as an antioxidant, angioprotective, regenerating and detoxifying substance.
Dr. Langer: As a physician, I’ve been aware of quercetin for many years. I’ve used it as an antioxidant and specifically recommended it for vascular health. DHQ is related to quercetin, but it’s different. Can you explain?
Gavrilov: Yes, quercetin and DHQ are different molecules. You can produce quercetin from DHQ, but DHQ is so much more powerful. DHQ is the direct precursor in the formation of quercetin as well as other flavonoids like cyanidin. In fact, DHQ is an important intermediary in the formation of many bioactive plant-derived antioxidants including flavonols, anthocyanins and proanthocyanins.
DHQ is highly soluble and bioavailabile in its native form. Regular quercetin is not soluble and bioavailable; it needs to be metabolized before the body can use it. And while quercetin and DHQ are related molecules, they have different physiological actions. In many studies comparing DHQ and quercetin, DHQ performs where quercetin does not. In a great number of cases DHQ emerges as the far more bioactive and beneficial molecule.
Dr. Langer: We’re used to measuring antioxidants by their ORAC (oxygen radical absorbance capacity) score, and DHQ has an extraordinarily high rating, but you believe the CAP-e assay is more important. What is the difference and what does this mean to someone making a choice about supplementation?
Gavrilov: ORAC is important and provides an easily referenced measure of comparison. For instance, pomegranate juice typically has an ORAC of about 2,860 per gram. The ORAC for regular quercetin is somewhere between 13,000 and 15,000. DHQ has an ORAC of 28,000. So by this measure we know that DHQ has powerful antioxidant properties.
But the ORAC assay is a chemical analysis that gives no indication of whether the substance works within the cells. It’s a good indicator of how it will react outside the cells, but what about within the cells themselves?
This question is answered by a new cell-based testing method that demonstrates the ability of an antioxidant to enter living cells and protect against oxidative stress. The assay is called CAP-e (for Cell-Based Antioxidant Protection in Erythrocytes). The CAP-e of any natural product will vary, but FlavitPURE DHQ is guaranteed to have a minimum of 10 CAP-e units per gram. That is significant when compared to other antioxidant foods (see chart) and indicates that DHQ readily enters cells and provides protection against oxidative stress.
Dr. Langer: Literally hundreds of research papers have been published on DHQ and it’s been investigated for a variety of applications. Where do we see its greatest benefit?
Gavrilov: First, it provides remarkable support for cellular immunity. DHQ is among the most powerful natural antioxidants and therefore has broad-spectrum benefits for every cell, every tissue, every organ. However, research has found three areas in which DHQ is particularly beneficial: cardiovascular health, ocular (eye) health, and neurological (brain) health. Dozens of studies in each of these categories have demonstrated that DHQ supports and promotes optimum function in these areas. Also, there is growing interest in DHQ use in sports nutrition as an aid for human performance.
Dr. Langer: What is the basis for DHQ use in these areas?
Gavrilov: In all of these concerns, the benefits of DHQ come from its antioxidant properties, its ability to reduce oxidative stress. This is a very simplistic explanation, but the science gets quite complex so it is really the best way to consider it. There are specific actions and benefits relevant to each of the applications I’ve mentioned, but in the end it really comes down to protection against free radicals and oxidative stress.
Dr. Langer: I believe DHQ may be best defined as a rejuvenative antioxidant for the entire body; would that be appropriate?
Gavrilov: Absolutely. One of the classifications for DHQ in Russian healthcare is as a “regenerative” supplement. That’s why sports nutrition is of great interest. Any physical activity generates free radicals that stress our bodies, which is why we feel fatigued and why our muscles feel the way they do when we work out. If we can combat free radicals as they are formed and protect against their negative effects, we can promote endurance and recovery.
A study done in 2006 at the Russian State University of Physical Culture, Sport and Tourism in Moscow supports the use of DHQ in athletic training. Sportsmen subjected to cyclic-type activities were given 50 mg to 100 mg of DHQ, depending on level of exertion and functional depletion (exhaustion), 10 minutes after exercising. Researchers found that in the case of moderate exhaustion, 50 mg of DHQ was effective at restoring normalcy and promoting recovery. In the case of extreme exertion and exhaustion, the results suggested 100 mg may be warranted. In the end, they found that DHQ intake after exercise helped restore athletes to full potential within one day as opposed to three or four days without the supplement.
Dr. Langer: Reducing recovery time by up to three days is very significant! If DHQ can help athletes under intense training, I think it can greatly help us average folks. I’m a “weekend warrior” and I’ve found that DHQ has helped me maintain my vigor and I bounce back a lot faster after my activities
Gavrilov: That’s what we hear from those who use DHQ regularly. There is even more science to support your experience. Last year a study was conducted here in Pushchino and published by a Russian medical journal, in which it was shown that DHQ promoted recovery of mitochondrial enzyme activities in the muscles of old mice.
Eighty percent of active oxygen species (free radicals) are produced within the mitochondria, the power center of our cells. The more oxygen our tissues consume, the more free radicals are formed and the more overwhelmed the mitochondria become. The free radicals begin to break down components within the cell and the mitochondria’s ability to synthesize necessary enzymes is affected.
In this study researchers observed a decrease in a particular enzyme and the activity of specific enzyme complexes in the muscles of old mice as compared to younger subjects. Supplementing the drinking water of the old animals with DHQ led to an increase in the depleted enzyme and the restoration of two important enzyme complexes. The result of this was also observed in the animals’ behavior and appearance. DHQ supplementation appeared to promote healthy mobility, and the appearance of the skin and fur improved.
Dr. Langer: That is absolutely remarkable! But DHQ isn’t something you’re going to notice right away, is that correct? What can people expect?
Gavrilov: DHQ has a powerful, yet subtle and progressive effect within the body. It’s not like taking a shot of caffeine or something like that. I often suggest that people take up to three capsules daily for the first week just to build up levels within the body, then take two capsules daily from then on. Within weeks many people will notice that they simply feel good. They’re not complaining of fatigue. They feel up to facing life’s challenges. Inside, DHQ is doing its work, helping you build and maintain good health and stamina day after day.