Desmodium is a plant that was initially cultivated in West Africa where its leaves were used to purify the body. Desmodium works to protect the liver, a very important organ whose role is to rid the body of unnecessary substances and waste products of metabolism. The antioxidant properties of this plant also protect the liver from the potential negative effects of certain substances, alcohol and stress.
Traditionally used for digestive disorders or to stimulate urinary elimination, Dandelion roots contain a number of natural molecules of interest. Dandelion supports the action of the liver and relieves sensations of abdominal heaviness and bloating. It thus stimulates the body’s detoxification capacities. By acting as a diuretic, dandelion activates the elimination of toxins by the kidneys. Along with the liver, the kidneys are the main organs that evacuate waste from the body.
Traditionally used for digestive disorders, Artichoke leaves help detoxify the body and protect the liver. The liver is a very important organ that influences multiple biological functions and is heavily strained by our modern lifestyle. The antioxidant properties of artichoke also protect the liver from the potential negative effects of certain substances, alcohol and stress and stimulate cell regeneration. Moreover, artichoke improves digestion in case of dietary excesses.
Traditionally used to reduce anxiety and digestive disorders, Angelica roots have many benefits. Whether occasional or chronic, anxiety puts the body in a constant state of alert. As for sleep, it corresponds to the relaxation and slowing of the body, as opposed to the state of hypervigilance associated with anxiety. Angelica roots reduce anxiety and thereby improve sleep quality by promoting calm and relaxation.
Lemon balm is a plant cultivated throughout Europe where its leaves have traditionally been used for their calming properties, to help improve sleep and treat digestive disorders. Its calming effect is also useful for managing stress, which can negatively influence sleep quality. By fighting stress and anxiety, it contributes to the relaxation required for good-quality sleep. It is also recommended for the treatment of sleep disorders such as insomnia.
Echinacea is a plant that grows widely in the Plains of North America; its roots offer many benefits. Echinacea protects the body when its natural immune defences are not optimal. External factors such as stress, an intense lifestyle or lack of sleep can weaken the immune system. Echinacea helps the natural (or innate) immune system serve as a protective barrier against external agents.
Passionflower is a plant native to the southern United States and to Mexico. It has a calming effect on the nervous system enabling it to reduce the hyperarousal state often associated with sleep disorders, make it easier to fall asleep, and improve overall sleep quality and duration.
Harpagophytum is a plant native to South Africa whose roots have many beneficial properties. It has traditionally been used to relieve joint pain. Gradual loss of mobility often leads to sedentary behaviours and the development of other age-related ailments. Staying mobile and engaging in physical exercise are essential for healthy ageing. Harpagophytum supports joint flexibility and relieves joint pain.
Ashwagandha is a plant that is very widespread in India, where the roots and leaves are used for their energising and soothing properties. This plant is used in Ayurvedic medicine to boost physical and mental capacities and help people relax. It is considered one of the most powerful adaptogenic plants, i.e. it improves the body’s ability to withstand the harmful effects of various environmental factors. It is therefore extremely useful for fighting the effects of modern lifestyle on our bodies.
Maca is a plant widely used for traditional purposes in South America. It is considered a superfood and used as a miracle plant. Often nicknamed “Peruvian ginseng”, maca is renowned for its stimulating properties. It is an adaptogenic plant, which means it improves the body’s resistance to stress. It also improves physical endurance and performance and optimises recovery, making it an ally for athletes. Energising, it helps boost vitality and supports learning and memory.
Rhodiola is a plant native to the cold mountainous regions of the Arctic and Siberia. Its roots are used to reduce the effects of stress. It is an adaptogenic plant, i.e. it improves the body’s ability to withstand the harmful effects of various environmental factors. Rhodiola also has the ability to stimulate physical and mental capacities. It also promotes good emotional balance by acting on certain neuromediators.
Schisandra is a plant from the forests of China whose berries have many beneficial properties. It is an adaptogenic plant, which means it improves the body’s resistance to stress and helps restore its balance. By regulating the body, it limits the impact of stress. It also stimulates the nervous system, thereby improving physical and mental performance, endurance, memory and concentration. It is therefore particularly useful in situations of temporary fatigue or stress, and for athletes.
Ginseng is a plant used in Asia since ancient times whose roots have multiple benefits. Ginseng is an adaptogenic plant, which means it improves the body’s resistance to stress and helps restore its balance. Its invigorating effect helps improve physical capacities, recovery and cognitive function. By stimulating brain activity, it helps improve concentration and recall.
Turmeric has traditionally been used in Asia as a spice and also for its properties in the body. The rhizomes contain a plant substance called curcumin. Curcumin has frequently been mentioned in recent scientific publications as supporting joint flexibility and mobility. Like turmeric, curcumin is not readily absorbed in its initial state or in powdered form. The liquid form has real advantages in terms of bioavailability, i.e. the amount of active substance that can potentially be absorbed by the body.
Spirulina is a micro-alga considered to be a superfood. It has multiple benefits for the body. We are particularly interested in a specific part of spirulina called phycocyanin. This natural substance is one of the most powerful antioxidants in the plant kingdom. Its powerful antioxidant activity is essential to protect the immune system from external pollutants and free radicals generated by oxidative stress. A well-preserved immune system is an immune system that works optimally to defend the body.
B-group vitamins are water-soluble vitamins necessary for human metabolism, in particular energy metabolism, the production of blood cells, and the nervous system. This group includes 8 vitamins: B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (nicotinic acid), B5 (pantothenic acid), B6, B8 (biotin), B9 and B12.
With a varied and balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle, these vitamins are primarily provided by cereals, products of animal origin and dried fruit.
During periods of temporary stress and when we are leading busy, hectic lives, the body consumes more B-group vitamins and some of them can become depleted. But B-group vitamins work as a team: their metabolisms are interconnected and they act in synergy. A sufficient and balanced intake is therefore necessary during more intense periods (physical exertion or intellectual effort).
Vitamin B6 is a B-group vitamin essential to the human body. It is supplied through a varied and balanced diet in several different forms (pyridoxine, pyridoxal and pyridoxamine). Once absorbed, it is metabolised to pyridoxal phosphate, its biologically active form. It is involved in a number of biological reactions such as amino acid metabolism.
It is also essential for the synthesis of several neurotransmitters, such as serotonin, dopamine and gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). That is why it has attractive properties for the management of stress and sleep disturbances. Indeed, serotonin is involved in regulating mood and sleep. As for GABA, it is the “relaxing” neurotransmitter in the central nervous system that brings the body’s vital signs back to normal levels (homoeostasis) after activation, for example following episodes of stress.
Vitamin B6 supports normal psychological functions including mood and helps reduce fatigue.
It is often combined with magnesium, since it facilitates its cellular uptake.
In cases of oxidative stress, vitamin B6 supplementation can be beneficial since it has strong antioxidant properties (comparable to those of carotenoids and vitamin E).
Vitamin B9 or folic acid is well known to pregnant women since folic acid supplementation is recommended throughout pregnancy. Since the human body is not able to synthesise it, it must be supplied through the diet.
It is essential to maintain a varied and balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle.
Sometimes, intakes of this fragile vitamin are inadequate, and a lack of vitamin B9 is not uncommon in the population, especially in certain circumstances such as stress that reduce its availability.
Metabolized to its active form in the body, it is involved in a number of reactions, including the synthesis of certain components of DNA. It is also required for the necessary “recycling” of homocysteine, a molecule produced during amino acid metabolism.
Vitamin B12, or cobalamin, is an essential vitamin that the body cannot produce. First synthesised by bacteria, it is transmitted throughout the food chain. In humans, it must be obtained from foods of animal origin (which is why vitamin B12 status needs to be monitored in people on strict vegetarian or vegan diets) or from food supplements.
Vitamin B12 is involved in the metabolism of all the body’s cells, in particular via DNA synthesis and certain energy pathways. It is also essential to maintain a healthy nervous system and for the synthesis of neurotransmitters. Vitamin B12 is necessary for the formation of blood cells including red blood cells. A lack of vitamin B12 can also impact the joints; this phenomenon is encountered in certain people following a strict vegan diet and also in the elderly.
It is essential to maintain a varied and balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle. Vitamins B12 and B9 (folate) are interconnected: they are involved in the same metabolic cycle.
Vitamin C, or L-ascorbic acid, needs no particular introduction. This essential nutrient must be supplied through food because the human body is unable to synthesise it (unlike the bodies of most mammals, excluding primates). Severe vitamin C deficiency was well known to sailors as causing the notorious scurvy.
Vitamin C is what is called a biological cofactor: it is essential for many biochemical reactions in the body where it “assists” proteins and enzymes. For example, it is necessary for the synthesis of collagen and production of red blood cells as well as for optimum immune system function. It is therefore involved in a number of immune mechanisms and contributes to the skin’s barrier function.
When the body defends itself from an external aggression (virus, bacterium, pollution, etc.), it uses vitamin C, which acts as a barrier thanks to its antioxidant properties and its ability to protect against free radicals.
Vitamin C contributes to normal immune system function and helps reduce fatigue. Vitamin C is involved in the synthesis of collagen, which is essential for maintaining the normal structure of multiple tissues such as the bones, cartilage, blood vessels and skin.
Vitamin D serves as a hormone in the human body. Supplied by food in two different forms (ergocalciferol or vitamin D2, in plant products, and cholecalciferol or vitamin D3, in products of animal origin), it is also synthesised in the human body through exposure to UVB rays (vitamin D3). The liver and then the kidneys convert vitamin D into its active form. Vitamin D contributes to normal immune system function.
To act, vitamin D binds to specific receptors – which are also found in immune cells – that can metabolise it. Numerous studies have therefore shown a connection between low levels of vitamin D and increased sensitivity to aggressive external factors and immune disorders. Vitamin D works in two ways: it improves immune responses while regulating them.
The other main role of vitamin D is maintaining calcium homoeostasis: it stimulates the absorption of calcium in the intestines and its reabsorption in the kidneys and regulates the level of calcium in the blood by controlling calcium exchanges between blood and bone. By binding calcium to bones, it keeps them in good health.
Vitamin D is involved in the mineralisation of bones, cartilage and teeth and helps maintain normal muscle function. Calcium is essential to maintain good bone health.
Several studies have shown vitamin D deficiency for many population groups.
It is estimated that one billion people worldwide are vitamin D deficient; in Western countries, such a deficiency affects more than 40% of the population over the age of 50*.
In Europe, a study even showed that 80% of elderly people had a below-normal level**.
* Holick MF. Vitamin D deficiency. N Engl J Med 2007;357:266-81. **Van Der Wielen RP, Löwik MR, van Den Berg H, et al. Serum vitamin D concentrations among elderly people in Europe. Lancet 1995;346:207-10.
Zinc is a metal considered a trace element for humans. With a varied and balanced diet, the body usually gets enough zinc. Very low levels of this essential element circulate in our cells. It is involved in many different biochemical reactions, where it is used by hundreds of enzymes either as a cofactor or as a component.
All of the body’s cells and organs need zinc (for example, it is involved in the synthesis of DNA).
Zinc deficiency can occur with age or be caused by an unbalanced diet. After iron, it is the most abundant trace element in the body. That is why taking zinc is recommended in cases of temporary fatigue and during periods when the body is subject to more intense levels of external stress (viruses, bacteria, pollution, etc.).
In these cases, the body becomes more vulnerable. Zinc is indeed essential throughout the life cycle of immune cells, whether for their synthesis by bone marrow, their maturation or their healthy functioning.
Zinc is therefore necessary for both the effectiveness and modulation of immune defences.
Zinc contributes to normal immune system function.
Glucosamine is a molecule similar to glucose that is naturally found in the body. It is a precursor (one of the building blocks) of glycosaminoglycans (e.g. hyaluronic acid, keratan sulphate and heparansulphate), which are major constituent molecules of connective tissues, including cartilage and joint tissues. When attached to proteins, they form proteoglycans. These contribute to the properties of joint cartilage, which cushions joints, redistributes loads and minimises friction during movements between two joint surfaces. Glucosamine therefore helps keep the joints in good condition and contributes to joint comfort.
With age, cartilage can gradually deteriorate; it becomes less resistant and its role of shock absorber and supporter of joint mobility becomes compromised. This creates a real vicious circle, because the deterioration of cartilage releases substances that sustain this deterioration and joint movements become more and more uncomfortable.
Calcium is a metal that is very abundant in the Earth’s crust; it is an essential element for many living beings, including humans. It is involved in metabolism, the acid-base balance, cellular exchanges throughout the body, and muscle contraction. The level of calcium in blood and its storage are very finely regulated by a complex hormonal system. Calcium is also a major component of bones and teeth and contributes to their hardness and relative rigidity.
Calcium is supplied through a varied and balanced diet but if needed, the body can take some out of the bones, the main storage site for calcium, to maintain or restore normal blood levels. To support good bone health, intakes of calcium, whether from the diet or from supplements in bioavailable form, should be sufficient to offset daily losses.
Melatonin is a hormone naturally produced by the body from serotonin (which is a neurotransmitter); it is known as the sleep hormone. It can also be obtained from certain foods such as walnuts. However, it also seems to have other functions and is known in particular as the hormone that regulates circadian rhythms, i.e. the wake-sleep cycle.
Although melatonin is synthesised by other organs (such as the retina and in bone marrow), its synthesis by the pineal gland in the brain is what allows it to regulate the body’s “biological clock” function. This synthesis process is photoperiod-dependent, as it is inhibited by light and thus takes place during the night. Its release into the bloodstream gradually increases with the decrease in brightness, to prepare the body for sleep. It peaks during the night and then decreases gradually to help the body wake up.
Melatonin supplementation can help resynchronise circadian day/night rhythms for people with sleep disturbances, in particular the elderly, in whom endogenous melatonin synthesis decreases as the pineal gland deteriorates. It also helps the body fall asleep faster and reduces the effects of jet lag.
Magnesium (Mg) is a metallic salt; it is one of the substances commonly known as mineral salts. It plays an essential role in most of the major biochemical and metabolic reactions occurring in the human body. Essential to its proper functioning, magnesium must be regularly supplied through the diet, since the body cannot synthesise it and it is naturally eliminated. Today, it is important to eat a varied and balanced diet; however, in certain circumstances and with certain daily activities, magnesium intakes may be inadequate.
Magnesium supplementation is therefore appropriate and useful for some population groups who need extra magnesium such as athletes and also people who are feeling stressed or experiencing sleep disturbances.
Stress and magnesium deficiency seem to be closely related. In cases of stress, the rise in cortisol (stress hormone) increases the urinary elimination of magnesium. Magnesium is involved in regulating the nervous system. Therefore, when magnesium excretion increases, the effects of stress are amplified, leading to nervousness, irritability, neuromuscular hyperexcitability, etc. This results in a real vicious circle of stress/magnesium loss. Magnesium supplementation then becomes necessary.
Magnesium also plays a major role in regulating sleep. It relaxes both the nervous system and muscles.
Magnesium is often combined with vitamin B6, which facilitates its uptake by the body.Magnesium and vitamin B6 help reduce fatigue. Vitamin B6 supports normal psychological functions including mood.
Selenium is a trace element needed in very small quantities in the body, which can get the required amount through a varied and balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle. It is essential for the synthesis of certain proteins called selenoproteins (which therefore contain selenium). Some of these are key components of the antioxidant system, which protects the body from free radicals. These are responsible for adverse oxidant effects of endogenous (produced by normal biological reactions in cells) or exogenous (generated by the external environment, such as pollution or UV rays) origin. Selenium plays a major role in combating oxidative stress; it is also involved in a number of biological reactions including immune responses, thyroid metabolism and muscle function.
Vitamins B9 and B12 are cofactors for its activity, i.e. they are necessary for the normal metabolism and optimal activity of selenium.