Voluntastrols – powerful phytochemicals for the brain

Dr.med. Heinz Lüscher

Voluntastrole is the term used to describe secondary phyto-compounds such as those contained in citrus fruits, chamomile or cocoa. They have a strong antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and neuro-protective effect used to treat brain diseases such as Alzheimer's or Parkinson's. They can therefore be effectively used in the treatment of victims of a stroke or other brain injuries. In addition, they have also proven successful in the treatment of depressive disorders.

The Brain

The human brain is the control centre of our body and is incredibly complex! It is a wonderful network of billions of nerve cells (neurons). As the master control unit, it not only coordinates and controls all the information provided by the environment day and night but is also central to the functioning of all the organs and responsible for rational and appropriate behaviour. Information from within the body or the external environment reaches the brain in different ways, for example in the form of hormones via the blood or as electrical impulses from the sensory cells via nerve pathways. In the brain they are evaluated and processed. The brain sends out corresponding signals in return: For example, to muscles so that they perform a certain movement, or to glands so that these produce the correct quantities of secretions, or to sensory organs to respond to stimuli from the environment and much more.

Brain impairments

If the brain is impaired, the consequences can be very severe. Possible impairments are, for example:

  • Post-commotional syndrome (Post Concussion), a variety of physical, mental and emotional consequences after a brain injury e.g. after an accident
  • Neurodegenerative diseases e.g. Alzheimer's, Parkinson's
  • Cerebral infarction, also known as stroke or apoplexy, with various effects depending on the location of the infarction
  • Depression

Neuro-inflammation

These different clinical syndromes certainly have one thing in common: they drastically change a person's life and that of his or her environment depending on the degree of impairment. However, there is another common feature: they all lead to neuro-inflammation. This is an inflammation of nerve tissue, or to put it more precisely, a chronic inflammation of the central nervous system. Brain injuries of all kinds trigger a neuro-inflammatory chain of events that contribute to considerable neurological damage and lead to temporary or permanent cognitive, physical and/or psycho-social impairments. Neurodegenerative diseases are also linked to inflammation of the nervous tissue. According to the latest findings, neuro-inflammation also plays a significant role in the development of depression. Scientists from the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto and the University of Toronto have presented a study in the journal JAMA Psychiatry which shows that patients with depression experience inflammation in the brain, the intensity of which is related to the extent of the depression[1].

Phyto-nutrient treatment

A further similarity can be attributed to all these clinical conditions: the treatment is always challenging, lengthy and the results often not satisfactory. A promising supplement to support the brain could also come from nature. Current research in psychiatry and neurology increasingly shows that a number of phyto-nutrients have an important role in the regeneration of the brain. A mixture of selected secondary phyto compounds, which are directed against, among other things, the destructive inflammation mentioned above, can reduce the serious consequences of neuro-inflammation. The high antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects play a major role in this regard. Indeed, oxidative processes are involved in the development of many diseases, including chronic inflammation and neuro-degeneration. In addition, the ingredients also have a neuro-protective effect and thus protect the neurons from cell death.

Voluntastrole - special secondary plant compounds

The researchers led by Dr. Brian A. Schaefer proposed the name voluntastrole for a certain class of secondary plant metabolites (SPM). Voluntastrols are a combination of selected isolated secondary plant substances from different plants that interact synergistically and have an impact on brain health. Each individual active ingredient was selected on the basis of its scientifically proven properties.

Secondary plant compounds play an important role in the adaptation of plants to their environment and protect them from pests, micro-organisms or predators. At the same time, however, they are also an important source for the production of natural medicines, as they also have many positive effects on the human body. This is exactly what the discoverers of the Voluntastrole have taken advantage of. Epidemiological and experimental studies show that the modulation of the inflammatory response by natural phyto-molecules, as contained in voluntastrols, play an important role in the prevention and treatment of many chronic inflammatory diseases, including depression and reduced brain capacity. The secondary plant compounds trigger a reaction that in turn triggers a cascade of neurotransmitters that lead to an improvement in the condition. In addition, the phytonutrients support the blood circulation in the brain. Voluntastrole have been developed in accordance with the latest scientific research into the causes of mood swings and to maintain optimum brain health.

Positive Impact

When herbal ingredients are correctly formulated, significant improvements are reported in the following areas/conditions:

  • headaches/migraines
  • Neurological problems after brain injury and stroke
  • Aphasia (partial or total loss of already learned language)
  • Language difficulties (e.g. slurred speech and stuttering)
  • Mental fatigue
  • lack of drive, lethargy
  • restlessness
  • Fear
  • Mood swings
  • Cognition
  • Memory
  • Concentration
  • Dementia/Alzheimer's
  • Energy levels (physical and mental)
  • Sleep duration and sleep quality
  • Depression

Ingredients

Voluntastrols comprise a unique, proprietary mixture of Secondary Plant Metabolites (SPM), which are described in more detail below:

  • Several isolated SPM extracts of citrus bioflavonoids from Citrus Reticulata (tangerine), Citrus Aurantiifolia (true lime), Citrus Sinensis (orange) and Citrus Limon (lemon)
  • Isolated SPM extracts from Matricaria Chamomilla (pure Camomile)
  • Isolated SPM extracts from Theobroma Cacao (cocoa).

Citrus Bioflavonoids

Citrus bioflavonoids is a collective term for various flavonoids found in citrus fruits. They are mainly found in the peel; they contribute to the colour as well as the smell and taste of citrus fruit. Individual citrus bioflavonoids may differ in their efficacy, but they have one thing in common: they are very powerful antioxidants and have anti-inflammatory properties. They also have neuro-protective properties (cell protection of nerve cells) and the capacity to inhibit neurodegeneration. They are also said to have positive effects on the vascular system, leading to improvements in cerebrovascular blood flow (cerebral blood flow).

Chamomile (Matricaria Chamomilla)

Chamomile is a well-known and very versatile medicinal plant. In contrast to other types of camomile, true camomile has a hollow flower base and a characteristic smell. It belongs to the Asteraceae family, blooms from May to September and is now found almost throughout Europe and Western Asia. Among other things, chamomile is known for its anti-inflammatory properties. Chamomile flowers also contain flavonoids, whose remarkable health benefits are very well known.

Cocoa (Theobroma Cacao)

The cacao tree (Theobroma cacao), an evergreen undergrowth tree, only thrives under certain climatic conditions in tropical regions. Its leathery-woody fruits, which are around 20 cm long and up to 10 cm thick, contain 25 to 50 bean-shaped seeds: the cocoa beans. In our latitudes, the use of cocoa beans is mainly known for the production of chocolate. However, the indigenous peoples of Central America, especially the Aztecs, used them not only as food, but also as medicine and as a natural stimulant. The healthy brown beans contain, among other things, rich secondary plant substances such as our now famous flavonoids. However, they also contain amino acids, some of which serve as building blocks for neurotransmitters (neuronal messengers). Examples of these are: Endorphins, dopamine, serotonin and its precursor tryptophan as well as phenylethylamine. Endorphins can do much more than just reduce pain. They also have a calming effect, ensure better sleep, inhibit stress, and make for a cheerful disposition. Dopamine controls drive, interest and zest for life. Serotonin helps to stabilize the mind; it provides serenity, harmony and contentment. Phenylethylamine is measurable in people who are in love and provides for the so-called butterflies in the tummy. Another ingredient of cocoa is theobromine, which has a similar effect to caffeine, although with a somewhat milder effect. Amongst other things, it has a stimulating, vasodilatory and heart stimulating effect, relaxes the smooth muscles and also improves the mood. So, this is really a "happiness cocktail" that is contained in the inconspicuous-looking cocoa bean.

Great effect - without unwanted side effects

As is often the case, the active ingredients of different plants in the right composition can work together in powerful synergy and practically without side effects. It should be noted when taking antihypertensive drugs or in cases of hypotension that the plant substances known as voluntastrols can lower blood pressure in certain circumstances.

A further advantage is that within a short period of time improvements can be seen in the conditions for which they are prescribed.

Recommended dosage of Voluntastrols

As a general dosage I recommend 2 capsules of Voluntastrole per day.

Voluntastrole also has many advantages for depression and, unlike antidepressants, has practically no adverse side effects. The dosage is then adjusted as follows.

Dosage for depression for patients not taking antidepressants

  • In the first 4-6 weeks: 4 capsules daily (2 capsules before breakfast and 2 capsules at bedtime).
  • Thereafter: 2 capsules daily (before breakfast and as long as required).

For patients already on anti-depressants

The aim is to slowly increase the dose of voluntastrols while balancing the antidepressants. Please note: While still taking antidepressants, the excretion of voluntastrols is about one third higher. Antidepressants are only broken down slowly and can still be detected in the body up to 60 days after the last dose. This has been taken into account in the dosage. The following schedule can be helpful, but must be discussed with the doctor managing each individual case:

  • At the beginning of the therapy with Voluntastrols: 2 capsules daily (1 capsule before breakfast and 1 capsule at bedtime)
  • After 2-3 weeks or when the patient starts to reduce the antidepressants: 3 capsules daily (2 capsules before breakfast and 1 capsule at bedtime).
  • After 4 weeks, if the patient continues to reduce the antidepressants: 4 capsules daily (2 capsules before breakfast and 2 capsules at bedtime)
  • Continue this dosage of Voluntastrols for 4 to 6 weeks, while the patient continues to reduce the antidepressants until he is completely off the anti-depressants.

Depending on the person and their well-being (quality of life etc.), the daily dose of Voluntastrols may then vary: 2-3 capsules daily (2 capsules before breakfast and an additional dose at bedtime if required).

 

[1] 1. Setiawan E et al. (2015): Role of translocator protein density, a marker of neuroinflammation, in the brain during major depressive episodes. JAMA Psychiatry. 2015 Mar;72(3):268-75.