Indian gooseberry battles smoking damage: researchers

By Shane Starling

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Antioxidant

Extract of the superfruit Indian gooseberry can combat the harmful effects of cigarette smoke, according to a new rat study.

The Natreon-sponsored study demonstrated the high antioxidant content of Indian gooseberry (Phyllanthus emblica (PE)) extracts could inhibit the increased free radical activity caused by smoking and exposure to second-hand cigarette smoke.

Researchers at Natreon’s Calcutta facility in India found that low molecular weight ​gallo-ellagi tannoids present in PE weremore effective than popular multivitamin/mineral complexes ​in helping “overcome oxidative stress”.

New Jersey-based Natreon specialises in Ayurvedic extracts.

“These tannoids produce a sustained and cascading vitamin C-like

effect,”​ the researchers wrote, adding that unlike vitamin C, PE did not become pro-oxidative in the body.

PE fruit extract inhibits lipid peroxidation and boosts the body’s antioxidant defense enzymes, superoxide dismutase, catalase and glutathione peroxidase.

The study adds to a body of research Natreon is building around the ingredient of which it has a proprietary version called Capros.


Published in Pharmacology Online,​ the trial measured the antioxidant profile of rats in varying conditions..

Male albino rats were divided into four groups, with Group A exposed to cigarette smoke and administered daily with PE fruit extract. Group B was exposed only to cigarette smoke, while Group D was exposed to cigarette smoke and administered daily with the multivitamin. Group C was the


Group B rats exhibited oxidative damage to the lungs and liver compared to the control group. Group A rats that were fed the PE extract showed significantly less damage than group B and C as well as the vitamin-fed group D.

The researchers hypothesised this was due to “the strong cascading antioxidant action of PE extract.”

“Multivitamin supplementation also improved the antioxidant status of smoke-stressed rats but to a much lesser extent than that exhibited by PE fruit extract,”​ they wrote.

In particular, they noted PE extract could boost GSH levels, GSH being an antioxidant present in the lungs whose natural levels are diminished by cigarette smoke.

“Apart from radical scavenging activity of the phenolic antioxidants, the major bioactives of PE fruit extract can also modulate expression of the rate limiting enzyme for the synthesis of GSH.”

Natreon is targeting Capros at the beverages market and said the ingredient is “under evaluation by major global beverage companies.”

“Our ever increasing portfolio of science shows that Capros is the must-have ingredient to help overcome oxidative damage, and the perfect ingredient for products designed to maximise wellness with safe and natural ingredients,”​ said Natreon president and chief executive officer, Lucien Hernandez.

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