Know the active ingredient
In herbal medicine, whether for ginseng, ginkgo biloba, spinach, beetroot or any other plant, the first thing to know to identify the quality and concentration of a preparation is to know the active ingredient (molecule that in a drug has a therapeutic effect) and the medicinal power of the latter. You also need to know what you are looking for and expect from the plant and whether it is able to satisfy your needs. When we are looking for a good extract, we are looking for a high concentration rate of active ingredient of excellent quality.
Choice of powders
You want to protect yourself from heart disease and cancer, so you think of blueberries and its anthocyanins. Your problem is urinary tract infection, so you turn to cranberry products for its pro-anthocyanins. You want to increase your sexual performance and you are looking for plant sources that can interfere on the psychic and emotional side, it is ginseng, gingko or maca that you will look for. If on this side everything is going well and your problem is physical, it may be the nitrate found in high concentrations in spinach and / or beet juice that you need.
Types of powders
Products in powder form are either a simple dried product or a standardized product. In the case of unsalized dried powders, not all companies give the ratio of whole fruit to fruit powder. Demand this information because the concentration is, for this type of product, the most important thing. For example, a cranberry powder with a concentration of 4:1 required 4 kilos of fresh fruit to produce 1 kilo of powder. The cranberry powder used in the PC Pacran + B Urinary Formula is 50:1, or 50 kilos of fresh fruit per kilo of powder. There are even higher ratios. Nutra Canada, a company in Champlain, Quebec, manufactures powders with concentrations up to 125:1. It is obvious that when we put 1 gram of 50;1 powder in a product, we find more or less 12 times more active ingredient than if we had used a powder with a 4:1 concentration. Powders of equal quality of course. The wild blueberry used by Phytonutrient Canada is 12:1. It is therefore very important for powders to check their concentrations.
Powder quality and concentration of active ingredient
In the case of cranberry products, for example, there is no requirement for the manufacturer of a natural health product to indicate whether the seeds, pulp and peel are part of the powder used. The seeds of some of these food powders could be removed to make extracts. Their peel may have been used to extract pro-anthocyanins or to make natural dyes. Finally, when we know that the majority of antioxidants and other active ingredients are found mostly in the peel and pulp of fruits and vegetables, not using them in the powder partially denatures them. It is therefore obvious that the medicinal powers of a powder made from juice instead of the whole fruit can be greatly affected by not benefiting from the phytonutrients, minerals and other beneficial substances found mostly in pulp, seeds and pulp. It is therefore important to check if the powders are made of whole fruits.
In the case of standardized extracts like those used by Phytonutrient Canada, it is a little different. A precise % of active ingredient is ensured. For the ginseng that enters the composition of the PC Cereboost + B Cerebral Formula, it is made with Ginkgo biloba leaf. The extract used is standardized at the rate of 22-27% flavoglycosides and 5-7% terpeno-lactones, the two active ingredients of gingko biloba that act on memory, cognitive functions and peripheral circulation. This means that for each gram of powder a content of 220 to 270 milligrams of flavoglycosides and 50 to 70 milligrams of terpeno-lactones is guaranteed.
Powders and other standardized products are obviously more expensive than those they are not. The prices of a good ginkgo biloba powder with a 4:1 concentration purchased in bulk can range from $25 to $50 per kilo. The same ginkgo powder standardized to 22-27% flavoglycosides and 5-7% terpeno-lactones costs between $225 to $350 per kilo. A standardized wild blueberry powder costs between $350 and $650 per kilo.
In a few rare cases, some of these powders have been the subject of clinical trials (on humans) and they have successfully demonstrated their physical benefits. This is the case for powders manufactured by Naturex used by Phytonutrient Canada. For its Urinary Formula, its main bone is Pacran powder (link with plug). For the Prostate formula, it is the Flowens powder (link with sheet). For the Cerebral formula, Phytonutrient Canada uses Cereboost powder (link to fact sheet). Naturex is a French company and is the world leader in this type of product. It is understandable that the price of fruit and/or vegetable powders that successfully pass clinical trials is substantial.
Wild blueberry powders and juice used by Phytonutrient Canada are not standardized. However, we even know the field from which the fruits come. Wild blueberries grow and are processed in Saguenay-Lac St-Jean in the factories of the same producer who holds a Health Canada establishment licence. The powder is made of whole fruits (peel, pulp, seeds, juice) according to a method that allows to keep the maximum of its phytonutrients including its very precious anthocyanins and proanthocyans. In this way, we can guarantee its quality. For the other powders we offer, these are among the best that are available on the market. Our suppliers are world-renowned and each product offered has its own data sheet.
Perfect example, cranberry powders to fight against urinary tract infections
Although relatively effective in the case of fresh or frozen whole fruits, cranberry treatments are for the most part quickly abandoned. As for cranberry cocktails, their low concentration of cranberry product requires such consumption that in practice they are very questionable. This is without counting all the sugar and additives found in these preparations. As for 100% pure juices and a significant portion of the powders used in some natural health products, they are not made of whole fruits and this may be one reason why cranberry treatments are so often questioned.
It is now known that proanthocyans are largely responsible for the effectiveness of American cranberries to help guard against cystitis. On the other hand, there are many other active molecules in the fruit that, without yet being scientifically demonstrated, are probably part of the protection process. The industrial method of making the juices is as follows: We take the fruits and squeeze them. Subsequently, the juice is filtered or centrifuged to remove the pulp and seeds. Residues are commonly called pomace. Only the juice remains without its peel, seeds and pulps. Subsequently, the seeds are sold to make oils and the pomace for several possible purposes including that of extracting its polyphenols, in the case of cranberry, proanthocyans. Finally, the majority of industrial powders are made with juice.
What is left in industrial cranberry juice and in these powders made from the juice (food grade and not nutraceutical) if not significantly reduced amounts of phytonutrients needed to help protect against urinary tract infections?