Also known as aminoacetic acid. Glycine is the smallest amino acid, and is non-essential. Beyond its role as a building block for protein synthesis, glycine functions as an inhibitory neurotransmitter. There is limited evidence that suggests supplemental glycine may improve sleep quality, help stimulate growth hormone release, and treat degenerative diseases such as osteoarthritis.
Produced from the fruit of Vaccinium myrtillus—a shrub closely related to blueberry. Bilberries are rich in anthocyanosides—flavonoid pigments responsible for the fruit’s deep blue/violet color. Berry anthocyanins have been shown to have anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory and anti-diabetic activities. Bilberry extracts specifically have been shown to have vasoprotective, myeloprotective and possible chemopreventive effects.
There is limited evidence bilberry could help relieve diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, cataracts and macular degeneration—however, more work needs to be done before it can be recommended to treat any of these conditions.
For more information, see “Bilberry Extract and its Benefits“
The inner bark of the tree, Ulnus umbra. The bark was used by Native Americans and early European settlers to the US as a laxative, antiseptic, analgesic and emollient. It’s high in mucilage, a sticky, gelatinous substance containing polysaccharides and glycoproteins that coat and sooth irritated tissues. This property of Slippery Elm accounts for its medicinal uses as a treatment for sore throats, colitis and wounds. It also contains oligomeric procyanidins, which have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity.
Slippery Elm bark powder or extracts are sold as standalone supplements, or as ingredients in “cleansing”/”detox” supps. It’s also a component of the unproven alternative cancer “cures” Essiac and FlorEssence.
Also known as Cascara Sagrada (“sacred bark”). An extract of the bark of Rhamnus purshiana, a species of Buckthorn native to North America. Cascara is used as an herbal laxative: the active compounds (“cascarosides”) stimulate the lower intestine and promote contractions. Although Cascara is used in a number of over-the-counter “cleansing” and “detox” supplements, the FDA does not consider Cascara safe for use as a laxative, due to the lack of data on safety.
A proteolytic (protein-digesting) enzyme found in pineapple. Bromelain has a variety of medicinal uses. When taken with food, it can assist with digestion. When taken on an empty stomach, however, bromelain can help accelerate wound healing and reduce inflammation.
See “Bromelain Benefits and Side Effects” for more information.