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Vincaria® is an alkaloid-deplete patented extract from the woodsy, outer bark of a neotropical liana (vine) indigenous to the Amazon River basin and surrounding rainforests.
Commonly known as “Uńa de gato,” it is so called because the shape of its thorn resembles that of a cat’s claw. There are two species that are used: Uncaria tomentosa (UT) is the more well-known with a straight thorn while that of Uncaria guianensis (UG) has a thorn of spiral shape.
The initial Western research was conducted by a Swiss anthropologist who identified chemicals in UT which he assumed were the active constituents (alkaloids) that enhance the immune system.
Problematically, the indigenous people harvest and use both UT and UG interchangeably yet UG has thirty times less of these alkaloids than UT. Additionally, Cat’s Claw has always been a natural medicine to relieve inflammation and as inflammation is a sign of an enhanced immune system, these alkaloids could not be responsible for its anti-inflammatory activity.
Thus, beginning in 1998, scientists at LSU Medical School and later Albany Medical College began studying the two cat’s claw species.
It was discovered that UG acts as a powerful anti-inflammatory agent by regulating TNF alpha, the master “On-Off” switch in our bodies responsible for over thirty-five different types of inflammation – from arthritis to asthma. When alkaloid traces were extracted and removed from UG, a patented process which created Vincaria®, it was even more therapeutic.
Subsequently, a clinical trial was conducted in which a single once-a-day 100 milligram dose of Vincaria® was effective in ninety percent of patients, the majority in less than five days.
It was then used as an anti-inflammatory component, both to promote healthy skeletal, muscular and gastric health in obesity. In a separate trial, it was combined with a natural mineral supplement again successful for arthritis and later, with RNI 249, a maca extract, for osteoarthritis of the knee.
While its primary inclusion in this formula is to ameliorate conditions associated with inflammation, indeed using a dose higher than in clinical trials, there is good evidence that Cat's Claw is an effective neuroprotectant, most likely through a DNA oxidative "shield" and act as a powerful anti-oxidant (and thus play a role in slowing down the aging process).
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