Lupeol (also known as Fagarsterol) is a powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant. This member of the triterpene family has been studied extensively for its many disease fighting properties.
Known as an anti-inflammatory, and antiarthritic, this powerful phytonutrient may have the ability to modulate inflammation and protect cartilage in rheumatoid arthritis patients. Selectively targeting diseased and unhealthy cells, whilst sparing normal and healthy cells.
How Does Lupeol Kill Inflammation?
The antiarthritic properties of lupeol are thought to come through its ability to suppress various parts of the immune system. One of these is the ability to significantly reduce the activation of the important NFκB signaling pathway.
Studies in mice have shown lupeol has the ability to modulate a wide range of inflammatory processes including:
Suppressing phagocytic (cell-killing) activity of macrophages
Reducing T-lymphocyte activity
Suppression of CD4+T and CD8+ T cell mediated cytokine generation
Reduce Cytokines IL-2, IFN-γ (Th1) and IL-4 (Th2) IL5, ILβ
Modulate proteases, α-glucosidase, cFLIP, Bcl-2 and NFκB
One study determined lupeol was able to reduce swelling more effectively than the common anti-inflammatory drug indomethacin.
Unfortunately the comparison has to end there, because indomethacin came out on top in it’s ability to reduce pain and fever.
These results Suggest that triterpenes work on different mechanism to non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs even though both have the ability to reduce inflammation.
And whilst that makes this comparison a little unfair, I do think it’s good to have a visual representation of the numbers so we are aware of the power of everyday plant substances.
If you have inflammatory arthritis, you almost certainly have a significant rise in lysosomal enzymes in your system. These enzymes are involved in the destruction of connective tissue and cartilage.
Think of them like the cellular garbage men of the body. They break down unwanted debris by secreting enzymes at an acidic ph of 4.8.
Unfortuanetly in the case of rheumatoid arthritis these enzymes cease to function correctly and start to destroy the structural macromolecules that make up connective tissues.
A 1999 study showed that lupeol was able to reverse lab induced lysosomal enzyme levels bought about by adjuvant injection in rats.
[blockquote author=”http://1.usa.gov/1T8OAXR” pull=”normal”]Treatment of arthritic rats with triterpenes reversed the above changes, which may be due to stabilization of the lysosomal membrane.[/blockquote]
Treatment with lupeol triterpenes lead the researches to conclude that lupeol can bring about stabilization of the lysosomal membrane in rats receiving orally administered lupeol.
Diseases Lupeol May Be Able To Treat
So far lupeol has been reported to possess therapeutic, preventive, and cell protective properties in the following diseases:
Head and neck cancer
How to get your Lupeol
Until now lupeol supplements have proven to be elusive. I have seen straight up lupeol supplements available to buy on the web, but as of my last search I couldn’t find a single one? However, the supplements I have seen have been very reasonably priced.
There is always the natural option of course and that is to eat a balanced diet full of fruits and vegetables that contain lupeol.
One good piece of news for all you dandelion lovers is that lupeol is found in dandelion coffee! This may explain the commonly know anti-inflammatory benefits of this well established folk medicine……Commonly know for people who read my site anyway.
If you favour convenience and a targeted approach you could try some of the alternatives listed below. I am sorry the list isn’t more extensive at this time.
Lupeol is found naturally in:
And in the following supplements/alternatives:
Birch bark tea
Shea nut extract
I am sure there are many more alternatives, and I will keep this list updated.
Below is a full list of all the lupeol containing plants I could find.
More science on the Benefits of Lupeol
Lupeol has also been shown to have antitumour properties.
One study examining skin cancer in mice found that lupeol treated mice saw dramatic reductions in skin cancer rates.
Observed tumour rates in the untreated mice showed an average of 7-8 tumours per mouse, but when treated topically with lupeol the incidence of tumours dropped by a staggering amount.
Just 47 % of the treated mice developed tumours! The remaining mice, who did show tumours, now reported just one to three tumours.
The study proved for the first time that lupeol possesses anti-skin tumor-promoting effects in mice. Suggesting that lupeol could become a future cancer fighting agent.
Currently there are some skin cancer and acne treatments available that are made from lupeol.
Head and neck cancer
Researchers at the University of Hong Kong published a study in the journal Cancer Research showing lupeol successfully slowed the growth, and spread, of this often fatal cancer. Yet again the study involved mice, but the results are very promising. Especially when compared to conventional treatments. The mice lost much less body weight during their ordeal and if that can be translated into human studies we will surely see better survival rates.
Is Lupeol safe?
Toxic adverse effects have yet been observed in mice being fed high dosesof this phytonutrient for long periods of time, but research is still at an early stage.
We currently have no long term human use studies to base any assumptions on. Nevertheless, I’m sure we’ll start seeing those pretty quickly because they’ve been studying this stuff now for at least 15 years.
I have to stress that many of the studies available are conducted either in the lab (in vitro) or in the murine model (in mice) and don’t necessarily mean these effects will be translated into positive human results. However, the studies are very bullish and the results hugely positive.
Almost all of the studies I’ve read go on to conclude that further investigation is warranted, and mention the possibilities of lupeol being used in combination therapies for cancer and other diseases.
This may sound dissapointing if you’re looking for a quick supplement fix. However, Don’t be too disappointed as I’m sure there will be a supplement version along very soon. Furthermore, eating a diet full of the fruits and vegetables on the list below should be a priority for anyone wanting to escape the clutches of disease.
We don’t need science to tell us that, or to discover a certain compound before we’re able to eat it and use it naturally in our bodies. Besides, when we eat this way, we also get the benefit of a myriad of other beneficial synergistic compounds that one isolated substance could never provide.
Look out for lupeol making an appearance as one of the next big things. The range of applications and the bullish language that described it give me great hope for its future. Let us hope we start to see effective arthritis supplements and treatments made from this safe natural product soon.