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FAQ

Below are some common questions about our products. Click on each of the topics to hide or reveal related questions and answers. If you are unable to find the answer you are looking for, feel free to contact us.

What are amino acids?

Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins, and proteins are the building blocks of life.  The human body is constantly assembling, breaking down and using proteins on a daily basis.  In fact, 10 to 35% of caloric energy should come from good, high-quality protein.

Amino acids are vital for the body’s ability to function at an optimal level.  Unlike fat and carbohydrates, the human body does not store excess amino acids for later use.  Amino acids must be obtained from protein in the diet on a daily basis to meet the needs of the body.  They are crucial and have wide-ranging roles, including the repair and maintenance of muscles, organs, nails, hair, skin, ligaments, connective tissues, glands, etc.  Because amino acids are considered the building blocks of life, specifically protein, a deficiency in even one of them can have detrimental effects on one’s health and well-being.

What is the difference between essential and non-essential amino acids?

There are twenty “standard” amino acids used by cells in protein biosynthesis.  Of the 20+ amino acids, 9 are “essential” and are required in the diet, since the body cannot produce them. “Nonessential” amino acids, on the other hand, are produced in the body from other amino acids when given an adequate supply of nitrogen, carbon, hydrogen and oxygen.  Yet, even some of these nonessential amino acids are necessary at certain life stages or during certain situations, which is why some are considered “conditionally essential”

Why is there an “L” in front of the amino acids on the label?

In chemistry, an amino acid by definition is any molecule that contains both amine (amino) and carboxyl functional groups.  All amino acids share this common chemical “backbone” that consists of a carbon atom to which four substituent groups are bonded: a nitrogen-containing amino group (NH2), a carboxyl group (COOH), a hydrogen (H+) atom and an “R” group.

The “R” group or side chain varies in electric charge, size, structure and solubility in water, giving each amino acid its distinct chemical properties.  Since all amino acids (except glycine) contain at least one asymmetrical carbon atom, which produces a mirror image, they exist in nature as two forms (stereoisomers).  The forms are designated as either D- or L-, depending on their structural relationship to a right- or left-handed reference point.  While both forms are found in biological systems, all amino acids constituting proteins are composed of the L-form. DL-amino acids are a 50/50 mixture of both the D- and L- form of the molecule.

Why supplement with protein?

Everybody needs protein, but some need it more than others do.  Particular lifestyles and at different life stages, human beings have special protein requirements.  The growth and development of muscles, organs, and even the brain, all depend on the high-quality protein an infant receives from the diet.  Additionally, since children grow so fast, and because healthy development in a child is critical to health in later life, meeting their daily protein requirements is crucial.  Patients who have undergone trauma from surgery or an accident can benefit from protein supplementation.  Consumption of high-quality (complete) protein is directly related to the rehabilitation and normal rate of repair of damaged muscle and tissue.  While the amount of protein required does not increase over the age of 65, older adults need fewer calories, they tend to eat less than younger adults and sometimes they wear dentures, all of which can decrease adequate consumption of protein-rich foods.  As a result, they often consume too little protein. High-quality protein is important for seniors because it is essential in the maintenance of muscle tissue, proper organ function and metabolism.

Why is whey, particularly whey isolate, considered a fast-acting protein?

The concept of “fast” and “slow” acting proteins was first described in the literature by Boirie et al. in 1997. Whey, a protein derived from milk, is considered fast-acting because unlike casein, its impact on postprandial (i.e., after eating) protein metabolism is fast, high (i.e., a lot of amino acids are available immediately) and transient.  The amino acids derived from whey are typically associated with protein synthesis and oxidation and not in the inhibition of protein breakdown—so it’s great for muscle building, but not so much for muscle repair.  These metabolic characteristics of whey are due in part because whey is not coagulated by the gastric juices of the gut, allowing its amino acids to be assimilated into the body easily. A rapid release of amino acids in the blood from the digestion of whey allows the amino acids to be used effortlessly for muscle enhancement.  This is partly because whey’s amino acid profile is very similar to that of human muscle, making it the protein of choice for bodybuilders and athletes.  Whey protein isolate is the more preferred form of whey over whey protein concentrate because of the high elemental amount of protein per serving—isolates provide 90% protein per gram of product—ensuring a high concentration of protein in a small dose.

Why is casein considered a slow- or extended-acting protein?

Casein is the dominant protein found in milk, and unlike whey, it coagulates in the stomach—the protein then curdles, causing a delay in gastric emptying (i.e., the process of stomach contents passing into the small intestines for further digestion). This means that the release of amino acids into the blood will be slower, lower (i.e., not as many amino acids are available) and prolonged compared to how whey is metabolized.  Therefore, with casein supplementation, although protein synthesis is slightly increased and oxidation is moderately stimulated, protein breakdown is markedly inhibited compared to whey.  Casein’s slower absorption profile seems to better promote a positive protein balance in the body, which is an essential requirement for reconstructing broken down muscles.  Therefore, casein is the preferred protein for prolonged hours of muscle rebuilding and repair and makes for a perfect partner to whey protein.

What are the benefits of having both proteins in one formula?

As previously mentioned, the digestion, absorption and metabolic response of whey and casein differ in the body.  Whey protein primarily stimulates protein synthesis for muscle enhancement, whereas casein inhibits protein breakdown, allowing run-down muscles to rebuild and repair. The speed of absorption of dietary amino acids by the gut varies according to the type of dietary protein ingested.  Whey protein produces a dramatic, but short increase of plasma amino acids; whereas, casein produces a delayed plateau of moderate amino acid availability due to its slow gastric emptying.  Therefore, a combination of both proteins may be most appropriate for the athletically inclined or active individual since whey will provide immediate amino acid replenishment, while the addition of casein will help prolong the extent to which amino acids are available in the body for continual muscle support.

Who would most benefit from taking both proteins and why?

Everybody needs protein.  Particular lifestyles and individuals at different life stages have special protein requirements.  But, no one requires protein more than active individuals, athletes and weekend warriors who need strength, power and endurance. Since these individuals are constantly assembling, breaking down and using proteins on a daily basis, up to 35% (or 0.8 to 1.5 g/kg) of their caloric intake should come from high-quality, complete protein.  Although variances and daily amounts of protein are dependent on weight and physical activity level, an ideal source of complete protein for those leading an active lifestyle is a formula that provides both fast-acting undenatured whey protein isolate and extended-acting undenatured micellar casein, like Bluebonnet’s 100% Natural Dual-Action Protein Powder.

What makes Bluebonnet’s 100% Natural Whey Protein Isolate different?

Bluebonnet’s 100% Natural Whey Protein Isolate Powder is derived from free-roaming, grass-fed cows and is one of the purest undenatured whey protein products on the market providing 26 g of protein with no artificial flavors or sweeteners and is not treated with rBGH (recombinant bovine growth hormone) or antibiotics. 

Whey protein has the high biological value (BV) of any protein on the market.  Biological value refers to a protein that has all of the essential amino acids in adequate quantities to sustain growth and development.  Additionally, whey protein is fast-acting, which means that its naturally occurring immunoglobulins and essential amino acids, such as BCAA and glutamic acid, are easily and readily available to the body for immediate use – an especially important consideration after exercising to optimize the recovery phase by supporting the immune system and quickly replenishing the body’s amino acid pool.

Unlike the common practice of using a heat-processed whey protein isolate that can denature (render useless) the protein and immunoglobulins, Bluebonnet employs a special low temperature method, which leaves the protein undenatured and immunoglobulins, which support the immune system, intact.

Plus, Bluebonnet’s 100% Natural Whey Protein Isolate Powder is microfiltered, removing 99% of the lactose.  Most persons who are lactose intolerant are not deficient of lactase, the enzyme required to breakdown lactose, they just have a lower enzyme activity level.  Therefore, persons who cannot normally tolerate milk products have little to no GI disturbance when supplementing with Bluebonnet’s 100% Natural Whey Protein Isolate Powder.

Moreover, Bluebonnet’s 100% Natural Whey Protein Isolate Powder is microfiltered, free of rBGH, antibiotics, added sugar and artificial flavors/sweeteners and is low in carbohydrate, cholesterol and sodium.

Why and who needs to supplement with a multiple vitamin and mineral formula??

In today’s fast-paced world, many individuals rely on fast food and a not-so-well-balanced diet.  Therefore, most people do not get the daily recommended allowance of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients that are required for optimal health and wellness.  Both vitamins and minerals are fundamental in the growth, development, metabolism, maintenance and repair of tissues, coenzyme systems and general ongoing health.

Multivitamin and mineral formulas help to bridge the nutrient gap in daily diets.  So, no matter one’s activity level, dietary habits, age, gender or health status, supplementing the diet with a multivitamin and mineral formula can provide benefits that the whole body can utilize.  In fact, the human body requires a broad range of essential and nonessential nutrients for general health and well-being, each of which has a specific function.  Essential nutrients are ones that the body cannot manufacture and/or are produced in limited amounts; therefore, they must be obtained from the diet.  These include carbohydrates, essential amino acids, essential fatty acids, vitamins, minerals and water.

Those that may benefit the most include:

INFANTS:

Shielding baby from sunlight is important to reduce the effects of sun damage but can greatly reduce the natural synthesis of vitamin D. Additionally, depending on mom’s diet and/or formula type, certain nutrient levels may not be reached and a general, low-dose multivitamin and mineral supplement may be prudent.

CHILDREN:

A daily multiple may benefit young tikes with picky eating habits or those who are on a food jag (eating only a few specific foods), and it can relieve parental worries.

WOMEN:

Women in particular may supplement their diet for a variety of reasons, including iron to recover losses during menstruation, calcium and vitamin D for bone health after menopause as well as, vitamins E, C and B (e.g., pyridoxine [B6], cyanocobalamin [B12] and folic acid) for heart health. Additionally, for women juggling work, family and possibly a special diet, a full-spectrum daily multiple may help to bridge the nutritional gaps of daily living.

PREGNANT AND NURSING MOTHERS:

Folic acid reduces the chances of neural tube defects. In fact, particularly during pregnancy, maintaining an adequate diet can be difficult, especially if the expecting mother is experiencing “morning sickness.” Plus, pregnant women during the 2nd and 3rd trimester and nursing mothers need 300 to 600 extra calories a day, respectively.

MEN:

Since men are on the go and typically lack a well-balanced diet, a daily multivitamin and mineral can help bridge the nutritional gap of daily living.  In addition, as men mature, they need to address age-related health issues often associated with the prostate, joints and heart. Therefore, a daily multiple that contains zinc, glucosamine and B-vitamins to support these respective functions can help increase overall quality of health and longevity.

PEOPLE WITH FOOD RESTRICTIONS:

Sometimes there are just certain foods, whether prescribed or self-imposed (e.g., allergens, weight loss, vegetarians/vegans, etc.), that people cannot eat.  Taking a multiple formula specifically targeted to their needs can reduce the chance of a nutritional deficiency.

OVER 50:

Whether it’s due to inadequate stomach acid, lack of mobility, in recovery or ill-fitting dentures, getting appropriate nutrition can be difficult for this age group and a multiple formula specifically designed for seniors, especially with an ideal amount of B-vitamins, can help maintain good health well into their elder years.

What are Vitamins?

Vitamins are essential organic (carbon-containing) nutrients that are found in food, and they contribute to good health by regulating metabolism and assisting in the biochemical processes that release energy from digested food.  They are classified as either fat- or water-soluble.  The fat-soluble vitamins include A, D, E and K.  The water-soluble vitamins include thiamin (B1), riboflavin (B2), niacin (B3), B6, folate, B12, biotin, pantothenic acid (B5), and vitamin C (ascorbic acid).  With the exception of B12, water-soluble vitamins are stored in the body in limited amounts and are excreted within one to four days; therefore, they must be replenished on a daily basis.  Fat-soluble vitamins, however, are stored in the body’s adipose tissues and liver.  These storage sites for fat-soluble vitamins may reduce the chance for a deficiency, but they still must be consumed on a daily basis for good health.

Should I take fish-based or lanolin-based vitamin D3?

Everyone needs are going to be different – but the rule of thumb is vitamin D3 is fat-soluble and thus it needs fat proper assimilation into the body. The fish oil source of D3 is incased in a softgel with safflower oil, providing a lipid matrix to help assimilate the vitamin D3 into the lymphatic system of the body. However, if someone is allergic to fish, has a fat malabsorption issues or prefers Kosher-certified products, then they should utilize the lanolin-based form. However, the lanolin form (Vcaps or Chewables) should be taken in conjunction with a fatty food like medium chain triglyceride (MCT) oil or coconut oil – since MCTs are great for persons with fat malabsorption issues, since this type of fat does not require lipase in order to digested, making it easy on the gut.

Why should I take natural vitamin E?

Natural vitamin E (d-alpha tocopherol) has been shown to be better absorbed and retained in the body than synthetic vitamin E (dl-alpha tocopherol). The vitamin E family consists of eight members, four tocopherols and four tocotrienols. D-alpha tocopherol is the most predominant and active form. It is backed by a good deal of research, which confirms its many benefits. Our vitamin E softgels feature the mixed tocopherols that may enhance the antioxidant properties of d-alpha tocopherol.

What is unique about Bluebonnet’s Vitamin E softgels?

Bluebonnet uses only premium grade natural source vitamin E from soybeans. Our softgels contain a mixture of 80% d-alpha tocopherol and 20% mixed tocopherols, such as gamma tocopherol. Other products on the market may state mixed tocopherols on their label. All natural vitamin oils contain a small amount. They can vary from batch to batch. They are not quantified on the label. Bluebonnet guarantees the amount of mixed tocopherols, including gamma tocopherol in all our vitamin E softgels.

What are minerals?

Minerals make up 60-80% of all the inorganic (noncarbon-containing) material in the body and fall into two categories: macrominerals and microminerals.  There are seven macrominerals – also known as major or bulk minerals: calcium, chloride, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium and sulfur.  They are present in virtually every cell in the body.  In fact, the human body needs at least 100 milligrams (mg) of each every day – just for normal functioning and well-being.  Microminerals, commonly called trace minerals, are required in smaller quantities – typically less than 100 mg per day.

Still, some are considered “essential” for good nutrition.  Essential microminerals include chromium, copper, fluoride, iodine, iron, manganese, molybdenum, selenium and zinc.  Dietary minerals serve a life-sustaining function by helping the body operate properly and remain strong. Minerals not only build skeletal and soft tissues, they also regulate processes – such as heartbeat, normal blood clotting, internal fluid pressure, nerve reactions, impulse transmissions, muscle contractions, oxygen transport, acid-base balance to keep the body pH neutral, and enzyme and hormone systems.

What is an Amino Acid Chelate?

Amino acid chelates (pronounced KEY-lates) are minerals that are bound to amino acids to effectively, propel the mineral into the blood stream—similarly to food. In fact, the Nobel Prize for Medicine was awarded to Günter Blobel in 1999 for his dissertation that minerals require protein chaperones for optimal bioavailability and assimilation—amino acids are the building blocks of protein and proteins are building blocks of life.

Few nutritional substances cross the intestinal wall as quickly and easily as amino acids; thanks to their unique active transport mechanism of absorption. By linking the two, the amino acid is able to transport the mineral across the intestinal lining into the body, so it can be put to use. However, to be transported intact, the mineral must have a stable bond to the amino acid. Simply mixing minerals with amino acids – a basic ionic and hydrogen bond – will not produce a stable product.  Amino acid “chelates” created in this manner often loses their integrity during digestion and compromises the nutrient’s availability.

Albion® Laboratories has developed a process that produces a stable, nutritionally functional mineral chelate, which provides reliable and effective mineral nutrition. Albion’s patented technology replicates the body’s natural chelation process, essentially turning inorganic minerals into small, highly bioavailable organic molecules (non-ionized). This process ensures that the mineral will remain stable throughout digestion and ultimately result in maximum absorption.

What is the difference between calcium carbonate and calcium citrate?

Calcium, a macromineral, is the most abundant mineral in the body. Found primarily in teeth and bones, calcium supports their maintenance and growth. Getting the proper amount of calcium every day – along with weight bearing exercise – is essential for preventing bone loss in later life. Calcium carbonate is an inorganic (no carbon) form of calcium that 40% elemental and requires food for digestion and absorption. Calcium citrate on the other hand is, is an organic (carbon-containing) form calcium that is 21% elemental and does not requires food for assimilation. Calcium carbonate is an economic form of calcium and is well absorb by younger individuals. However, calcium citrate is believed to be a more easily absorbed and digested form of calcium – particularly by postmenopausal women and people over 65.

How Should I take the Liquid Calcium Magnesium Citrate plus Vitamin D3?

Bluebonnet’s Liquid Calcium Magnesium Citrate offers a winning blueprint for optimally maintaining bone heath by providing 1200 mg of calcium and 600 mg of magnesium in a 2:1 ratio, plus 800 IU of vitamin D3 from lanolin in one delicious, naturally flavored liquid formula.  Available in six tasty natural flavors blueberry, strawberry, lemon, orange, raspberry and mixed berry.

Bluebonnet’s nutritional scientists recommend taking the 1 TBSP of Liquid Calcium Magnesium Citrate in the morning and 1TBSP at night for effective absorption and assimilation. This is due to the fact that, the body can only absorb anywhere from 400 to 600 mg of calcium at one time. You may take this product with or without food, since it is already pre-acidified with a pH ranging from 2.1 to 2.3—which is similar to the gut. In addition, calcium helps you sleep better at night, just another reason to take your calcium before bedtime.

Does Bluebonnet’s Calcium Contain Lead?

Calcium naturally contains a small amount of lead, however, under California’s Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986 (Proposition 65) all products manufactured in California require warnings to consumers if a product exposes consumers to lead in excess of 0.5 micrograms (mcg) per day from any one source. Bluebonnet’s calcium is tested at every step of the manufacturing process and thus, follows these stringent regulations, even though we are located in the heart of Sugar Land, TX. Additionally the calcium source utilized in the product is calcium citrate, which is calcium carbonate (from limestone) reacted with the citric acid, an organic acid that is derived from corn. Calcium products that contain unrefined ground oyster shells, bone meal, or dolomite, which historically have contained higher lead levels should be avoided and are not utilized in any of Bluebonnet’s supplements.

Ferrous Sulfate vs. Ferrous Bisglycinate: Elemental Values

Ferrous Sulfate provides about 36% elemental iron, equating to 117 mg of elemental iron in 325 mg of the compound. Ferrous Bisglycinate provides about 25% elemental iron, equating to 65 mg of elemental iron in 325 mg of the compound.  Clinical studies have shown that ¼ to 1/3 of iron from Ferrochel®–Bluebonnet’s patented form from Albion®, can achieve the same effects as Ferrous Sulfate.

What is unique about EPAX® Fish oils?

Bluebonnet’s EPAX® Fish Oils are three functional fish oil products, which Bluebonnet was proud to be first to the market.  While most manufacturers of omega-3 fish oils play the numbers game by focusing only on the amount of EPA and DHA in their products, Bluebonnet’s EPAX® Formulas contain the correct amount AND ratio of EPA and DHA from Norwegian deep sea cold water fish that have been shown through human clinical studies to support cardiovascular, joint and heart health. Additionally, this formula contains EPA and DHA in their natural triglyceride form, instead of the commonly used ethyl ester form since dietary fats naturally exist in the triglyceride form. EPAX® fish oils are produced using a unique patented molecular distillation process. Plus, they are tested for heavy metals and other pollutants often present in other omega-3 fish oils.

Are Bluebonnet’s Fish Oils Sustainably Sourced?

Yes!  Absolutely.  Sustainability is important for all of us these days, but especially for a company like Bluebonnet Nutrition that has always turned to nature to locate the world’s finest raw materials.  Our “green” initiatives range from environmentally friendly manufacturing practices that use alternative energy sources and enterprise-wide recycling to programs that maintain the Earth’s land- and ocean-scapes for future generations.  Utilizing high quality EPAX® fish oils from Peru’s marine habitat supports this environmental commitment.  Peru’s government has a sophisticated quality assurance program overseeing its fisheries, and its environmentally sustainable practices are beyond reproach.  This program regulates the minimum size and number of juvenile fish, monitors the fleet via satellite, and provides third party control of fish landings.  To promote environmental management practices in public, private and government owned companies, the Peruvian Ministry of the Environment gives an annual award for the “Cleanest and Most Eco-Efficient Production.”  In 2008, EPAX’s leading fishery group was the recipient, recognized for its environmental management system model. This mutual commitment to ecological preservation and sustainability is just another testament to the quality of Bluebonnet’s Natural Omega-3 Functional Fish Oil Formulas.

What are free radicals and antioxidants?

Free radicals are generated by exposure to harmful environmental factors, such as: smog, ozone, chemicals, drugs, smoking and radiation, as well as during normal physiological processes, especially in defense against microbes and other foreign substances.  Free radicals can damage DNA, proteins and lipids within cells, altering or inhibiting cellular function.  Dietary antioxidants, such as vitamins E and C, carotenoids and others, function to help control or eliminate free radicals by donating electrons, thus, maintaining cellular health by offsetting the damage they can potentially cause.  Antioxidants that are available through the diet are considered exogenous antioxidants and include: amino acids [N-acetyl-L-cysteine (NAC), taurine and L-glutathione (tripeptide)], vitamins C and E, carotenoids (beta-carotene, lycopene, lutein and zeaxanthin), and minerals (selenium and zinc).  Antioxidants produced in the body are considered endogenous antioxidants and include: ubiquinone/ubiquinol (CoQ10), alpha lipoic acid and the master cellular defense enzyme, superoxide dismutase (SOD) and many more. However, many factors have been found to compromise the levels of endogenous antioxidants in the body making supplementation essential, such as the normal aging process, certain medications and oxidative stress.

Alpha lipoic acid, are there two kinds?

Alpha lipoic acid or thioctic acid is a vitamin-like, natural antioxidant that has gained tremendous attention from the scientific community for its involvement in energy production (formation of adenosine triphosphate – ATP) from the metabolism of fats, carbohydrates and proteins. Like most compounds in the body, lipoic acid has an asymmetrical carbon atom, which produces a mirror image and exists in nature as two forms (enantiomers). The forms are designated as either R- (“rectus” in Latin means right) or S- (“sinister”, which originally meant left in Latin), depending on their structural relationship to a right- or left-handed reference point. While both forms are found in biological systems, lipoic acid is represented as the R-form when active. Alpha Lipoic Acid is a 50/50 mixture of both the R- and S- forms of the molecule.  Bluebonnet provides Alpha Lipoic Acid and not R-Lipoic Acid due to issues with stability.

What is the difference between CoQ10–Ubiquinone and Ubiquinol?

Coenzyme Q10 is a lipid-soluble, vitamin-like substance that is present in nearly all human tissues and is essential for the cellular processes of energy production in the mitochondria. CoQ10 functions as an antioxidant in both the mitochondria and lipid membranes by scavenging free radicals either directly or in conjunction with tocopherol. While Ubiquinone is the fully oxidized and most common form sold commercially, once ingested and absorbed in the body—most of it is converted to its reduced, “active” antioxidant form called Ubiquinol.

In the plasma of healthy humans, more than 90% of CoQ10 exists in the reduced, “active” antioxidant form Ubiquinol and accounts for the largest percentage of CoQ10 found in the heart, intestines and liver. However, many factors have been found to compromise the levels of Ubiquinol in the body: the normal aging process, certain medications, oxidative stress, etc. For example, as the body ages, it not only produces less CoQ10, but it is less able to convert the common, non-active form of CoQ10 (Ubiquinone) to the more readily available, active form (Ubiquinol). Therefore, providing the active antioxidant form of CoQ10 (Ubiquinol) – especially to seniors – will ensure that they are getting a form that their bodies can immediately utilize.  Dietary sources high in CoQ10 include liver, beef, chicken and some oils.

What is the Source of Ubiquinol? Is it vegetarian?

Bluebonnet’s CellularActive™ CoQ10 Ubiquinol Softgels provide the active antioxidant form of CoQ10 (Ubiquinol) from the world’s leading supplier, Kaneka. Ubiquinol is sourced from yeast; however, it is surrounded in a base of non-GMO sunflower lecithin rather than soy lecithin and encapsulating them in vegetarian softgels. So if you want a soy-free and truly vegetarian form of the most readily available, “Active” antioxidant form of CoQ10 on the market, look to Bluebonnet’s CellularActive® CoQ10 Ubiquinol Vegetarian Softgels (Kaneka QH), the market leader in Ubiquinol and the recipient of the coveted Best of Supplements Award from Better Nutrition Magazine for heart health – because when it comes to protecting your cardiovascular health and/or enhancing your physical performance, you shouldn’t have to settle for second best.♦

What is the difference between enteric-coated SOD and the SOD being encased in gliadin (GliSODin)?

In general, enteric coating assists in the protection of a material from the proteolytic enzymes and hydrochloric acid (HCl) in the stomach. The enteric coating must breakdown in the small intestines in order to release the SOD for absorption. Unfortunately, the pancreas releases other protein digestive enzymes into the small intestines. Therefore, whatever SOD gets released will only be degraded at this level! Enteric coating will not prevent this problem. Enteric coating will not get the SOD through the intestinal tract and into the body. On the other hand, gliadin has been chosen as the unique carrier because it protects the SOD from both stomach acid and small intestine protein digestive enzymes. It helps get SOD through the cells in the intestine and into the body. Additionally, individuals who are sensitive to gliaden polymers (e.g., Celiac and Sprue) should not take this product.

What is the difference between grape seed extract and pine bark extract?

Pycnogenol® is a patented form of pine bark extract. Both are significant sources of flavonoids, specifically OPC’s (oligomeric proanthocyanidins). OPC levels are different for each supplement. Additionally, grape seed extract contains gallic esters of proanthocyanidins and Pycnogenol® contains organic acids and catechins. These may have additional therapeutic benefits. Grape seeds are more readily available than pine bark, so grape seed extract is less expensive than Pycnogenol®.

Should I take lutein or zeaxanthin for my eye health?

As the years pass, the eye becomes more damaged from its constant interaction with light. Rod and cone photoreceptors that give a person optimal visual acuity and perceive color and light, start to die out and are not replaced. These rods and cones reside in the macula – the smallest, but very important, part of the eye that helps us to focus on the fine details that are seen directly in front of the eye.

Zeaxanthin and lutein accumulate in the macula to help filter out damaging blue light and sunlight. These carotenoids protect the macula and strengthen it. However, it should be known that zeaxanthin works best for central vision, while lutein is for peripheral vision; thus, a formulation that provides both is optimal.

What are enzymes?

Enzymes are catalytic proteins that speed up chemical reactions in the body and are necessary for life.  They catalyze (speed up) and regulate nearly all biochemical reactions that occur within the body.  They are distributed throughout all cellular components and are usually found on the inner surface of the membranes.  The location of specific enzymes depends on the site of the metabolic pathways in which these enzymes participate.

Enzymes in the digestion process divide substances into smaller compounds through a process called hydrolysis (breaking apart by water).  Essentially, the process involves turning food into smaller molecules for absorption, which in turn allows for the creation of energy to sustain life.  Food enzymes, however, are only provided by consuming raw foods or by supplemental enzymes.  Cellulase, for example, aids in fiber digestion; yet, it cannot be made in the body and must be introduced through raw foods or supplementation.  Raw foods provide only enough enzymes to digest that particular food, generally not enough to be stored for future use.

What units are used to measure enzyme activity?

Enzyme activity is the acceptable way to measure enzyme potency. Weight measurements (mg) are inappropriate and misleading. Our enzymes are measured in Food Chemical Codex units, the national standard sanctioned by the FDA.

The daily amount of supplemental enzymes that is supported by research for the proper digestion of proteins, simple and complex carbohydrates and fats depends on the activity measure of each enzyme. Minimum activity levels shown to support digestion for most individuals are 4000 HUT of protease, 2000 DU of amylase, 40 LU of lipase and 40 CU of cellulase.  Remember, it is not the amount (mg) of the supplemental enzymes in each capsule that is significant, but rather the amount of activity units. Activity units are the only way to identify the potency of an enzyme. However, there are several available methods used to determine enzyme potency, which is why Bluebonnet only uses published assays, such as those found in the Foods Chemical Codex for the measurement of plant-based enzymes. The following is a list of FCC units:

Carbohydrates—

DU (Dextrinizing Units): FCC—for non-bacterial alpha amylase. A DU is defined as the number of grams of soluble starch dextrinized per hour at 30°C and pH 4.6.

LACU or ALU (Lastase Units): FCC—assay is based on a 15-minute hydrolysis of an o-nitro phenyl-β-D-galactopyranoside substrate at 37°C and pH 4.5.

DP° (Diastatic Power – Maltase activity): FCC—the assay is based on a 30-min hydrolysis of a starch substrate at pH 4.6 and 20°C. The reducing sugar produced is measured in a titrimetric procedure using alkaline ferricyanide.

IAU (Invertase Unit): FCC—One Invertase Unit is defined as the quantity of enzyme that will hydrolyze 1.142 mcgmol of sucrose per minute under the conditions of the assay. 

Protease –

HUT (Hemoglobin Units on Tyrosine base): FCC—for fungal proteases. Based on a 30-minute hydrolysis of a hemoglobin substrate at pH 4.7 and 40°C.

PC Assay (Protease Analytical Method): FCC—for bacterial protease. Based on a 30-minute hydrolysis of casein at 37°C and PH 7.0.

Plant Source Proteases: Bromelain and Papain

GDU (Gelatin Digesting Units): A common measure of Bromelain. 1 GDU is the amount of enzyme that liberates after 20 minutes, 1 mg amino nitrogen from a standard gelatin at 45°C and pH 4.5 and 5.5. 

PU (Papain Units): FCC PU (Plant Proteolytic Analytical Method): Based on 60 minute proteolytic hydrolysis of casein substrate at pH 6.0 and 40°C.

Lipase —    

Lipase – LU (Lipase Unit) or FCC FIP (Federation Internationale Pharmceutique)—The assay is based on the potentiometric measurement of the rate at which the preparations will catalyze the hydrolysis of trbutyin.   

Cellulase –

CU (Cellulase Unit): FCC—Assay is based on the enzymatic hydrolysis of the interior β-1,4-glcosidic bonds of a defined carboxymethyl cellulose substrate at pH 4.5 and 40°C, measured by a reduction in viscosity.  

HCU (Hemicellulase Unit): FCC—One Hemicellulase Unit (HCU) is defined as activity that will produce a relative fluidity change of 1 over 5 minute in a locust bean gum substrate at 40°C and pH 4.5. 

What is the Difference between TMG and Betaine HCL?

Betaine TMG (not to be confused with Betaine HCL) works along with Vitamin B6, folic acid and Vitamin B12 to augment the formation of SAMe, an amino acid in the brain. Amino acids are proteins. Metabolically, TMG is broken down into dimethylglycine (DMG) during the synthesis of the amino acid methionine from homocysteine, the main pathway for the degradation of TMG. A diet high in broccoli, spinach or beets can provide as much as a fifth or even a quarter teaspoon of TMG, just over 500 mg.

Betaine HCL functions of Hydrochloric Acid

Hydrochloric acid serves many functions, the three most important are: 

1. It is the primary digestive juice responsible for breaking down proteins, preparing them for assimilation.

2. It acts as a protective barrier, killing many potentially harmful microorganisms in our food.

3. It acts as a venting mechanism for the build-up of excessive concentrations of hydrogen ions in our blood and interstitial fluids. In other words, we consume acid forming foods and / or engage in acid forming activity, the production of stomach acid uses up considerable amounts of the acid forming material (hydrogen ions) thereby assisting in the elimination of excessive tissue acidity. The stomach acid once combined with food is eventually neutralized further down the alimentary canal by alkaline pancreatic secretions.

Bluebonnet provides both forms. Betaine HCL Plus Pepsin for digestive health and TMG in our Homocysteine Formula. However, we do not have a standalone.

What are probiotics?

According to an expert evaluation by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in 2001, probiotics are characterized as “live microorganisms, which when administered in adequate amounts confer a health benefit on the host*.”  Probiotic bacterium, such as lactobacillus acidophilus, lactobacillus bulgaricus and bifidobacterium favorably alter the intestinal microflora balance in the body, aiding in the digestion of foods and enhancing immune health.  Lactobacilli and bifidobacterium are non-pathogenic microorganisms that maintain a healthy balance of intestinal flora by producing organic compounds, such as lactic acid, hydrogen peroxide and acetic acid that tend to lower the pH of the intestines.

Healthy microbes like probiotics colonize in the GI tract and are important components of the immune system.  In fact, they serve to prime or stimulate the immune system.  There are many different strains of healthy microbes; however, L. bulgaricus, the champion of the transient flora,

intensifies the growth and helpful activity of L. acidophilus and B. bifidum.  L. bulgaricus also sweeps metabolic waste and chemical toxins out of the intestines.  L. acidophilus helps to maintain the healthy environment of the small intestines, while B. bifidum helps to maintain the healthy environment of the large intestines.

Okay, so now I know what a probiotic is…What is a prebiotic?

“Prebiotic,” a term used to describe a substance that is conducive to the formation of life.  An example of a prebiotic is fructooligosaccharides (FOS), which is a short-chain, nondigestible oligosaccharide, which provides a food source for the healthy growth of favorable bacteria in the intestines which leads to the production of short chain fatty acids.  These short chain fatty acids tend to lower intestinal pH and are more conductive to mineral absorption.

What is the difference between grape seed extract and pine bark extract?

Pycnogenol® is a patented form of pine bark extract. Both are significant sources of flavonoids, specifically OPC’s (oligomeric proanthocyanidins). OPC levels are different for each supplement. Additionally, grape seed extract contains gallic esters of proanthocyanidins and Pycnogenol® contains organic acids and catechins. These may have additional therapeutic benefits. Grape seeds are more readily available than pine bark, so grape seed extract is less expensive than Pycnogenol®.

What is the source of glucosamine? Do you have a vegetarian option?

Bluebonnet has an extensive line of joint supporting formulas, which use a form of glucosamine derived from crustacean shellfish. However, we do have a vegetarian, kosher and gluten-free form of glucosamine as well that is derived via a proprietary corn fermentation process.

Cinnulin PF® is a water-soluble extract of cinnamon, is there a coumarin content in your formulation?

Bluebonnet’s Cinnulin® PF Cinnamon Bark Extract Vcaps contain a formula that combines the patented water-soluble extract of cinnamon bark (250 mg), providing a high concentration of active type-A polyphenol polymers with sterilized whole raw herb (200 mg).

Coumarin is naturally found in the fat-soluble extracts of the Cassia species of cinnamon. Bluebonnet’s Cinnulin PF® is composed of the Burmannii and Zeylanicum species of cinnamon and only provides the water-soluble fractions and thus, no coumarin since fat and water-soluble extracts repel each other.     

What is California Proposition 65?

CA Prop 65 (formerly titled “The Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act”) is a California law passed by direct voter initiative in 1986 to initially protect drinking water sources from toxic substances that cause cancer and birth defects and to reduce or eliminate exposures to those elements. Over the years, this law was extended to consumer products that did not meet the lower limits established by the law like dietary supplements, requiring them to include a warning about potential exposure to a list of elements known to the State of California to cause cancer, birth defects or other reproductive harm.  There are currently over eight hundred substances on the list, many of which are naturally occurring in the environment. To view this list, visit: www.oehha.ca.gov/prop65.html

Proposition 65 requires lower limits on these substances than those required by the federal government in all of the other 49 states established by the United States Pharmacopeia (USP) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and the World Health Organization (FAO/WHO).

The State of California exempts fruits and vegetables grown in California (i.e., apples, carrots, green beans, lettuce, spinach, and tomatoes) from this law since minerals and heavy metals are naturally occurring in the ground where produce is grown.  Even though whole food supplements often use similar organic ingredients like plants and herbs, they are not awarded this same exemption.

How are Bluebonnet supplements affected by Prop 65?

While the majority of Bluebonnet’s products meet Proposition 65 requirements, we do offer some organic whole food supplements, like Super Earth® Organic VeggieProtein™ Powder, that do not meet them by a slim margin because plant-based ingredients that come from the ground contain naturally occurring heavy metals.  At Bluebonnet, every batch is tested for identity, potency and purity, particularly microbial levels and heavy metal content.  So those Bluebonnet products that might miss the lower limits established by this law do follow the federal limits on heavy metals and are therefore, safe for consumer consumption based on those national and international guidelines.   

How do the California warnings compare to federal limits?

It should be noted that warning requirements for products sold in California are not usually the same as federal safety requirements. In fact, the warning level for reproductive toxicants is 1000 times lower according to Prop 65 than the lowest level established by the federal guidelines at which animal studies reported no reproductive health effect.  Because of this difference, there is sometimes a mismatch between warnings on products sold in California and what is required elsewhere in the U.S. So this can explain why sometimes you may see a California Prop 65 warning on a product sold in California but no warning on the same exact product sold elsewhere.

Why don’t similar products carry the warning, and should I be concerned if a Bluebonnet product carries this warning?

Inconsistent Prop 65 enforcement many times explains why you will see certain products in the market with warnings, and virtually identical products without warnings. Just because another brand does not have the warning does not automatically mean that the other brand is free of the substance or has lower levels. You should always be aware and take heed of all product warnings. However, a Prop 65 warning does not necessarily mean that the product will actually cause cancer or other reproductive harm when the product is consumed as directed. As previously mentioned, Prop 65 standards are often significantly more stringent than federally and internationally established safety limits for these same substances.  Therefore, a Prop 65 warning does not automatically mean that the product is unsafe.

At Bluebonnet, we have always taken the initiative when it comes to full disclosure on our labels even when labeling requirements like those in California through Prop 65 are so strict they exceed the requirements set federally in the other 49 states and are often impossible to meet when it comes to organic ingredients.  Regardless, you can be rest assured that all Bluebonnet supplements meet federal safety limits on potentially toxic substances regardless of the laws set individually by each state.  And in states like California, that have more stringent requirements, we will be transparent on our labels in following their specific warning guidelines; but this should not be a cause for concern over the consumer safety of any Bluebonnet product.

The following products maybe affected by Prop 65; however, every lot is tested and the results may vary. 

– Super Vita CoQ10 Formula® Caplets

– Ladie’s Choice® Whole Food-Based Multiple Caplets

– Men’s Choice® Whole Food-Based Multiple Caplets

– Age-Less® Choice Whole Food-Based Multiple for Women 50+ Caplets

– Age-Less® Choice Whole Food-Based Multiple for Men 50+ Caplets

– Super Earth® Organic Greens Powder

– Super Earth® Organic WheatGrass Powder

– Super Earth Organic® VeggieProteinTM Powder (all flavors)

– 100% Natural Dual Action Protein Powder (cholcolate flavor)

– Extreme Edge® Post-Workout (chocolate flavor)