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30.09.2010


Chinese herbal preparation Danggui Buxue Tang boosts EPO

Chinese herbal preparation Danggui Buxue Tang boosts EPO
A Chinese herbal mixture has been found to raise the production of EPO in human kidney cells. Researchers at Hong Kong University discovered this when they did a test-tube study of the supplement Danggui Buxue Tang: recommended for endurance athletes who like to gamble.

Danggui Buxue Tang is a mixture of extracts from Radix astragali and Radix angelicae sinensis. It's even mentioned in the Neiwaishang Bianhuo Lun handbook, written in 1247, where it is claimed to supplement the Qi or life energy and 'feed the blood'. The researchers make it clear in their article that they interpret this quite literally. If you make up the supplement according to the ancient recipes, then it will boost EPO production.

The figure below shows the effect of 48 hours' exposure to Danggui Buxue Tang on the number of copies of the EPO gene that kidney cells produce. With the optimal concentration, EPO production increases by 110 percent.


Chinese herbal preparation Danggui Buxue Tang boosts EPO

Chinese herbal preparation Danggui Buxue Tang boosts EPO


Your EPO production goes up if your body notices an oxygen deficiency as the result of endurance training or secretly sleeping in a Hypoxico altitude-training tent. The researchers imitated these reduced oxygen conditions by encapsulating the kidney cells they were using with oil so they were not in contact with the outside world. The combination of hypoxia and Danggui Buxue Tang worked well, the researchers noticed. The figure above shows this.


Chinese herbal preparation Danggui Buxue Tang boosts EPO


The mechanism responsible for the success of the mixture is probably the Hypoxia Inducible Factor 1-alpha [HIF-1-apha], well known in chemical athletics circles. Antioxidants like vitamin C and E undermine the effect of endurance training on condition in the short term because they undermine the HIF-1-alpha [and other factors]. The same antioxidants also inhibit in the same way via HIF1alpha the undesirable effects of androgens on the prostate, in animal studies at least.

The reported negative effects of Danggui Buxue Tang on the prostate will probably turn out to not be that bad. A much bigger problem that readers are likely to come across is that of finding guaranteed pure Chinese herbal preparations, that don't contain pesticides, synthetic hormones, heavy metals and other rubbish that doesn't belong in supplements.

Source:
J Ethnopharmacol. 2010 Oct 28;132(1):259-67.

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