Live Long and Prosper - Nutraceutically

More and more frequently, I’m finding “too good to be true” technologies that are, in fact, very true. It is, I think, the hallmark of our era. Things we thought were impossible are coming to pass on a regular basis.

To prosper, we’ll all have to re-examine practically everything we thought we could take for granted.

I realize that the economic situation created by our feckless ruling class tends to cast a cold pallor on the world. It is depressing, I admit, but it will pass. The real story going on behind the scenes is that an unbelievable number of technological breakthroughs are emerging. These are not hypothetical breakthroughs. They have already occurred, but are not yet fully deployed. They will, in turn, drive astonishing progress and growth, as well as enormous wealth for those with the vision to help it along through investments.

One company I have recommended to the subscribers of the Breakthrough Technology Alert has created a synthesized form of a natural alkaloid that I believe will extend healthy lifespans. I also believe that equity in the company that makes this product could yield truly transformational returns.

However, and I admit this is a big “however,” this technology is in the very early stages. This company is so disruptive, I wouldn’t be surprised if some of the industries it will disrupt will try to discredit or stop the product.

There is, however, something about this product which inspired in me a particular degree of skepticism and caution. I assume, therefore, that it may provoke the same skepticism in you. Specifically, this company’s product is a “nutraceutical.”

Nutraceuticals are foods or food-derived products that are meant to provide health benefits. They may function exactly like substances that are FDA-approved pharmaceuticals, but they are not categorized as such.

For example, you may take or sell the extract of willow bark for use as an anti-inflammatory, anti-clotting agent or pain killer without getting FDA approval. You can’t make medical claims about willow bark extract, or the active ingredient salicylic acid, however. Current government policy in the US and many other countries is to reserve that right for products that have passed extremely lengthy and expensive approval procedures.

If you synthesize a very similar compound, acetylsalicylic acid or aspirin, you have a drug. With regulatory approval, you can therefore make certain kinds of claims regarding its efficacy in the prevention of heart attacks or strokes. There is very little difference in the actual function of the two products, though.

Because nutraceuticals are not subject to testing requirements and regulations, they are much easier to bring to market. In some instances, impure and even dangerous nutraceuticals have been widely sold. The FDA can force a product off the market if it is found to be harmful, but the agency does not have legal authority to require clinical testing.

As a result, there have been some major problems in this area. You may recall when beta-carotene, derived from plants such as tomatoes, was widely heralded as a panacea. Books were written claiming it would cure cancer and extend life spans. Despite the lack of blinded studies, untold millions were spent on beta-carotene supplements. Finally, when beta-carotene supplementation was tested clinically, the claims were discredited. Some clinical results showed that the nutraceutical actually increased cancer risk.

We’ve seen this cycle play out many times. Fans of a product swear it is improving their health but eventually stop taking it… often just as another supplement fad arrives. The people who claim medical benefits are absolutely sincere, however. This makes it very difficult to judge anecdotal testimonials regarding nutraceuticals.

On the other hand, there are incredibly important and effective nutraceuticals. Omega-3 fatty acids, in both the fish oil extract and the purified synthesized form, are linked by real data to improved health. The nutraceutical form of vitamin D is also an important supplement with clinically verified health benefits.

But clearly, we are in the Wild Wild West of investing when we venture into nutraceutical territory. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing, though. The same dynamics that make this area volatile and unpredictable can also lead to enormous profits.

I’m telling you all this because I want you to know why I was so skeptical about this company’s main product and why I’ve gone to extra lengths to verify the story and the people involved.

In short, I am no longer skeptical. I’m convinced that this is one of the most important breakthrough technologies of our time. I believe this company has a product that actually does what other supplements only wished they could do — it controls chronic low-level inflammation.

That effect may not sound very important. But it is actually revolutionary.

The name of the neural circuit that regulates the immune response to injury and invasion is the “inflammatory reflex.” Inflammation is an extremely complex mechanism that involves the destruction through apoptosis of damaged cells, the healing of salvageable cells and the growth of entirely new cells. The primary role of this important biological response is to heal injury or infection.

In fact, in the “olden days” before penicillin, being thrown from a horse, kicked by a cow or bitten by any kind of animal was a serious potentially life-ending matter. The only way to survive a nearly inevitable sequence of injuries throughout a lifetime was to possess a strong inflammatory immune response. If individuals didn’t have the ability to mount a powerful inflammatory response, they were unlikely to live long enough to pass on their DNA.

But there is also a downside to the “inflammatory reflex.” In the last decade or so, it has become increasingly clear that inflammation plays a major complicating role in almost all diseases. In fact, inflammation increases the rate of aging itself and leads to various pathologies. This is why your dentist lectures you about flossing. Inflammation from unhealthy gums increases the odds of getting heart disease and even Alzheimer’s.

Even with perfect gums, however, chronic inflammation increases as you age. Eventually, it creates a problem serious enough to trigger a cascade effect. Uncontrolled inflammation causes the simultaneous healing and destruction of cells. This can lead to cancers, heart attacks, lupus, IBS, macular degeneration, stroke, obesity, ED, allergies, psoriasis, Crohn’s disease, endometriosis, rheumatoid arthritis, hair loss, diseases of the organs such as the thyroid and liver as well as…well, you name it.

The general public learned about this for the first time in a 2004 Time magazine cover story titled “The Fire Within.” Today, scientists have advanced the science much further. Many are now using the term “inflammaging,” coined by Claudio Franceschi, professor of immunology at the University of Bologna.

It appears, in fact, that our immune systems react to the normal effects of aging as if they were injuries. This initiates inflammation, an immune response. This inflammation causes cellular stress, which increases the degree of chronic inflammation — which causes even more damage. It is, by definition, an auto-immune disorder. Some scientists call it auto[innate]immunity subclinical syndrome.

It is a vicious circle, a chronic cycle that spins faster and faster until the organism itself eventually fails. Aging, we now know, is not linear. Like so many other things, it is an exponential process that accelerates over time.

If there were a way to stop chronic low-level inflammation, however, we could put the brakes on the auto-immune inflammation cycle. If we could stop chronic low-level inflammation, our bodies could heal naturally, just as they did before inflammaging kicked in. We would even see cells damaged by past inflammation-related diseases heal normally.

Clearly, the potential market for such a “miracle drug” is enormous…and that’s why I am excited about the company that makes this product. But we are still in the early days of this story, which is probably why the company’s stock has not yet “run away.”

Several subscribers have asked me recently why the company’s stock does not yet reflect the reality of its technologies. I sort of take for granted that people understand these things, but apparently, I should not.

First of all, the vast majority of investors simply aren’t equipped to understand the science behind the product. Most investors get their information from bulletin boards and financial websites often filled with contradictory and fallacious claims. Second, we have seen a great deal of seemingly organized efforts to knock down the company’s stock price. Part of this may be driven by short sellers.

Nevertheless, those of us who have used this nutraceutical and have examined the science behind it know that this is a world-changing technology. Furthermore, even though we cannot yet prove it, we also believe that certain neutraceuticals can be very good for your financial health!


Patrick Cox,
for The Daily Reckoning