StemEnhance and StemSport – Update

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Posted 18 September 2015

We have previously focussed on the claims of StemEnhance, that claims to result in the release of stem cells in your body and result in a host of beneficial results. Few studies have been conducted from this product’s inception around 2007. Eighteen years later, the studies have been insignificant with two recent publications on the products effect in diabetics. The studies were conducted in Iran and Egypt. Stem cells and their potential as a treatment is one of the most exciting areas under investigation, so readers have a right to wonder why is it that researchers and clinicians in Europe, Canada, USA are not investigating or dealing with this product – one that promises miraculous results? This alone should make you suspicious about the claims for this product.

We have also focussed attention on toxins present in the product, as well as whether the derivative product, StemSport, has any benefit at all. Not according to a study.

At the South African site for StemEnhance, it is claimed “StemSport® is a breakthrough concept in fitness nutrition that was designed with the professional athlete, weekend warrior and active individual in mind” and “’Without question, StemSport quickened my recovery time.’- Kevin Kouzmanoff Major League Baseball player“.

Here is a study that seems to suggest this may be a placebo response, concluding “These data suggest that compared to placebo, the SS herbal/botanical supplement did not enhance training induced adaptations to strength, balance, and muscle function above strength training alone“.

[note note_color=”#ececec”]J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2014 May 28;11:23. doi: 10.1186/1550-2783-11-23. eCollection 2014.

Effect of an herbal/botanical supplement on strength, balance, and muscle function following 12-weeks of resistance training: a placebo controlled study.

Furlong J1, Rynders CA2, Sutherlin M1, Patrie J1, Katch FI1, Hertel J1, Weltman A1.

BACKGROUND:
StemSport (SS; StemTech International, Inc. San Clemente, CA) contains a proprietary blend of the botanical Aphanizomenon flos-aquae and several herbal antioxidant and anti-inflammatory substances. SS has been purported to accelerate tissue repair and restore muscle function following resistance exercise. Here, we examine the effects of SS supplementation on strength adaptations resulting from a 12-week resistance training program in healthy young adults.

METHODS:
Twenty-four young adults (16 males, 8 females, mean age = 20.5 ± 1.9 years, mass = 70.9 ± 11.9 kg, stature = 176.6 ± 9.9 cm) completed the twelve week training program. The study design was a double-blind, placebo controlled parallel group trial. Subjects either received placebo or StemSport supplement (SS; mg/day) during the training. 1-RM bench press, 1-RM leg press, vertical jump height, balance (star excursion and center of mass excursion), isokinetic strength (elbow and knee flexion/extension) and perception of recovery were measured at baseline and following the 12-week training intervention.

RESULTS:
Resistance training increased 1-RM strength (p < 0.008), vertical jump height (p < 0.03), and isokinetic strength (p < 0.05) in both SS and placebo groups. No significant group-by-time interactions were observed (all p-values >0.10).

CONCLUSIONS:
These data suggest that compared to placebo, the SS herbal/botanical supplement did not enhance training induced adaptations to strength, balance, and muscle function above strength training alone.[/note]

Presence of toxins (microcystins )

We have also pointed out that we analysed locally available StemEnhance and found high levels of arsenic and the toxin, microcystin.

In this study conducted in Germany, products containing Aphanizomenon flos-aquae (as does StemEnhance) were assessed for microcystin. All were found to contain this toxin.

[note note_color=”#ececec”]

Toxicol Appl Pharmacol. 2012 Dec 1;265(2):263-71. doi: 10.1016/j.taap.2012.10.005. Epub 2012 Oct 12.

Toxin content and cytotoxicity of algal dietary supplements.

Heussner AH1, Mazija L, Fastner J, Dietrich DR.

Abstract
Blue-green algae (Spirulina sp., Aphanizomenon flos-aquae) and Chlorella sp. are commercially distributed as organic algae dietary supplements. Cyanobacterial dietary products in particular have raised serious concerns, as they appeared to be contaminated with toxins e.g. microcystins (MCs) and consumers repeatedly reported adverse health effects following consumption of these products. The aim of this study was to determine the toxin contamination and the in vitro cytotoxicity of algae dietary supplement products marketed in Germany. In thirteen products consisting of Aph. flos-aquae, Spirulina and Chlorella or mixtures thereof, MCs, nodularins, saxitoxins, anatoxin-a and cylindrospermopsin were analyzed. Five products tested in an earlier market study were re-analyzed for comparison. Product samples were extracted and analyzed for cytotoxicity in A549 cells as well as for toxin levels by (1) phosphatase inhibition assay (PPIA), (2) Adda-ELISA and (3) LC-MS/MS. In addition, all samples were analyzed by PCR for the presence of the mcyE gene, a part of the microcystin and nodularin synthetase gene cluster. Only Aph. flos-aquae products were tested positive for MCs as well as the presence of mcyE. The contamination levels of the MC-positive samples were ≤ 1 μg MC-LR equivalents g(-1) dw. None of the other toxins were found in any of the products. However, extracts from all products were cytotoxic. In light of the findings, the distribution and commercial sale of Aph. flos-aquae products, whether pure or mixed formulations, for human consumption appear highly questionable.[/note]

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