Health benefits of caffeinated beverages from the genus Ilex, including Yaupon.
Yaupon is known to be rich in a wide variety of bioactive compounds, mainly polyphenols and alkaloids, which play an essential role in their health benefits.
Yaupon's Health Promoting Compounds:
- Quercetin-rutinoside (Saponin) - anti-viral, anti-diabetic, anti-inflammatory
- Kaempferol 3-rhamnoside - antioxidant, cardiovascular support, anti-cancer, anti-microbial, neuro-protective
- Kaempferol 3-rutinoside - antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, anti-allergic
- Isorhamnetin - antioxidant flavanol
- Cytotoxin - potent antioxidant activity
- Chlorogenic Acid - antioxidant, slows release of glucose in bloodstream
- Caffeine, theobromine, theophylline and theacrine offer focus, energy and stamina
- In vitro studies suggest polyphenolic and flavanol compounds extracted from Yaupon leaves have a chemo preventative effect
Polyphenols in Yaupon
Polyphenols are micronutrients that we get through certain plant-based foods. They’re packed with antioxidants, and potential health benefits. Polyphenols can improve or help treat digestive issues, weight management, diabetes, neurodegenerative disease and cardiovascular disease.
Alkaloids in Yaupon
The magic is in how all these compounds “stack together,” making Yaupon the ideal beverage to accompany both mental and physical exercise.
- Caffeine: This is an alkaloid in Yaupon, representing 1% to 3% of the dry leaf. The caffeine found in tea and coffee is the same molecule, the only difference being that it is proportionately more present in coffee. The caffeine content in the Wild Yaupon leaf is relatively low, however, our research farm has increased caffeine levels in our fields of organic Yaupon. The season of the harvest and climatic variations influence caffeine levels too. Caffeine is a strong stimulant to the nervous system. It is the only alkaloid to cross the brain-blood barrier. Yaupon is special in how it delivers its energy thru its unique caffeine pathway.
- Theobromine: Stimulates the soft muscle tissues in the body, thus smoothing out the caffeine effect.
- Theophylline: Functions as a bronchial dilator of sorts, helping to dilate veins and blood vessels, hence improving circulation. Theophylline is known as a respiratory stimulant. Simply put, theophylline makes the caffeine and theobromine energy work more efficiently.
- Theanine: Acts like a time release capsule for the energy, stretching it out.
- Theacrine: Adds stamina to the energy pathway. When your mind wants to stop the body, theacrine keeps you truckin'.
A Little Science About Yaupon
- Antioxidant Activity: It is widely accepted that the counteraction on oxidative stress is mainly attributable to the existing phenolic compounds, especially chlorogenic acids (like mono- and dicaffeoylquinic acids) as well as flavonols, since in vitro antioxidant capacity has been confirmed to be positively correlated with their concentrations. In order to better retain the contents and stability of health-beneficial antioxidants in Ilex teas, more attention should be paid to the adjustment of industrial processing methods and the improvement of packaging methods.
- Anti-Inflammatory Activity: The inflammatory response is usually accompanied by the activation of macrophages, neutrophils, and various released inflammatory cytokines, such as tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α), interleukin (IL)-1β, -6, and -12, triggering histological damage to specific tissues. Reduction of the exudate concentration, reestablishment of the balance between pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokines (IL-4 and
- -10), and suppression of the pro-inflammatory enzyme activity are considered to be major therapeutic targets in inflammation treatment.
- Antibacterial Activity
- Lipid-Reducing Activity: For the lipid-reducing molecular mechanism, triterpenoid saponins (200 mg/kg/day) derived from latifolia was reported to lower lipids by the inhibition of sterol regulatory element-binding proteins (SREBPs) via enhancing AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) phosphorylation in a non-alcoholic fatty liver disease mouse model. In addition, Yerba Mate aqueous extract was reported to improve plasma lipid profile both in vitro (3T3-L1 cells model) and in vivo (mice model), probably by inhibiting adipogenesis via downregulating the expression of adipogenesis related genes (Creb-1 and C/EBPα).
- Regulation of Gut Microbiota: More recently, growing attention has been paid to the effect of tea beverages on gut Enhanced probiotic colonization was observed in a broiler chicken model fed with ground Yerba Mate leaf supplement (0.55% inclusion rate). Moreover, Ilex kudingcha extract (400 mg/kg) was demonstrated to change the diet-disrupted gut microbiota composition to normal state and increase their diversity in HFD-fed mice. It was reported that polyphenols from I. latifolia played a critical role in establishing the structure of gut microbiota, since dietary polyphenols, especially dicaffeoylquinic acids (diCQAs), exhibited low bioavailability in the upper digestive tract, and reached the colon with an intact form and interacted with the colonic microbiota, contributing to the amelioration of the intestinal flora. In addition, Xie et al. reported that diCQAs from Kudingcha enhanced the diversity of intestinal microbiota in vitro and promoted the generation of short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) through gut microbiota, which in turn provided nutrients and energy for the optimization of gut microbial profile. Therefore, the interaction between tea consumption and intestinal microbes can further improve the microbial colonization and promote human health.
- Anti-Cancer Activity: In fact, the cytotoxic action against diverse cancer cells, such as breast cancer, oral cancer, nasopharyngeal carcinoma, and colon adenocarcinoma cells, was reported in Yaupon Holly leaves. Several studies also elucidated the anti-cancer molecular mechanisms. It was reported that caffeoylquinic acids in Ilex tea extracts were able to activate the pro-apoptotic factors caspase-3 and caspase-9 in TCA8113 cancer cells, and caspase-8 and caspase-3 in HT-29 human colon cancer cells, accompanied with the decreased expression of the inflammatory mediator NF-κB, which regulates cell proliferation, anti-apoptosis, and cell metastasis. Overall, induction of cancer cell apoptosis and suppression of chronic inflammation could be two main mechanisms of the anti-cancer activity of Ilex
- Cardiovascular Protective Activity: Research on cardiovascular protection is Ilex tea has great potential to be used as a preventive or therapeutic ingredient against cardiovascular diseases.
- Anti-Obesity Activity: In recent years, reports have shown that caffeinated beverages from the genus Ilex, can reduce body weight and have great potential to be developed into anti-obesity drugs
- Anti-Diabetic Activity: The consumption of herbal teas prepared from Ilex species is likely to be beneficial for the treatment of
- Neuroprotective Activity: The caffeinated beverages from the genus Ilex also show neuro-protective activity.