Bioenhancers are added to drugs and nutritional supplements to improve the availability of the active ingredients contained in the target structures. Bioenhancers almost always have a vegetable origin.

What are bioenhancers?

Bioenhancers are added to drugs and nutritional supplements to improve the availability of the active ingredients contained in the target structures.

The concept of bioenhancers is based on Ayurvedic medicine. Ayurveda is a traditional Indian healing art that is still widely used today in India, Nepal and Sri Lanka. The term bioenhancer was coined in Jammu at the Indian Institute of Integrative Medicine. The institute has been researching Ayurveda for a long time.

Bioenhancers were already described in 1929 by Kartick Chandra Bose. In his 1929 book, Pharmacographia Indica, Bose names the reinforcing effect of long pepper. He found that the anti-asthmatic effect of the Indian lungwort increased when the patients simultaneously took the long pepper. However, Bose could not figure out why. Only in 1979 was it discovered that the piperine found in the pepper is responsible for this effect. Thus, the long pepper piperine was the first bioavailability enhancer.

Today, bioenhancers are added to various medicines and nutritional supplements to improve their absorption and effects in the body.

Pharmacological action

The different bioenhancers are based on different mechanisms of action. First, the active ingredients increase the absorption of the corresponding substances in the intestine. The substances are then less degraded both in the intestine and in the liver. Especially in the liver many active ingredients are lost for further processing in the body. This phenomenon is also referred to as a first-pass effect.

Drugs administered in combination with bioenhancers are more likely to enter the pathogens (the structures causing the disease). For example, in the case of tumor cells or bacteria, the membrane becomes more permeable to the active substances.

Furthermore, bioenhancers inhibit the defense mechanisms of viruses, bacteria or fungi. Likewise, the defense mechanisms of tumor tissue are inhibited. Bioenhancers also ensure that the active ingredients can better bind to the respective pathogens. They influence DNA and proteins in such a way that the active substances can adhere and exert their effect.

Many drugs can not cross the blood-brain barrier without the help of bioenhancers. The blood-brain barrier is a physiological barrier between the bloodstream and the central nervous system in the brain. It is intended to protect the brain from messengers, toxins and pathogens from the circulating blood. Through the blood-brain barrier, many drugs can not reach their desired location.

Medical application & use

The exact fields of application depend on the particular bioenhancer. An important bioenhancer is the piperine. It is an alkaloid that is extracted from the pepper. Piperine serves as a bioenhancer for vitamins. It is particularly effective for vitamins A, B1, B2, B6, C, D, E and K. Also, amino acids such as lysine, isoleucine, leucine, valine, tryptophan, methionine and threonine can be better utilized when administered together with piperine become. Furthermore, the absorption of minerals (iodine, iron, zinc, calcium, selenium, copper, manganese, magnesium) and plant substances improves.

Celiprolol is a drug from the group of ß-receptor blockers and is used to treat high blood pressure. Midazolam] is a benzidazepine used in anesthesia and rescue medicine.

The bioenhancer Quercetin is obtained from fruits and leaves of plants. Quercetin is particularly effective in combination with the drug paclitaxel, which is used in medicine for the treatment of cancer. Glycyrrhizin, a licorice root saponin, increases the activity and uptake of antibiotics and antimycotics.

The garlic contains the bioenhancer allicin. Allicin enhances the action of the drug amphotericin B on yeasts. But it affects the ergosterol transport in the cells.

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Risks & Side Effects

It is important that the dose of the appropriate drug is adjusted when co-administered with a bioenhancer. Otherwise, you may overdose, which may be associated with severe side effects, depending on the drug.

Researchers also see the overcoming of the blood-brain barrier by bioenhancers as problematic. So it could be that with bioenhancers also harmful substances enter the brain, which can lead to inflammation or other neurological damage. Tags: 

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