Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The History of ProFibe

In 1973, Dr. James Cerda (gastroenterologist) and Mr. Charles Burgin (chemist) began to research the benefits of Pectin. These two have visionary minds, a fascination with medicine and organic chemistry, and an unwavering determination to find the answers to their questions. They thought of ideas and developed several theories.

With a fully equipped laboratory and a $300,000 sponsorship from Florida Department of Citrus, they studied a group of pigs and found out that grapefruit pectin prevented the narrowing of arteries and inhibited cholesterol levels even with a high fat diet.

In focusing on grapefruit pectin, they discovered a certain type of water-soluble fiber found in the rinds and membranes of the grapefruit. Consulting with previous researchers that have already recognized a connection that existed between soluble fibers and cholesterol levels, they further looked into pectin-lipoprotein interactions.

By 1988, their group had learned enough to conclude that soluble fibers have a very important role in slowing down the progression of human atherosclerosis. In fact, they only aimed at lowering cholesterol but were surprised when they found out that the formula also has regression effects.

They found this in a succeeding study which was titled “Inhibition of Atherosclerosis by Dietary Pectin in Micro Swine with sustained Hypercholesterolemia” (Circulation 1994:89:1247-53), they established that grapefruit pectin also has an effect on the pigs that already have high cholesterol.

The experiment involved feeding 15 Yucatan micro swines (which are about five-month old) with a high fat diet for 390 days. After this time, one pig was slaughtered to check for the status of the development of atherosclerosis. Then the 14 pigs that remained were divided into two groups. One group received 3% cellulose fiber while the other group took 3% grapefruit pectin (which is also fibrous). After nine months, autopsies of the animals revealed that the narrowing of the mean coronary artery was 45% in the group taking cellulose but only 24% for the group receiving the grapefruit pectin.

In one particular human study, 27 people were fed with pectin derived from grapefruit pulp and peel. One half of the group was given three tablespoons of pectin per day while the next half was given placebo. The result was a reduction of 9% in blood cholesterol level on the average, with a maximum reduction of 19%. The regimen was also linked to reduction in low-density lipoproteins blood level, which is another substance linked to heart disease.

Because of these outstanding results, ProFibe, was conceived and released commercially. Today, after several human studies and positive testimonies, ProFibe helps thousands of people in caring for their heart and overall health.


ProFibe: The Connection Between Grapefruit Pectin and Cholesterol

When Dr. James J. Cerda was working at the University of Florida under a grant from the Florida Citrus Commission, he, together with his partner Charles Burgin, initially intended to study Vitamin C. When they stumbled upon pectin from grapefruit and how it affected cholesterol level in guinea pigs, they knew they stumbled on something big. Soon, ProFibe would be launched.

Needless to say, it was a timely and significant discovery. In the U.S., heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women; in the future years, heart disease is projected to cost upwards of $250 bn, and that includes expenses on medications, health care services, and loss of productivity.

Worldwide, more than 7 million people die of coronary heart disease (CHD) every year. These studies also show that lowering high blood pressure and reducing cholesterol levels significantly reduce mortality from heart diseases, the need for angioplasty or heart bypass surgeries, and the probability of suffering from a nonfatal heart attack.

This is why when Cerda and Burgin developed ProFibe and saw the potential of pectin, combined with other plant-sourced substances, in preventing the accumulation of arterial plaque, they immediately worked on several lab studies to further support their initial findings.

For one such study, they gave pigs grapefruit pectin coupled with a high-fat diet. They found that those given pectin had lower cholesterol levels as well as fewer instances of arterial narrowing.

In another experiment, they wanted to know if pectin would still have a positive effect on swine which already had high cholesterol levels. They used fifteen microswine and fed these with an atherogenic diet for more than a year. One of the animals were killed and tested for atherosclerosis.

The rest were divided into two groups – both received the same diet consisting of pig feed, cholesterol, casein, lard, and vitamins and minerals. However, one group was given 3% cellulose (fiber) while the rest were fed 3% pectin from grapefruit. Every month for 9 months, blood samples were checked to find out their total triglyceride levels and plasma cholesterol.

Not surprisingly, both groups demonstrated stabilized cholesterol levels. This was to be expected as fiber has been known for years to keep cholesterol levels from increasing. When the microswine were autopsied, however, the scientists were amazed to find that the group that received cellulose showed a mean narrowing of the coronary artery of 45% while that receiving pectin registered a mean narrowing of only 24%!

It was then that Cerda and his colleagues discovered how ProFibe could actually reduce existing plaque buildup. The difference lies in ProFibe’s water solubility, which is a feature that most fiber supplements lack.

ProFibe is also made of guar gum (also a rich fiber source) and egg white protein (for palatability). It is sold in powder form which makes it convenient for use and is easily blended into foods and beverages.

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