Asparagus Extract supplement health benefit and side effects, known also as shatavari, capsules
January 2 2017 by Ray Sahelian, M.D.

There are many species of this plant, including asparagus officinalis which has asparagosides. Asparagus racemosus is a member of the same family as the common asparagus. in Ayurvedic medicine it is commonly known as Shatavari. Asparagus extract supplement has been getting a lot of attention lately for its possible role in reducing hangover symptoms or to prevent liver damage from excess alcohol use. I am waiting for actual human studies to determine whether this product is beneficial for these conditions.

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Q. Which is better for you, asparagus capsules or eating the real thing cooked?
    A. It depends which health condition is being treated. They both have benefits. It is not practical to eat asparagus shoots everyday so the capsules can provide easy benefits by simply swallowing pills. One could at times take a capsule and other times eat the vegetable.

Historical uses
Asparagus racemosus is recommended in Ayurvedic texts for prevention and treatment of gastric ulcers, dyspepsia and as a galactogogue - for the production of breast milk in nursing mothers. It has also been used successfully by some Ayurvedic practitioners for nervous disorders, inflammation, liver diseases and certain infectious diseases.

Studies and research
I find few studies published in the western medical literature regarding the use of root extract of Asparagus racemosus in humans. Rare reports are available demonstrating beneficial effects of alcoholic and water extracts of the root of Asparagus racemosus in some clinical conditions and experimentally induced diseases, e.g. galactogogue effect, antihepatotoxic and immune modulating activities.

Hangover treatment or prevention? Does it work?
Asparagus leaves could help in the treatment of an alcohol hangover and also protect the liver from the toxic results of alcohol. Liver damage is always a concern for people who drink heavily. Korean researchers report that asparagus leaves protect the liver from a number of toxic substances. The extract should be taken prior to an evening of drinking because if it is taken after the liver damage would already have been done. The study was conducted by researchers at the Institute of Medical Science and Jeju National University in South Korea.

Experimental excitotoxicity provokes oxidative damage in mice brain and attenuation by extract of Asparagus racemosus.
J Neural Transm. 2004.
We designed this study to investigate the potential of extract of Asparagus racemosus against kainic acid (KA)-induced hippocampal and striatal neuronal damage. Extract of AR displayed potent reductant of Fe(3+). The excitotoxic lesion in brain was produced by intra-hippocampal and intra-striatal injections of kainic acid to ketamine and xylazine anesthetized mice. The results showed impairment of hippocampus and striatal regions of brain after KA injection marked by an increase in lipid peroxidation and protein carbonyl content and decline in glutathione peroxidase (GPx) activity and reduced glutathione (GSH) content. The Asparagus racemosus extract supplemented mice displayed an improvement in GPx activity and GSH content and reduction in membranal lipid peroxidation and protein carbonyl.

Blood pressure
Does asparagus extract or fresh vegetable effect high blood pressure?
   I have not seen any such studies in humans.

Indian J Pharmacol. 2012. Shatavarins (containing Shatavarin IV) with anticancer activity from the roots of Asparagus racemosus.

Asian Pac J Cancer Prev. 2014. Asparagus racemosus leaf extract inhibits growth of UOK 146 renal cell carcinoma cell line: simultaneous oncogenic PRCCTFE3 fusion transcript inhibition and apoptosis independent cell death.

West Indian Med J. 2010.
Acute toxicity and diuretic studies of the roots of Asparagus racemosus in rats.
Asparagus racemosus has been used as diuretic in Ayurveda but has not been validated by a suitable experimental model. The study was carried out with an aqueous extract of the roots of Asparagus racemosus utilizing three doses viz 800 mg/kg, 1600 mg/kg and 3200 mg/kg for its diuretic activity in comparison with standard drug (furosemide) and control (normal saline) rats after doing acute toxicity study. Acute toxicity study showed no fatality even with the highest dose. Asparagus racemosus showed diuretic activity at a 3200 mg/kg dose without acute toxicity.

High blood pressure, hypertension
J Agric Food Chem. 2013. Green asparagus (Asparagus officinalis) prevented hypertension by an inhibitory effect on angiotensin-converting enzyme activity in the kidney of spontaneously hypertensive rats. Green asparagus (Asparagus officinalis) is known to be rich in functional components. In the present study, spontaneously hypertensive rats (SHR) were used to clarify whether green asparagus prevents hypertension by inhibition of angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) activity. Six-week-old male SHR were fed a diet with (AD group) or without (ND group) 5% asparagus for 10 weeks. Systolic blood pressure (SBP), urinary protein excretion/creatinine excretion, and ACE activity in the kidney were significantly lower in the AD group compared with the ND group. Creatinine clearance was significantly higher in the AD group compared with the ND group. In addition, ACE inhibitory activity was observed in a boiling water extract of asparagus. The ACE inhibitor purified and isolated from asparagus was identified as 2″-hydroxynicotianamine. In conclusion, 2″-hydroxynicotianamine in asparagus may be one of the factors inhibiting ACE activity in the kidney, thus preventing hypertension and preserving renal function.

Immune enhancement
Immunoadjuvant potential of Asparagus racemosus aqueous extract in experimental system.
J Ethnopharmacol. 2004.
The immunoadjuvant potential of Asparagus racemosus Family aqueous root extract was evaluated in experimental animals immunized with diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis (DTP) vaccine. Immune stimulation was evaluated using serological and hematological parameters. Reduced mortality accompanied with overall improved health status was observed in treated animals after intra-cerebral challenge of B. pertussis indicating development of protective immune response. Present study indicates applications of test material as potential immunoadjuvant that also offers direct therapeutic benefits resulting in less morbidity and mortality.

Kidney cancer prevention
Asian Pac J Cancer Prev. 2014. Asparagus racemosus leaf extract inhibits growth of UOK 146 renal cell carcinoma cell line: simultaneous oncogenic PRCCTFE3 fusion transcript inhibition and apoptosis independent cell death.

Kidney stones prevention?
Study of antiurolithiatic activity of Asparagus racemosus on albino rats.
Indian J Pharmacol. 2012. Department of Pharmacology, S.V.S Medical College, Mahabubnagar, Andhra Pradesh, India.
Thirty-six male Wistar albino rats were randomly divided into six groups. Ethylene glycol and ammonium chloride in drinking water were fed to all groups (Groups II-VI) except normal control (Group I) rats for 10 days to induce urolithiasis. Group III-VI rats were treated with ethanolic extract of Asparagus racemosus at doses 200, 400, 800, and 1600 mg/kg, respectively, for 10 days. Positive control (Group II) rats were treated with EG/AC alone. Group I rats were administered drinking water and distilled water (6 μl/g) by gavage. After 10 days, blood samples were collected and analyzed for serum concentrations of calcium, phosphorus, urea, and creatinine. The kidneys were removed and sectioned for histopathological examination.  The rats treated with ethanolic extract of A. racemosus at doses 800 and 1600 mg/ kg significantly reduced the serum concentrations of calcium, phosphorus, urea, and creatinine. Histopathology of the kidneys in Groups V and VI revealed less tissue damage and were almost similar to Group I rats. The ethanolic extract of A. racemosus has protective effect against kidney stones.

Ulcer treatment
Antisecretory and antiulcer activity of Asparagus racemosus against indomethacin plus phyloric ligation-induced gastric ulcer in rats.
J Herb Pharmacother. 2006. Department of Zoology, University College of Science, MLS University, Udaipur, India.
Drs Bhatnagar and Sisodia studied the antisecretory and antiulcer activity of Asparagus racemosus methanolic extract and its action against indomethacin (a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug) plus pyloric ligation (PL)-induced gastric ulcers in rats. Treatment with Asparagus racemosus crude extract (100 mg/kg/day orally) for fifteen days significantly reduced ulcer index when compared with control group. Asparagus racemosus was found to be an effective antiulcerogenic agent, whose activity can well be compared with that of ranitidine hydrochloride. The results of this study suggest that Asparagus racemosus causes an inhibitory effect on release of gastric hydrochloric acid and protects gastric mucosal damage.

Side effects, safety
I have not yet come across reports of asparagus extract side effects.

Review article
Nat Prod Res. 2016. Asparagus racemosus: a review on its phytochemical and therapeutic potential. Asparagus racemosus is a widely found medicinal plant in tropical and subtropical parts of India. The therapeutic applications of this plant have been reported in Indian and British Pharmacopoeias and in traditional system of medicine, such as Ayurveda, Unani and Siddha. The crude, semi-purified and purified extracts obtained from different parts of this plant have been useful in therapeutic applications. Numerous bioactive phytochemicals mostly saponins and flavonoids have been isolated and identified from this plant which are responsible alone or in combination for various pharmacological activities. This review aims to give a comprehensive overview of traditional applications, current knowledge on the phytochemistry, pharmacology and overuse of A. racemosus.

Laboratory studies
Asparagus racemosus
on mammary gland and genital organs
Effect of Asparagus racemosus rhizome on mammary gland and genital organs of pregnant rat.
Phytother Res. 2005. Department of Anatomy, Institute of Medical Sciences, Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi, India.
The alcoholic extract of its rhizome was administered orally to adult pregnant female albino rats at a dose of 30 mg/100 g body weight, daily for 15 days (days 1-15 of gestation). The macroscopic findings revealed a prominence of the mammary glands, a dilated vaginal opening and a transversely situated uterine horn in the treated group of animals. Our results suggest an estrogenic effect of Shatavari on the female mammary gland and genital organs.

Asparagus gobicus
Nor-lignans and steroidal saponins from Asparagus gobicus.
Planta Med. 2004.
From the roots of Asparagus gobicus, four new nor-lignans, 3'-methoxynyasin, iso-agatharesinol, gobicusins A, B and one new steroidal saponin, 3-O-[beta-D-xylopyranosyl(1-4)-beta-D-glucopyranosyl(1-2)-beta-D-glucopyranosyl]-(25S)-5beta-spirostan-3beta-ol (11) were isolated, together with twelve known compounds. Some exhibited remarkable in vitro cytotoxic activity against cultured HO-8910 (human ovarian carcinoma) and Bel-7402 (human hepatoma) cells.

Asparagus cochinchinensis chemicals
Bioactive constituents from Asparagus cochinchinensis.
J Nat Prod. 2004.
Bioassay-directed fractionation of the dried roots of Asparagus cochinchinensis led to the isolation of a new spirostanol saponin, asparacoside, two new C-27 spirosteroids, asparacosins A and B, a new acetylenic derivative, 3' '-methoxyasparenydiol, and a new polyphenol, 3'-hydroxy-4'-methoxy-4'-dehydroxynyasol, as well as five known phenolic compounds, asparenydiol, nyasol, 3' '-methoxynyasol, and trans-coniferyl alcohol.

Combining with other supplements
Can an asparagus supplement be taken the same day as mangosteen or lipoic acid supplements?
   I don't see why not.

How is it available?
Asparagus Root Extract 4% to 10 percent asparagoside is sold by raw material ingredient suppliers.

Emails, Testimonial
I am a student at a university in San Antonio, TX as well as a regular consumer of your asparagus extract (200 mg, 10:1 Pure). I use it when I consume alcohol in reasonable quantities to help me reduce the alcohol-induced damage to my body. I find your product to be superior to a lot of extracts that I have tried.

Other products available online
Enzymatic Therapy, Asparagus Extract, 60 Veggie Caps

Supplement Facts
Serving Size: 1 capsule
  Amount Per Capsule %Daily Value
Asparagus (Asparagus officinalis), Rhizome Extract 170 mg **
**Daily Value not established.

Recommendations and dosage: One asparagus capsule in the morning and lunch or as recommended by your doctor.
Supplement Facts:
Serving Size 1 capsule
Asparagus officinalis 170 mg each pill, Rhizome Extract

Other products online
Savesta, Shatavari, 60 Veggie Caps
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