An apple a day keeps the doctor away? How about a teaspoon of activated phenolics derived from apples? If Dr Vincent Candrawinata, the world’s youngest PhD holder in the field of food science and human nutrition, is to be believed, his breakthrough discovery will most definitely lead to an estranged relationship with your GP.
At the press launch for Renovatio, the youthful-looking 28-year-old Indonesia-born, Australia-based scientist is effusive about the dietary antioxidant products he’s developed based on his research — done when he was a phD student at the University of Newcastle in Australia — featuring activated phenolics, which are 12 times more powerful than regular antioxidants. It’s hard not to get caught up in his passion. We want to believe that taking a teaspoon of this powder or a tablet a day will increase our body’s cellular activities, leading to health benefits such as increased energy, a better digestive and immune system, better recovery from illnesses and relief for those suffering from joint pain and arthritis, and even weight loss. Here’s what else we learned. Ready for some science?
#1 Current antioxidant products have a 1 to 2 per cent absorption rate in the body. Activated phenolics, a group of antioxidants developed by Vincent, have a 90 per cent absorption rate.
Due to their chemical-heavy extraction process, current products boast a dismal absorption rate. Vincent tells us, “Phenolic antioxidants are the holy grail of antioxidants. They can neutralise a broad spectrum of free radicals, which damage our cells. If we keep our cells healthy, we stay healthy.” He discovered a breakthrough way of using water to extract and activate phenolic antioxidants to be better absorbed. He says, “Our body does not contain methanol, ethanol and acetone, and when you ingest something extracted using those chemicals, our body can’t absorb it. I didn’t invent phenolic antioxidants — I invented the technology to best deliver these antioxidants to our body.”
#2 For starters, you can expect to poop more regularly.
Vincent tells us, “Phenolic antioxidants work by increasing the efficiency of cellular functions. It reduces inflammation in the gut, rehydrates the body and promotes regularity of the digestive system. The majority of our customers feel the difference within three to five days, because our digestive system renews every three to five days. Secondly, there’s an increase in energy levels. It rejuvenates your body and relieves fatigue. It’s not like coffee, which stimulates. If you take it in the morning, it can help the body register a good metabolic rate, which determines your metabolic rate throughout the day.”
#3 Other benefits are better brain function, and um, banished hangovers.
“When the [health authorities] in Singapore assessed our products, they were excited that 100 per cent natural fruit extract can enhance brain functions, concentration and cognitive processes,” says Vincent. Never heard that apples can help with memory? Says the good doc, “You have to understand that we are not selling apple in powder form. We are selling activated phenolics, which reduces cellular inflammation in the brain, and promotes circulation and oxygen, so efficiency goes up.” He also says some use Renovatio as an anti-hangover cure. “I’m not promoting alcoholism,” he laughs. “Asians lack the enzyme dehydrogenase, so we are more prone to redness and rashes from alcohol. Renovatio helps your body flush out alcohol faster.” Now you know what to pop before a wild night out.
#4 Get ready to throw out all your Vitamin C supplements.
Says Vincent, “Vitamin C is the most popular antioxidant, but when you take these vitamins or herbal extracts, the first thing you notice is that your urine becomes bright yellow. This is not good. Our body releases toxins through urine, meaning what you’re taking is not being absorbed. You’re flushing your money down the toilet, literally. But that’s not the worst — you also put your body through a lot. The main organs of detoxification are the liver and kidney, if they have to flush these supplements from your body, they are working extra hard, and over time, there will be damage.” Vincent adds that the first step of sourcing nutrients should be from a healthy diet. “Some people need supplementation, like Vitamin D, B12 and B6, but these have to be customised for the individual. The two supplements I take are Renovatio and fish oil, ’cos if you eat enough fish to supply your body with enough DHA, EPA and Omega-3, you’d likely die of mercury poisoning first! And you can eat all the apples, grapes and acai berries in the world, but at those low [antioxidant] absorption rates, you are taking in more sugar and water than anything else.”
#5 Yes, his supplements helped him to be an over-achiever.
“I never thought of myself as an over-achiever,” laughs Vincent. “I’m the youngest PhD holder in the world in this field, and that’s not something I’d say isn’t a great achievement. I had a great support system. I also took my own product, and it really helped me. I’m from Indonesia, and English isn’t my first language. I struggled to write my thesis. When I first went to study in Australia, it was extremely expensive. I finished my degree in two years, so I’d pay less. Don’t feel sad for me, but I didn’t have friends or date — by choice. I was not born with a silver spoon in my mouth. The Australian government gave me my own research lab at 22 — it was unheard of. Even though they probably thought I was crazy!”
Renovatio products are available online at www.biovida.com and at healthcare retailers including Supernature, That Health Shop, Glory Bee and Nutrimax Organic.