Cycloastragenol (CAG): Benefits, Dosage, Side Effects
1. What Is Cycloastragenol (CAG)
Cycloastragenol is a natural saponin extracted and purified from the root of the Astragalus membranaceus herb. The astragalus plant has been used in Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) for centuries and is still being used in various herbal medicines.
Astragaloside IV is the major active ingredients in astragalus membranaceus, available in small amounts in the root and also very difficult to extract it. While both cycloastragenol and astragaloside IV are available in the astragalus extract, cycloastragenol can be derived from astragaloside IV through hydrolysis. These compounds are similar in chemical structure, but cycloastragenol bioavailability is higher.
Cycloastragenol is also referred to as TA-65, Cyclogalegigenin and Astramembrangenin. Its chemical formula is C30 H50 O5 and has a molecular weight of 490.72 daltons. Most research have identified cycloastragenol telomerase activator as an important telomere elongator, anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidative agent.
2. Cycloastragenol (CAG) Benefits
In TCM, astragalus herb has been used to treat fatigue, heart disorders, diabetes, allergies, ulcers and longevity. However the key cycloastragenol uses and benefits are as an anti-aging and immune system support.
Below are the cycloastragenol benefits:
i. Anti-aging compound
Cycloastragenol compound acts as anti-aging agent in 4 ways;
- Elongation of telomeres
Telomeres are specialized repeated gene codes at the end of chromosomes and play an important role in protecting the chromosome ends from fusions and degradation. Telomerase enzyme secreted by the body contains a telomerase reverse transcriptase (TERT) and telomerase RNA and is able to elongate the telomere. However, as one grows older the telomeres become shorter.
Cycloastragenol comes in as a telomerase activator that triggers the activity of the enzyme and also increases its quantity which consecutively repairs the shortened telomeres.
- Acts as an anti-oxidant
Oxidative stress that occurs due to the presence of reactive oxygenated species and free radicals is identified as one cause of aging. Oxidative stress leads to development of aging-related issues such as cancer and cardiovascular disorders.
Cycloastragenol has been marked as anti-oxidant hence delaying the process of aging by an ameliorating the age-related disorders.
· Protection from photo-aging effects of UV rays
Prolonged exposure to sun can lead to cell damage and over time, this may lower the body’s ability to maintain and repair tissues, cells, and organs. This results in premature aging.
Many researchers have noted that cycloastragenol protects the skin from the harmful effects of the UV rays. The mechanisms involved against these effects are inhibition of metalloproteinases which encourages tissue breakdown and also lower the levels of collagen in the body. It also acts by reducing the level of β-galactosidase, an enzyme induced by UV rays.
- Inhibiting formation of glycation
Glycation is a non-enzymatic protein associated with tissue aging after oxidation.
Cycloastragenol eliminates the aging effects of glycation by hindering the formation of Glycation Terminal Products (PTGs), such as pentosidine and N-ε carboximetil-lisine.
ii. Treatment of cancer
The astragalus herb has been known for its ability to kill cancer cells, reduce the harmful effects of chemotherapy, and also improve overall weakness.
Cycloastragenol cancer treatment potential was demonstrated in a study where the astragalus extract was given to patients with breast cancer. This resulted in a 40% decline in mortality rate.
Further research shows that the extract of astragalus helps improve the health of cancer patients and also relieve the side effects associated with chemotherapy such as nausea, fatigue and weight loss.
iii. Reduces the risk of heart disorders
Cycloastragenol(CAG) is capable of preventing cardiovascular disorders by the way of inhibiting endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress in endothelium and also hindering lipid droplet accumulation in 3T3-L1 adipocytes.
In a rat model, cycloastragenol was suggested to improve cardiac dysfunction and rebuilding through enhancing autophagy in cardiac cells. It was also able to suppress matrix metalloproteinase-2 (MMP-2) and MMP-9 expressions, thus a good treatment for patients with cardiac arrest.
iv. Reduces depression
Long-term exposure to depression or chronic stress is related to increase telomeres shortening. Increased telomere shortening or degradation has been noted in people with psychiatric disorders such as mood disorders, and cognitive disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease.
Treatment of mice with CAG for 7days in a forced swim test revealed the anti-depressant properties of cycloastragenol by reducing the immobility time of the mice. Cycloastragenol exhibited remarkable telomerase activation in neural cultures and PC12 cells which also explains its antidepressant effects.
v. Wound healing in diabetic patients
Non-healing wounds are a severe complication of both type 1 and type2 diabetes that have become a global public health issue.
Wound healing requires an inflammatory reaction, wound clotting, restoration of the epithelium, rebuilding, and regulation of stem cells. The epidermal stem cell (EpSC), a specific stem cell of the skin plays a critical role in diabetic wound healing.
Telomere dysfunction negatively affects wound healing by reducing the ability of EpSCs to multiply or migrate.
Cycloastragenol plays a role in the proliferation and migration of EpSCs, thus contributes towards wound repair.
Other cycloastragenol benefits include:
- Protects against hair loss, and
- Treatment of ulcers.
3. Cycloastragenol (CAG) Dosage
Cycloastragenol dosage largely depends on the intended purpose and the age of the individuals. However, the recommended cycloastragenol dosage is 10 mg per day. This dosage needs to be increased in persons over the age of 60 to elongate the telomeres, and also slow the aging process.
4. Is Cycloastragenol (CAG) Safe?
Cycloastragenol powder is considered a safe natural product. Since cycloastragenol product is comparatively new, no reliable report or reviews of the cycloastragenol side effects are known. However, there is some worry that it may increase the risk of cancer by promoting tumor growth.
In a study, 150 mg/kg/d CAG administered to rats for 90 days did not show any incidence of cancer.
It is worth taking precautions before giving it to cancer patients due the potential risk associated.
5. Cycloastragenol (CAG) Research Achievement
Cycloastragenol has been proven to have the potential in increasing telomere length and in correcting early age related macular degeneration (AMD) and improving some cardiovascular disorders.
Relatively solid evidence in regards to CAG effectiveness in lengthening telomere by activating telomerase has been shown in animal models. Interestingly, some human studies including models in CD4 and CD8 cells and neural HEK cells have shown promising results. However, only few clinical trials on the effect of cycloastragenol on human’s telomere elongation are available hence not conclusive and requiring more clinical trials on CAG action.
One clinical trial conducted to evaluate the effect of CAG on early AMD does not provide enough evidence on this action.
The effect of CAG on cardiovascular disease in humans have only been conducted in vitro hence further clinical trials needed to provide conclusive evidence on the effects of CAG in preventing the cardiovascular disorders.
6. Buy Cycloastragenol (CAG)
Consumers of cycloastragenol buy it from herbal nutritionist stores and online. Cycloastragenol bulk purchases are always encouraged to take advantage of discounted prices.
- Yuan Yao and Maria Luz Fernandez. (2017). “Beneficial Effects of Telomerase Activator (TA-65) Against Chronic Disease”. EC Nutrition 6.5: 176-183.
- Yu, Yongjie & Zhou, Limin & Yang, Yajun & Liu, Yuyu. (2018). Cycloastragenol: An exciting novel candidate for age‑associated diseases (Review). Experimental and Therapeutic Medicine. 16. 10.3892/etm.2018.6501.
- Bernardes de Jesus, B., Schneeberger, K., Vera, E., Tejera, A., Harley, C. B., & Blasco, M. A. (2011). The telomerase activator TA-65 elongates short telomeres and increases health span of adult/old mice without increasing cancer incidence. Aging cell, 10(4), 604–621.