I am going out on a limb to say something that may not be very popular with a lot of people. Quit mixing your Plexus Slim and Accelerator into hot water!
Yes, I know that several high ranking ambassadors are advocating this, but as a physician with 10 years of concentration in nutrition, it really makes me uncomfortable. So here is your five cent chemistry lesson:
From a chemistry perspective, the greatest enemies of dietary supplements are time, moisture, oxygen, light , and heat. When you take a product out of a capsule, and consume the ingredients directly, you have changed the dynamic of how they are absorbed. Take oregano oil for example, if you take it orally, approximately 70% of its bioactive components, including carvacrol, will be deactivated by your stomach acid, leaving a paltry 30% remaining to do the job. If you take a sustained release tablet however, nearly 100% of the active compounds will reach the target tissues so they can best work. Most modern capsules have a dissolution rate of 15 to 30 minutes. That means that once you swallow them, they chyme around in your stomach for approximately 20 minutes before they make their way from your stomach to your duodenum and jejunum (small intestine). The pH of the stomach compared to the small intestine is radically different, and many more nutrients are meant to be broken down or absorbed in the small intestine than in the stomach. Most encapsulated supplements will open or release in the small intestine – where they are intended to work. Therefore opening capsules does not make for ideal nutrient delivery, and stomach acid can seriously impair herbs and volatile compounds.
In general, powder supplements are safe to mix into water below 120*F (warm, not hot) if (BIG IF) it is consumed very quickly. That said, most coffee makers’ processing temperature is 197*F-205*F, and beverages like tea and coffee are usually served at 155*F to 175*F – which are significantly hotter than the 120*F safety threshold. So, if you are using your kettle or coffee pot to provide hot water to mix your supplements into, or if you are mixing them into your coffee or tea, then you are denaturing your supplements. Minerals are not typically affected by heat, however certain nutrients are impaired by heat, these include virtually all proteins, vitamin C, B1, B5, B6, and B9. In fact, it can be argued that all water-soluble nutrients are potentially damaged by heat. A very large percentage of herbs are also degraded by heat, this can be directly, or indirectly as volatile compounds oxidize or bind with fibrous content or other chemical structures. In fact, one study, Novel Approaches for Stability Improvement in Natural Medicines, found that ,“Temperature and moisture are the two major factors that affect quality and stability of a herbal product. A chemical reaction increases by a factor of between two- and three fold for every 10°C rise in temperature.”1 So, if you are consuming your Plexus hot, even at the low-end temperature of coffee, you are potentially affecting the quality and stability 6- to 9- fold. That is huge! The same study also noted that moisture and the presence of enzymes also increase the rate of chemical degradation. If you open up a capsule of a product that contains digestive enzymes, and take the contents orally, you can potentially damage your teeth and the soft tissues of your mouth and esophagus. The caustic potential of most herbs have not been tested adequately, and we simply do not have long-term data on how they will affect your soft tissues. Therefore it is prudent to take herbal extracts and concentrates in capsule or tablet form.
And it is just not basic vitamin potency that we need to consider, we have to consider how heat affects the organoleptic, physical, chemical, pathological, and microbiological characteristics of the components. Organoleptic properties include ingredient strength, chemical finger print, ingredient degradation (and by-products thereof). Unfortunately, we don’t have specific stability data on most herbs. We just know, that as a category, they do not fare well under heat. They also do not fare well when mixed with fiber, therefore taking the Slim and the Accelerator+ together in hot water could potentially bind the herbal components in Accelerator+ with the fiber content found in Slim. If you were to mix your 96 Whey Protein into hot water, you would denature the proteins, and physically render the immunoglobins useless. But back to the question at hand, Accelerator+ contains a few different herbs (hawthorne, higenamine, and hordenine) that are both chronotropes and inotropes – meaning they speed up heart rate, both time and force. If you gradually [ie. slowly] absorb these herbs, they shouldn’t be problematic for healthy individuals, however, if you were to take these herbs in hot water, you can thereby force or push the absorption rate, and potentially cause tachycardia, arrhythmia, or other cardiovascular side effects. That is probably why some ambassadors are reporting such a ‘rush of energy’ when they drink their combo hot – they are impacting their heart rate! This isn’t enough to damage healthy individuals, but it is estimated that upwards of 80% of people with cardiovascular disease are walking around undiagnosed and oblivious to their condition. Do you want to be the person to send them to the hospital because they forced their absorption of these herbs, or took this supplement while ignoring the warning on the label: Not intended for those with heart conditions, high blood pressure, or any other cardiovascular condition. Hawthorne, higenamine, and hordenine are all relative newcomers in the supplement industry, and even the Physicians Desk Reference for Herbal Medicine, 4th Edition doesn’t list stability data for these ingredients. Therefore, it is only prudent to tell your customers to take the product as directed on the package.
It is very important that we NEVER tell a customer to take a product contrary to the instructions set forth by the company that tested and manufactured that product. Period. Not only is is against FDA labeling guidelines, but it comes off as unprofessional. When products are formulated, a lot of thought goes into their delivery system. Manufacturers choose to make their products as tablets, capsules, tinctures, or powders based on the ingredients they want to use, and where they want those ingredients to be absorbed. Some nutrients, like vitamin C can get absorbed directly in the mouth and stomach. Other ingredients, like vitamin B12, require the presence of adequate levels of intrinsic factor in the stomach to activate their uptake, or you will absorb very, very little. There are even some nutrients that bind together if taken in close proximity to each other like iron and fiber, so you end up absorbing neither. All in all, product developers spend a lot of time and energy trying to figure out optimal delivery of their ingredients. There is a reason why your dietary supplement labels say “take one capsule twice daily with food”, or “mix thoroughly into 10-12 oz water and consume within 15 minutes”. Imagine how you would feel if you went to your local pharmacy to purchase some acetaminophen for your headache, and the pharmacist told you to ignore the instructions on the label, and to grind it up and snort it instead. You would think you were dealing with an utter nut-job! If ambassadors routinely tell customers to take the products against label recommendations, they place a huge liability upon both themselves and Plexus Worldwide. Until Plexus Worldwide changes their packaging to reflect that the herbs are heat stable and can be taken with hot water, you should not tell your customers otherwise. If these directions are not in writing, they do not exist!
In closing, if you enjoy drinking your Slim warm, and by that I mean 120*F or less, you can go ahead. Wait at least 15-20 minutes before you take your Accelerator + for optimal results (so the fiber in the Slim does not bind with any of the standardized herbal extracts in the Accelerator+). I absolutely do not recommend that you open the capsule or make a tea of the contents of the Accelerator+. If you choose to do so, you are doing so at your own risk. It would be foolhardy to recommend that to your customers.
So now that I have perturbed a bunch of people who have been raving all week about drinking their Slim/Accelerator tea, I’m just waiting to see the magnitude of the disturbance in the force that I create when I burst everyone’s bubble about ‘detoxing’ when I post my next blog post in the next day or two…
For more information, please visit and LIKE my page on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/DrJsHealthCare
1. Lovey Thakur, Umang Ghodasra, Nilesh Patel, Mahesh Dabhi. Novel Approaches for Stability Improvement in Natural medicine. Pharmacogn Rev. 2011 Jan-Jun; 5(9): 48–54.
doi: 10.4103/0973-7847.79099. Accessed 01/15/14 from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3210007/
Copyright (c) 2013 Miranda Jorgenson. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed in whole or part with out the express written permission of the author. You are welcome to share this link or print this page and use in its entirely.