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Nexrutine® is a naturally occurring dietary supplement obtained from the phellodendron tree, which practitioners of Chinese medicine have prescribed for more than 1,500 years. Scientists for Next Pharmaceuticals developed a proprietary extract called Nexrutine® as a natural solution for pain and inflammation. Nexrutine® inhibits the body’s production of cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2), an enzyme that transforms free fatty acids into prostanoids, the chemical mediators responsible for pain and inflammation. Unlike other drugs that inhibit cyclooxygenase, such as ibuprofen or naproxen, studies indicate that Nexrutine® does not produce dangerous side effects that damage the liver, kidneys, and heart.
During the 1990s, scientists isolated two forms of cyclooxygenase, cyclooxygenase-1 (COX-1) and COX-2. COX-1 plays a pivotal role in kidney function, platelet function, and maintenance of the stomach lining. Both COX-1 and COX-2 contribute to the creation of pro-inflammatory compounds. Because inhibition of COX-1 can cause stomach ulcers, undesirable bleeding, and kidney damage, researchers have selectively targeted COX-2 in the body to reduce inflammation, which has been linked to a host of degenerative processes and diseases in the body. Rather than inhibiting the enzyme itself, Nexrutine® decreases production of COX-2 in the body, which may explain the low incidence of side effects with Nexrutine® compared to the other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory agents.
Clinical studies reveal that many cancers express abnormally high levels of COX-2. An overabundance of COX-2 adversely affects the activity of p53, a tumor-suppressor chemical in the body. Normally, p53 causes cell suicide when the cellular DNA has been damaged, preventing the abnormal cell from replicating to form a cancer. Treatment with COX-2 inhibitors restores p53 function, thereby limiting the growth of tumors in the body. Clinical studies, funded by the National Institutes of Health in the United States, indicate that Nexrutine® inhibits the growth of prostate cancer cells by modulation of the p53 pathway.
In addition to its pain-killing, anti-inflammatory, and anti-prostate-cancer properties, Nexrutine® is being studied for its potential cancer-inhibiting actions in the colon and the central nervous system. Nexrutine® looks promising, according to preliminary studies, as part of a complete cancer prevention regimen. Furthermore, Nexrutine® may help to mitigate inflammatory stress in the brain that possibly leads to abnormal changes in brain proteins associated with Alzheimer’s disease. Finally, Nexrutine® contains chemicals from four fractions of the phellodendron bark, one of which has anti-anxiety effects. The supplement may help to alleviate mild anxiety and reduce the perception of pain.