Pinecone Extract: A Highly Potent Immune Complex Promotes Cellular Immunity

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Researchers At The Tampa Bay Research Institute Discover That Pinecone Extract Promotes The Formation Of Mature Dendritic Immune Cells 9 Fold in 9 Days

Crusador: What led your company to the discovery that the pine cone offered tremendous immune system benefits?

The benefits of pine cones have been known for centuries, with the Greeks and more recently the Japanese using pine cone extracts for a variety of important medical conditions. Allera's first exposure to the compound was from Dr. Akiko Tanaka, President of the Tampa Bay Research Institute. During the past 25 years Dr. Tanaka and other independent scientists have published 31 studies documenting what we now know to be the tremendous effects of pine cone extract for supporting Immune system health by enhancing disease fighting capabilities while lowering allergy and inflammation.

Crusador: What is the research showing that is most promising?

We have a large body of published scientific studies, 31 in fact. It is hard to say which part of that research is the most important, but I would say that proving Immune Extra dramatically enhances production of mature dendritic Immune cells amazes me the most. Dendritic Immune cells control Immune function by acting as the "generals of the immune system". Other effects, such as balancing the Th1 and Th2 response and reducing IgE, are also remarkable, and are most likely due to the dendritic Immune cell enhancement.

Crusador: Tell our readers more about the 9 fold formation in 9 days of mature dendritic cells and how dendritic cells function within the immune system?

Dendritic immune cells are what we call 'antigen presenting cells'. This means that dendritic Immune cells are responsible for determining the presence of pathogens and then educating the rest of the Immune system to their presence. Without dendritic Immune cells, the Immune system cannot tell the difference between friend or foe, and often ends up attacking the body and not the pathogens.

Crusador: What is so unique about your form of pine cone extract that would require a patent?

We actually have 14 patents at this time, with several more in review. Some of them pertain to the process of making pine cone extract and others are structure-function patents documenting it's affects including increasing mature Dendritic cells, and it's anti-viral, anti tumor and anti-bacterial properties.

Crusador: Tell our readers a little more about some of the experiments that were done with human blood cells and pine cone extract that got you really excited?

First and foremost was its ability to dramatically increase mature dendritic Immune cells. With the critical actions that dendritic Immune cells are responsible for, this was by far the most exciting result. Published scientific studies show that the addition of pine cone extract to human blood cells promotes the development of precursor cells called monocytes, into mature dendritic cells. In fact, pine cone extract is somewhat more efficient than the body's own proteins at promoting the development of these cells. This has never been reported for any other compound that we are aware of.

Crusador: Where do the pine cones come from that are used in this product and can you explain a little bit about how they are derived and used to produce a high quality extract like Immune Extra?

We harvest Scotch pine cones from forests in Wisconsin and Minnesota. We have literally no effect on the forest. They are not picked from the tree. They are picked just after they fall to the ground. Usually onto a bed of snow! Thus, we have no impact at all on sustainability. We then process them with only water, using our patented method to standardize the active ingredient. The water extract is then spray dried into the powder that we then use to fill our vegetarian capsules. The entire process is performed in clean and sterile stainless steel vessels at a facility certified by the National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) to follow Good Manufacturing Practices.

Crusador: There's an interesting history to the use of pine cones. Can you share with our readers how far back you have been able to date the use of pine cones being used for human health along with any interesting information you discovered along the way?

The first recorded use of pine cone extract dates back to 500 A.D. with the Greeks. For much of the last century the Japanese inhabitants of the island of Kyushu have known about the medicinal properties of pinecone extract. They used a hot water extract (tea) prepared from pinecones to treat illnesses ranging from infectious disease to cancer. Because of the indigenous belief that the pinecone tea was able to treat such a wide variety of illnesses, it appeared to research scientists at the time that the potent effects of pinecone extract were likely being mediated through the Immune system. One scientist in particular, Dr. Akiko Tanaka, Ph.D., current president of the Tampa Bay Research Institute (TBRI), recalls that, as a little girl in Japan, her grandmother would have her drink a pine cone tea (called Matsu) to stay healthy. The practice of using natural products to stay healthy made a strong impression on Akiko, and she has since devoted her scientific career to developing a stable form of pine cone extract with unique Immune optimizing properties.

Crusador: If someone feels cold or flu like symptoms coming on will Immune Extra help?

A good use of Immune Extra is as a preventative. It takes 1 to 2 weeks to build up our mature dendritic Immune cells, which then work to bring the Immune system back into balance and efficiency. Although we can begin taking Immune extra at the onset of a cold, and most will experience a lessening of symptoms and duration, if we are taking Immune Extra regularly, it is most effective at keeping you healthy and strong against infections.

Crusador: Tell us more about the anti-inflammatory properties you have discovered by using pine cone extract?

There are 2 very specific effects we have documented. The first is balancing the Immune response from a Th2 (allergy/asthma) response to a Th1 (specific disease fighting) response. The other is the unique and amazing ability to reduce IgE. IgE is an immune molecule associated with allergy. Through these two actions, Immune Extra can significantly help those with Immune mediated inflammation.

Crusador: Is there any one specific health condition that seems to benefit the most from pine cone extract?

Not really. Since the Immune system is responsible for so many tasks, having a strong and balanced Immune system is critically important to health and well being. We have so many testimonials from so many people that it is practically impossible to single out a single problem that it works best for.

Crusador: How long has Immune Extra been on the market?

Dr. Tanaka's research has been going on in the US for almost 25 years. During that time, it has been made available at no charge to many thousands of people. Immune Extra has been sold by Allera in capsule form since October 2006.

Crusador: Why would someone consider using pine cone extract for immune system support compared to any of the other diverse products on the market touted as immune system products?

Most Immune products are basically immune stimulants. While they can be somewhat effective, say in reducing the duration of a cold, what is really needed in most people is Immune balance and overall effectiveness. The key is for the Immune system to be able to accurately determine the difference between friend or foe. This job is primarily done by mature dendritic Immune cells, so the key to Immune health is through enhancement of the dendritic Immune cell levels. Another important difference is that the effects of pine cone extract are published in high quality peer-reviewed journals by independent university research scientists. This strong scientific foundation does not exist for many other products.

Crusador: How can pine cone extract help people with fibromyalgia or other auto-immune disorders?

Again, we are talking about balance. With higher levels of dendritic Immune cells, the Immune system is much more efficient in identifying true pathogens. This will help reduce the Immune system's attack on the body itself and enhance the Immune system's ability to rid the body of pathogens.

Crusador: Are there any side effects or contraindications associated with this product?

No. In fact, we have a very extensive, double-blind, placebo controlled study proving the safety of Immune Extra.

Crusador: Is this product something everyone should take daily as a form of immune maintenance or is it recommended more specifically for immune system related health conditions?

Obviously, those with known Immune system problems would be ideal candidates, but in today's world of stress and illness, anyone that wants to have the strongest Immune system they can have should seriously consider Immune Extra.

Crusador: A major portion of the research done on pine cones has focused on how it benefits the immune system. I am curious what relationship there is between the immune system and the pineal gland. After doing some further research I discovered that the pineal gland acquired its name from the pine cone because under a microscope it looks almost identical. Has any research been done to determine if pine cone extract benefits the pineal gland and if so, in what way?

We haven't done any specific research regarding Immune Extra and the pineal gland. It is very interesting though that the pineal gland is actually shaped just like a pine cone. We do know that the pineal gland is responsible for the creation and balance of melatonin and serotonin which are peptide hormones which do influence immune functions. Melatonin, in particular, increases immune memory while T-dependent antigene immunization stimulates antibody production.

Crusador: Can pine cone extract benefit pets and if so, what kind of reports have you heard back?

We don't have any specific research on pets, but over the past 25 years, we have received many testimonials from pet owners. Allergies, inflammation, cancer, skin conditions, and auto-immune disorders, including pannus, have all been reported by pet owners as helped by the use of Immune Extra with the pet's food.

SOURCE: Crusador, "Pinecone Extract: A Highly Potent Immune Complex Promotes Cellular Immunity," (2014).