What Is Cat's Claw?
Cat's claw is a woody vine native to the Amazon rainforest and other tropical Central/South American regions. Its vines climb as high as 100 feet using hook-like thorns. For thousands of years, Amazon tribes have extracted medicinal compounds from the leaves and bark of the cat's claw vine by boiling these materials and making tea to enjoy cat's claw benefits.1 The anti-aging phytonutrients provided by the cat's claw plant supported health and unusual longevity in these Amazonian tribes despite their inadequate diet. For these reasons, scientific researchers traveled to the Amazon to study cat's claw, which eventually led to its commercial sale worldwide.
Cat's Claw Benefits
Unique plant chemicals provide cat's claw's anti-inflammatory, anti-aging, DNA repair, and immune boosting properties —four powerful anti-aging functions critical to health as we age.
Studies have also shown cat's claw health benefits include being an effective method of treating inflammatory gastrointestinal disorders3 that can reduce quality of life and contribute to premature aging, such as Crohn's disease, diverticulitis, colitis, gastritis, and stomach ulcers.
What Health-Promoting Phytochemicals Are in Cat's Claw?
Cat's claw contains epicatechin, a powerful antioxidant supporting heart health that may also reduce our risk of developing diabetes. 2
Cat's claw contains oleanic acid, a substance that fights against viral infections and promotes liver health.
Cat's claw also contains quinic acids, which have been studied for their ability to enable better antioxidant function in the body.
Perhaps most importantly, cat's claw contains carboxy alkyl esters, which have been studied for their ability to support cellular DNA repair function in the body.
Cat's Claw Targets a Root Cause of Aging
One of the many cat's claw benefits is its ability to help support DNA repair. The health of our cells, specifically repairing our DNA from daily damage, is believed to be a key factor in slowing down aging.
All cells and their internal DNA are constantly under attack by environmental factors such as ultraviolet radiation from the sun, pollutants in the air, water, and processed foods. 4 For example, cancer and other serious diseases have been associated with DNA and cell damage due to these factors.
Our cells protect DNA from damage with antioxidants and respond to damaged cells by either repairing them or by eliminating them through a process called apoptosis. Eventually, cellular DNA damage outpaces the body's ability to repair it, and that leads to the physical signs of aging and decreased quality of life we all experience as we age.
What Is the Difference Between AC-11® and Cat's Claw?
AC-11 is a sustainably harvested extract of the inner bark from cat's claw plants that come from the Peruvian and Brazilian Amazon. It's not the same as the ground cat's claw plant that can be found in any health food store, which actually may contain harmful levels of tetracyclic oxindole alkaloids (TOAs). Rather, AC-11 is a small mix of phytochemical compounds thought to be the specific active ingredients in cat's claw bark that hold the health benefits.
When AC-11 is made, it goes through a hot water extraction and filtration process to remove alkaloids. Its primary proven benefit is cellular DNA repair.
Clinical research investigating the anti-aging properties of AC-11 have found this substance possesses a wide range of health benefits that support cell and DNA repair. In fact, AC-11 derived from cat's claw is one of very few documented plant chemicals proven to support DNA repair while supporting our immune system's response to inflammation. For a more technical explanation read more about AC-11 vs Cat's Claw here.
Facts about AC-11 include:
- AC-11 helps your body naturally repair damaged DNA caused by both internal metabolism and external environmental stress.
- AC-11 promotes the production of collagen III. Found in blood vessels, muscles and intestinal walls, collagen III is essential for supporting the health of our muscles, bone, and skin.
- AC-11 helps your body suppress NF-κB in cells, which helps your body fight inflammation.
- AC-11 increases the effectiveness and life span of lymphocytes, a type of white blood cell important for fighting bacterial and viral diseases. Healthy lymphocytes are also necessary for enhancing our immune system and preventing inflammatory disorders from causing age-related health issues. 5
Why AC-11 Is Superior to Cat's Claw Extract
Taking the standard ground cat's claw extract isn't the best option for achieving cellular health benefits. Alternatively, one should seek out an extract supplement that isolates the medicinal compounds inside the inner bark of cat's claw, known as AC-11.
AC-11 extract is superior to traditional cat's claw supplements because it is free of harmful levels of alkaloids, and it offers stronger, safer and clinically supported health benefits. One of the health-conducive natural compounds that results from the process of extracting AC-11 by using hot water is carboxy alkyl esters (CAEs). This compound is an active ingredient that supports the ability of AC-11 to promote cell and DNA repair — both are important anti-aging benefits.
Because carboxy alkyl esters are only found in pure high concentrations (6–8 percent) in the AC-11 extract, we cannot get the anti-aging benefits it provides from taking standard cat's claw supplements.
Dietary supplements containing AC-11 should include the effective dosage of 350 mg of pure AC-11.
AC-11 is a safe, with no known side effects. It's an anti-aging extract supported by nearly two decades of research and dozens of peer-reviewed, scientific studies. While companies offering cat's claw dietary supplements may make similar claims, the unique, proprietary extract AC-11 is the only official phytochemical extract capable of providing most of the health benefits attributed to the cat's claw plant.
Learn more about purchasing AC-11.