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AC-11 Benefits, Uses, and Side Effects

AC-11 Benefits, Uses, and Side Effects

September 23, 2016
Updated May 15, 2020

Long before AC-11 was used today the Asháninka Indians of the Amazon Rainforest were using the bark and roots of Uncaria Tomentosa as a medicinal tea for hundreds of years (1,2,3).

The Amazon rainforest is the home of cat’s claw, a plant revered by traditional cultures for its antioxidant and immune-boosting properties.

After years of research, the creators and founders of AC-11 developed a hot water extraction process based on a proprietary molecular sieving technology, using it to create AC-11  — The Rainforest Super Herb.

This sacred plant, better known as Cat’s Claw or Uña de Gato, is revered primarily as an immune system modulator and is used to treat a range of conditions (1,5).

The beneficial effects of AC-11 are in large part due to the ease of absorption and modulatory actions of the patented, water-soluble Carboxy Alkyl Esters (CAE) (2).

Taking direct advantage of these easily absorbed CAEs, AC-11 has become a well studied and highly sought after compound.

Holding true to the traditional principles of the bark extraction methods used by the Shamans of the Amazon, Optigenex has modernized the manufacturing method into a patented, GMP process that includes proprietary screening techniques to ensure the highest concentration of beneficial constituents.

This product is free from oxindole alkaloids, tannins, and other toxins with 90% of its bioactivity attributable to CAEs and their metabolites (2,6,7).

Quinic Acid: A Bioactive Ingredient in AC-11

CAEs are the active water-soluble components in AC-11, with about 50% of these bioactive esters having quinic acid (QA) as a key base component of the CAE metabolites (2,3).

QA is a unique compound because while humans lack the ability to utilize it, plants and more importantly, gastrointestinal microflora, can metabolize QA, leaving you to reap the benefits in the form of increased levels of essential amino acids (3,8,9,10).

Because AC-11’s  primary bioactive ingredient is QA, this supplement helps the body with the synthesis of Tryptophan, leading to increased levels of Nicotinamide (vitamin B3) which possesses a whole host of biological effects, including a normalization of lipid levels (9).

Nicotinamide is also produced in the gut via the healthy resident bacteria in the presence of AC-11. Nicotinamide is a precursor to NAD, a cofactor essential for the production of ATP, the energy form essential to cellular health.

AC-11 Benefits

NF-κβ & Common Inflammation

It’s estimated that our DNA is confronted with over 10,000 lesions per cell per day and that by age 25, these injuries begin to overwhelm the repair processes, accelerating aging (12).

Harm to DNA from free radicals is due to both endogenous factors like a lack of antioxidants and environmental factors like diet, exercise, stress, pollution and even sun exposure (12,13,14).

This damage causes mutations in human cells and is a leading cause of the onset of premature aging and a loss of functional health and energy (15).

Chronic health issues are often caused by excessive inflammation in the body, the result being the accumulation of DNA damage and an overactive immune system.

Nuclear Factor κβ (NF-κβ) is a transcription factor that synthesizes pro-inflammatory mediators for the immune system in response to oxidative damage.

It is part of our evolutionary survival mechanism, but an overactive response to toxins and foreign substances leads to excessive cellular damage and increased inflammation.

This system is not foolproof: increased autoimmune activity results in even more free radical injury to DNA, triggering NF-κβ, keeping the free radicals flowing, the DNA damage persistent, and the immune system on constant alert (3,16).

This is the never-ending cycle of chronic conditions. AC-11® has been shown to combat this cycle by normalizing NF-κβ activity, stopping the synthesis of proinflammatory cytokines at the gene level (17).

Why AC-11 is Used Exclusively for Nootropics in Alpha BRAIN

1. Reduction of general inflammation, including pro-inflammatory cytokines, allows for less interference in cognitive performance.
2. The benefits to the NAD/ATP cycle helps the body provide a cellular energy adaptation.
3. AC-11  is synergistic with other ingredients to the extent that it may enhance the efficacy of other antioxidant compounds (20) in addition to being a free radical scavenger on its own (21).
4. AC-11  has been shown to decrease lipid peroxidation thus protecting memory and focus (21).

AC-11 Benefits, Uses, and Side Effects


1. Lamm S, Sheng Y, Pero RW. Persistent response to pneumococcal vaccine in individuals supplemented with a novel water soluble extract of Uncaria tomentosa , C-Med-100 ®. Phytomedicine. 2001;8(4):267-274. Enhancement Human Study.pdf.

2. Pero RW, Xtraction WAE, Tandard RES. Historical development of uncaria preparations and their related bioactive components. In: Thomas AE, ed. DNA Damage Repair, Repair Mechanisms and Aging. Hauppauge: Nova Science Publishers, Inc.; 2010:223-236.

3. Sheng Y, Akesson C, Holmgren K, Bryngelsson C, Giampapa V, Pero RW. An active ingredient of Cat’s Claw wat extracts Identification and efficacy of quinic acid. J Ethnopharmacol. 2004;96(3):577-584.

4. Blumenthal M. Cat’s Claw. In: Anderson W, ed. The ABC Clinical Guide to Herbs. 1st ed. Austin: American Botanical Counsil; 2003:23-38.

5. Sheng Y, Pero RW, Amiri A, Bryngelsson C. Induction of apoptosis and inhibition of proliferation in human tumor cells treated with extracts of Uncaria Tomentosa. Anticancer Res. 1998;18(5A):3363-3368.

6. Sheng Y, Li L, Holmgren K, Pero RW. DNA repair enhancement of aqueous extracts of Uncaria tomentosa in a human volunteer study. Phytomedicine. 2001;8(4):275-282. Extract Human Study.pdf.

7. Meiss D, Ralston J. C-MED-100. A novel, natural compound that averts inflammation and protects natural immunity through DNA repair. ProThera Nutraceutical News. 2003;1(1):1-2.

8. Åkesson C. The immunomodulatory properties of C-Med 100 ® an extract of the plant Uncaria tomentosa. 2004:1-102.

9. Pero R. Health Consequences of Catabolic Synthesis of Hippuric Acid in Humans. Curr Clin Pharmacol. 2010;5(1):67-73. doi:10.2174/157488410790410588.

10. Pero RW, Lund H. Quantitative Analytical Method Development for the Assessment of Bioactive Quinic Acid-type Esters and Free Quinic Acid in Dietary Supplements. Int J Biotechnol Biochem. 2011;7(2):293-304.

11. Sheng Y, Pero RW, Olsson AR, Bryngelsson C, Hua J. DNA repair enhancement by a combined supplement of carotenoids, nicotinamide, and zinc. Cancer Detect Prev. 1998;22(4):284-292.

12. Editors. DNA Repair Maintaining Performance & Appearance at Any Age. Inside Fit Mag. 2010;22(1993):188.

13. Bane AF, Amiri A, Pero RW. Reduced level of serum thiols in patients with diagnosis of active disease. J Anti-Aging Med. 2003;6(4):327-334.

14. Passwater RA. DNA Repair : Its Importance and How to Improve it An Interview with Dr. Noah Scheinfeld. Whole Foods Mag. 2008;(March):1-14. Repair_Interview with Scheinfeld.pdf.

15. Pero RW, Hoppe C, Sheng Y. Serum thiols as a surrogate estimate of DNA repair correlates to mammalian life span. J Anti-Aging Med. 2000;3(3):241-249. doi:doi:10.1089/rej.1.2000.3.241.

16. Mammone T, Åkesson C, Gan D, Giampapa V, Pero RW. A Water Soluble Extract from Uncaria tomentosa ( Cat ’ s Claw ) is a Potent Enhancer of DNA Repair in Primary Organ Cultures of Human Skin. Phyther Res. 2006;20:178-183. Cultures UV Study_Estee L Sponsored.pdf.

17. Akesson C, Lindgren H, Pero RW, Leanderson T, Ivars F. An extract of Uncaria tomentosa inhibiting cell division and NF-kappa B activity without inducing cell death. Int Immunopharmacol. 2003;3(13-14):1889-1900. doi:10.1016/j.intimp.2003.07.001.

18. Campbell CJ, Kent C, Banne A, Amiri A, Pero RW. Surrogate Indication of DNA Repair in Serum After Long Term Chiropractic Intervention – A Retrospective Study. J Vertebr Subluxation Res. 2005:1-5.

19. Åkesson C, Pero RW, Ivars F. C-Med 100®, a hot water extract of Uncaria tomentosa, prolongs lymphocyte survival in vivo. Phytomedicine. 2003;10(1):23-33. doi:10.1078/094471103321648629.

20. Pero RW, Giampapa V, Vojdani A. Repair Enhancing Cat ’ s Claw Extract. J Anti Aging Med. 2002;5(4):345-353. Aging Nutritional Supplement.pdf.

21. Shi Z, Lu Z, Zhoa Y, Want Y, Zhao-Wilson X, Guan P, Duan X, Chang YZ, Zhao B. Neuroprotective effects of aqueous extracts of Uncaria tomentosa: insights from 6-OHDA induced cell damage and transgenic Caenorhabditis elegans model. Neurochem Intern. 2013;62(7):940-7. doi:10.1016/j.neuint.2013.03.001

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Onnit Research Team
The Onnit Research Team is comprised of medical professionals, researchers, and scientists interested in providing data-driven, actionable information.

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