Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is AC-11®?
AC-11® is a patented, all natural, water soluble extract of a tropical plant known as Uncaria tomentosa. The method by which AC-11® is formulated is wholly proprietary to Optigenex. From the raw material of the plant’s inner bark, our product is created through an aqueous hot water extraction process. It is then micro-filtered to remove all alkaloids (leaving less than 0.05%) and other high molecular weight compounds from the primary extract, and also to concentrate and standardize the Carboxy Alkyl Esters (CAEs) – the biologically active principal components in AC-11®. Pure, bioactive AC-11® is the only known plant extract in the world shown by research studies to enhance our natural DNA repair processes. AC-11® is sold for ingestible use and topical application. In topical applications, it is known under the brand name AC-11® and also under the "INCI" (International Nomenclature of Cosmetics Ingredients) names Maltodextrin and C1-8 Alkyl Tetrahydroxycyclohexanoate.
2. What is DNA?
DNA is deoxyribonucleic acid. It is a double-stranded helix that carries our individual genetic codes.
3. How important is DNA to our health?
DNA is the most important molecule in the body, and damage to this amazing molecule is the ultimate basis for aging and disease. It is the accumulation of damage to our DNA that accelerates the aging and disease process.
4. What is Natural DNA Repair?
Natural DNA repair involves a series of enzymatic processes that remove lesions (damage) in our DNA caused by oxidative and non-oxidative stress, thus preserving genetic integrity and normal cell function. These processes begin at conception and end with death and occur several thousand times a day in the body. The more efficient our natural DNA repair processes are, the longer and healthier our lives can be.
5. What are Carboxy Alkyl Esters (CAEs)?
Carboxy Alkyl Esters (CAEs) are complex molecular chains that have been identified as the primary active components in AC-11®. They are responsible for approximately 90% of the biological activity in AC-11® relating to DNA repair and immune enhancement.
6. How does DNA repair affect our immune system??
Our immune cells, some of which live long lives, circulate through the body defending it in numerous ways. If the DNA in our immune cells is damaged by oxidative or non-oxidative stress, the cells cannot divide or else may divide in a manner impairing their function. Immune response as a result may be suppressed and disease may be more likely to take hold. This phenomenon is at the core of many age-related diseases.
7. Doesn’t our genetic inheritance pre-determine our life spans and the gene-related diseases we may encounter in life?
Not necessarily. Our genetic inheritance does not guarantee that we will age exactly the same way as our family members, nor does it ensure that we must succumb to the same gene-related diseases. We can avoid certain environmental and dietary pitfalls that are known to accelerate aging and that may promote or trigger the onset of certain genetically or environmentally-based diseases. For example, we can avoid too much sun, cigarettes, excessive alcohol consumption, and unnecessary exposure to environmental pollutants, as well as try to regulate daily stress in our lives. We can also choose an antioxidant rich diet, supplementing at the same time our nutritional intakes in smart ways to minimize cellular damage and improve the repair mechanisms built in to our cells. While antioxidants and foods rich in antioxidants can reduce the cellular and DNA damage that occurs daily, they cannot repair damage that occurs. AC-11® is the first known natural product shown to improve DNA repair.
8. How does AC-11® work?
Among other effects, AC-11® promotes certain DNA repair functions in the cell. Although the exact mechanisms of action are not all completely understood, our scientists believe when the body is subjected to stress that may affect the integrity of the DNA (overexposure to the sun for example), AC-11® helps activate enzymes that are instrumental in the repair processes. In a series of peer reviewed scientific and clinical studies conducted by third party laboratories and university medical centers, we have shown that AC-11® helps the body’s natural ability to repair DNA. Links to a number of articles analyzing the science behind AC-11® may be found at AC-11® Science.
9. Does AC-11® help the body in any other ways?
Yes. AC-11® helps stimulate natural production of collagen III, a form of collagen associated with soft, supple, youthful-looking skin. As we age, our cells gradually produce less collagen III than they did when we were young. However, laboratory research shows significant, measurable increases in collagen III production in adult skin cells treated with AC-11®. AC-11® also helps to normalize the expression of NF-KB in the cells, thereby regulating cellular response to inflammation. NF-KB is a nuclear transcription factor that influences numerous gene-encoding proteins important in apoptosis (programmed cell death), inflammation and cellular growth. A normal expression of NF-KB minimizes the hazards of excessive oxidative stress. An over-expression of NF-KB triggers increased inflammation. Finally, in a human study, AC-11® demonstrated a positive effect on lymphocytes, increasing their life span and, by implication, enhancing the body’s immune system. Links to articles on some of these subjects may be found at AC-11® Science.
10. What makes AC-11® different from other Uncaria tomentosa products?
AC-11® differs from all other Uncaria tomentosa products, some of which are sold under the common name “cat’s claw,” in that its molecular composition is unique by virtue of the Optigenex patented process. AC-11® is standardized, pure, completely water-soluble and micro-filtered to contain only low weight molecules (< 10,000 Daltons). AC-11® is relatively alkaloid free (<0.05%) and is the only product available anywhere containing a patented class of CAE actives shown by extensive research to have healthy aging and natural DNA repair enhancement properties. No other Uncaria tomentosa product can make these claims. AC-11® moreover has been studied for efficacy and safety for over ten years.
11. How is the manufacture of AC-11® quality controlled?
AC-11® as sold strictly conforms to the unique specifications set by our manufacturing methods and standardization claims. We perform all of the standard industry-accepted tests to ensure that our product meets requirements for sale in the United States and other centers of commerce throughout the world. To make AC-11® we engage the services of Centroflora Group in Botucatu, Brazil, a U.S. Department of Agriculture approved and ISO 9002 certified facility operated in accordance with FDA (U.S. Food and Drug Administration) regulations and GMP (Good Manufacturing Practices) standards, and one of the finest facilities in the world for the production of phytotherapic extracts. Using proprietary equipment conceived and developed by our company, AC-11® is manufactured by Centroflora under state-of-the-art conditions and we warrant our product’s conformance to its specifications as well as to applicable governmental regulations. Interested parties may contact Optigenex in writing to request further information.
12. Is there any toxicity shown with AC-11®?
No. The LD-50 of AC-11® is greater than 8,000mg/kilogram. The recommended daily dosage of AC-11® in “stand alone” form is between 350 and 700mg (250 mg. minimum in products combining AC-11® with other active ingredients) for a person weighing 150-200 lbs. (70-90 kilograms). AC-11®’s purity is due to the clean, contaminant and chemical toxin-free rainforest environment in which the plant is harvested and processed, as well as the patented Optigenex molecular sieving (filtration) process. By contrast, mild toxicity with long term use often is observable in other “Uncaria” products, especially the water-insoluble, alkaloid based extracts. For more detailed information, interested parties may contact Optigenex in writing to request the company’s AC-11® “Efficacy and Safety” profile (study report).
13. Where can I buy products containing ac-11®?
You can by products containing ac-11® only through select authorized licensees who's products and manufacturing processes meet our standards for quality. These licensees include healthycell®, maker of organic and non-GMO ac-11 nutrition supplements, and Health Matters Group, LLC, maker of protein powder, supplements, and topical serums containing ac-11®.
14. Is AC-11® registered, and can it be sold elsewhere than in the United States?
Yes. AC-11® is registered as a dietary supplement under the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA) and listed under its INCI (International Nomenclature of Cosmetics Ingredients) names Maltodextrin and C1-8 Alkyl Tetrahydroxycyclohexanoate with the Personal Care Products Council (formerly the Cosmetic, Toiletry and Fragrance Association or CFTA). AC-11® moreover is approved for sale in numerous foreign countries. Interested parties may contact Optigenex in writing to request further information.
15. What patents have been issued related to AC-11®?
Currently there are six (6) individual patents issued by the United States Patent Office for AC-11®: U.S. Patent Nos. 6,039,949, 6,238,675 B1, 6,964,784 B2, 6,361,805 B2, 7,579,023 B2 and 7,595,064 B2. Our portfolio of patents covers manufacturing, composition and claims, including specifically the patented AC-11® claim for DNA repair. Additional domestic and foreign patent applications are pending. Interested parties may contact Optigenex in writing to request further information.
16. Are there any artificial ingredients in AC-11®?
No. We advertise AC-11® as all natural precisely because we start with a botanical harvested in a pristine rainforest environment, and the process by which we extract and purify our product uses only pure water drawn from spring sources deep beneath the earth’s surface. No additives or artificial ingredients of any kind are involved in making AC-11®.
17. Is AC-11® Bio-Sustainable?
Yes. AC-11® is derived naturally from Uncaria tomentosa, a vine that grows wild in the Amazon rainforest. We harvest the vine in an ethical manner under the authority of the Brazilian Institute of Environment and Renewable Natural Resources (IBAMA). This ensures future maintenance of a natural balance in the rainforest. Authorization is granted through an ongoing sustainable management project directed by the government and based upon existing local herb availability, whereby the amount of inner bark approved for harvesting is set. The harvest is taken (cut) at a point on the plant approximately three feet above the ground; the plant is then capped to ensure integrity of the root structure and rapid regeneration of the vine. Additionally, new saplings of the Uncaria tomentosa vine are planted in a precise manner to ensure the continued viability in the harvesting area. Optigenex moreover works in cooperation with the Floravida Institutes (Brazil) guidelines for biodiversity conservation, environmental education and local community social inclusion.
18. How can my company buy AC-11®?
Optigenex sells AC-11® only under license to approved manufacturers, distributors and resellers. We value our customers’ significant investments in product development and marketing and recognize that the commercial environment is highly competitive. We are committed to working with each customer in every way possible to maximize ROI. To facilitate business with the wide variety of customers and channel partners we deal with, we are equipped to scale production to meet individual commercial needs, large or small. We ship worldwide, and can meet customer timelines reliably. We are dedicated to advancing of the science of healthy aging and are ready, willing and able to meet our customers’ desires for new product development. Accordingly, we offer customized skin care solutions on request, and can provide technical, clinical testing, medical and scientific expertise and regulatory support for those initiatives.
19. How is AC-11® packaged and shipped?
Optigenex packages and sells AC-11® for oral use in 25 kilogram fiber drums. For topical use, individualized solutions are developed for each customer. Each shipment is lot numbered with date of manufacture and is accompanied by a certificate of analysis conforming to the product specification sheet. We ship worldwide and are familiar with the import/export and customs regulations and requirements of the United States and other major commerce centers.
20. How can my company find out more about licensing opportunities?
Interested parties may contact Optigenex to request further information.