Happy New Year! Get Healthy Today!

    By Nora Heston Tarte
    Contributing Writer
    Kirkman Group, Inc


Don’t let resolutions fall by the wayside. Instead, let Kirkman® be your guide to meeting your 2017 health and fitness goals. A well-balanced supplement regimen is one way to get on track to a healthier you. So, whether you are looking to detoxify your body or shed a few extra pounds, adding these proprietary supplements to your diet and exercise plan can help.

For many, overall health (especially that related to weight loss and detoxification) starts in the gut. That’s why we’ve chosen products that target this area specifically to provide balance in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract and aid digestion through the use of enzyme blends.

And don’t forget: all of Kirkman’s products (except for topicals) are Ultra Tested®, which means you aren’t putting more harmful contaminants into your body while trying to rid it of unhealthy chemicals and bad bugs. So, take action! Be the healthiest you that you can be.

Advanced Adult Multi-Vitamin/Mineral – Hypoallergenic (0394-180)

What better way to start your journey to overall health than by starting a daily multi-vitamin? Advanced Adult Multi-Vitamin/Mineral – Hypoallergenic offers nutritional support in a hypoallergenic, vegetarian capsule, making it the ideal daily vitamin for both adults and those with sensitivities.

All 20 vitamins and minerals included in this proprietary formula are selected based on the latest scientific studies. It differs from traditional multi-vitamins in many ways:

  • It contains 1,000 IU of vitamin D-3 per serving based on new studies that higher amounts are beneficial;
  • It includes 27 mg of zinc (180 percent of the daily requirement) per serving to better support immune system response;
  • It has chromium in the chelate form;
  • There are 350 mg of vitamin C for enhanced immune system support;
  • It is formulated with CoQ10 and resveratrol, Both ingredients provide powerful antioxidant activity to further boost the immune system.

Pro-Bio Defense (0463-090)

Probiotics are tiny microorganisms often referred to as “good bacteria.” They are introduced into the gut to assist in digestive functions of the GI tract and return unbalanced gut bacteria to a balanced condition.

This formulation supports overall GI system health using a proprietary blend of ingredients, supported by the latest in scientific research. It provides 20 billion CFUs per capsule so you’re getting plenty of probiotic bang for your buck.

The blend of resident and transient microorganisms work together to maintain and promote a healthy GI tract. In addition to the six probiotic strains in Kirkman’s Pro-Bio Gold™, Pro-Bio Defense includes saccharomyces boulardii, a special strain of yeast that offers additional GI benefits. Not to be confused with Candida yeast, which can cause unhealthy microorganisms to build up, s. boulardii is known to be effective in supporting digestion when used alone or in combination with other probiotics.

Overall the included strains:

  • Possess a high tolerance to survive stomach acids and bile salts;
  • Support the body’s natural defenses and the intestinal tract’s immune system;
  • Help alleviate occasional diarrhea and constipation;
  • Address lactose metabolism issues;
  • Adhere to and colonize the GI mucosal membrane;
  • Assist with regulating intestinal mobility and normal bowel function;
  • Possibly help create an inhibitory effect on free radical activity in the colon.

This product comes in vegetarian capsules and is free of sugar, soy, wheat, casein, gluten, milk, corn, egg, preservatives, gelatin, artificial flavorings or colors, peanuts, tree nuts and fish.

Detox-Aid Advanced Formula (0475-100)

The name says it all. This supplement works to remove toxins from the body by assisting in the natural detoxification process. It’s impossible to avoid all environmental contamination, so think of this product as that extra boost your body needs to heal itself.

This updated version contains alpha ketoglutaric acid as a replacement for n-acetyl cysteine (NAC), to ensure it is safe, even for those with sensitivities. It is also free of sugar, starch, soy, wheat, casein, gluten, milk, corn, preservatives, yeast, gelatin, flavorings, colorings, peanuts, tree nuts and fish.

Biofilm Defense® (#0881-060)

Biofilm refers to any group of microorganismswhere cells stick to each other and adhere to a surface. These adherent cells are frequently embedded within a self-produced matrix of extracellular polymeric substance (EPS), and can cause adverse effects on the body.

To reduce the existence of biofilm, add Biofilm Defense® to your supplement regimen. This proprietary product, made up of enzymes, dissolves the sugar and fibrin components of most unhealthy biofilms to help remove them from the body. By balancing the good and bad bugs inside, you’re boosting the immune system and creating an environment where your body can function optimally.

This product comes in vegetarian capsules and is free of sugar, wheat, casein, gluten, milk, egg, yeast, gelatin, flavorings, colorings, peanuts, tree nuts and fish. It is also formulated without any significant amount of protease, which can irritate a sensitive GI tract, allowing Biofilm Defense® to be taken on an empty stomach without issue.

Enzym-Complete/DPP-IV (0234-200, 0234-120)

This blend of enzymes provides high-strength digestion aid. It is a broad-spectrum digestive enzyme, meaning it’s effective in helping with the digestion of a wide range of foods.

The vegetarian capsules contain 17 different types of pure, plant-based enzymes to break down proteins, carbohydrates, fats, sugars and fiber. Dipeptidyl peptidase-IV is added to degrade peptides formed from exposure to casein and gluten.

This proprietary blend provides a solid foundation for good digestion with all of the enzymes working together and individually for optimal results. This not only aids the digestive tract in functioning at its best, it allows for the highest level of nutrient absorption, which is of concern especially when foods are cooked and nutrients are lost in the process.

Gastro Support (0330-180)

Give your gastrointestinal (GI) system a boost with Gastro Support, a product made to provide immune system support to keep you healthy and your body functioning at its highest capacity. This product supports the entire GI system using ingredients proven to aid in establishing good health in the GI system tract. 

Every ingredient is specifically chosen to target one area of the GI tract and restore it to optimal health.


  • L-glutamine provides gastrointestinal system mucosal protective actions and immune system support.
  • N-acetyl glucosamine supports healthy gut mucosa.
  • Quercetin, a bioflavonoid, gives immune system support.
  • Slippery elm bark has emollient and soothing properties.
  • Turmeric (curcumin) aids healthy gastrointestinal system mucosal support.
  • Ginger root assists in secretion (moving protein out of cells).

These vegetarian capsules are free of sugar, starch, soy, wheat, casein, gluten, milk, corn, preservatives, yeast, gelatin, flavorings or colorings, peanuts and tree nuts.

Posted in Allergies & Allergens, Vitamins, Minerals, and Nutrition | Leave a comment

Kirkman® Adds Organic Vitamin B-Complex to Its Organic Line

     By Larry Newman
    COO, Technical & Regulatory Affairs
    Kirkman Group, Inc


Kirkman’s Organic Vitamin B-Complex (0540-090) was formulated for individuals who prefer an organic vitamin B product. It is one of the few organic vitamin B complexes that offer nutrition from a significant amount of organic ingredients.

This product works synergistically with Kirkman’s other organic supplements currently offered, Organic Vitamin C (0529-090) and Organic Iron (0531-090). Since organic food contains very low concentrations of the B vitamins, this product is a significant advancement in organic nutritional products because of the higher organic nutrient concentrations. The B vitamins are also naturally derived as opposed to most other B-Complexes that contain synthetic forms of the vitamins.  


The vitamins thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, pyridoxine and folic acid are derived from a certified blend of guava, holy basil, and citrus limon extracts of fruit, leaves and peels. The biotin is derived from an extract of Sesbania grandiflora leaves. Methylcobalamin is the B-12 source.

No non-organic processing aids are used in the manufacture of this product. Only organic rice hulls are utilized as an encapsulating aid. The capsule shell is a natural plant pullulan material, the only all-natural capsule shell available at this time.  The product is free of all common allergens.

Posted in Allergies & Allergens, New Item, Vitamins, Minerals, and Nutrition | Leave a comment

What’s the Difference? Restless Sleep Herbal Blend Versus Sleep Support Chewable Tablets

By Tim Prentiss
Staff Writer
Kirkman Group, Inc


Store shelves are full of competing items claiming to produce the same benefits. Sometimes such similar products are made with similar formulations. Other times, completely different ingredients are used to elicit a similar effect.

Kirkman® recently introduced a product called Restless Sleep Herbal Blend (0539-060). However, we were already offering Sleep Support Chewable Tablets (0486-090). Both are intended to help with sleeplessness, but how do you know which one is right for you, and what are the differences between the two?

First, and most obviously, Restless Sleep Herbal Blend (0539-060) is herbal, whereas Sleep Support Chewable Tablets (0486-090) is made of synthetic compounds.

“Sleep Support is all chemical type ingredients. It’s got tryptophan, theanine and melatonin in it,” explains Larry Newman, chief operating officer, Technical and Regulatory Affairs. 

“Those are all synthetic chemicals and some people don’t like to put that kind of stuff in their bodies. Conversely, the Restless Sleep is a combination of four natural herbal extracts,” he says.

The differences don’t stop there, however. In fact, this is where it gets complicated.

For herbal supplements, it can be tricky to determine exactly what the active ingredients are. Many herbs and botanical products had been used for medicinal purposed for centuries, even millennia, before it was even possible to analyze the chemical components. Obviously, living things (including the plants that are utilized in herbal medicine) are made up of numerous compounds. So even if a particular herb has been shown to produce a certain effect, it may still be unclear which chemical component (or components) is producing the effect.  

“These four herbs have been around forever, and they have multiple effects—some of them do affect the brain, some affect other parts of the body,” says Newman.

From the main herbal ingredients of Restless Sleep Herbal Blend (0539-060)—chamomile, lemon balm, passiflora and skullcap—certain compounds have been isolated and studied, with several showing relaxation effects.


Though it is possible there are other compounds that contribute to chamomile’s relaxing effect, three in particular—luteolin, apigenin and quercitin—are particularly likely to be the primary active components.

Luteolin is a flavonoid that has been shown to reduce anxiety and depression. Studies have also shown that it improves memory, so clearly luteolin has some effect on brain chemistry.

The flavonoid apigenin has been shown to reduce anxiety1 as well as stimulate the growth of neurons.2

Among the many beneficial effects of quercitin researchers have found, it has a blood pressure reducing effect, which possibly contributes to the relaxing effect of chamomile.3

Lemon Balm:

Like chamomile, lemon balm also contains luteolin. It also contains triterpenes, which have been shown to have both anti-depressive and anti-convulsive properties.


Passionflower contains naturally occurring serotonin, a neurotransmitter that contributes to a person’s mood and well-being. Low serotonin levels have been correlated with sleep problems. Passionflower has also been shown to contain GABA4, an inhibitory neurotransmitter, which causes neurons in the brain to turn off, allowing for a relaxed state. Passionflower also contains maltol, which has also been show to promote relaxation.


The main sleep promoting compounds in Skullcap are likely baicalin and wogonin. Baicalin has been shown to have anti-anxiety effects and also increases both slow wave and REM sleep. Wogonin produces anticonvulsant effects and also is a positive allosteric modulator of the benzodiazepine site of the GABA receptor, meaning it will tend to amplify the effects of GABA.

These are just the compounds present that have been shown to have sleep supporting effects. Due to the complexity of plant life, there may be other active compounds in these ingredients. Or perhaps the combinations of compounds produce an effect. The number of possible explanations for the effectiveness of a single herb is fairly staggering. And this product is made up of four herbal ingredients. 

By contrast, Sleep Support Chewable Tablets (0486-090) are fairly straightforward. The active ingredients are compounds that have been isolated in a laboratory before they are combined into the final product. Rather than four ingredients, each with an indeterminate number of active compounds, this product contains only three active ingredients: melatonin, 5-HTP and L-theanine.

Melatonin occurs naturally in the body and regulates our internal clocks. It’s production increases after nightfall, leading to a relaxed state, conducive to sleep. It is possible for this natural cycle to be thrown off, however. Some people simply have low levels of melatonin. Others expose themselves to too much light too close to bedtime, interfering with the release of melatonin.

5-HTP is used by the body to manufacture serotonin. It has been shown to be more effective in promoting sleep than melatonin. L-theanine has been shown to relax the brain with no sedative effect.

In short, it seems the Restless Sleep Herbal Blend (0539-060) has more ingredients that function as anti-anxiety and anti-depressants, while the Sleep Support Chewable Tablets (0486-090) increases the body’s quantity of compounds (melatonin and serotonin) that are required for quality sleep.

1. Kumar, S., Sharma, A., Apigenin: The Anxiolytic Constituent of Turnera aphrodisiaca. Pharmaceutical Biology. Vol. 44 , Iss. 2,2006
2.Taupin, P. Apigenin and related compounds stimulate adult neurogenesis. Mars, Inc., the Salk Institute for Biological Studies: WO2008147483  
3. University of Maryland Medical Center. Quercitin. Accessed 1/22/17 from: http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/supplement/quercetin
4. Elsas S-M, Rossi DJ, Raber J, et al. Passiflora incarnata L. (Passionflower) extracts elicit GABA currents in hippocampal neurons in vitro, and show anxiogenic and anticonvulsant effects in vivo, varying with extraction method. Phytomedicine : international journal of phytotherapy and phytopharmacology. 2010;17(12):940-949. doi:10.1016/j.phymed.2010.03.002.
Posted in Vitamins, Minerals, and Nutrition | Leave a comment

Hot Off the Press! Download Kirkman’s Free Probiotic & Enzyme Guides

Kirkman® recently published new guides to our probiotic and enzyme products.   You can download them free here or from the “Resources/Publications” section of our website.


Other informational brochures available on our website include:

Posted in FAQs, Gastrointestinal Health, Gluten Free / Casein Free, Immune System, Microbiome, P2i, Preconception, Probiotics, Ultra Tested, Vitamins, Minerals, and Nutrition | Leave a comment

5 THINGS You Didn’t Know About 5-MTHF ([6S]-5-Methyltetrahydrofolate) 5 mg – Hypoallergenic (#0478-060)


Posted in Vitamins, Minerals, and Nutrition | Leave a comment

Lead in Our Environment Poses Serious Risks for Children

 By David Humphrey
 President & CEO
 Kirkman Group, Inc.


What Happened in Flint – Not An Aberration
Flint, Michigan, burst into the world spotlight after its children were exposed to lead in drinking water and some were poisoned. In the year after Flint switched to corrosive river water that leached lead from old pipes, five percent of the children screened there had high blood lead levels.

What happened in Flint is not an aberration. In fact, Flint doesn’t even rank among the most dangerous lead hotspots in America.

In all, Reuters reported that approximately 3,000 areas in the U.S. have recorded lead poisoning rates at least double those in Flint during the peak of that city’s contamination crisis. And more than 1,100 of these communities had a rate of elevated blood tests for lead that were at least four times higher than normal1.

Lead remains a serious problem in the U.S. with legacy problems that include crumbling paint, lead soldering in household plumbing and lead in industrial wastes. In addition, food, toys and medicines, industries with notorious incidences of high lead content in certain products, still make it into retail distribution and on to consumers.

The severity of the problem varies widely by communities but there is no area of the country safe for children from one or more serious exposures.

How Much Lead Is Too Much?

As more research on the effects of lead is completed, there is a building consensus among researchers and healthcare practitioners that no levels of lead in a child are safe and even low levels will cause developmental delays. The effects on unborn children are less studied but are perhaps the greatest concern. Most expectant mothers are unaware of their lead levels during the pregnancy period.

In an August 2017 report by the World Health Organization entitled, Lead Poisoning and Health, the authors stated:  “Lead can have serious consequences for the health of children. At high levels of exposure, lead attacks the brain and central nervous system to cause coma, convulsions and even death2.”

According to the report, at lower levels of exposure that cause no obvious symptoms and that previously were considered safe, lead is now known to produce a spectrum of injury across multiple body systems.

In particular, lead can affect children’s brain development resulting in reduced intelligence quotient (IQ), behavioral changes such as reduced attention span and increased antisocial behavior, and reduced educational attainment. Lead exposure also causes other serious health problems including immunotoxicity and reproductive toxicity. The neurological and behavioral effects of lead are believed to be irreversible3.

In 2012, the CDC became the first government agency to declare that no amount of lead in a body is safe. Even blood lead concentrations as low as 5 µg/dL, once thought to be a “safe level”, may be associated with decreased intelligence in children, behavioral difficulties, and learning problems4.

Even in some of the highest risk areas around the country, most children go untested for lead. The gaps in testing make tracking poisoned children more daunting.

How Do Parents Test Their Children for Lead?

Consult your physician. Lead can be tested in blood, hair samples, urine or saliva.  Blood testing is the most common way to test for lead, however, lead doesn’t stay in the blood for long before it is absorbed by tissues.

There are two main methods for collecting blood samples for lead screening. They are commonly referred to as capillary test, finger-stick or heel-stick. For this method, a medical professional pricks a child’s finger or heel to collect a few drops of blood.

The second method is a venous blood draw.  This method requires a doctor, nurse or phlebotomist to use a needle to draw blood from a vein.

One concern with the finger prick test if done “at home” is that care must be taken not to have the blood contaminated with dirty hands. However a prick to the finger is much quicker and easier than a venous blood draw.

Additionally, the finger-stick test may be used outside of a doctor’s office. “It can be done in the field, whereas the venous test cannot,” explains neurotoxicologist Deborah Cory-Slechta of the University of Rochester Medical Center. Using the finger-stick test affords healthcare professionals the ability to test children in schools and homes, reaching children who may not make regular doctor visits5.

When Should a Child be Tested for Lead?

All children suspected of lead exposure should have their blood lead level analyzed. But state laws and medical associations differ on whether or how often children with no obvious risk factors or symptoms of lead poisoning should be tested.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that doctors speak with parents about potential risk factors such as lead paint in the home during regular visits, and then only test blood lead levels if there is reason to believe a child may be at risk. Some states have guidelines or laws that require pediatricians to test all infants and children for lead at specific ages6.

The bottom line, advises Dr. Megan Sandel, a pediatrician at Boston Medical Center, is that  parents who are worried should request that their kids be tested even if there is no obvious risk of lead poisoning7.

CDC Sets Lead Guidelines

Sandel and Cory-Slechta were both on the 2012 CDC Advisory Committee on Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention that determined that no level of lead, however low, is safe in children8.

Prior to 2012, the CDC considered blood lead levels of 10 micrograms per deciliter or higher the trigger for follow-up screening and discussions of how to remove lead from a child’s environment. After the report, that level dropped to 5 micrograms per deciliter or greater9.

Can Lead Be Safely Removed?

Good levels of nutrients can improve well-being and resistance to toxins. Deficiencies can render an individual more vulnerable to toxins because other chemicals replace nutrients. Many studies have shown that there exists a relationship between our dietary intake and our blood lead level.

Vitamin C, thiamine, taurine (a vitamin B6/cysteine derivative), folate, vitamin B12, garlic and the amino acids methionine and glycine may offer significant advantages to lead exposed individuals with few risks.

Vitamin C in particular has been consistently linked to lower blood lead levels and reduced organ damage. It may inhibit lead uptake at a cellular level, thereby reducing lead’s toxicity to some organs. It prolongs the useful functioning of vitamin C. Vitamin C has been used in chelation therapy, though experimental results on vitamin C’ s ability to increase lead excretion have not been consistent10.

Calcium, iron, zinc, and selenium along with vitamins B-6, D and E offer large advantages along with significant offsetting risks at high doses11.

The replacement of calcium by lead in both the brain and nervous system is one of the primary paths of lead toxicity, so good levels of calcium reduce the capacity of lead to impair these functions. High calcium levels, when combined with adequate levels of nutrients such as magnesium and vitamin D, can potentially reduce the release of lead from the bone to the bloodstream and hence to organs of the body12.

There is research leading to the use of  calcium supplements to reduce levels of lead in the blood during pregnancy, thereby reducing lead concentrations in the newborn. The continuous maintenance of calcium levels is important for individuals with high lead exposures, to reduce brain and organ toxicity caused by the ongoing release of lead from the bone. However, calcium does not work in isolation, and good levels of phosphorus and magnesium may have supplementary effects on lead absorption, toxicity and bone stability. Due to increased bone turnover during pregnancy, lactation and menopause, this is of particular importance to women13.

Glutathione May Have a Role in DetoxificationResearch suggests that the nutrient, glutathione, can assist in the detoxification process.  

Glutathione is a major antioxidant that undertakes key functions within the body, particularly in the brain and liver, where it plays a major role in detoxifying xenobiotics (foreign compounds) and toxins. The depletion of glutathione in these two organs is a major impact of lead toxicity, with glutathione deficiencies being linked to brain cell death14.

Glutathione is poorly absorbed, at least from supplements, but it is manufactured within the body, so the optimum way to maximize levels is through maintaining good levels of the precursor molecules: cysteine, glutamic acid (glutamate as a salt) and glycine. Cysteine is the rarest of these in western diets, and is found in red peppers, garlic, onions, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, oats and wheat germ. It is readily destroyed by heat and processing, so little survives in cooked eggs or pasteurized milk, though significant amounts are found in undenatured (processed at low temperature) whey protein; and whey has been consistently linked with higher glutathione levels.

However, should cysteine be unavailable, new cystine (the stable form of cysteine) can be formed by breaking down methionine. Glutamate is more common and is found in food flavorings such as MSG and a variety of protein-rich foods, including meat, fish and beans. It can also be manufactured inside the liver from other amino acids.

Glutathione also requires vitamin B-6 for its manufacture but, in a demonstration of the complexities involved, the lack of vitamin B-6 can actually increase glutathione levels. Given that glutathione is made and is regulated inside the body, it cannot be automatically assumed that consumption of glutathione precursors, or glutathione itself, will directly relate to glutathione levels within the body, though it may maximize possible production15.

Kirkman® Offers Nutrients to Aid Detox 

Kirkman® offers several formulations that combine a variety of ingredients into specialty blends, formulated with known supporters of  the body’s natural detoxification processes.

These include the following:

Detox-Aid Advanced Formula (#0475-100) 

Kirkman’s “advanced” formulation is a proprietary blend of ingredients that aid the body’s natural detoxification process. This updated version contains alpha ketoglutaric acid as a replacement for n-acetyl cysteine (NAC), which may have side effects in a subset of individuals.

Ingredients include:  Calcium D-Glucarate, Di-Calcium Phosphate, Reduced L-Glutathione, Turmeric, Olive Leaf Extract, Milk Thistle Seed Extract, L-Taurine, Alpha Ketoglutaric Acid, Selenium Chelate, Magnesium Stearate (Vegetable), Plant Cellulose Capsule.

Kirkman’s Special Toxicity Control Blends

Kirkman’s offers three unique toxicity control formulations. They are Toxicity Control (#0538-120)P2i Toxicity Control (#2518-120) and Microbiome Balance Toxicity Control (#4538-120)

Kirkman’s toxicity control products support the body’s natural detoxifying pathways.  These natural pathways are mechanisms for removing environmental contaminants, which can invade the body through air, water, contaminated food, contaminated dietary supplements or contaminated garments or jewelry. 

Ingredients for Toxicity Control (#0538-120):  Vitamin C, Calcium D-Glucarate, Di-Calcium Phosphate Di-Hydrate, Milk Thistle Seed Extract, Turmeric Root Extract, N-Acetyl Cysteine, Setria® L-Glutathione (reduced form), L-Taurine, dl- Alpha Tocopheryl Acetate, Silicon Dioxide,  Selenium Chelate, Plant Cellulose Capsule.  *Setria® is a trademark of KYOWA HAKKO BIO Co. Ltd.

Ingredients for P2i Toxicity Control (#2518-120):  Vitamin C, Di-Calcium Phosphate Di-Hydrate, Modified Citrus Pectin, Calcium D-Glucarate, Milk Thistle Seed Extract, Turmeric Root Extract, L-Taurine, N-Acetyl Cysteine, Setria® L-Glutathione (reduced form)*, Vitamin E (dl-Alpha Tocopheryl Acetate), Silicon Dioxide, Selenium Chelate, Plant Cellulose Capsule.  *Setria® is a trademark of KYOWA HAKKO BIO Co. Ltd.

Ingredients for Microbiome Toxicity Control (#4538-120):  Vitamin C, Calcium D-Glucarate, Di-Calcium Phosphate, Milk Thistle Seed Extract, Turmeric Root Extract, N-Acetyl Cysteine, Setria® L-Glutathione (reduced form)*, L-Taurine, Vitamin E (dl-Alpha Tocopheryl Acetate), Silicon Dioxide, Selenium Chelate, Plant Cellulose Capsule. *Setria® is a trademark of KYOWA HAKKO BIO Co. Ltd.

What is Chelation Therapy?
Chelation therapy is a treatment used in conventional medicine for removing heavy metals (including mercury) from the blood. This procedure, since invasive, carries risk and only should be done for difficult cases under the guidance of your medical physician. 

It involves intravenous injections of a chelating agent, EDTA (ethylene diamine tetra-acetic acid), a synthetic amino acid. EDTA binds to heavy metals and minerals in the blood so that they can be excreted in the urine. Another intravenous agent used by some physicians for mercury detoxification is called DMPS (2,3-Dimercapto-1-propanesulfonic acid).

An oral chelating agent called Succimer (Dimercaptosuccinic acid, also known as DMSA) is FDA-approved for treatment of lead poisoning and is used by some physicians to remove mercury from the body. The drug combines with metals in the bloodstream and then both the metals and the drug are removed from the body by the kidneys and then excreted. Common side effects include diarrhea, loose stools, nausea and vomiting, poor appetite and skin rash16.

DMSA can also lead to neutropenia, a reduction in a certain type of white blood cell that wards off infection.  Untreated, neutropenia induced infections can be fatal, which limits DMSA use only to physician supervised use. 

The information on lower lead levels does not include information on the use of nutritional supplements in conjunction with non-nutritional chelation medications (metal binders), which is a field we recommend you discuss with your medical advisor.

1. M.B. Pell and Joshua Schneyer of Reuters published their special report, “Off the Charts,” in December 2016
2. Lead poisoning and health. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs379/en/
3. Abby Goodnough and Diantha Parker. (2016, January 29). The Facts About Lead Exposure and Its Irreversible Damage. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/30/us/lead-poisoning.html
4,9. CDC Updates Guidelines for Children?s Lead Exposure. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3404672/
5.,7.,8.   Has My Child Been Exposed To Lead? When And How To Test. (2016, August 4). Retrieved fromhttp://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2016/08/04/488579315/has-my-child-been-exposed-to-lead-when-and-how-to-test
6. Steven J. Stanek. (2016, October 13). Saving Your Child from Lead Poisoning ? Steven J. Stanek ? Medium. Retrieved from https://medium.com/@stevenjstanek/saving-your-child-from-lead-poisoning-1ce74713df3c
9. Lead Exposure in Children. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.aap.org/en-us/advocacy-and-policy/aap-health-initiatives/lead-exposure/Pages/Lead-Exposure-in-Children.aspx
10. https://www.lead.org.au/fs/Fact_sheet-Nutrients_that_reduce_lead_poisoning_June_2010.pdf
11. Lead toxicity and nutritional deficiencies. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1637366/
12. David J. Ratcliffe. (n.d.). Vitamin D, calciferol and lead levels. Retrieved from http://www.lead.org.au/lanv10n2/lanv10n2-10.html
13. Dietary Calcium Supplementation to Lower Blood Lead Levels in Pregnancy and Lactation. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2566736/
14. Lead-Induced Cell Death Of Human Neuroblastoma Cells Involves GSH Deprivation Chellu S. Chetty, Mohan C. Vemuri, Khamisi Campbell And Challa Suresh Cellular & Molecular Biology Letters Volume 10, (2005) pp 413 – 423 
15. David J. Ratcliffe. (n.d.). Glutathione, cysteine and lead levels. Retrieved from http://www.lead.org.au/lanv10n2/lanv10n2-20.html
16. Succimer (Oral Route) Description and Brand Names – Mayo Clinic. (2017, March 7). Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/drugs-supplements/succimer-oral-route/description/drg-20066140
Posted in Environmental Health & Toxicity, Ultra Tested | Leave a comment

An Enzyme Primer — Important Things to Know About Enzymes

    By Kulani Mahikoa
    Executive Vice President
    Kirkman Group, Inc.


Enzymes aren’t just beneficial for good health – they’re essential.  Our body’s ability to function, to repair when injured, and to ward off illness is directly related to the strength and number of our enzymes.  No living organism – plant, animal or person would exist without enzymes. Even inadequate amounts of enzymatic activity in the body can have devastating health consequences.


  What Are Enzymes?    
Enzymes are generally protein-based   constituents that can be extracted from any living organism – plant or animal.  (The       exceptions are the ribozyme (RNA)           enzyme discovered in 1981 and DNA enzymes engineered in 1994.)

At present, researchers have identified approximately 3,000 specific types of naturally occurring enzymes, which comprise the millions of enzymes that exist in a human body.

Every living cell depends on complicated chemical reactions that require a constant supply of energy and enzymes. Cells take energy from the proteins, carbohydrates and fats that we eat with the help of enzymes to enable functions such as digestion, metabolism, immune response and many other critical activities. 

Each enzyme has a specific catalytic job to accomplish.  If the enzyme necessary to catalyze a specific reaction is not available or inadequate, that reaction can’t take place.

Common Characteristics of Enzymes  

Enzymes exhibit four common characteristics:

  1. They accelerate reactions but they do not make a reaction occur that would not occur on their own.
  2. The enzyme molecule is not permanently altered by the reaction; therefore, a single enzyme molecule can be used many times to catalyze the same reaction.
  3. An enzyme can catalyze both the forward and reverse action where one direction may be more beneficial than the other.
  4. Each enzyme can only catalyze one reaction.

The Importance of Enzymes in Digestion
The food you eat must ultimately provide the nutrients you need to survive.  All food contains nutrients and potential nutritional value, however, until enzymes start the digestive process, the nutrients are “locked up” in cellular structure and are not yet available to be absorbed by the body.  Digestive enzymes, primarily produced in the pancreas and small intestine, break food down into smaller particles so that the body can absorb their nutrients. 

Food that isn’t properly digested or absorbed can lead to malnutrition that result in vitamin and mineral deficiencies. This can cause serious health issues including poor or impaired wound healing, skin conditions, behavioral problems, intestinal flora imbalances, immune system dysfunction and other serious health problems. 

Additionally, undigested food that moves through the digestive tract can cause bacterial growth, gas, bloating, abdominal pain and other gastrointestinal problems.

Other contributors to diminished enzymatic activity include:

  1. Age – As we age, the body produces less hydrochloric acid (stomach acid), which causes problems with enzymatic food digestion.
  2.  Insufficient vitamins and minerals – Vitamins and minerals are critical to the functioning of most enzymes.   Because of their importance to enzyme activity, they are classified as co-enzymes or co-factors.
  3. Stress – If the body is under chronic pathologic (bad) stress, its ability to repair and recuperate diminishes. Your body considers digestive processes a low priority when its dealing with constant fight or flight situations. Consequently digestive enzyme production is put on the back burner.
  4. Illness – Illness can prevent proper enzyme production.  These can include food allergies, inherited metabolic conditions, gastrointestinal problems, medication other health problems.
  5. Cooking & Processing – Heating foods destroys naturally occurring enzymes that work with human digestive enzymes.

The good news is that improving digestion may be as simple as eating more enzymes that can easily be obtained from food and dietary supplements. 

Enzymes in Foods
Enzyme-rich foods include:  milk kefir and yogurt, fermented vegetables, raw egg yolks, fresh fruit, kombucha, papaya, kim chee, bee pollen, apricots, soy sauce and pineapple.

Unfortunately, the average U.S. diet is almost completely devoid of enzymes.  We diet on foods that are heavily processed and cooked, which destroys enzyme content.

Plant Based vs Animal Based Enzymes

Animal derived pancreatic enzymes from cows and pigs have been used successfully to aid digestion for decades. Some drawbacks do exist, however, in animal derived enzymes. Of concern are: 

  1. Some individuals can be sensitive to the animal derived ingredients. 
  2. Animal derived enzymes are not stable in the pH of stomach acid, thereby requiring special coating or processing so they go through the stomach undamaged. This special processing adds to costs. 
  3. The source, health and environmental history of the animals is a concern. 

Kirkman® uses only plant-based enzymes. Plant-based enzymes are derived from cultivated plant sources, most often the Aspergillus oryzae species of plant mold, though other species of Aspergillus are used for certain enzymes. These enzymes go through extensive purification processes and offer safe and effective alternatives to the animal products. An extensive filtering process separates the pure enzyme from its original substrate, which makes these products suitable even for the extremely sensitive individual.

Plant based enzymes offer these advantages over the animal enzymes:

  1. better tolerated by the sensitive individual 
  2. no concern of the animal source or environment 
  3. stable and effective at a full range of pHs, so they are not inactivated 

Digestive Enzymes and Foods Digested

The following chart provides details of the enzymes used in Kirkman’s products and what foods they help to digest.

Enzymes in Kirkman’s Dietary Supplements

One of the important benefits of using enzymes in dietary supplement form is that an individual can choose the specific enzyme or enzymes required to digest the specific food or foods that may be causing the gastrointestinal distress.

Kirkman® offers a variety of enzyme products that aid in digestion and collectively cover all food groups.  Here is a list of enzyme products offered by Kirkman and a brief description:


1.     Biofilm Defense® (#0881-060):  Dissolves sugar and fibrin components of biofilms.

2.     Carb Digest™ with Isogest® (#0933-120):  Supports the digestion of carbohydrates.

3.     Chewable EnZym-Complete with Isogest® Tablets (#0934-090):  A broad spectrum enzyme with isomaltase/palatinase activities.

4.     DPP-IV Forte™ (#0230-060):  Assists digestion, particularly of dairy products and cereal grains.

5.     EnZym-Complete/DPP-IV™ (#0234-060):  A broad-spectrum enzyme that assists in the digestion of most food groups.

6.     EnZym-Complete/DPP-IV™ II with Isogest® (#0931-090):  A broad-spectrum enzyme that assists in the digestion of most food goods with added isomaltase/palatinase digestion activities.

7.     EnZymAid™ Multi-Enzyme Complex (#0043-180):  Aids the digestion of peptides, gluten and casein.

8.     Maximum Spectrum Enzym-Complete/DPP-IV™ Fruit Free with Isogest® (0932-120):  Provides a comprehensive range of digestive enzymes and also contains isomaltase/palatinase digestion activities.

9.     Microbiome Broad Spectrum Enzyme w/DPP-IV™ (#4234-120):  A proprietary blend of 17 pure, plant based enzymes that support digestion of a wide range of foods.  Also contains DPP-IV that aids in the digestion of dairy products and cereal grains.

10.  Phenol Assist™ (#0835-090):  Helps dissolve phenols in fruits, vegetables, grains and other foods.

The following chart may also be helpful in selecting the right enzyme for your particular needs: 


1. Cichoke, A. and Abram Hoffer, A. MD, April 2000, Enzymes and Enzyme Therapy Second Edition, How to Jump Start Your Way to Lifelong Health.
2. The Rise and Fall of Digestive Enzymes. (2014, April 3). Retrieved from http://www.return2health.net/articles/riseand-fall-digestive-enzymes/
3. Sources of enzymes. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www1.lsbu.ac.uk/water/enztech/sources.html
4. Enzymes – Biology Encyclopedia – cells, body, function, human, process, system, different, DNA. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.biologyreference.com/Dn-Ep/Enzymes.html
5. Enzymes FAQ’s. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.enzymestuff.com/faq.htm
6. Absorb More Nutrients with Digestive Enzymes – Dr. Axe. (2017, October 6). Retrieved from https://draxe.com/digestive-enzymes/
7. Amy Myers MD. (2016, April 1). Should You Be Taking Digestive Enzymes? – Amy Myers MD. Retrieved from https://www.amymyersmd.com/2016/04/digestive-enzymes/ 
8. Everything you need to know about digestive enzymes. (2012, September 17). Retrieved from http://whole9life.com/2012/09/digestive-enzymes-101/
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