Moringa Uses for Optimal Health

NUTRITION

Moringa offers a powerhouse of nutrients—it’s high in fiber, protein, magnesium and potassium. In fact, Moringa is said to provide 7 times more vitamin C than oranges, 10 times more vitamin A than carrots, 17 times more calcium than milk,9 times more protein than yogurt, 15 times more potassium than bananas and 25 times more iron than spinach.[1] Although Moringa is caffeine free, it has the ability to boost energy levels through its high levels of nutrients.

You might be thinking, …. I can get all of these vitamins in a multi-vitamin, why should I take Moringa?  Consider these three reasons: 

Bioavailability

The vitamins and minerals in Moringa, particularly iron and Vitamin A, have been demonstrated to be more bioavailable (meaning your body can absorb them better) than your standard vitamin supplements (that are typically synthetic made in a lab). 

Complete Protein

The Moringa leaf is about 30% protein and it is one of the few plant-based proteins that is considered a “complete” protein, containing all 9 essential amino acids.[2]

Its Antioxidants

Beating the record-holding acai berry by over a 50% margin, Moringa leaf powder measured over 157,000 umoles using the Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity (ORAC) system of measurement.[3] This made Moringa the highest ORAC value of any food ever discovered!  The National Institute of Health published a study on Moringa antioxidants stating “These findings suggest that Moringa leaves contain a potent mixture of direct and indirect antioxidants that can explain its various health-promoting effects.”[4]

Balance Hormones

A 2014 study in the Journal of Food and Science Technology examined the role that Moringa’s antioxidant levels had on postmenopausal women, and found it significantly decreased markers of oxidative stress.[5] It had a therapeutic effect on the hormonal issues that result from decreased estrogen production (and consequently, decreased antioxidant effect) during menopause. The study also found that the women supplementing with Moringa had better fasting blood glucose, which points to more balanced hormones and anti-aging effects.

Another study analyzed thyroid hormone in rats, saw positive results for female rats, with no significant changes for male rats, indicating Moringa may particularly benefit female hormone health.[6]

Digestion

If bloating, gas, and bathrooms woes seem to always have you down, Moringa might offer a natural solution. Thanks to its high antioxidant content, Moringa might also be a good tool to improve your digestion, and better manage digestive disorders, according to some studies.[7]  From a digestive standpoint, Moringa is high in fiber.

Balances Blood Sugar

High blood sugar is on the rise. Enter Moringa. Several studies have demonstrated that Moringa may help lower blood sugar.  One study in 30 post menopausal women showed that taking 1.5 teaspoons (7 grams) of moringa leaf powder every day for three months reduced fasting blood sugar levels by 13.5%, on average.[8] In another study cited in Frontiers of Pharmacology, participants diagnosed with type-2 diabetes saw a decrease in their glucose levels after taking Moringa daily for eight weeks. [9] Scientists believe these effects are caused by plant compounds such as isothiocyanates.[10] As an added bonus, balanced blood sugar means more balanced energy throughout the day, less irritability and mood swings, and reduced sugar cravings.

It Protects The Brain

A 2011 study  found that Moringa’s high vitamin C and E content help it to combat oxidative brain stress.[11] This in turn supports memory from nootropic activity—it modifies norepinephrine, dopamine and serotonin. This may have benefits for mental health in general as Moringa has also been shown to boost feel-good hormone serotonin. Moringa suppresses inflammatory enzymes, and one study showed that Moringa was able to decrease gene expression and the production of inflammatory markers, which helped to alleviate low-grade inflammation in the body.[12]

It Protects The Liver

Our liver is responsible for fat metabolism, fructose metabolism, bile production, and for filtering out all the toxins and waste in the body—a job that can be extremely taxing. Due to Moringa’s high level of polyphenols, it’s able to help protect the liver from oxidative stress and toxicity. To best be able to perform all of these functions, the liver requires liver enzymes, and Moringa helps to restore these to normal levels. In one study, mice fed a high-fat diet along with concentrated moringa lost weight, improved glucose tolerance compared with those not fed moringa.[13] Moringa has also been shown to reverse oxidative stress—which could have profound implications for human health. 

It Improves And Rejuvenates Skin

A specific antioxidant found in Moringa, Zeatin, gives it anti-aging properties. One study found that Moringa was able to enhance skin revitalization, giving it anti-aging properties.[14] 

It Helps maintain a Healthy Body Weight and a Healthy Cholesterol Level

Moringa provides the amino acids and proteins to help build strong muscles and bones, while its phytochemicals better metabolize sugar so it’s not getting stored as fat.[15] It has also been theorized that it’s the high fiber content in Moringa that helps you feel fuller longer which can cause you to eat less throughout the day.  In one study, mice fed a high-fat diet along with concentrated moringa lost weight, improved glucose tolerance.[16]

In one 8-week study in 41 obese people on an identical diet and exercise regime, those taking 900 mg of a supplement containing moringa, turmeric, and curry and curry lost 10.6 pounds (4.8 kg) — compared to only 4 pounds (1.8 kg) in the placebo group (10).[17] In a similar but larger study, researchers randomized 130 people who were overweight to receive the same supplement as the above study or a placebo. Those given the supplement lost 11.9 pounds (5.4 kg) over 16 weeks, compared to only 2 pounds (0.9 kg) in the placebo group. They also significantly decreased their LDL (bad) cholesterol and increased their HDL (good) cholesterol.[18]

[1] See Table 1 found in  Melanie D. Thurber and Jed W. Fahey, Ecol Food Nutr. 2009 May 1; 48(3): 212-225 (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2679503/)

[2] Taken from a quote from Dr. Mark Olson, a professor of evolutionary biology at the National Autonomous University of Mexico in Vogue, May 3, 2017 by Claudia McNeilly (https://www.vogue.com/article/moringa-new-superfood-to-know)

[3] ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity) is the measurement for antioxidants developed by the National Institute on Aging at the National Institute of Health (NIH). The higher ORAC value generally implies stronger antioxidant capabilities.

[4] “J.Agric Food Chem. 2015 Feb 11; 63(5): 1505-1513. Tugba Boyunegmez Tumer,* Patricio Rojas-SilvaAlexander PoulevIlya Raskin, and Carrie Watermanhttps://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/eutils/elink.fcgi?dbfrom=pubmed&retmode=ref&cmd=prlinks&id=25605589

[5]  Shalini Kushwaha, Paramijit Chawla and Anita Kochhar, J. Food Sci Technol. 2014 Nov; 51(11): 3464-3469 (Abstract found at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4571214/)

[6]  Tahiliani P, Kar A, Pharmacol Res. 2000 Mar; 41(3): 319-23 (Abstract can be found at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10675284)

[7] Debnath S, Biswas D, Ray K, Guha D., Phytomedicine. 2011 Jan 15; 18(2-3):91-5

[8] See footnote 3.

[9]  Majambu Mbikay, Frontiers in Pharmacology, Front Pharmacol. 2012; 3:24. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3290775/ 

[10] \Waterman C, Rojas-Silva P, Tumer TB, Kuhn P, Richard AJ, Wicks S, Stephens JM, Wang Z, Mynatt R, Cefalu W, Raskin I, Mol Nutr Food Res., 2015 Jun; 59 (6):1013-24. (Abstract can be found at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25620073)

[11]  M Obulesu, Dowlathabad Muralidhara Rao, J Neurosci Pract., 2011 Jan-Jun; 2(1): 56 (Abstract can be  found at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3122981/)Kirisattayakul W, Wattanathorn J, Tong-Un T, Muchimapura S., Wannanon P., Jhittiwat J., Oxid Med Cell Longev. 2013; 2013:951415 (Abstract can be found at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24367723)

[12]  Waterman C, Cheng DM, Rojas-Silva P, Poulev A., Dreifus J., Lila MA, Raskin I, Phytohemistry. 2014 Jul; 103:114-122 (abstract can be found at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24731259)

[13]  Carrie Waterman, Diana M. Cheng, Patricio Rojas-Silva, Alexander Poulev, Julia Dreifus, Mary Ann Lila, Ilya Raskin, Phytochemistry, Volume 103, July 2014, Pages 114-122. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0031942214001472

[14]  Atif Ali, Naveed Akhtar, Farzana Chowdhary, Postepy Dermatol Alergol, 2014 May; 31(2) (Abstract found at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4112252/)

[15]  Amy Quinton, UC Davis, Washington Post, October 9, 2018, quoting Carrie Waterman, a University of California, Davis, natural products chemist.

[16]  Carrie Waterman, Diana M. Cheng, Patricio Rojas-Silva, Alexander Poulev, Julia Dreifus, Mary Ann Lila, Ilya Raskin, Phytochemistry, Volume 103, July 2014, Pages 114-122. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0031942214001472

[17]  Sengupta K., Mishra AT, Rao MK, Sarma KV, Krishnaraju AV, Trimurtulu G., Lipids Health Dis., 2012 Sep 20; 11:122.  (Abstract found at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22995673)

[18] Abstract found at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29923305