Supercritical Diet and Energy:
Weight Loss, Stress, Metabolism, Blood Sugar
Balance & More
- An interview with Master Herbalist, Paul
by Lori Foster,
Doctor’s Prescription for Healthy Living article
Master herbalist Paul Schulick likes to play it
safe. So, while other companies promoted all kinds of carbohydrate
blockers, stimulants, cathartics and diuretics that promised weight
loss and more energy, his company avoided the category altogether.
Schulick and his colleagues at New Chapter preferred to offer nothing
at all, convinced that there was a better and healthier way.
Then new research began pouring in. A study by the
U.S. Department of Agriculture showed that cinnamon helps improve fat
metabolism. A recent study by the Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention found a relationship between obesity and low levels of
antioxidants. The link between chronic stress and low antioxidant
levels had already been established.
Schulick was intrigued. He got excited and busy.
The result is a new and unique supplement that
promises to help people lose weight, gain energy and maintain healthy
blood-sugar levels with herbs most of us can find in our own kitchen
Supercritical Diet and Energy combines 13 herbs, including
cinnamon, peppermint, cloves, rosemary, cayenne pepper and turmeric.
All have been proven individually to enhance particular aspects of
health. New Chapter, based in Vermont, is the first to roll them all
“I think for the people who aren’t even interested
in losing weight, they will still feel vital and energetic from using
the rhodiola and the maca (ingredients in the supplement),” says
Schulick, the company’s CEO. “They’ll have a wonderful antioxidative
response and have a healthier digestive system. So, it’s really a
daily tonic. It will work for everybody.”
The supplement is also 70 percent certified organic.
“This I believe will be, if not the first, one of
the first that will be made from mostly organic ingredients,” he adds.
“We’ve worked on this for the last year intensely, to source these
herbs as certified organics. If you know an herb is grown with
pesticides and fumigates, it kind of defeats the purpose.”
Supercritical Diet and Energy tackles weight loss and energy
production from several fronts. It works to simultaneously increase
metabolism, combat the effects of stress, balance blood-sugar levels,
increase antioxidant levels and protect delicate cells in the body
from overexposure to particular herbs. Here’s how each of the
ingredients works independently and together to achieve these results:
THE STRESS BUSTERS
Most of the
fat we eat goes directly into our bodies’ fat tissues, where it is
stored as triglycerides for later use. To tap into that stored energy,
we have to break down the triglycerides into smaller particles, a
process called lipolysis. A new study combined with well-documented
knowledge about the effects of stress on immunity proves stress can
prevent that breakdown from happening.
This was exciting news for Schulick.
“The stress response system tends to function
poorly, obviously, when people are under chronic stress, and this can
disrupt the whole balance of fat metabolism. I had not been aware of
anyone who was introducing a product that strictly was working on the
neurochemistry of dieting and weight loss and so I was particularly
attracted to that,” he says. “I just find that approach to be novel
and a breath of fresh air in the whole diet area.”
The study—by the Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention—focused on people who suffer from syndrome X, a
pre-diabetes condition in which insulin receptors don’t work the way
they should. Traditional diets and supplements are less effective for
these people because their bodies resist efforts to release stored
fats. The study found that syndrome X sufferers have low levels of
antioxidants, a necessary ingredient in the fat-breakdown process. At
about the same time, Japanese researchers found that antioxidant
levels were low in obese people in general.
This is what got Schulick thinking. In otherwise
healthy people, chronic stress can cause the body to respond as if it
is in chronic danger. That means we produce more white blood cells to
fend off the perceived invader and, in turn, create more oxidants.
This excess of oxidants throws off the balance of antioxidants in our
systems. These new studies support Schulick’s theory that chemical
imbalance contributes to the weight gain and energy loss of people who
are chronically stressed.
To increase antioxidant levels, Schulick added to
his formula extracts from herbs we already use to spice our chicken,
add color to our rice, or flavor our tea. Cloves, peppermint, rosemary
and turmeric are all common herbs that are exceptionally high in
antioxidants, according to a study by the Norwegian Crop Institute.
The study found that herbs are generally a far greater source of
antioxidants than vegetables. This alone is fascinating information
and clearly makes a case for shoppers not to simply expect their
antioxidant needs to be filled with vegetables alone. (Herbs do have
their place, contrary to all the attention paid to green superfoods.)
But Schulick’s research showed that pure
antioxidants alone are not enough to fight the negative effects of
stress. He also threw rhodiola and maca into the mix. Both are ancient
herbal medicines and nutritional supplements that target the endocrine
system, which regulates metabolism. They are part of the adaptogen
group, a category of herbs that help the body better handle illness
A study conducted at Armenian State Medical
University in Yerevan found that
Rhodiola rosea helps improve endurance in athletes. In another
study at the Fujita Health University School of Health Sciences in
Japan, night-duty physicians who took rhodiola showed greater mental
skills and less fatigue than those who took placebos. The herb also
has a thermogenic effect, helping to speed up metabolism by
discouraging the formation of certain proteins that prevent us from
breaking down stored fat. Rhodiola, also known as golden root, grows
in the mountains of eastern Siberia, where natives have relied on its
healing and anti-aging properties for centuries.
“I use the herb myself. It’s one of my favorite
botanicals now,” Schulick says.
Maca root, a member of the potato family, has been
used by the native Indians of Peru since at least 3800 B.C. for
nutritional and medicinal purposes. It is loaded with amino acids,
carbohydrates, minerals and vitamins. Maca supports endocrine function
and the hormones that control sexual function, digestion and energy
levels. Chronic stress weakens the endocrine system. Maca helps
improve its response.
Improves Sexual Function…
A potential benefit that New
Chapter does not claim on the product’s package is maca’s ability
enhance sexual function in men and women.
“The most confounding question about maca’s effect
is its ability to influence sexual performance without affecting serum
hormone levels such as luteinizing hormone, follicle stimulating
hormone, prolactin, testosterone and estradiol,” according to an herb
information website produced by Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer
Center. “It is therefore assumed that maca acts on the receptors for
these hormones. Alkaloids purified from the maca root are thought to
affect the hypothalamic-pituitary axis, explaining why maca can induce
effects in both sexes.”
In fact, maca was introduced to Europeans via
Peruvians who used it for its effect on livestock reproduction, which
clearly caused them to copulate more frequently. Mouse studies also
show maca is clearly aphrodisiacal—at least to mice who were asked to
do nothing more than enjoy their enhanced libido!
Antioxidants can help stop people from
gaining more weight, but Americans still have plenty to lose. More
than two-thirds of Americans are overweight, according to the National
Institutes for Health, and around 30 percent are classified as obese.
The extra fat puts these people at high risk for all kinds of
ailments, including diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, stroke and
some forms of cancer.
Though Schulick doesn’t advocate supplements that
claim to increase weight loss by simply increasing metabolism, he
admits that moderate boosts can’t hurt. In his usual cautious manner,
he prefers to approach metabolism with herbs that already are proven
safe and effective: green tea, cayenne pepper, and ginger. This is a
wise healthy choice. Ginger, of course, is a New Chapter premiere
herb, and our HL reporters have visited the new ginger farm Luna Nueva
in Costa Rica, one of the areas where New Chapter obtains its
organic ginger. And ginger is an herb we at HL want you to get
to know. It is great, and you can’t have enough from supplements.
(Don’t expect to get real ginger effect from most processed ginger
Green tea is certainly a great herb, one for all time. And
cayenne, when used intelligently, probably does synergize the two
Several well-documented studies show that all three
herbs work independently to increase the speed of fat metabolism, but
Schulick says he worries about people who take large amounts of any
one product. Some people might be sensitive to constant, high, daily
does of cayenne pepper or ginger. So his formula includes conservative
amounts of all three. For instance, the recommend dose of green tea is
ten cups per day. Schulick’s extract contains the equivalent of two
“I chose the lowest potency of everything that was
the most effective,” he says. This is almost a homeopathic approach
but not quite, because these are very pure, well orchestrated extracts
of the most potent parts of the herbs; with New Chapter, quality means
low potency is even better than higher potencies of poorly crafted
To help ensure that people who are
sensitive to certain herbs suffer no ill effects from a daily dosage
Supercritical Diet and Energy, Schulick added two herbs to his
formula that are known for protecting the mucous membranes that line
the body’s digestive, respiratory and urogenital tracts, and the inner
surface of the eyes.
Sea buckthorn and calendula target these cells, which are
constantly under fire from stress, disease and aging.
Probably the most exciting breakthrough
in recent research for Schulick was the discovery that
cinnamon helps regulate blood sugar in people with
pre-diabetes. About 17 million Americans have type 2 diabetes and
another 20 million suffer from pre-diabetes, according to the National
Institutes of Health. Those 20 million still have a chance to avoid
the full-blown disease. Diabetes is of special concern for Schulick;
it runs in his family.
“I put all of my health attention on it because I
know how devastating diabetes can be,” he says.
Healthy systems work like this: We eat foods that
contain glucose, a source of energy. The glucose is absorbed into our
bloodstreams with the help of insulin, a hormone produced by the body.
Our bodies take the energy that they need from our blood and then
store the rest in fat cells for future use. An imbalance in that
system can trigger two different types of diabetes.
Type 1 diabetes is a less common condition in which
the body simply does not produce enough insulin. These sufferers tend
to develop the condition at a young age and must depend on daily
insulin injections. More than 90 percent of people with diabetes
suffer from type 2, in which the body forgets how to use insulin
properly over time. In either form, diabetes can cause irreversible
damage to the eyes, kidneys, nerves and other organs.
A study by the Human Research Center of the USDA and the University of
California, Santa Barbara, caused a stir in the diabetes world when it
showed that cinnamon has an active ingredient that is similar to
insulin. It works in conjunction with real insulin to keep blood
sugars low. In one study, conducted in Pakistan, people with type 2
diabetes who took cinnamon powder daily had blood sugar levels that
were 20 percent lower than those who took no cinnamon. The American
Diabetes Association suggests a half teaspoon of cinnamon daily to aid
To further enhance insulin reception, Schulick added
Supercritical Diet and Energy. Fenugreek appears to reduce
gastrointestinal glucose and cholesterol absorption and increase bile
acid excretion, according to the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer
Center website. It helps the body use insulin better by targeting the
New Chapter’s product does not claim to take the
place of insulin injections or insulin drugs for those who need it.
Rather, Schulick says, it claims only to help people who have not
developed the disease to maintain a healthy blood-sugar balance.
“All individuals who have metabolic problems should
also check with their doctors,” he adds.
Schulick says he is confident that
Supercritical Diet and Energy will quickly become a popular
supplement, especially since so many of the ingredients are so
familiar to all of us. The key, he explains, lies in the combination
of the ingredients and in the low doses. While all of the herbs have
their own special areas of health enhancement, many of them also
contribute to the success of the others. Schulick, the son of a
physician, is a strong believer in the power of multiple herbs. “We
see that the healthiest cultures are those that eat the most spices.”
Spice It Up!
No longer can we use antioxidants
as an excuse for drinking lots of red wine—unless the wine is spiced
with oregano…or maybe a little peppermint. Perhaps some cloves?
A USDA study told us four years ago that we can get
far more antioxidants from herbs than from fruits and vegetables, even
more than in the grapes that are crushed to make red wine. But a new
study by a group of scientists in Norway has found that some herbs
contain up to 1,000 times more antioxidants than others.
Low levels of
antioxidants are associated with cancer, heart disease and
other illnesses. A recent study by The Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention also found that people who suffer from pre-diabetes have
low antioxidants levels. Stress, in general, makes us produce more
oxidants, bumping out the antioxidants that help regulate our
So it makes sense to include plenty of antioxidants
is our diets for weight control and disease prevention. The 2003 study
by The Norwegian Crop Institute found that the herbs with the highest
concentrations of antioxidants are oregano, sage, peppermint, garden
thyme, lemon balm, clove, allspice and cinnamon. A few Chinese herbs—cinnamomi
cortex and scutellariae—also made the list.
Master herbalist Paul Schulick included peppermint,
clove, rosemary, turmeric and cinnamon in his newest product,
Supercritical Diet and Energy, because the studies convinced him that
they are safe and essential. According to Schulick, CEO of New
Chapter, the healthiest cultures in the world consume the most
generous amounts of spices.
Here’s a look at the ways in which the ingredients
in Supercritical Diet and Energy help you maintain healthy blood-sugar
levels, promote fat burning, and optimize energy and well-being…
Antioxidant Response (Addresses the research
that suggests that adults with metabolic syndrome have suboptimal
levels of antioxidants, which help improve metabolism): Peppermint,
clove, turmeric, and rosemary
Adaptogens (Help support the
hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis): Maca and rhodiola
Thermogenic (Boost metabolism): Green tea,
cayenne and ginger
Cell protectors (Help ensure that certain
herbs will not cause irritation in people with sensitivity to such
herbs as cayenne and ginger): Sea buckthorn and calendula
Phytoglycemic (Insulin resistance): Cinnamon
For more information on Supercritical Diet and Energy and all New
Chapter herbal formulas
“About herbs.” Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center Web site.
www.mskcc.org. Accessed 15, Nov 2004.
“Cinnamon extracts boost insulin sensitivity.” U.S. Department of
Agriculture, Agriculture Research Service, News & Events.
www.ars.usda.gov. Accessed 15, Nov 2004.
“Cinnamon may help to alleviate diabetes says UCSB researcher [Press
release].” Eurekalert Web site. www.eurekalert.org. Accessed 15, Nov
Darbinyan, V., et al. “Rhodiola rosea in stress-induced fatigue -- A
double-blind cross-over study of a standardized extract SHR-5 with a
repeated lose-dose regimen on the mental performance of healthy
physicians during night duty.” Phytomedicine, 2000; 7(5),365-71.
Note: Statements in this article have not been evaluated by the FDA.
This information is for informational and educational purposes only.
We make no medical or curative claims. If you are dealing with any
health condition, it is advised to see your health care practitioner.