AC-11® is a patented, highly purified extract of the nootropic plant cat’s claw.
- Researched. Dozens of studies have affirmed the various health benefits of AC-11.
- Patented. As many as 6 patents cover the formulation and manufacturing process behind AC-11.
- Purified. AC-11 supplements are standardized to at least 8% carboxyl alkyl esters through a proprietary purification technique.
AC-11 is a patented, branded extract of the plant Uncaria tomentosa, which is a woody vine that is native to the rainforests of South and Central America. The plant is highly valued in herbalism and Ayurvedic medicine for its high stores of bioactive compounds associated with health and well-being:
- Oxindole alkaloids: Pentacyclic oxindoles are believed to support the immune system, and tetracyclic oxindoles can influence the central nervous system.
- Quinic acid: The compound may have neuroprotective effects.
- Carboxyl alkyl esters: These complex molecular chains have been shown to support cognition.
Applied sciences company Optigenex has developed a proprietary manufacturing technique that uses aqueous hot water extraction to create AC-11, formerly known as C-MED 100. The supplement is purified and standardized to at least 8% carboxy alkyl esters and a minimal amount of alkaloids.
With this unique composition, AC-11 is primed to improve various aspects of health, ranging from maintaining soft and supple skin to lowering oxidative stress.
How AC-11 Works
AC-11 offers a variety of health benefits that function through several distinct mechanisms:
- Protecting enzymes responsible for repairing DNA strands that have been exposed to excess amounts of stress.
- Boosting the production of collagen type III.
- Regulating inflammation in the body by stabilizing levels of inflammatory compound NF-kB.
- Increasing the lifespan of lymphocytes, or white blood cells, thus enhancing immunity
U.S. patent 6039949 covers the preparation of AC-11 through a method involving the hot water extraction of bioactive ingredients from the Uncaria plant. This is followed by a purification process that eliminates toxic compounds such as polysacharrides and tannins from the extract.
The final AC-11 composition has a low molecular weight, mostly consisting of carboxy alkyl esters with a minimal percentage of steroids and alkaloids.
AC-11 for health benefits in mammals
The AC-11 brand is also protected by five additional U.S. patents 6238675, 6361805, 6964784, 7579023, and 7595064. Collectively, these patents affirm that the supplement maintains a high degree of anti-inflammatory, anti-tumor, and immune-stimulatory properties that may help improve health in warm-blooded animals. These positive effects have also been corroborated on studies on human cell cultures.
AC-11 Nutritional Supplement Uses
The high concentration of purified carboxyl alkyl esters and quinic acid in AC-11 make it a likely nootropic, with potential to protect brain cells and improve cognition. Early animal studies have even pointed to the supplement’s capacity to combat memory loss. However, clinical research has yet to confirm such outcomes.
Since the invention of AC-11, researchers have predominantly centered on demonstrating its ability to support the repair of DNA molecules. This effect has a pronounced effect on the immune system and may bolster immunity.
Skin Health Supplements
In addition, AC-11’s DNA repair capabilities have been associated with maintaining healthy skin. The DNA-repair pathway can boost the natural production of collagen III — a high quantity of which is essential for keeping skin soft and supple.
Joint Health Supplements
A possible downstream benefit of taking AC-11 may be improvements to joint health. Studies have shown that AC-11 is able to help normalize the expression of a key compound, NF-kB, responsible for stabilizing inflammation in the body. A steady ratio of inflammatory to anti-inflammatory markers can help minimize the consequences of oxidative stress on joints, especially in people with rheumatoid arthritis.
In comparison to generic cat’s claw supplements, AC-11 offers several advantages:
- Research: Multiple animal and cell culture studies have shown that AC-11 has a beneficial effect on the body’s natural DNA repair process — ultimately promoting healthy skin, immunity, and brain function.
- Patented: Unlike most other cat’s claw supplements, AC-11 consists of a patented formulation of ingredients extracted from the plant. Optigenex uses its proprietary molecular sieving technology to isolate and concentrate the optimal amount of carboxyl alkyl esters for supplementation.
- Safety: The production of AC-11 conforms to the strict specifications established by government standardization claims. Each batch must pass industry-accepted tests in the U.S. and various other countries around the world to guarantee the supplement’s safe use in humans. Furthermore, AC-11 manufacturing follows Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) standards, and is made in an ISO 9002-certified facility in Brazil known as Centroflora Group.
- Standardization: Unlike generic cat’s claw supplements, AC-11 is standardized to a minimum of 8% carboxyl alkyl esters, with a low content of alkaloids (<0.05%).
- Ethical harvesting: Optigenex also works alongside the Floravida Institutes in Brazil to ensure biodiversity conservation, environmental education, and social inclusion for the local community. Harvesting is conducted under the authority of the Brazilian Institute of Environment and Renewable Natural Resources (IBAMA) in order to minimize damage to the natural environment.
Animal and Cell Culture Research
Numerous studies have demonstrated the various health benefits of AC-11 in animals and cell cultures, particularly for promoting healthy brain function, immunity, and DNA repair. A selection of studies is detailed below.
This study examined the effect of AC-11 on DNA repair and immune function. AC-11 displayed a keen ability to scavenge free radicals and decrease the level of lipid peroxidation, thus diminishing the harm dealt to cells by oxidative stress. Notably, the influence of AC-11 on brain cells suggested its potential to have therapeutic usefulness against neurodegenerative conditions such as Parkinson’s.
- The researchers concluded that “AC-11 could dose dependently protect 6-OHDA induced cell damage by increasing cell viability.”1
This study examined the extent to which AC-11 boosted immunity in mice. Compared with the control, AC-11 helped boost immunity by extending the survival of immune cells (i.e., B cells, T cell, NK cells, and lymphocytes). The supplement significantly prolonged the lifecycle of lymphocytes, thus accelerating the recovery of people with leukopenia, or low levels of white blood cells.
- The researchers concluded that AC-11 may serve as “a potential agent for clinically accelerating the recovery of patients from leukopenia.”2
This study examined the extend to which AC-11 could stimulate the proliferation of lymphocytes in rats. The rats that took AC-11 had statistically significant increases in white blood cells compared with those that took the control, suggesting improvements in immunity. The same group performed a similar pilot study in humans, which is outlined below.
- The researchers concluded that “white blood cells from the AC-11 treatment groups … were significantly elevated compared with controls.”3
Clinical trials are only beginning to investigate the extent to which the health benefits of AC-11 in animal studies applies to humans. An early study, led by one of the inventors of AC-11, demonstrated its efficacy in humans.
In this randomized controlled pilot study, 12 participants took a control, 250 mg of AC-11, or 350 mg of AC-11 every day for 8 weeks. Laboratory blood tests did not uncover any statistically significant differences among the groups in terms of physiology. However, DNA tests did reveal that the AC-11 groups had progressively improved levels of DNA repair at increasing doses.
- The researchers concluded that “supplementation at doses of 250 mg/day or 350 mg/day, the subjects statistically significantly increased the DNA repair capacity.”4
- The few clinical trials conducted have used either 250 mg or 350 mg of AC-11 per day.
- Typical supplements come in a daily serving size of 350 mg, though several suppliers offer doses as high as 700 mg.
- AC-11 is available in a variety of forms, but is most commonly taken as a capsule or applied to the skin as a spray.
Supplements in Review Recommendation
- AC-11®, 250 – 350 mg.
AC-11 is the premier cat’s claw extract. AC-11 may provide support for multiple processes in the body, including cognition, immunity, and skin maintenance. Based on current research, the supplement seems to be best geared for use as a nootropic. More clinical trials concerning the overall potency of AC-11 in humans is needed.
Start with a dose of 250 mg of AC-11. We recommend taking 250 mg of an AC-11 pill or capsule as a nootropic. Liquid and cream forms of AC-11 may be better suited for topical skincare.
- Shi Z, et al. Neuroprotective effects of aqueous extracts of Uncaria tomentosa: Insights from 6-OHDA induced cell damage and transgenic Caenorhabditis elegans model. Neurochem Int. 2013 Jun;62(7):940-7. ↩
- Akesson Ch, et al. C-Med 100, a hot water extract of Uncaria tomentosa, prolongs lymphocyte survival in vivo. Phytomedicine. 2003 Jan;10(1):23-33. ↩
- Sheng Y, et al. Enhanced DNA repair, immune function and reduced toxicity of C-MED-100, a novel aqueous extract from Uncaria tomentosa. Journal of Ethnopharmacology. 2000 Feb;69(2):115-26. ↩
- Sheng Y, et al. DNA repair enhancement of aqueous extracts of Uncaria tomentosa in a human volunteer study. Phytomedicine. 2001 Jul;8(4):275-82. ↩