Bulletproof® Upgraded™ Vanilla
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Bulletproof® Upgraded™ Vanilla

Bulletproof®  Upgraded Vanilla

No doubt you are familiar with the smell and taste of vanilla.  Did you know that it has many health benefits?  Vanilla is reported to boost brain function, fight inflammation, and boost your immune system.  Upgraded™ vanilla comes from Madagascar vanilla beans and processed to maintain flavor and minimize mycotoxin and other toxins so that you can reap all the rewards.  Contrary to common notions vanilla (Vanilla planifolia) is not a spice.  It is a tropical herbaceous vine and a member of the orchid family.

Upgraded™ vanilla beans are harvested by experienced craftsmen who know the right beans to pick.  The vanilla beans are then ground into a high quality meal.  A second grind is done to make a finer powder and then dried using low heat and pressure for twelve days.  This process kills and eliminates microbes and mycotoxins.  Upgraded™ vanilla powder can be used to flavor any number of foods.

You be pleased to know that Upgraded™ vanilla contain no fillers like acacia gum or inulin.  This product is 100 percent pure and concentrated vanilla unlike other vanilla bean powders.  As you know, vanilla products are expensive but did you know that many of them are synthetic?  The synthetic forms don't have the same flavor nor do they work the same way in the body. 

Vanilla Bean Components

Vanilla beans contain vanillin (a phenolic aldehyde), a number of other phenoles, eugenol, caproic acid, alcohols, carbonyl compounds, acids, esters, lactones, aliphatic and aromatic carbohydrates, and vitispiranes (contributes to vanilla aroma).  Some of the B-complex vitamins are present including B1 (thiamin), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), B5 (pantothenic acid), and B6 (pyridoxine).  The B-complex vitamins are important for enzyme synthesis and enzyme activation that are involved in metabolic processes.  These beans also contain minerals including calcium, magnesium, potassium, manganese, iron, and zinc.  Calcium is important for bone and teeth, cell signaling, and import/export of molecules through cell membranes.  Potassium is important for maintaining electrolyte balance in the body and maintaining cell membrane potential.  Manganese and copper are cofactors that activate the enzyme superoxide dismutase (SOD) so important for scavenging superoxide radicals.  Iron is an important component of hemoglobin and carries oxygen to all your cells by way of red blood cells.  Iron is a cofactor important for activating cytochrome oxidases.  Cytochrome oxidases are found in mitochondria and part of the metabolic process that makes ATP.  


The vanilloids in the vanilla bean have analgesic, anti-inflammatory, and cognitive enhancing properties that are similar to hot pepper capsaicins.  Vanilloids are also found in ginger, cayenne, bay, allspice, and cloves which all carry analgesic and anti-inflammatory molecules.  In vitro (cell cultures) and in vivo (animal experiments) experiements have begun to elucidate vanillin function in the body.  This molecule really packs a punch where pain and inflammation are concerned.

Vanillin and Pain

To understand vanilloids and how they effect pain, one needs to know a little bit about the nervous system and its receptors.  Pain mechanisms have been studied for decades and involve a number of receptors and receptor substrates making for a complex system that can be difficult to understand. 

Pain detection for the most part occurs at peripheral terminals of specialized sensory neurons known as nociceptors (noci means pain).  These specialized neurons convert chemical, mechanical, or thermal information into action potentials that carry this information to the central nervous system where the stimulus is interpreted as pain or some form of discomfort.  These specialized neurons carry a capsaicin (vanilloid) receptor in their membranes that is also an excitatory ion channel which is responsible for detection and signal transduction of noxious stimuli.  When capsaicin or vanillin bind, this inhibits pain signals.  The capsaicin or vanilloid receptor 1 is called TRPV1.  This receptor/channel complex is a non-selective cation channel that responds to heat, vanilloids, and extracellular proteins.  This membrane complex is sensitive to pro-inflammatory agents as well.  Evidence suggests that this complex is involved in peripheral and visceral inflammatory pain such as seen in inflammatory bowel disease, bladder inflammation, and cancer pain including general inflammatory responses throughout the body.  Researchers are considering this complex as a key therapeutic target for pain management whether it be through pharmaceuticals, foods, and/or nutriceuticals.  The critical factor here is to maintain normal physiological activity of TRPV1 while correcting channels that are over-active.  Pain sensation is a necessary part of survival without which life-span is greatly reduced. 

Vanillin and Inflammation

Vanilloids have been demonstrated to inhibit the activity of lipopolysaccharides (LPS) stimulated NF kappaB thereby inhibiting an inflammatory response.  NF kappaB happens to be a transcription factor that is involved with turning genes on in the nucleus that are involved with inflammation.

The immune system has a number of messenger molecules that it uses to talk to other immune cells as well as cells in other tissues and organs.  These are commonly known as cytokines and there are many of them.  Think of them as a way to make a chemical phone call to other cells.  Once such cytokine is tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-alpha).  TNF-alpha is secreted by macrophages when the immune system has been activated due to toxins or other pathogens.  When TNF-alpha binds to a cell, that tells the cell to destroy a protein known as IB that is found in the cytoplasm.  IB is attached to NF kappaB where it anchors NF kappaB in place.  Now that IB protein is destroyed, that frees NF kappaB.  NF kappaB then travels from the cytoplasmic space into the nucleus where it binds to specific genes that have receptors for NF kappaB.  These are genes that code for proteins involved in inflammatory responses.  The presence of vanilloids inhibits the NF kappaB pathway stopping transcription of inflammatory genes. 

Vanilla Orchid

The vanilla orchid is native to Mexico and grows on climbing vines that run up trees and rocks in the wild.  It is also grown in Madagascar and Tahiti in orchards where they are trained to grow on sticks and poles.  Vanilla beans come from white flowers that are produced only once a year.  Each flower produces only one vanilla pod.  The bloom lasts for only one day before dying leaving behind its greenish yellow fruit.  This fruit (bean pod) contains seeds that are the actual vanilla bean.  The pods are gathered and blanched in boiling water for one minute and then laid out in the sun on screen tables that allows air to flow around the pods.  This sun drying process continues until the pods are black/brown in color and somewhat shriveled.  The pods can be stored and used whole or sliced open to remove the seeds.  Some pods are used to make liquid extracts.   

Suggested Reading




Vanilla, cocoa, coconut, orange peel, ginger & nutmeg…


Vanilloid Carbamates and Fatty Hydroxamates As Potent Anti-inflammatory Analgesics


Transient Receptor Potential Vanilloid 1 Agonists as Candidates for Anti-inflammatory Agents


Physiology and Pharmacology of the Vanilloid Receptor


Signal transduction for inhibition of inducible nitric oxide synthase and cyclooxygenase-2 induction by capsaicin and related analogs in macrophages


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