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Dr Peter Koeppel, expert on human nucleotide nutrition for preventative health

The importance of nucleotides for human nutrition according to Dr Peter Koeppel, PhD


Dr Peter Koeppel expert on nucleotides for human nutrition talks to Jonathan Longden on the importance of these micro nutrients in our everyday biochemical functions and health. 

For 25 years, Dr Köppel has led the research for nucleotide food formulations pioneered in Switzerland. He is considered as one of the world’s foremost experts on nucleotides for preventative health. 

Listen to Peter's interview here

For more information about Dr Koeppel and his research on nucleotide food supplementation for human nutrition and gut repair, contact us at info@celldetoxhub.com. To find out about nucleotide food products available in Australia, or visit www.cellulardetoxhub.com.au for more details.


JL:Today I’m speaking with Dr Peter Köppel, CEO of Swiss Nucleotide supplement producer ProBio. Peter has spent his career researching the benefits of nucleotides, and has been working closely with pioneering UK Company, Nucleotide Nutrition, helping to develop, produce and distribute their growing range of dietary supplements. Before we start with some questions, Peter, thank you for joining us- would you mind explaining a bit more about yourself and your work?


PK: Thanks, Jonathan. I am a biochemist, I completed my study at the University of Fribourg in Switzerland. Afterwards, I did my PhD work at the University of Zurich in Immunology. In 1988, we started with a company called Chemoforma, to produce some nucleotide supplements for the animal market. In this company, we did quite a lot of tests with these products, to check the effect of nucleotides on different animals. We have seen quite an important effect in the immune system of the animals, but also in the digestion. In 2006, we started, based on the experience with Chemoforma, a company called ProBio, to produce nucleotide supplements for the human market. We then had a close cooperation with a company in the UK called Nucleotide Nutrition. Nucleotide Nutrition helped us successfully introduce our supplements into the UK market. They also helped us to get grants and to fund some clinical trials, which were very successful. They also helped us to expand our supplements successfully into other countries in the EU.


JL: So, can you explain what nucleotides are and what they do?


PK: Nucleotides have different functions in the body. Firstly, they are the building blocks of the DNA. Before a cell can multiply, the DNA needs to be doubled. For one single cell multiplication, 3 billion nucleotides are required to duplicate the DNA. Secondly, nucleotides make up RNA. Protein synthesis always begins firstly with the transcription of the information from the DNA into RNA. This means nucleotides are really important for the building of the proteins in the body. Additionally, nucleotides are very important for the energy transport in the body. All energy is transported in the form of ATP, GTP or UTP- these are all nucleotides. Some very important enzymes in the body that transform proteins, sugar and fats are based on nucleotide derivatives. So the whole metabolism is dependent on nucleotides. Nucleotides are also important for the regulation of cell function- they are used as second messengers in the form of cyclic AMP or cyclic GMP. So you see, nucleotides are more or less involved in all functions of the body.


JL: So nucleotides have a variety of important functions in our bodies. What is the typical daily demand for nucleotides and how do our bodies fulfil this requirement?


PK: This is not an easy question, because the nucleotide requirement is very much dependent on the metabolic activity of the body. As I mentioned before, each cell needs 3 billion nucleotides for a cell multiplication. But nucleotides are also very important for example, in the immune response or during growth and repair. And intestinal cells have a very high requirement for nucleotides. Under normal conditions, nucleotide needs for the body can be covered by the body’s own supply, either by new synthesis, whereby nucleotides can be formed from some amino acids and other substances. Or nucleotides can be recycled- this means when cells are dying, parts of the nucleotides can be reutilised for the growth of cells. And third, the nucleotides can be absorbed from the food, but this is a very complicated system, because the body needs first to digest the cells in the food, and only about 5-10% of the nucleotides can really be absorbed. Under higher stress or higher metabolic activities, like for example an immune reaction, or disease, or an infection, the need for nucleotides is drastically increased and can no longer be covered by the body’s own supply.


JL: Is it common for humans to experience a nucleotide deficiency, and what are the consequences of not getting enough nucleotides?


PK: As I mentioned before, nucleotides are indispensible for cell multiplication. This means, as soon as the need for cells in the body raises, the need for nucleotides raises. As an example, a quick immune response is vital to ensure bacterial or viral threats are dealt with before they can have the opportunity to develop into an extensive infection. In the case of a nucleotide deficiency, immune cells cannot develop fast enough, and bacteria or viruses can spread to a full infection. Another really important effect of nucleotides is on the GI tract. The GI tract is the biggest system in the body, it has the size of a football field and the cells of the GI tract are all replaced within about 5-6 days. This shows how important nucleotides are for the integrity of the GI tract. Nucleotide deficiency is quite common today, as the modern lifestyle is often very hectic, and daily stresses increase cell multiplication and therefore, the need for nucleotide supply. Quite often, we consume processed foods, which are deficient in nucleotides. Organ (meats), which are high in nucleotides, like liver, or kidney, or intestine, are no longer consumed. We have done some tests to look at the content on nucleotides in certain foods, and found that mostly liver, kidney and some intestines are very high in nucleotides. Whereas, for example muscle meat, also has some nucleotides, but not as high as liver. But vegetables or fruits are extremely low in nucleotides- so a problem for example, is people who are vegetarian or vegan. They have to be very, very careful in how they combine their foods.


JL: So couldn’t we tackle this by incorporating more nucleotide-rich foods into our diet and improving our lifestyle? Why are nucleotide supplements preferable?


PK: As I just mentioned, nucleotide content varies between different foods. Nucleotide-rich foods are no longer consumed daily. Something else to consider is the absorption of nucleotides from food, which is very minimal and takes a lot of energy and time. Only about 5-10% of nucleotides from food can be absorbed. It is also very it is also very important to mention that we differentiate between purines and pyrimidines in nucleotides. Pyrimidine nucleotides are rather deficient in normal foods, and even in most of the supplements. So, under normal conditions, the uptake of nucleotides is extremely low and insufficient. The supplement that we created is made up of nucleotides that are highly available, and absorption into the body is brought up to 95%, in so helping the body to respond properly under raised nucleotide demand.


JL: How are your nucleotide supplements produced? Are they safe and can be taken by anyone?


PK: We produce our supplements with purified nucleotides, which are extracted from yeast. And this enables us to make combinations of nucleotides that are appropriate for the body, while also taking into account that the nucleotide combinations in foods are not always optimal. After the production, we carefully analyse the product and also check that the nucleotides are included in the right amounts. Our supplements are suitable for vegetarians, they are halal and kosher certified, and they are clinically tested.


JL: Are there any other nucleotide supplements available? How are those sold by Nucleotide Nutrition different to these?


PK: There are many supplements on the market claiming to be nucleotide products, but most of these are crude yeast extracts or RNA, which don’t ensure a proper nucleotide balance and uptake. As I mentioned before, we differentiate between purine nucleotides and pyrimidine nucleotides. Most foods are very rich in purines and low in pyrimidines, and all of the these other supplements don’t account for this imbalance in food, whereas our supplements aim to address this imbalance.


JL: So it seems nucleotides are fundamental in making sure our bodies function properly. If someone is taking other supplements or multivitamins, for example, I presume these couldn’t be properly utilised, if there’s a nucleotide shortage?

PK: This is absolutely true. Nucleotides improve the absorption of nutrients in the gut. By improving absorption, other supplements can be properly taken up. Nucleotides are the first determinants of new cells growth, and the excess of other nutrients cannot replace nucleotides. Cells will not grow properly without nucleotides.

JL: So do nucleotides have any benefits for those with a specific pre-existing gastrointestinal disorder?

PK: Conclusive evidence from many animal trials with nucleotides on gut integrity show reduced micro-lesions, higher villi and a greater surface area of the gut- leading to higher absorption of nutrients. New findings suggest that, in irritable bowel syndrome, micro-lesions in the gut are a major contributing factor to the condition. With our product IntestAid IB, we have seen many promising effects with individuals with this condition. Nucleotide supplements provide a totally unique way of resolving gut issues- by helping the gut to function normally. Indeed, by addressing shortages, they ensure that the gut can be repaired properly, and that the gut lining can remain healthy. Nucleotides have been shown to work synergistically with other natural products, like probiotics or prebiotics, and do not interfere with medication.

JL: You mentioned earlier that nucleotides are vital for immune function. Are nucleotides supplements effective in improving immune function? Are there certain stages of our lives where proper immune support it particularly important?


PK: In the case of an infection, the speed of the immune response is crucial. The quicker the immune response, the lower the spread of invaders, like bacteria or viruses. As nucleotides speed up the DNA duplication, the multiplication of immune cells is faster (when nucleotides supplements are used). To give a measure of this, a bacterium needs only 20 minutes to multiply, whereas an immune cell needs 8 hours, under normal conditions. Within the time it takes for an immune cell to divide once, a bacterium will have divided to give several million new daughter cells. As immune cells have a profound effect on immune cell multiplication, the supplementation of our products can significantly reduce the frequency of widespread infections. The importance of nucleotides was first noticed during the use of baby milk formulas. Originally, these formulas were not supplemented with additional nucleotides, which resulted in a poor immune system development. Analysis of natural human milk showed that it is rich in nucleotides, so today; all first-stage infant formulas are supplemented with nucleotides. But also older people require more nucleotides, as immune function in older age declines. A higher intake of nucleotides can help to improve the immune status of seniors.


JL: I understand our immune systems can be put under a significant strain because of stress, which is a problem for many all over the world. How can nucleotides benefit those who experience stress?


PK: Stress is a very complex process. Under stressful conditions, the body starts to produce stress hormones like cortisol. These stress hormones suppress the immune system. Nucleotides have been proven to lower the production of cortisol, also lowering the negative effect of cortisol on the immune function. Therefore, nucleotides help to overcome the negative effect of stress on the immune system.


JL: So from what I understand- nucleotides are needed every time a new cell is formed. After exercise, will our nucleotide requirement increase at all?


PK:Nucleotide requirement is increased as a result of repair processes following strenuous exercise. But also, the higher protein synthesis during exercise creates and additional need for nucleotides. For example, haemoglobin production is very important. Haemoglobin is responsible for the oxygen transport into the muscle. Higher oxygen supply leads to a lower build up of lactate. Nucleotides increase the haemoglobin content, leading to higher oxygen supply into the muscle.


JL: For those who exercise regularly, are there any benefits to including nucleotide supplements into their routine?


PK: Regular exercise always leads to higher metabolic activity, and higher metabolic activity always needs more nucleotide supplements. Therefore, nucleotides are really very important during regular exercise, to ensure the performance, the recovery and the health of the athlete. Regular exercise can also have a negative effect on the gut function, leading to a lower uptake of nutrients. With nucleotides, we have seen that the gut function is improved, and therefore the uptake of other nutrients is improved, and the supply of all necessary nutrients to the body is also improved. Nucleotides are natural constituents of food, and are therefore not implicated in any way like drugs. Nucleotides enable to body to perform closer to the genetic potential. Additionally, our supplements are all tested by Informed Sport, and are not classified as prohibited substances.


JL: What other benefits might someone expect after taking nucleotides?

PK: The most frequent comment of people taking our products is that they feel more energised, and that they have a better cognitive skill. This can be explained by the fact that nucleotides are the transport system for energy in the body, and also that the nucleotides can be transported into the brain, and there, they can improve the plasticity of the brain cells.


JL: So what products are available from Nucleotide Nutrition? How should someone decide which product is most appropriate for them?


PK: There are currently three main nucleotide supplement products available from Nucleotide Nutrition.  There is IntestAid IB, which is designed to improve the gut function. There is NuCell IM, which is designed for improving the immune function. And nnnsport XCell, which is designed for athletes and sportspeople. All of these products incorporate the special nucleotide formula called Nutritide. This formula is blended with other important vitamins and amino acids. Your health practitioner may even prescribe therapeutic levels of nucleotides via a highly concentrated supplement called Nutritide NT.


JL: If the main ingredient of these different supplements is nucleotides, what is different between each of these products?


PK: The different supplements contain different nucleotide combinations, and different combinations with vitamins and amino acids. The products are available in different forms- either as capsules, or as water-soluble powders. For IntestAid IB and NuCell IM, we recommend an initial dose of three capsules per day, for two weeks, followed by a maintenance dose of one-two capsules daily, depending on stress levels. In the case of the water-soluble powder nnnsport XCell, we recommend two-three grams per day, mixed into the training drinks (even hot drinks can be used). Higher dosages are recommended leading up to competition.

JL: How can people learn more about nucleotides and nucleotide supplements?

PK: The best way is to go to the website of nnnSport website (http://www.nnnsport.com/) and Nucleotide Nutrition (http://www.nucleotidenutrition.com/) Additionally, a lot of information can be found in website called nucleotides4health.org (http://www.nucleotides4health.org/).

JL: Peter, thank you very much for your time today.

 PK: It is my pleasure, thank you very much for the interview Jonathan, and I hope that people can really learn a lot about nucleotides by listening to these records. Thank you very much.