Most of them do not contain enough of the active ingredients from Wasabia japonica to give you the health benefits they claim.
Petiole only wasabi capsules
Leaf petiole mix wasabi capsules
Whole plant wasabi capsules
550mg Sawa Wasabi Capsules on a Wasabi Leaf
Mixtures inside a Wasabi Capsule
What does this mean? It really means what it says; leaf, leaf stalk (petiole), rhizome (aboveground stem) and the roots.
You would assume that you will get the maximum benefit from using the whole plant, but in reality you getting the absolutely worse option.
Here is why.
Parts of Wasabia japonica & Activity Levels
|Part of the Wasabia japonica plant||Percentage (%) of plant by weight||Percentage (%) of active ingredients|
|Leaf Stalk (Petiole)|
|Swollen above ground root (rhizome)|
These are most common wasabi capsules that are available. This is because the petiole is the largest quantity by weight from the wasabi plant, and tends to be the cheapest when you buy it in bulk. This is what most companies tend to do - all they want is the word Wasabi or Wasabia japonica on the label to meet the labelling regulations in most countries.
The problem with these is that the low amount of active ingredients you receive means that the capsule does not give you the health benefits you are expecting, and it is a waste of your money.
This is an even more insidious use of a word to mislead the consumer. The problem is that most people when they think about a wasabi rhizome that it is the root of the plant when that is not the case.
Whole wasabi plant just been harvested before trimming. The rhizome is hidden under the brown mass of roots.
Wasabi rhizome partly trimmed to show the difference between before and after.
While some processors discard the brown coloured very fine roots and just use the thicker white main roots, they do not all do this.
The fact that the word "Root" is used in the ingredients list should indicate that there are no health benefits to be obtained from the product.
This is the real deal and this is what it looks like prior to freeze drying and grinding into a powder.
This is the part of the Wasabia japonica plant that contains all the goodness and health benefits. It should be this part that the wasabi capsules contain without anything else.
Other ingredients that are added to the Wasabi Capsule
This tends to be the part that the manufacturer can really become inventive. By adding other non-active ingredients to act as a filler then they do not need to use as mush of the expensive wasabi powder. This just means that they make more money and improve their bottom line without actually giving the customer what they require.
Here are some of the extra, non-useful ingredients added.
- Magnesium Stearate is essentially a chalk-like substance, which prevents the supplements from sticking together and allows the machinery to run smoother and faster, which equates to cost savings during the manufacturing process. Magnesium stearate is not a source of magnesium and has no benefits, but may have a detrimental effect on your immune function as stearic acid has been linked to suppression of T cells. The filler also stimulates your gut to form a biofilm, which can prevent proper absorption of nutrients in your digestive tract.
- Rice bran is one of the richest sources of dietary fiber. In most cases it merely acts as a filler and reduces the amount of health benefiting active ingredients the capsule contains.
- Silica is used in the manufacturing of supplements and medications to prevent blockages in the machinery, prevent clumping and helping to ensure an even distribution of ingredients. As they are used in the manufacturing process, small amounts make their way into the final product, but do not have a function in the final product. Both compounds are found in nature and our diet, and the small amount that you will consume from supplements/ medications is considered negligible. Having said this, it would be beneficial to have more research on the effects of silica on our health when consumed.
- Rice Extract is also known as red yeast rice extract and is a substance that has been extracted from rice that has been fermented by a certain kind of yeast. This is used in traditional Chinese medicine as well as sold in supplemental form to treat high cholesterol. This substance is also classified as a drug by the FDA and used in cholesterol medications. Because red yeast rice extract is considered both a supplement and a drug there has been some controversy about ways that it can be sold. Recently the FDA required that stores pull supplemental forms of this from the shelf because it is considered a drug and therefore needs to be regulated as such.
When you get onto liquid capsules, then there are even more but different additives.
- Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCTs) are partially man-made fats. The name refers to the way the carbon atoms are arranged in their chemical structure. MCTs are generally made by processing coconut and palm kernel oils in the laboratory.
- Glycerin It is widely used in the food industry as a sweetener and humectant and in pharmaceutical formulations as a lubricant.
- Purified Water is water that comes from any source, but has been purified to remove any chemicals or contaminants. Types of purification include distillation, deionization, reverse osmosis, and carbon filtration.
- Lecithin (soy) is an emulsifier. Some of the more commonly recognized side effects associated with consuming soy lecithin, for instance, are issues like bloating, diarrhea, mild skin rashes, nausea and stomach pain.
- Yellow Beeswax is also classified as food additive E901, in small quantities acting as a glazing agent, which serves to prevent water loss, or used to provide surface protection for some fruits. Soft gelatin capsules and tablet coatings may also use E901. Beeswax is also a common ingredient of natural chewing gum.
- Chlorophylline. As a food coloring agent, copper complex chlorophyllin is known as natural green 3 and has the E number E141.
- Titanium Dioxide is considered as an inert and safe material and has been used in many applications for decades. Although TiO2 is permitted as an additive (E171) in food and pharmaceutical products we do not have reliable data on its absorption, distribution, excretion and toxicity on oral exposure. It is unclear why this is used in food or supplements.
The recommended dosage for Wasabia japonica for daily use is a heaped teaspoon - approximately 5 grams of fresh grated Wasabia japonica rhizome daily.
This equates to 1 - 2 gms of freeze dried Wasabia japonica powder.
While researching this article I looked at a number of products and found most manufacturers suggested that people take 1 - 2 capsules per day. Add to this the fact that the quantity of Wasabia japonica powder varied from 50mg - 550mg per capsule, then it seems that users of these products are not getting the health benefits they should be.
Here are a few dosage recommendations I found with their capsule size.
Wasabi Capsule Sizes and Dosage recommendations
| Capsule size |
- Make sure ingredients list contains Wasabia japonica rhizome.
- Make sure there are NO other ingredients listed
- Make sure the capsule weight is at least 500mg.
- Make sure that you get at least 90 capsules (1 months supply)
- Make sure recommended dosage is at least 1.5 gms daily.
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