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Polypodium leucotomos

Polypodium Leucotomos (Calaguala) is the commonly referred to name of a herb that appears to possess moderately potent protective effects against sun-induced skin damage; may also be an immune booster.

Our evidence-based analysis on polypodium leucotomos features 33 unique references to scientific papers.

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Summary of Polypodium leucotomos

Primary information, health benefits, side effects, usage, and other important details

Polypodium Leucotomos is a herb commonly referred to as either 'Fernblock' or 'Heliocare' and is marketed as being a skin health supplement for sensitive skin. Most of the studies on Polypodium Leucotomos do note that it appears to have a variety of protective effects against UV(B) induced skin cell radiation, which confers protective effects agains the sun despite absorbing the radiation (something like sunscreen would prevent radiation from being absorbed, and confer protection by omitting the radiation)

The benefits, mechanistically, are part anti-oxidant and part anti-inflammatory but may be highly related to an induction of p53; a protein that is sometimes known as anti-tumor, but also appears to suppress inflammation while protecting the genome (DNA) from damage.

What makes Polypodium novel is that is works after oral ingestion, and that DNA protection has been found in rats following oral ingestion.

Human interventions note that it seems to beneficially influence most skin conditions, with fairly reliable suppression of erythema (reddening of the skin in response to UV radiation) and can help with persons who are hypersensitive to sunlight and suffer from "polymorphic light eruptions", a delayed onset itchiness and reddening (not necessarily a sunburn).

It has been investigated for its abilities to help vitiligo (with not-too-potent results) and for upper respiratory tract infections, with at least one study suggesting promise.

It definitely shows promise and is novel, but is not a highly supported herb when looking at interventions.

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How to Take

Recommended dosage, active amounts, other details

Polypodium leucotomos supplementation has shown benefit in humans with oral supplementation of 7.5mg/kg for skin health (dose based on weight due to correlating with the amount of skin somebody has); this results in a dosage of:

  • 500mg for a 150lb person

  • 700mg for a 200lb person

  • 850mg for a 250lb person

Or alternatively, a topical skin cream containing 0.1% polypodium leucotomos appears effective.

For supplementation of leucotomos for other purposes (or if you do not with to calculate the optimal dose) then the dosage range of 360-720mg appears to be used clinically for skin conditions with the lower dose being beneficial for neurology.

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Human Effect Matrix

Unlocked for Examine members

The Human Effect Matrix summarizes human studies to tell you what effects Polypodium leucotomos has on your body, how much evidence there is, and how strong these effects are.

Full details are available to Examine members.
Grade Level of Evidence
Robust research conducted with repeated double-blind clinical trials
Multiple studies where at least two are double-blind and placebo controlled
Single double-blind study or multiple cohort studies
Uncontrolled or observational studies only
Level of Evidence
? The amount of high quality evidence. The more evidence, the more we can trust the results.
Outcome Magnitude of effect
? The direction and size of the supplement's impact on each outcome. Some supplements can have an increasing effect, others have a decreasing effect, and others have no effect.
Consistency of research results
? Scientific research does not always agree. HIGH or VERY HIGH means that most of the scientific research agrees.
grade-c Notable - See study
Limited evidence suggests potent anti-psoriatic effects.
grade-c Minor - See study
Even in healthy persons, cell adhesion factor expression on immune cells appears to be reduced with supplementation of the herb at 720mg.
grade-c Minor - See study
In persons with senile dementia, supplementation of 360mg anapsos may increase blood flow in both hemispheres of the brain (720mg being less effective).
grade-c Minor - See study
360mg anapsos daily appears to be somewhat benefit for persons with senile dementia.
grade-c - - See study
Although it cannot yet be ruled out, the best evidence currently suggests that the increase in NK cell activation seen with this herb does not apply after oral supplementation.
grade-c - - See study
Currently no evidence to support a role of polypodium leucotomos in the treatment of vitiligo
grade-c - - See study
The increase in T cell count does not appear to be statistically significant, although a possibly relevant increase cannot be ruled out.
grade-d Notable Very High See all 3 studies
Appears to be notably effective against those that are sensitive to sunlight following oral ingestion of Polypodium
grade-d Notable - See study
Preliminary evidence suggests that oral supplemenation is a bit more effective than other supplements for reducing UV damage
grade-d Minor - See study
Appears to reduce infection risk, although it did not appear to be overly remarkable in doing so. makes it easy to keep up with research

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Things to Note

Is a Form Of

Other Functions:

Primary Function:

Also Known As

Phlebodium aureum, Golden Polybody, Cabbage palm fern, Golden serpent fern, Calaguala, Anapsos

Do Not Confuse With

Polygonum Japonicus

Click here to see all 33 references.