Q. Can you tell me how the Berkeley Test Strips are alike and/or different than the Neogenis Test Strips?
A. The underlying science for both strips is relatively the same. We touch upon it in detail in our FAQ section and provide scientific papers on clinical studies (see FAQ and Scientific Articles at Berkeley Test).
The patent pending strips by Berkeley Test is different in the following ways from that of Neogenis':
* First, Berkeley Test is very affordable. This is relevant for those monitoring their own levels on a frequent basis, i.e., multi-daily testing, in order to make dietary adjustments. At present, the Amazon retail pricing is less than 70-cents compared to Neogenisï¿½, which is about three times as much, presently $2.10. In working with corporate wellness programs and educational organizations, Berkeley Test provide significant discount to encourage heart healthy meals enriched with leafy greens, vegetables, and fruits.
* Second, Berkeley Test is much easier to use. We have an absorption pad and test pad on the opposite sides for the strip; the absorption pad allows you to easily collect the saliva from your mouth and then you simply fold it over to make contact with the test pad. Feedback from elite athletes (see our Berkeley Test All-stars) and senior residences at an independent living facility find the absorption pad was very important to them; they did not like using Neogenisï¿½ because you have to use your finger to apply the saliva.
* Third, Berkeley Test provides packets of 50 and 10 strips per packets as well as individually sealed for corporate wellness and educational programs and other partners interested in validating nitric oxide potent foods. Surprisingly, we found it made a significant difference for different types of individuals. For example, some of the power users love the 50 packet because they use it 2-3 times a day, hence, the 50 packet per month makes economic sense. Whereas other simply want to check once to every other day, therefore, they like the 5-day packet of 10 strips. And now we are finding some of our partners want large orders of the individually sealed strips to give out to their employees to encourage health healthy lunches.
NOTE: For additional information, see my pages on Nitric Oxide Replacement Therapy.
Q. Can you please share what you were going to say about the sensitivity of the strips? I have gotten many questions about Neogenis products on the Forum and so it will be very helpful if I can explain some details about your strips?
A. The current sensitivity of both strips is relatively the same; in short, the underlying test is functionally the same. The Berkeley Test strip is reflective of total body status of nitric oxide derived from both endothelial nitric oxide synthesis and the bioconversion from dietary sources, ie, nitric oxide-potent beets, spinach, among other leafy greens.
Q. Can the Test Strips be used to test the effectiveness of dietary and supplement modifications that one has made in order to improve his nitric oxide status?
A. Philosophically, we are advocates of natural whole food approaches in elevating nitric oxide levels. We receive a lot of email of appreciation ranging from: ï¿½Berkeley is an effective compliance tool to keep me on my DASH dietï¿½ to ï¿½Berkeley strips remind me to incorporate multiple leafy green servings into my mealsï¿½ to ï¿½Berkeley strips are a great Game to get my kids to eat their saladsï¿½ and so on.
More recently, we are finding users are finding that Berkeley Test is effective at screening for nitric oxide supplements. We are not against nitric oxide supplements, but we receive a lot more emails from folks who tell us about nitric oxide supplements that are ï¿½bogusï¿½ or ï¿½don't come close to raising my levels compared to spinachï¿½ and so on. We recommend that if you are unclear about the effectiveness of your nitric oxide supplements compare them to Mediterranean salad rich in arugula, beets, and spinach or an all-natural beet root juice from a reliable source 2 hrs afterwards. We continue to search for a high quality all-natural ingredient alternatives.
Q. Based on what you have seen, is it better to use supplements or food (nitrate) sources to increase nitric oxide?
A. As a follow up to our previous response, in our opinion, which is reinforced by the current biomedical literature and scientific clinical correlates, a natural source delivered through vegetables and fruits is a very effective and safe way to elevate nitric oxide via the non-nitric oxide synthase pathway. Natural whole foods is both an effective and safe way to elevate nitric oxide as reviewed by Lundberg at the Karolinski Institute.
Q. Why do you emphasize the DASH Diet out of curiosity? There are many great diets out there - why specifically the DASH?
A. Your point is very good and your observation that we tend to selectively push DASH is correct; actually, there are a number of well-characterized heart healthy plant-based diets that are very effective at elevating nitric oxide in the body.
With that said, the reason for emphasizing DASH is because of how well characterized the diet is as it relates to potentiating nitric oxide levels in context of the underlying nitric oxide benefit to reduce hypertension.
From a practical standpoint, we see how effective the strips have been at influencing dietary lifestyle changes for the better, ie, DASH compliance. Based on a very large number of emails, we see the strips bringing heart healthy foods, repeatedly, into one's daily meals.
If the outcome is weight control and preventing pre-hypertension in our aging population or provoking young people to substitute sugar-laden power juices with all-natural beet juice or add an extra serving of a leafy green salad to their meal or substitute celery for a candy bar, then Berkeley Test is doing its job.
Q. You (and Dr. Bryan) have mentioned that the best time to test your NO is really in the morning right when you wake up to get a baseline reading. However, can you really measure this with the strips as they stand now since they're not really measuring true endothelial NO, just a correlate? Plus, if you ate some nitrates at 8 pm, aren't they completely out of your system by the time you wake up the morning?
A. Berkeley Test strips are reflective of the total nitric oxide bioactivity and bioavailability. For the vast majority of users, early morning readings provides a relative baseline and then measuring at various time points after eating foods presumably rich in nitric oxide potency will give you feedback as to when your levels have peaked. Depending on the food source and amount as well as the frequency of eating will influence your levels throughout the day. And for some elite athletes versus sedentary individual, we find levels will vary dramatically. However, it is not usual to see peak levels within 2-3 hrs after eating a spinach-beet salad.
Q. You mentioned that nitrites can "build up" in your system I believe? In other words, a man might have to eat nitrate-based foods for a few days. I thought nitrites were short-lived or is that just NO itself? Or did you mean that one's responsiveness to nitrites has to build up?
A. Nitric oxide is measured in milliseconds, and nitrite is in constant flux with nitrate, which is relatively stable. But keep in mind, the flux for both nitrate and nitrite is influenced by a number of factors, i.e., high intensity training causing pH changes which influences nitrite reduction, the amount of XOR in RBC, i.e., pre-hypertensive are higher in XOR, therefore may be more effective in reducing nitrate, frequency of eating nitric oxide-potent foods as well as the amount and type of nitrate rich foods, and so on.
However, I think a reasonable rule of thumb is that the current strips provide a snapshot of one's nitric oxide bioavailablity and bioactivity within the body. Based on clinical correlates, saliva levels serve as a meaningful biomarker of the nitric oxide benefits derived from natural whole foods diet rich with nitric oxide-potent leafy greens and beets.
Q. How well do your test strips measure arterial (endothelial) nitric oxide?
A. The strips are effective at providing a gauge of total body status. More to your point, the strips are reflective of nitric oxide bioactivity and bioavailability derived from both endogenous, ie, nitric oxide synthase, and exogenous, ie, bioconversion of a dietary source.
From a practical standpoint, we see the strips as an effective means to reinforce the importance of plant-based diets rich in nitric-potent foods. I sense you would agree, especially, for the US, we as a society fall far short of the recommended servings of 'heart healthy' vegetables.
Q. Let's say someone eats a meal that includes a significant amount of beet root juice, spinach or arugula and yet does not register much if any increase on your test strips. What would your reaction be? What could cause this?
If the individual is depleted a few hours after eating a nitrate-rich meal, here are some thoughts: first, antibiotics and/or mouthwash disrupted the microflora in the mouth, second, drug interference, i.e. proton pump antagonist, third, a systemic concern, i.e., poor GI absorption ï¿½ if so, see your doctor, third, you are unusually depleted possibly because of a poor diet ï¿½ if so, please consider seeing a nutritionist and reassess your vegetable and fruit intake ï¿½ and it may take some time to replenish your pools per se. And there are other considerations depending on the individual.
If you encounter such a problem with our strip and simply have a question, please feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will be more than happy to work with you.