Proteomic Evaluation of Copaiba

Contributed by Dr. Damian Rodriguez DHSc, MS

Article at a Glance

You often hear about the cutting-edge research doTERRA is conducting on essential oils. One type of research, proteomics, is opening many new possibilities in areas of essential oil research. Through proteomics, scientists have been able to examine doTERRA Copaiba essential oil and its impact on signaling pathways in the body. While more research is needed, this study provides insight into how the internal and aromatic use of Copaiba essential oil can potentially impact different body systems.

What Is Proteomics and Why Is It Important?

Proteomics takes the study of DNA and the storage and annotation of its data (genomics), one step further by focusing on the proteins that an organism produces. In proteomic investigation, researchers work to identify the function of proteins. This includes how proteins change and interact with everything around them, including essential oils1.

Essential oils are biologically active compounds. When introduced into the human organism, they have the potential to influence everything they come in contact with. Through research, we are discovering that each essential oil has a unique biochemical fingerprint. This is an instruction guide detailing how they influence signaling pathways and promote protein activity. This activity can influence the structure and function of our body’s tissues. doTERRA has been working with research partners on proteomic research to identify how essential oils can affect our bodies and to further understand how we can most effectively use them. Now that you understand the significance of this research, let’s take a closer look at how it was used by doTERRA scientists to study Copaiba essential oil.

The Study

doTERRA Senior Director of Research & Quality Control, Dr. Cody Beaumont, and research partners used proteomic technologies to investigate the relationship between a protein coding gene known as Akt3 and regulation of pI3K/Akt/mTOR signaling pathway in the presence of CPTG Copaiba essential oil. This cellular pathway influences countless cellular functions and is essential for healthy cell growth, proliferation, and metabolism2. Additionally, the researchers modified the expression of Akt3 in various tissues to develop a greater understanding of how Copaiba may influence signaling pathways in different body systems. They hoped that the data on tissue-specific response could help drive future essential oil usage models by offering information about the optimal route of administration.

The Results

What Dr. Beaumont and his colleagues found was that, depending on the cell tissue, Copaiba greatly influenced pI3K/Akt/mTOR signaling. For instance, where Akt3 is present (i.e. cells in the central nervous system and kidneys) the regulatory effects of Copaiba on the signaling pathway were positive. Whereas the regulatory effects of Copaiba had a negative impact in cells where Akt3 was absent (liver). Possibly most interesting, Akt3 expression had no impact on the effects of Copaiba on other signaling pathways in all cell types. This includes pathways such as JAK/STAT and MAPK, which influence cell proliferation and immune response.

In sum, Akt3 modulation is likely the mechanism of action for the effects of Copaiba on pI3K/Akt/mTOR signaling. This means that in order to experience specific benefits, the route of essential oil administration matters. The lack of influence of Akt3 expression on the JACK/STAT pathway suggests we still have much to learn regarding Copaiba, how it directly interacts with endocannabinoid receptors (CB2R), and how it influences the inflammation and immune response. These findings, while encouraging, are experimental and more research will be required to validate them.

What’s Next?

doTERRA scientists and their research partners hope to expand on these findings in the near future to further understand how Copaiba works. The next steps will focus further on how Copaiba influences cannabinoid receptor-mediated pathways and how this biochemical influence can be used to support the function of various body systems.


doTERRA Science blog articles are based on a variety of scientific sources. Many of the referenced studies are preliminary, experimental studies and further research is needed to gain a greater understanding of the findings. Essential oils may have drug interactions, patient contraindications, or adverse effects that cannot be evaluated using experimental research results alone. If you are interested in using essential oils for any health concern, consult with your healthcare provider first.

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