Fish Oil, Cocoa Extract, Phytosterols Ward Off Heart Disease

Nature's Medicine Is Food

Could a combined dietary supplement help ward off heart disease?

25/04/2016 08:38 GMT Cardiff University

Combining marine fish oil, cocoa extract and phytosterols into a dietary supplement could offer new hope in the fight against heart disease, a new study suggests. A collaborative study between Cardiff University scientists and South Wales-based nutritional supplement manufacturer, Cultech Ltd, examined the potential of combining the three ingredients as a means of preventing atherosclerosis or ‘furring’ of the arteries.
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Full bibliographic information A Unique Combination of Nutritionally Active Ingredients Can Prevent Several Key Processes Associated with Atherosclerosis In Vitro; Joe W. E. Moss, Thomas S. Davies, Iveta Garaiova, Sue F. Plummer, Daryn R. Michael , Dipak P. Ramji; PLOS; http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0151057

 

Vitamin D Improves Heart Function

Nutrition News Vitamin D Issue: Good Day Sunshine!

A daily dose of vitamin D3 improves heart function in people with chronic heart failure,

a five-year University of Leeds research project has found.

Dr Klaus Witte, from the School of Medicine and Consultant Cardiologist at Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, led the study, known as VINDICATE.

He said: “This is a significant breakthrough for patients. It is the first evidence that vitamin D3 can improve heart function of people with heart muscle weakness – known as heart failure. These findings could make a significant difference to the care of heart failure patients.”

Vitamin D3 can be boosted by exposure to sunlight, but heart failure patients are often deficient in it even during the summer because older people make less vitamin D3 in response to sunlight than younger people. Vitamin D3 production in the skin is also reduced by sunscreen.

The study, which was funded by the Medical Research Council, involved more than 160 patients from Leeds who were already being treated for their heart failure using proven treatments including beta-blockers, ACE-inhibitors and pacemakers.

Participants were asked to take vitamin D3 or a dummy (placebo) tablet for one year. Those patients who took vitamin D3 experienced an improvement in heart function which was not seen in those who took a placebo.

Changes in heart function were measured by cardiac ultrasound. Heart specialists measure heart function by taking an ultrasound scan of the heart (known as an echocardiogram) and measuring how much blood pumps from the heart with each heartbeat, known as ejection fraction.

The ejection fraction of a healthy person is usually between 60% and 70%. In heart failure patients, the ejection fraction is often significantly impaired – in the patients enrolled into the VINDICATE study the average ejection fraction was 26%.

In the 80 patients who took Vitamin D3, the heart’s pumping function improved from 26% to 34%. In the others, who took placebo, there was no change in cardiac function.

This means that for some heart disease patients, taking vitamin D3 regularly may lessen the need for them to be fitted with an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD), a device which detects dangerous irregular heart rhythms and can shock the heart to restore a normal rhythm.

“ICDs are expensive and involve an operation” said Dr Witte. “If we can avoid an ICD implant in just a few patients, then that is a boost to patients and the NHS as a whole.”

One key aspect of this study is that the researchers avoided using a calcium-based supplement, as calcium can cause further problems for heart failure patients.

The findings from the VINDICATE study will be presented at the American College of Cardiology 65th Annual Scientific Session & Expo in Chicago on April 4.

Heart failure affects about 900,000 people in the UK and more than 23 million worldwide.

The condition can affect people of all ages, but it is more common in older people – more than half of all people globally with heart failure are over the age of 75.

Honey’s Potential To Save Lives By Destroying Harmful Fungus

Honey Comb

05 February 2016 Manchester University

The healing powers of honey have been known for thousands of years. Now a graduate from The University of Manchester has discovered a powerful link between a medicinal type of honey and the destruction of a fungus that can cause blindness or even death.

In the first study of its kind, student Zain Habib Alhindi used different concentrations of Surgihoney, a biologically engineered honey that produces chemically reactive molecules containing oxygen, to test how effective it could be in destroying the fungus Fusarium, which is found on plants and in soil and can cause devastating infections in vulnerable people.

 

Zain discovered even the lowest concentrations had a significant effect in breaking down the cell wall of the fungus, demonstrating its potential as a future treatment for patients.

She said: “Chronic infections, such as those found in long-lasting wounds comprise about 60-80 per cent of infectious diseases in humans and the way fungi invades wounds is associated with the use of broad-spectrum antibiotics.

“However, we know that biofilms – thin layers of microorganisms, which group together – contribute to the severity and delayed healing of chronic wounds.

“Through my research I wanted to show the potential for honey as a healing agent to break through these biofilms and in doing so increase the process of healing. What I found amazing is that honey actually works better than some antifungals.”

 

Honey

Zain (29) from Saudi Arabia is one of only handful of students who have completed The University’s new master’s degree course in Medical Mycology which runs for just one year instead of the customary two, making it a world first.

Because of the way the course is structured Zain was able to spend almost a third of her time in the lab working on experiments to test her theory under the supervision of Dr Riina Rautemaa-Richardson, Senior Lecturer in Infectious Diseases in The University’s Institute of Inflammation and Repair.

Dr Rautemaa-Richardson believes it’s this intensive, hands-on approach, which appeals to her students and equips them for a career in specialised medicine or research.

She said: “This dynamic course provides a solid foundation to the scientific, practical and clinical aspects of fungal diseases, which allows clinically relevant research like this. In the world of increasing antimicrobial resistance new approaches to the management of infections, sparing the real antibiotics, are highly relevant and important.”

Professor Malcolm Richardson, Professor of Medical Mycology at The University of Manchester added: “Honey has been used since ancient times for the treatment of several diseases. Only a limited number of investigations have looked at its effect on pathogenic fungi.

“This opens an exciting door for further work on the application of honey for many fungal infections and allows researchers to adopt different options for treating a range of superficial infections.”

Safe Natural Home Cleaning With Ingredients From Your Pantry

Safe, natural cleaning supplies from the kitchen.

Heather Ford posted an article on theGrowNetwork.com discussing simple cleaning ingredients most of us have or have seen in the kitchen or pantry. Basic supplies like vinegar, baking soda and salt. Nothing to be afraid of here.

Plus she breaks down the differences between soap and detergents and lots of other cool things you’ll enjoy knowing. If you’re into this sort of thing, cleanliness, safety and effective, you’ll appreciate this basic household chemistry lesson courtesy of Hints By Heather.

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