Q10 combo reduces cancer relapse
Breast cancer patients who take coenzyme Q10, riboflavin (vitamin B2) and niacin (vitamin B3) supplements along with the chemotherapy drug tamoxifen may reduce their risk of relapse, new research suggests.
In a study based in India, researchers randomly divided 84 women with breast cancer into various groups to study the effects of these supplements taken in combination with tamoxifen. For 45 days, one group received 100 mg per day of coenzyme Q10, 10 mg per day of riboflavin and 50 mg per day of niacin, along with 10 mg of tamoxifen twice per day. Another group underwent the same regimen for 90 days. In each case, researchers found significant reductions in two substances that serve as circulating breast cancer tumour markers.
Giving coenzyme Q10, riboflavin and niacin supplements, along with tamoxifen, to breast cancer patients "reduces the serum tumour marker level and thereby reduces the risk of cancer recurrence and metastases," the researchers concluded.
Source: Biol Pharm Bull. 2007 Feb;30(2):367-70
Strict diet helps arthritis patients
A gluten-free vegan diet may improve the health of patients with rheumatoid arthritis, according to new research from the Swedish medical university Karolinska Institute. The diet also has a beneficial effect on several risk factors for cardiovascular disease.
Rheumatoid arthritis is associated with an increased risk of atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) and cardiovascular diseases. The protective effect was seen when a group of patients who kept to a gluten-free vegan diet for a year were compared with a control group which had followed ordinary dietary advice. Vegan food had a positive effect on symptoms of the disease, which were more pronounced in the control group. Blood levels of oxidized LDL-cholesterol, a risk factor for atherosclerosis, were also lower in the group which kept to the vegan diet.
"Our findings suggest a new mechanism by which the level of natural protective antibodies can be increased. They also show that diet can have effects on the immune system with implications for the incidence of disease," says Professor Johan Frostegård, who led the study.
Source: Karolinska Institute, Mar 18, 2008
Sea Buckthorn aids liver
The berries of Sea Buckthorn (Hippophae rhamnoides) are well-known for their cholesterol-busting properties but scientists in India say that the leaves of the plant, rich in antioxidants, may help ward off liver disease.
In a controlled experiment, rats were given an extract of the leaves of Sea Buckthorn before being administered a liver-damaging agent (carbon tetrachloride) while others were given a saline solution instead. The results showed that the leaf extract appeared to confer a "significant" protective mechanism on the liver – the normally serious damage to the liver from the chemical was severely restricted.
Indigenous to the mountainous regions of China and Russia, Sea Buckthorn has been shown to be rich in vitamin C, vitamin E, flavonoids and essential fatty acids. The leaves are also used to make tea. Sea Buckthorn has strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, which may explain the liver protection found in the new study.
Although the study is preliminary and needs to be confirmed by further research, it suggests that Sea Buckthorn leaf extract may afford protection for the liver against a variety of damaging agents such as alcohol, too much fast food, cadmium and other metals. Not yet published, the new study by India’s Defense Institute of Physiology and Allied Sciences is due to appear in the Society of Chemical Industry’s (SCI) Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture.
In another recent study on the plant, scientists from Finland reported that regular consumption of the berries of Sea Buckthorn (not the leaf) reduced levels of a protein that is associated with inflammation, diabetes and heart disease.
ALA may inhibit heart disease
A new animal study has discovered that supplements of lipoic acid can inhibit formation of arterial lesions, lower triglycerides and reduce blood vessel inflammation and weight gain – all key issues for addressing cardiovascular disease.
The researchers "strongly suggest that lipoic acid supplementation may be useful as an inexpensive but effective intervention strategy… reducing known risk factors for the development of atherosclerosis and other inflammatory vascular diseases in humans." The study found that lipoic acid supplements reduced atherosclerotic lesion formation that are widely used to study cardiovascular disease, by 55% and 40%, respectively. The supplements were also associated with almost 40% less body weight gain, and lower levels of triglycerides in very low-density lipoproteins
The study by scientists at the Linus Pauling Institute and College of Veterinary Medicine at Oregon State University, and the Department of Medicine at the University of Washington, was reported in the January 2008 issue of Circulation, a journal of the American Heart Association.
Heart disease is the leading cause of death in Canada. Atherosclerosis, or what used to be called "hardening of the arteries," is now seen as a chronic inflammatory disease that involves a process resulting in fat deposits in the arteries. This chronic process often begins during adolescence, can continue for a lifetime, and has been linked to obesity, poor diet, lack of exercise, diabetes, high blood pressure, genetic predisposition and other causes. The fatty deposits in arteries can ultimately trigger a heart attack or stroke.
Researchers now believe that high levels of alpha lipoic acid can be particularly useful in preventing this process by inhibiting the formation of the adhesion molecules. It can also lower triglycerides, another important risk factor for cardiovascular disease. ALA may also function as an antioxidant and help to normalize insulin signaling and glucose metabolism.
Alpha lipoic acid is a naturally occurring nutrient found at low levels in green leafy vegetables, potatoes and meats, especially organ meats such as kidney, heart or liver. The amounts used in this research would not be obtainable by any normal diet, researchers said, and for human consumption might equate to supplements of about 2,000 milligrams per day.
Stopping HRT reduces breast cancer
New U.S. government numbers provide the strongest evidence yet that synthetic menopause hormone supplements (HRT) can raise the risk of breast cancer. Rates of the disease leveled off in 2004 after plunging in 2003 the year after millions of women stopped taking HRT because a big study had tied them to higher heart, stroke and breast cancer risks. Coincidentally, a study in the April 18, 2007 issue of The Lancet found HRT increases a woman’s risk for ovarian womb and breast cancer. Risks returned to normal a few years after supplementation stopped.
Resveratrol promotes longevity
Huge amounts of a red wine extract—Resveratrol—seemed to help obese mice eat a high-fat diet and still live a long, healthy and active life. Experts are calling the new study by Harvard Medical School and the U.S. National Institutes of Aging "landmark research."
The study is so promising that the aging institute is strongly considering a repeat of the same experiment with rhesus monkeys—coming the closest to humans—after successful Resveratrol experiments on yeast, worms, fruit flies and now mice. The mice received the rodent equivalent of a chocolate cream pie for every meal and still had fewer diseases and the organs of very young mice and most are still alive long after they should have died.
Resveratrol works by spurring activity and re-growth in cells’ mitochondria. And if tests show the same result for humans, you sure won’t want to get your Resveratrol from wine: you’d have to drink over 100 bottles of wine a day to get the amount given to the rejuvenated mice. Special large-dose Resveratrol tablets would be required to equal those dosages.
The study is published in the November 2006 issue of the journal Nature.
B vitamins key for elderly
Two recent studies underscore the importance of adequate B vitamin levels for aging people, both for brain and bone health.
In the first study, University of Oxford researchers found that vitamin B12 may protect against brain volume loss in older people, and ultimately reduce the risk of developing dementia. "Many factors that affect brain health are thought to be out of our control, but this study suggests that simply adjusting our diets to consume more vitamin B12 [may] prevent brain shrinkage and so perhaps save our memory," said lead author Anna Vogiatzoglou.
Over five years of this study, researchers noted a greater decrease in brain volume among people with lower vitamin B12. The study followed 107 community-dwelling volunteers aged 61 to 87 years. It is important to note that none of the volunteers were vitamin B12 deficient. In a second study, researchers found that low levels of vitamins B6 and B12 and high levels of homocysteine were associated with increased risk of hip fracture. In this study, 714 senior men and women underwent tests to measure bone density and blood levels of homocysteine and B vitamins, folic acid and vitamins B6 and B12, at the outset and after 4 years.
The data showed that those with low vitamin B6 levels experienced more bone density loss than people with normal B6 levels, and people with B6 deficiency lost the most bone. Low and deficient levels of vitamins B6 and B12, as well as high levels of homocysteine were also all independently associated with more hip fractures.
Sources: Neurology 2008, Volume 71, Pages 826-832; J Clin Endocrinol Metab 2008;93:2206–12
Resveratrol combats Alzheimer's
According to two separate recently-published studies, Resveratrol — a polyphenol found most notably in grapes, grape juice, red wine and in Resveratrol supplements — may help prevent the plaque build-up linked to Alzheimer’s disease, as well as lower the risk of bone marrow cancer tumours.
Published in the November 1, 2005 issue of Cancer Research, the first study found the reduction in myelomas of bone marrow was greater for higher doses of Resveratrol.
The second study, published in the November 11, 2005 edition of issue of the Journal of Biological Chemistry, investigated the mechanisms behind red wine’s epidemiological association with decreased incidence of Alzheimer’s. It concluded that Resveratrol has a potentially therapeutic effect on this disease.
Artichoke for cholesterol
Researchers at the University of Reading have found that artichoke leaf extract can help lower cholesterol in otherwise healthy people with moderately raised levels. Once plasma cholesterol reaches a certain level, drugs such as statins are often prescribed to help reduce it.
Intervention before concentrations reaches these levels may help reduce the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases without the need for drugs. For the trial, 75 volunteers were given 1280 mg (4 capsules) of artichoke extract or a matched placebo, each day for 12 weeks, producing a significant reduction in total plasma cholesterol.
Source: Medical News Today, Jul 3, 2008