A wealth of new scientific evidence shines a critical light on the importance of natural foods and nutritional compounds in the fight against overweight, obesity and weight maintenance. Virtually all alternative health experts agree, the current epidemic of weight control issues plaguing western society are the result of excess consumption of highly processed convenience foods that have replaced vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds in the diet. Three independent studies conclude that blueberries, resveratrol from red grapes and cocoa flavanols exert a potent effect on fat cell formation that can aid in weight loss and management goals when included as part of your daily diet.
Blueberries have been well documented for their cognitive and cardio-protective benefits, due in large part to the potent complex of anthocyanins that give the berry its deep blue color. Researchers reporting the results of a study to the Experimental Biology 2011 conference have found that blueberries may hold the key to resolving one of the largest threats to human health this century – overweight and obesity. Continue reading →
In addition to food, water, and air, sleep is the one thing we truly can’t live without. But experts say more and more women are falling short on shut-eye, and staring at the ceiling all night isn’t just frustrating—it can also be life threatening. Studies show that one in six fatal car accidents are caused by sleep-deprived drivers, and according to the National Sleep Foundation (NSF), the 40 million Americans who now suffer from sleep disorders are at higher risk for a slew of serious health issues. Here, what’s behind the insomnia epidemic, plus fast-acting solutions for getting quality sleep.
NEW YORK – Imaging techniques can help identify the types of vulnerable plaque that are most likely to cause adverse cardiac events before they occur, say researchers.
This finding comes from a clinical trial called Providing Regional Observations to Study Predictors of Events in the Coronary Tree (PROSPECT), which is the first prospective natural history study of atherosclerosis using multi-modality imaging to characterize the coronary tree.
A presentation on the study was made at the 21st annual Transcatheter Cardiovascular Therapeutics (TCT) scientific symposium, sponsored by the Cardiovascular Research Foundation (CRF).
“As a result of the PROSPECT trial, we are closer to being able to predict-and therefore prevent – sudden, unexpected adverse cardiac events,” said principal investigator Dr. Gregg W. Stone, immediate past chairman of CRF, professor of medicine at Columbia University Hospital and Director of Cardiovascular Research and Education at the Center for Interventional Vascular Therapy at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center.
During the multi-centre trial, 700 patients with acute coronary syndromes (ACS) were studied using three-vessel multimodality intra-coronary imaging-angiography, intravascular ultrasound (IVUS), and virtual histology.
The purpose was to quantify the clinical event rate due to atherosclerotic progression, and to identify those lesions that place patients at risk for unexpected adverse cardiovascular events-sudden death, cardiac arrest, heart attacks and unstable or progressive angina.
The study revealed that most untreated plaques that cause unexpected heart attacks are not mild lesions, as previously thought, but actually have a large plaque burden and a small lumen area. These are characteristics that were invisible to the coronary angiogram but easily identifiable by IVUS.
Only about half of new cardiac events due to non-culprit lesions exemplified the classic notion of vulnerable plaque (rapid lesion progression of non flow limiting lesions), while half were attributable to unrecognized and untreated severe disease with minimal change over time.
Perhaps most importantly, for the first time it was demonstrated that characterization of the underlying plaque composition (with virtual histology) was able to significantly improve the ability to predict future adverse events beyond other more standard imaging techniques.
“These results mean that using a combination of imaging modalities, including IVUS to identify lesions with a large plaque burden and/or small lumen area, and virtual histology to identify a large necrotic core without a visible cap (a thin cap fibroatheroma) identifies the lesions that are at especially high risk of causing future adverse cardiovascular events,” Dr. Stone said.
Other Names: Coenzyme Q10, Co Q10, Ubiquinone, Vitamin Q
CoQ10 is a naturally-occuring compound found in every cell in the body. CoQ10’s alternate name, ubiquinone, comes from the word ubiquitous, which means “found everywhere.”
CoQ10 plays a key role in producing energy in the mitochondria, the part of a cell responsible for the production of energy in the form of ATP.
Why People Use CoQ10
Heart Attack Prevention and Recovery
High Blood Pressure
Counteract Prescription Drug Effects
What is the Evidence For CoQ10?
People with heart failure have been found to have lower levels of CoQ10 in heart muscle cells. Double-blind research suggests that CoQ10 may reduce symptoms related to heart failure, such as shortness of breath, difficulty sleeping, and swelling. CoQ10 is thought to increase energy production in the heart muscle, increasing the strength of the pumping action. Recent human studies, however, haven’t supported this.
In one study, 641 people with congestive heart failure were randomized to receive either CoQ10 (2 mg per kg body weight) or a placebo plus standard treatment. People who took the CoQ10 had a significant reduction in symptom severity and fewer hospitalizations.
In another study, 32 patients with end-stage heart failure awaiting heart transplantation received either 60 mg of CoQ10 or a placebo for 3 months. Patients who took the CoQ10 experienced a significant improvement in functional status, clinical symptoms, and quality of life, however there were no changes in echocardiogram (heart ultrasound) or in objective markers.
A study randomized 55 patients with congestive heart failure to receive either 200 mg per day of CoQ10 or a placebo in addition to standard treatment. Although serum levels of CoQ10 increased in patients receiving CoQ10, CoQ10 didn’t affect ejection fraction, peak oxygen consumption, or exercise duration.
A longer-term study investigated the use of 100 mg of CoQ10 or a placebo in addition to standard treatment in 79 patients with stable chronic congestive heart failure. The results indicated that CoQ10 only slightly improved maximal exercise capacity and quality of life compared with the placebo.
Several small trials have found CoQ10 may be helpful for certain types of cardiomyopathy.
Lower levels of CoQ10 have also been observed in people with Parkinson’s disease. Preliminary research has found that increasing CoQ10 may increase levels of the neurotransmitter dopamine, which is thought to be lowered in people with Parkinson’s disease. It has also been suggested that CoQ10 might protect brain cells from damage by free radicals.
A small, randomized controlled trial examined the use of 360 mg CoQ10 or a placebo in 28 treated and stable Parkinson’s disease patients. After 4 weeks, CoQ10 provided a mild but significant significant mild improvement in early Parkinson‘s symptoms and significantly improved performance in visual function.
A larger 16 month trial funded by the National Institutes of Health explored the use of CoQ10 (300, 600 or 1200 mg/day) or a placebo in 80 patients with early stage Parkinson’s disease. The results suggested that CoQ10, especially at the 1200 mg per day dose, had a significant reduction in disability compared to those who took a placebo.
CoQ10 and Statin Drugs
Some research suggests that statin drugs, or HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors, a class of drugs used to lower cholesterol, may interfere with the body’s production of CoQ10. However, research on the use of CoQ10 supplements in people taking statins is still inconclusive, and it is not routinely recommended in combination with statin therapy.
In a 12-week randomized controlled trial, 74 people with type 2 diabetes were randomized to receive either 100 mg CoQ10 twice daily, 200 mg per day of fenofibrate (a lipid regulating drug), both or neither for 12 weeks. CoQ10 supplementation significantly improved blood pressure and glycemic control. However, two studies found that CoQ10 supplementation failed to find any effect on glycemic control.
A small study looked at the topical application of CoQ10 to the periodontal pocket. Ten male periodontitis patients with 30 periodontal pockets were selected. During the first 3 weeks, the patients applied topical CoQ10. There was significant improvement in symptoms.
A typical CoQ10 dosage is 30 to 90 mg per day, taken in divided doses, but the recommended amount can be as high as 200 mg per day.
CoQ10 is fat-soluble, so it is better absorbed when taken with a meal that contains oil or fat.
The clinical effect is not immediate and may take up to eight weeks.
Consult your doctor before trying CoQ10, especially if you have heart disease, kidney failure, or cancer.
Side effects of CoQ10 may include diarrhea and rash.
CoQ10 is used in combination with standard treatment, not to replace it.
CoQ10 may lower blood sugar levels, so people with diabetes should not use CoQ10 unless under a doctor’s supervision. CoQ10 may also lower blood pressure.
The safety of Co q10 in pregnant or nursing women or children has not been established.
PLEASE SEE THE POST ON “POLICOSANOL” FOR LOWERING CHOLESTEROL
BOSTON – Eating a diet high in walnuts may decrease cholesterol and fight inflammation, two major risk factors for cardiovascular disease, according to a study conducted by researchers from Harvard University and published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
“Consumption of nuts has been associated with a decreased risk of cardiovascular disease events and death,” the researchers wrote. “Walnuts in particular have a unique profile: they are rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids, which may improve blood lipids and other cardiovascular disease risk factors.”
Walnuts are also considered good dietary sources of fiber, magnesium, B vitamins, vitamin E and other antioxidants.
Researchers analyzed the results of 13 different studies conducted on a total of 365 participants who had obtained between 10 and 24 percent of their calories from walnuts for four to 24 weeks. They found that participants on a high-walnut diet underwent significant decreases in total and LDL (“bad”) cholesterol.
“When compared with control diets, diets supplemented with walnuts resulted in a significantly greater decrease in total cholesterol and in LDL-cholesterol concentrations,” the researchers wrote.
The researchers also found other indicators that even though a high-walnut diet is high in fat, it seems to lower the risk of cardiovascular disease rather than raising it.
“Other results reported in the trials indicated that walnuts provided significant benefits for certain antioxidant capacity and inflammatory markers and had no adverse effects on body weight,” the researchers wrote.
The researchers called for “larger and longer-term trials” to further understand the heart benefits of nut-rich diets.
Prior studies have linked diets high in nuts and berries to a reduced risk of metabolic syndrome, a cluster of symptoms related to cardiovascular disease. Other nuts previously linked to improved cardiovascular health include macadamia nuts and almonds.
Diets high in walnuts may also reduce the risk of breast cancer, studies show.
Propolis is resinous substance bees collect from tree buds. Bee propolis contains antioxidants called flavonoids, which are thought to be the active ingredients.
Propolis is available many forms, including tablet, capsule, ointment, powder, extract, cream, lotion and other cosmetics. It’s available as a nutritional supplement in health food stores and online. It is also found in small quantities in honey.
Why Do People Use Bee Propolis?
Propolis has a long history of use as a natural remedy for wound infection and other illnesses. Preliminary studies suggest it may be active against bacteria, viruses and other microorganisms when applied topically.
Propolis shouldn’t be applied to the eye area. Repeated use of propolis may make people more prone to developing allergies..
CHICAGO – A therapy called cardiac ‘resynchronization’ reduced risk of heart failures by 41 percent, says an international study.
“This shows, for the first time, that the onset of heart failure symptoms and hospitalization for heart failure can be delayed with pacing therapy,” said DavidWilber, director of the Cardiovascular Institute at Loyola University (Chicago) Stritch School of Medicine.
Cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT) is an innovative new therapy that can relieve congestive heart failure (CHF) symptoms, by improving the coordination of its contractions.
It is done with the help of electrical impulses delivered by a device implanted in the upper chest, that help synchronize contractions of the left ventricle, the heart’s main pumping chamber.
The study included 1,820 patients from 110 centers in the US, Canada and Europe. All patients in the trial had been diagnosed with early stage, mild heart failure (Class 1 and Class 2 on the New York Heart Association classification system), according to a Loyola release.
For instance, Loyola heart failure patient RosemaryJakubowski of Elmwood Park said before she received cardiac resynchronization, she had experienced significant fatigue. “I always had that dragging feeling,” she said.
Since receiving resynchronization, Jakubowski has been taking kickboxing and swim aerobics classes, without fatigue. “I’m 100 percent better — complete satisfaction,” she said. “It’s like I’m a new person.”
The Food and Drug Administration has approved cardiac resynchronization for patients with Class 3 (moderate) and Class 4 (severe) heart failure. Such patients experience marked limitations in physical activity or are unable to do any physical activity at all without discomfort.
“With this study, we have shown that certain patients with early-stage, mild heart failure also can benefit from cardiac resynchronization,” Wilber said.
These findings were published in the New England Journal of Medicine.
DETROIT – Treating second-degree burns with a nano-emulsion lotion sharply curbs bacterial growth that otherwise can jeopardise recovery.
Experiments show that it reduced bacterial growth a thousandfold compared to control animals receiving no treatment or a placebo.
The lotion also showed a similar reduction when compared to a topical anti-microbial agent commonly used in people with burns.
Plastic surgeons used the nano-emulsion to treat partial thickness (second degree) burns over 20 percent of the body.
The nano-emulsion shows promise in overcoming the limitations of current creams used in burns treatment, which aren’t able to penetrate skin to kill sub-surface bacteria, says MarkR.Hemmila, associate professor of surgery at the University of Michigan Medical School (UMMS), who led the study.
The nano-emulsion is made of soybean oil, alcohol, water and detergents emulsified into droplets less than 400 nanometres in diameter. It has proved effective at killing a variety of bacteria, fungi and viruses in previous research.
Before the burn treatment can be tested in people, further laboratory studies are needed to examine its effects on the overall healing process, says an UMMS release.
The patented nanoemulsion technology is licensed by U-M to NanoBio Corporation.
These findings were presented at the Interscience Conference for Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy.
Shamanic smudging or just smudging is an age-old tribal tradition which has been used for centuries to create harmony and peace. There are many different shamanic smudging ceremonies, and different tribes use a variety of herbs for smudging.
To define it more clearly, shamanic smudging is the burning of herbs or incense for cleansing, purification, protection of physical and spiritual bodies, banishment of negative energies and creation of sacred space. You can use smudge sticks (herbs that are tied into a bundle for easier handling), braided herbs and botanicals (like sweetgrass) or loose herbs (burned on charcoal or mugwort, or in a firepit). Shamanic smudging releases the energy and fragrance of the herbs and botanicals so they can heal, cleanse and purify.
Smudging Four Directions
In many traditions, shamanic smudging involves a four directions ceremony or prayer, which sends specific kinds of smoke or prayers into the four directions. Different tribes have different smudging prayers that program the smoke to do a specific action, such as cleansing or aiding in divination.
In general, shamanic smudging can be used in daily life for practical purposes: to restore physical, mental and emotional balance; to shield against negative energies; to cleanse yourself, your magickal tools and your space; and to restore you sacred space.
You can burn these common smudging herbs singly or in combination with each other. One good combination that covers all four magical elements of air, fire, water and earth is pine resin and sage (either desert sage or white broadleaf sage). This combination is appropriate for general use, cleansing, ceremony and ritual.
When to Smudge Yourself
Smudging yourself on a daily basis can be very helpful in keeping yourself balanced and maintaining a peaceful state of being. However, you should definitely use shamanic smudging techniques when youíve been around people who are ill, depressed, fearful, angry or generally emotionally unbalanced; before meditating to create a calm state of being; when youíre feeling blue or depressed; or when youíve been under a lot of stress.
Smudging yourself is easy. If you’re using a smudge stick, light the smudge stick on a candle flame. Hold the stick in the flame until there is a lot of smoke and the stick is burning well (that ís why a candle is better than a matchóit can take a while to get the stick really smoking). Using a feather (or feather fan) or your hand, gently fan the smoke onto your body, starting at the top of the body and moving downward. Get the back of your body as best you can (it is often easier to use a smudge pot and loose herbs for this). When you’re done, inhale a little of the smoke (just a little!) to purify your insides.
If you’re using a smudge pot or firebowl and loose herbs, light the herbs (using self-lighting charcoal, not the barbeque kind!) until it is smoking well. Then, put the firebowl on the ground and stand over it with your legs spread and feet on either side. Weave back and forth in the smoke until you have been thoroughly cleansed. Clothing is optional for this approach, and smudging in the nude is recommended for a more thorough cleansing. Again, when you’re done, inhale a little of the smoke to purify your insides. People often feel more relaxed, lighter and brighter after smudging.
If you’re going to use the smudge smoke during meditation, use a charcoal burner or firebowl, light the herbs and enjoy the scent and smoke as you meditate. Meditating with these herbs often produces a deeper and longer-lasting state of relaxation and contemplation.
nism Related to Onset of Genetic Diseases Identified
BARCELONA – Scientists from Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona (UAB) have identified a mechanism that could trigger onset of various genetic diseases.
They have found a process by which proteins with a tendency to cause conformational diseases such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, familial amyloidotic polyneuropathy, familial amyloidotic cardiomyopathy, etc. finally end up causing them.
The answer can be found in the separation of the proteins.
According to the researchers Salvador Ventura and Virgmnia Castillo, every day cells produce thousands of new proteins, which renew themselves every second and which, by obeying the orders prescribed in our genetic code, work towards the proper functioning of our body.
However, these proteins occasionally suffer genetic mutations, which can cause changes in their composition, thus preventing them from carrying out their functions and the activities they are assigned.
In many cases this gives way to the formation of toxic macromolecular aggregates – amyloid fibrils – which block our body’s protein quality control system and finally provoke cell death.
Protein aggregation and the misfolding of proteins can be linked to the origin of many conformational diseases, which can be either genetic or spontaneous.
As possible strategies to prevent the dissociation of proteins, the authors propose introducing genetic mutations into the proteins to strengthen their association and developing specific molecules to block the risk regions of already dissociated proteins.
The study appears in journal PLoS Computational Biology.
LONDON – Low dose aspirin is widely given to people who have had heart problems
The use of aspirin to ward off heart attacks and strokes in those who do not have obvious cardiovascular disease should be abandoned, researchers say.
The Drugs and Therapeutics Bulletin (DTB) study says aspirin can cause serious internal bleeding and does not prevent cardiovascular disease deaths.
It says doctors should review all patients currently taking the drug for prevention of heart disease.
The Royal College of GPs says it supports the DTB’s recommendations.
Low-dose aspirin is widely used to prevent further episodes of cardiovascular disease in people who have already had problems such as a heart attack or stroke.
Given the evidence, the DTB’s statement on aspirin prescription is a sensible one
This approach – known as secondary prevention – is well-established and has confirmed benefits.
But many thousands of people in the UK are believed to be taking aspirin as a protective measure before they have any heart symptoms.
Between 2005 and 2008, the DTB said four sets of guidelines were published recommending aspirin for the “primary prevention” of cardiovascular disease – in patients who had shown no sign of the disease.
These included people aged 50 and older with type 2 diabetes and those with high blood pressure.
But the DTB said a recent analysis of six controlled trials involving a total of 95,000 patients published in the journal the Lancet does not back up the routine use of aspirin in these patients because of the risk of serious gastrointestinal bleeds and the negligible impact it has on curbing death rates.
DrIkeIkeanacho, editor of the DTB, said: “Current evidence for primary prevention suggests the benefits and harms of aspirin in this setting may be more finely balanced than previously thought, even in individuals estimated to be at high risk of experiencing cardiovascular events, including those with diabetes or elevated blood pressure.”
ProfessorSteveField, chairman of the Royal College of General Practitioners, said the DTB was an excellent source of independent advice for medical professionals.
He said: “Given the evidence, the DTB’s statement on aspirin prescription is a sensible one.
“The Royal College of General Practitioners would support their call for existing guidelines on aspirin prescription to be amended, and for a review of patients currently taking aspirin for prevention.”
JuneDavison, senior cardiac nurse at the British Heart Foundation said: “It is well established that aspirin can help prevent heart attacks and strokes among people with heart and circulatory disease – so this group of people should continue to take aspirin as prescribed by their doctor.
“However, for those who do not have heart and circulatory disease the risk of serious bleeding outweighs the potential preventative benefits of taking aspirin.
“We advise people not to take aspirin daily, unless they check with their doctor.
“The best way to reduce your risk of developing this disease is to avoid smoking, eat a diet low in saturated fat and rich in fruit and vegetables and take regular physical activity.”