Friday, May 21, 2010

Pomegranate Extract

Oral ingestion of pomegranate extract reduces the production of chemicals that cause inflammation.The group from the Department of Medicine of Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland Ohio, led by Tariq Haqqi, showed that blood samples collected from rabbits fed pomegranate extract inhibited inflammation.

pomegranate-juice Pomegranate extract (Ellagic acid) is already used as a treatment in alternative medicine for inflammatory conditions, such as arthritis. Although pomegranate extract has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory actions in experiments on isolated tissues, it is not known whether ingestion of it can produce the same anti-inflammatory effects in living systems, either because the active compounds are not absorbed from the gut or because the levels of these compounds in the blood are not high enough.

Pomegranate extract, the equivalent of 175mls of pomegranate juice, was given to rabbits orally. The levels of antioxidants were measured in blood samples obtained after drinking the pomegranate extract and compared to blood samples collected before ingestion of pomegranate extract.


Plasma collected from rabbits following ingestion of pomegranate extract contained significantly higher levels of antioxidants than samples collected before ingestion of pomegranate extract; the extract also significantly reduced the activity of proteins that cause inflammation, specifically cyclooxygenase-2. It also reduced the production of pro-inflammatory compounds produced by cells isolated from cartilage.

The results of this study indicate the beneficial effects of pomegranate extract when ingested. According to Haqqi "the use of dietary nutrients or drugs based on them as an adjunct in the treatment of chronic inflammatory conditions may benefit patients". He adds that, "Current treatment with anti-inflammatory drugs can have serious side effects following long-term use. Further research is needed, however, especially on the absorption of orally ingested substances into the blood.

Source: TOI

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Coconut Oil Extract May Be A Weapon Against Food Bacteria

Monolaurin, an extract from coconut oil could be used as a microbial agent in food. Monolaurin has been recognized as safe by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and is known for its antimicrobial properties. If used in combination with other antimicrobial agents, monolaurin can present an effective barrier to microorganisms.


Researchers from Zhejiang University in China studied the use of monolaurin as a nontraditional preservative in food products by combining it with commonly used antimicrobials in various concentrations and testing it on bacterial strains including Esherichia coli and on food components such as soy protein and water-soluble starch. Researchers made the following findings:

  • Monolaurin combined with ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA),a binding agent, was effective against Esherichia coli and Bacillus subtilis but not Staphylococcus aureus.
  • When combined with the antimicrobial nisin, monolaurin was synergistically effective against all three bacteria.
  • Researchers studied monolaurin’s interaction with food components and found that its antibacterial effectiveness was reduced by fat or starch but was not affected by protein.

“These results contribute to a better understanding on the use of monolaurin as a nontraditional preservative for antimicrobial purpose in food products. The antimicrobial effects of monolaurin can be increased if used together or in combination with other preservative systems,”.

Source: Sciencedaily

Sunday, May 16, 2010


It is liver inflammation due to viral infection. It may be present in acute, fulminant or chronic forms.

The five unrelated hepatotropic viruses — hepatitis A, B, C, D and E.

Infectious jaundice is caused by hepatitis A virus. Infection with hepatitis A virus can happen through consumption of contaminated food or water. Hepatitis A is generally spread among family members and friends/relatives through the passage of oral secretions or stool (unclean hands). People with hepatitis A are advised to rest, stay hydrated and avoid alcohol. A vaccine is available that will prevent HAV infection for up to 10 years.

viral hepatitis

Hepatitis B is caused by a virus that can cause both acute, fulminate and chronic hepatitis. Hepatitis B is blood-borne infection transmitted through blood transfusion, tattoos, sexual intercourse or contact with body fluids.  Blood contact can transmit the virus. Sharing syringes or shaving accessories can be the reason. Patients can recover from the infection completely. A small proportion becomes the carrier of this virus and may develop after about 15 to 20 years and end up in liver disease. Vaccine can prevent infection from hepatitis B.

 Hepatitis C virus (HCV) usually spreads by shared needles among drug abusers, blood transfusion, hemodialysis, and needle sticks. Patients with chronic hepatitis C infection are at risk of developing cirrhosis and liver cancer after a silent phase of 15 to 20 years.

Many patients infected with hepatitis A, B and C have few or no symptoms of illness. For those who do develop symptoms of viral hepatitis, the most common are flu-like symptoms, which include:
    Loss of appetite
    Abdomen ache
    Rare common symptoms
     Dark-coloured urine
    Light-coloured stools
    Jaundice (yellow appearance to the skin and white portion of the eyes)

When a patient reports symptoms of fever, fatigue, nausea, abdominal pain, darkening of urine, and then develops jaundice, the diagnosis of acute viral hepatitis is likely and can be confirmed by blood tests.
On the other hand, patients with chronic hepatitis due to hepatitis B and hepatitis C often have no symptoms or only mild non-specific symptoms. Typically, these patients do not have jaundice until the liver damage is advanced. Therefore, these patients can remain undiagnosed for years to decades. Quite a few times chronic hepatitis is diagnosed when blood tests are done for other reasons.

Treatment of acute viral hepatitis involves relieving symptoms and maintaining adequate intake of fluids. Supportive care is the main modality for acute hepatitis.  Fulminant hepatitis is life threatening which carries a high mortality if liver transplant is not available immediately. Fortunately, the rate of cases is really low.  Treatment of chronic viral hepatitis involves medications to destroy the virus and taking measures to prevent further liver damage.  Patients who develop progressive liver damage/ cancer or significant complications from liver dysfunction, transplant is the best option.

Patients with chronic hepatitis B or C have predisposition to develop liver cancer and should be monitored. Liver resection to remove cancer is the best way. If it is not possible, other options such as radiofrequency ablation, transarterial chemoembolization, radioactive embolization are available.

Source: ToI

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Natural Flavor

You will see this term or terms like "Natural Strawberry Flavor" or "Natural Vanilla Flavor" on many food and juice labels, even products that are called "nutritional".  If the product actually had "strawberry", the label would simply say "strawberry", not "natural strawberry FLAVOR".  The word "natural" means nothing. Everything is "natural" since everything has to come from something that was originally "natural. A good example is MSG (monosodium-glutamate) is a brain neurotoxin. It is a slow poison. Most people understand that MSG is not healthy, so manufacturers have changed the name to "Natural Flavors.


The other issue is that manufacturers can say to you "There is no MSG in this product" as long as the MSG is a "constituent of an ingredient", ie. "natural flavors". This is very deceptive.  Many ask this question, " What is the difference between the glutamic acid found in protein and the potentially harmful manufactured glutamic acid we refer to as MSG?"

Glutamic acid is an amino acid found in abundance in both plant and animal protein.  In humans it is a non-essential amino acid, i.e. the body is capable of producing its own glutamic acid, and is not dependent upon getting glutamic acid from ingested food.

What is MSG?
Outside of the body, glutamic acid is produced commercially in food manufacturing and chemical plants. Its use in food began in the early 1900s as a component of a flavor enhancer called "monosodium glutamate." Unfortunately, any glutamic acid that is produced as an individual amino acid outside of the body for use in food, drugs, dietary supplements, cosmetics, personal care products, fertilizers, or other, can cause or exacerbate brain lesions, neuroendocrine disorders, learning disabilities, adverse reactions, neurodegenerative disease and more in humans. Glutamic acid that is produced commercially in food manufacturing and chemical plants is known as "MSG.


Since the creation of man, he has eaten food in the form of protein.  We understand a fair amount about human protein digestion and subsequent metabolism at the present time. As part of protein digestion, protein is broken down into its constituent amino acids, one of them being glutamic acid. In the human body, the ingested protein is broken down (hydrolyzed) in the stomach and lower intestines through the action of hydrochloric acid and enzymes--both of which are found naturally in the human body.  In a healthy human, the body controls the amount of glutamic acid converted from protein in this way, and disposes of the "waste."  Humans do not store excess glutamic acid as such.

The glutamate industry continues to deny that exposure to free glutamic acid found in processed food (MSG) causes adverse reactions including hives, asthma, seizures, and migraine headache; causes brain damage, learning disorders, and endocrine disturbances; and is relevant to diverse diseases of the central nervous system such as addiction, stroke, epilepsy, schizophrenia, anxiety, depression, and degenerative disorders such as ALS, Parkinson's disease, and Alzheimer's disease.

Ingredients, food and beverages that might contain MSG or that were processed with MSG 

  • Enzyme-modified food
  • Fermented foods and beverages
  • Beer
  • Bourbon/Scotch/Whiskey/Brandy/Wine
  • Natural beef, chicken, pork, smoke flavoring
  • Barley malt, Malt extract, Malt flavoring
  • Maltodextrin
  • Pectin
  • Protein-fortified foods
  • Textured protein
  • Seasonings
  • Soy extract, Protein, sauce, isolate, concentrate
  • Ultra pasteurized foods
  • Whey protein, concentrate, isolate.


After reading all the info, I have come to the conclusion that MSG in our food can cause problems and if the only benefit of MSG is to want us to eat more, why is it in the food. Even the FDA site says there are side effects to MSG. Also with the obesity problem, do we really need to eat more? Think about this for a minute...if you have to doctor something up to make it tasty to the pallet, is it really good for you? 

Apples, oranges, grapes...good healthy food doesn't need any added ingredients. What processed food do they add natural favors to?  You got it...they are mostly the foods that need something to enhance the taste to cover up the bad and cheap unhealthy ingredients.  So, in conclusion, does it not seem feasible for us to consider eating more whole food...the way they were created by nature?

Source: yahoo