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Green Tea Could Reduce Glaucoma Risk

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Catechins in green tea could help protect you against   glucoma and other eye diseases. New research finds that the ingredients travel from your digestive system into the tissues of your eyes.

Scientists analyzed eye tissue from rats that drank green tea. They found that eye tissues such as the lens and retina had absorbed green tea catechins.

According to NutraIngredients:

“The [study’s] authors said that oxidative stress causes biological disturbances such as DNA damage and activation of proteolytic enzymes that can lead to tissue cell damage or dysfunction and eventually many ophthalmic diseases.”

Resources:
NutraIngredients April 26, 2010

Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry February 10, 2010;58(3):1523-34

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Oxidative Stress Extends Lifespan

Scientists at the University of California, San Diego claim to have identified a mechanism of oxidative stress that prevents cellular  damage.

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“We may drink pomegranate juice to protect our bodies from so-called ‘free radicals‘ or look at restricting calorie intake to extend our lifespan,” said Dr Trey Ideker, chief of the Division of Genetics in the Department of Medicine at UC San Diego’s School of Medicine and professor of bioengineering at the Jacobs School of Engineering.

“But our study suggests why humans may actually be able to prolong the aging process by regularly exposing our bodies to minimal amounts of oxidants,” Ideker added.

Reactive oxygen species (ROS), ions that form as a natural byproduct of the metabolism of oxygen, play important roles in cell signalling. However, due to environmental stress like ultraviolet radiation or heat or chemical exposure the ROS levels can increase dramatically, resulting insignificant damage to cellular damage to DNA, RNA and proteins, cumulating in an effect called oxidative stress.

The scientists claim to have discovered the gene responsible for this effect.

One major contributor to oxidative stress is hydrogen peroxide. While the cell has ways to help minimize the damaging effects of hydrogen peroxide by converting it to oxygen and water, this conversion isn’t 100 percent successful.

During the study, the researchers designed a way to identify genes involved in adaptation to hydrogen peroxide.

To figure out which genes might control this adaptation mechanism, the team ran a series of experiments in which cells were forced to adapt while each gene in the genome was removed, one by one, covering a total of nearly 5,000 genes.

They identified a novel factor called Mga2, which is essential for adaptation.

“This was a surprise, because Mga2 is found at the control point of a completely different pathway than those which respond to acute exposure of oxidative agents,” said Ideker.

“This second pathway is only active at lower doses of oxidation,” Ideker added.

“It may be that adaptation to oxidative stress is the main factor responsible for the lifespan-expanding effects of caloric restriction,” said Ideker.

“Our next step is to figure out how Mga2 works to create a separate pathway, to discover the upstream mechanism that senses low doses of oxidation and triggers a protective mechanism downstream.”

Click to see : Extend Your Life By Eating Right

Sources: :The study is published in PLoS Genetics.

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Vitamins Might Undo Your Exercise Efforts

New research suggests taking vitamins after exercise may undo some of the beneficial effects of your workout.

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Some advocate taking antioxidants like vitamin C and E to help protect your body from harmful chemical by-products it creates in breaking into a sweat. But some scientists now believe these “free radicals” may actually be good for you and even buffer against diabetes — which means that mopping them up with antioxidants may do more harm than good.

It is thought that antioxidant vitamins prevent oxidative stress damage to your body’s tissues by eliminating the free radicals that cause it. Oxidative stress has been implicated in several major diseases, including cancer and heart disease.

But a research team has claimed that free radicals may have a positive effect on your body by increasing its sensitivity to insulin, something that is lost in type 2 diabetes; this effect is blocked by antioxidant vitamins.

Reacting to the study, antioxidant expert Dr. Alexander Schauss said that the title of the study (Antioxidants prevent health-promoting effects of physical exercise in humans) was misleading. He said:

“The primary objective of this study was to study the effect of a 4-week intensive 5-days a week exercise program on insulin sensitivity. Yet the title of the paper leads one to believe otherwise.

This is a small gender-biased study of 40 male subjects, 25 to 35 years of age. When I read through the study for the first time I had to wonder, how could the authors have come up with such a title for their paper?”

In addition to questioning the study design, particularly with respect to both trained and untrained people being assigned to an intensive exercise program, Dr. Schauss also questioned the conclusions drawn from the data. Dr. Schauss said:

“Skeletal muscle biopsies were obtained from the right vastus lateralis muscle of study subjects. But some of the data is missing for a number of subjects, and reported as such by the authors.”

Dr. Schauss also noted that the authors presented no evidence of adverse effects by any of the individuals from vitamin C and E supplementation.

Sources:

BBC News May 11, 2009

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States May 11, 2009

NutraIngredients.com May 12, 2009

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Paracetamol Ups Asthma Risk in Kids

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Infants who have been given the common pain reliever paracetamol may have a higher risk of developing asthma and eczema by the time they are 6 or 7, a large study covering children in 31 countries has found.

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The findings were published in the journal Lancet together with two other studies, which found that runny noses and wheezing early on in life may be strong predictors of asthma.

In one study, researchers pored through data provided by parents of more than 205,000 children and found paracetamol use in the first year of life was associated with a 46% higher risk of asthma by the time the children were 6 or 7 compared to those never exposed to the drug. It is used to relieve fever, minor aches and pain, and is used in a liquid suspension for children.

Medium use of paracetamol in the past 12 months increased asthma risk by 61%, while high dosages of once a month or more in the past year raised the risk by over three times. Medium use was defined as once per year or more, but less than once a month.

Suspicions of a possible link between paracetamol and asthma emerged when experts observed an increased use of the drug to a simultaneous rise in asthma prevalence worldwide.

Some experts think antioxidants, which stop unstable molecules known as free radicals from doing too much damage, can lower the risk of cancer, heart disease and other ailments. “Paracetamol can reduce antioxidant levels and… can give oxidative stress in the lungs and cause asthma,” one of the researchers, Richard Beasley at the Medical Research Institute of New Zealand, said.

Sources: The Times Of India

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Garlic delight

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Researchers from Annamalai University in Tamil Nadu have discovered that a chemical found in garlic can help fight adverse health effects caused by cadmium. The metal is a food contaminant and a major component of cigarette smoke. The studies, to be published in the April 2007 issue of International Journal of Biochemistry and Cell Biology, showed that diallyl tetrasulphide from garlic protected mitochondrial cells and reduced oxidative stress. Oxidative stress, an imbalance in production of reactive oxygen such as free radicals implicated in ageing and a biological system’s ability to remove them effectively, can permanently damage most components of the cell, including proteins, lipids and DNA. Cadmium is known to cause an increase in the production of reactive oxygen.

Good old garlic

A simple home remedy awaits millions of people in West Bengal and neighbouring Bangladesh who are affected by dangerously high levels of arsenic in drinking water. A team of researchers from Calcutta’s Indian Institute of Chemical Biology has found that garlic — Allium sativum, commonly used as a spice in several dishes — could help reduce arsenic levels in the body. The study by Keya Chaudhuri and her colleagues appears in a latest issue of the journal Food and Chemical Toxicology. The scientists found that rats — which were fed garlic extracts — had 40 per cent less arsenic in their blood and liver as the animals passed more than 45 per cent of the toxic material in their urine. They think that sulphur-containing substances in garlic do the trick as they scavenge arsenic from tissues and blood. People who eat one to three cloves of garlic daily can substantially reduce the health risk posed by arsenic, says Chaudhuri.

Source:The Telegraph(Kolkata,India)

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