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Veg ‘Prevents Artery Hardening’

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Eating vegetables may prevent hardening of the arteries, research suggests.

.CLICK & SEE
Different coloured veg contain different minerals

.US researchers found 38% less build up of fatty deposits in the arteries of mice who were fed a mixture of vegetables, including carrots and peas.

Evidence on the effects of diet on atherosclerosis in humans is not clear but eating fruit and vegetables is known to protect against heart disease.

The study in the Journal of Nutrition said the average person only eats three portions of fruit and veg a day.

The researchers from the Wake Forest University School of Medicine assessed the effect of diet on heart disease by studying mice that had been specially bred to rapidly develop atherosclerosis – the formation of fatty plaques in the arteries which can eventually block blood flow leading to heart attacks and strokes.

“While everyone knows that eating more vegetables is supposed to be good for you, no-one had shown before that it can actually inhibit the development of atherosclerosis” Says Dr Michael Adams, lead researcher

Half the mice were fed a vegetable-free diet and half the mice were fed a diet which included broccoli, green beans, corn, peas and carrots.

After 16 weeks, researchers measured cholesterol content in the blood vessels and estimated that plaques in the arteries of the mice were 38% smaller.

Although there was also a reduction in total cholesterol and body weight in mice fed the vegetable-rich diet, analysis showed that this could not explain the reduction in atherosclerosis.

Lead researcher Dr Michael Adams said: “While everyone knows that eating more vegetables is supposed to be good for you, no-one had shown before that it can actually inhibit the development of atherosclerosis.”

Inflammation
He added that there was a 37% reduction in serum amyloid – a marker of inflammation in mice – suggesting that vegetable consumption may inhibit inflammatory activity

“Although the pathways involved remain uncertain, the results indicate that a diet rich in green and yellow vegetables inhibits the development of hardening of the arteries and may reduce the risk of heart disease,” he said.

“It is well known that atherosclerosis progression is intimately linked with inflammation in the arteries.”

Dr Adrian Brady, consultant cardiologist at Glasgow Royal Infirmary, said: “It’s an interesting study and it is encouraging. There is a public health message that dietary interventions are helpful.

“And now this animal model shows maybe there is long-term dietary involvement that could lead to less plaques.”

He added more work was needed to look at the development of plaques and confirm the protective effect of eating fruit and veg.

Dr Charmaine Griffiths, spokesperson for the British Heart Foundation, said: “This study supports the recommendation of eating at least five portions of fruit and vegetables a day.

“Different coloured fruit and vegetables contain different vitamins and minerals, so the more types of fruit and vegetables you can include in your diet the better.”

Sources:BBC NEWS:18th.June,’08

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High Blood Calcium Tied to Cancer

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Men with elevated levels of calcium in their blood may have a much higher risk of getting fatal prostate cancer, US researchers said .

The findings indicate that a simple blood test may identify men at high risk for the most dangerous prostate tumors, and there already are drugs available that cut calcium levels in the bloodstream, the researchers said.

They tracked 2,814 men in a US government health survey in which they gave blood samples that revealed calcium levels. The men in the top third of blood calcium levels had 2.68 times the risk of developing fatal prostate cancer later in life compared to those in the bottom third, the study found.

“If serum calcium really does increase your risk for fatal prostate cancer, that’s wonderfully exciting because serum calcium levels can be changed,” Gary Schwartz of Wake Forest University School of Medicine, who helped lead the study, said in a telephone interview.

“One way to think of it is to think of the tremendous advances in the control of cardiovascular disease that occur from understanding that things like serum cholesterol predict heart attack,” Schwartz added.

Doctors have struggled to find ways to predict if a man who gets prostate cancer will have a tumor that poses little danger, as is often the case, or one that is a killer.

Blood calcium was not very predictive of whether a man would get nonlethal prostate cancer, but was highly predictive of whether a man would get a fatal case, the researchers wrote in the American Association for Cancer Research‘s journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention. The blood samples on average were given a decade before the cancer appeared, the researchers said.

A COMMON CANCER

Prostate cancer is the second most commonly diagnosed form of cancer in men worldwide, with about 780,000 men diagnosed per year, and the sixth mostly deadly form in men, with about 250,000 deaths per year, the American Cancer Society said.

Schwartz said it is unclear whether it is the actual calcium or blood levels of parathyroid hormone, which is supposed to keep calcium levels at normal levels in the bloodstream, that is raising the risk. Either way, he said there are drugs that can lower them, including Fontus Pharmaceuticals Inc’s Rocaltrol, also called calcitriol; Genzyme Corp’s Hectorol (doxercalciferol); Abbott Laboratories‘ Zemplar (paricalcitol); and Amgen Inc’s Sensipar (cinacalcet).

People treated for high blood calcium usually have chronic kidney disease, which is associated with low vitamin D levels. Low vitamin D levels elevate parathyroid hormone levels, Schwartz said.

Halcyon Skinner of the University of Wisconsin, who also worked on the study, said there is little relationship between calcium in the diet and blood calcium levels, so these men would not benefit from eating less food rich in calcium.

Previous research had suggested a role for calcium in prostate cancer. In laboratory studies, parathyroid hormone and calcium promote the growth of prostate cancer cells.

Sources: The Times Of India

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