Tag Archives: illinois

Exposure to low doses of BPA linked to increased risk of prostate cancer in human stem cells

BPA is a synthetic estrogen that is used to add flexibility to many common products, including food cans and containers, compact discs, eyeglasses, and even baby bottles. It is universally prevalent, and tests indicate that almost everyone has measurable levels of the chemical in their bodies. The chemical has received a great deal of media attention in recent years because of its potential to increase the risk of disease…

Aronia: The North American super berry with cancer fighting properties

While elderberry from Austria, acai from the Amazon, maqui from Patagonia and sea-buckthorn berry from Northern Asia have all made headlines as super berries packed with nutrition, a lesser known North American berry is gaining ground, poised to hit the nutritional spotlight as a world class super berry: Aronia. Commonly found wild in woodlands and swamps, aronia is also known as chokeberry, due to its astringent flavor. The berries come naturally in three colors – red, purple and black-purple. Aronia melanocarpa, the black-purple species, has a much deeper purple color than blueberries, which are also North American natives. The berry is now cultivated, and that cultivation is expanding in anticipation of the berry’s impending popularity. The deep purple color of Aronia melanocarpa has attracted a lot of scientific attention. Purple fruits by virtue of their color are rich in the category of antioxidants known as anthocyanins. These pigments demonstrate potent cell-protective properties, and are also anti-inflammatory, helping to reduce systemic inflammation – a key factor in the development of chronic diseases. But this is just the start of the benefits offered by aronia. Digging more into the compounds found in this native berry, scientists have found a number of more specific agents, including caffeic acid, cyanidin-3-galactoside, delphinidin, epicatechin, malvidin, and many more. You’ll likely never have to remember these names, but to health researchers, the presence of these compounds in aronia is big news. Combined, these specific agents in aronia are anti-bacterial, anti-viral, and anti-diabetic. They fight the formation of arterial plaque and lower serum cholesterol, and they protect the liver against a host of insults and toxins.  In our ever-increasingly diabetic society, aronia’s compounds help to lower blood sugar and improve the body’s own natural production of insulin. Several of the compounds in aronia are natural cancer fighters, and protect against the development of tumors of the bladder, breasts, colon, lungs, ovaries and skin. In addition, these compounds fight Crohn’s disease, inhibit HIV, reduce uncomfortable symptoms of PMS and fight herpes. Preliminary studies have also shown that aronia may prove helpful in slowing the growth of glioblastoma – a form of fatal brain cancer. Since the 1940s, aronia has been commercially cultivated in Russia, and since the 1950s, it has been a commercial crop in Europe. In 2009 the Midwest Aronia Association formed in Iowa to provide information and resources to farmers who wanted to get involved with commercial farming of this super berry. According to the association, members are now found in California, Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, New York, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wisconsin and Ontario, Canada. In the world of berries, antioxidant activity is a major factor in the endless jockeying for position as top berry. Aronia has greater antioxidant activity than cranberry, blueberry, strawberry, cherry, pomegranate, goji and mangosteen. You can think of aronia as the King Kong of antioxidant berries. This awesome antioxidant power gives growers of the berry confidence that super-stardom for aronia is close at hand. Aronia berry products are already in the market, and some have received coveted USDA Organic certification – the highest standard of agriculture purity in effect today. Unlike strawberries and many other fruits, aronia is naturally pest-resistant and does not require the use of agricultural toxins. This spells good news for those who do not want unhealthy chemicals in their fruits. In the contest for ever healthier foods, aronia is surely a winner in the making. With science demonstrating significant benefits to health, farmers planting large acreage and the media increasingly boosting its fortunes, it’s only a short matter of time before aronia, the North American super berry, leaps to prominence in juices, jams, jellies and many other products.Chris Kilham is a medicine hunter who researches natural remedies all over the world, from the Amazon to Siberia. He teaches ethnobotany at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where he is Explorer In Residence. Chris advises herbal, cosmetic and pharmaceutical companies and is a regular guest on radio and TV programs worldwide. His field research is largely sponsored by Naturex of Avignon, France. Read more at& MedicineHunter.com.source : http://www.foxnews.com/health/2013/06/07/aronia-north-american-super-berry-with-cancer-fighting-benefits/

Biophysicists measure mechanism that determines fate of living cells

Cells in the human body do not function in isolation. Living cells rely on communication with their environment — neighboring cells and the surrounding matrix — to activate a wide range of cellular functions, including reproduction of new cells, differentiation of stem cells into distinct cell types, cell adhesion, and migration of white blood cells to fight bodily infections. This cellular communication occurs on the molecular level and it is reciprocal: a cell receives cues from and also transmits function-activating cues to its neighbors…

Combined supplements no better for cholesterol

The cholesterol-lowering agent red yeast rice, an alternative treatment method for patients that can't tolerate statin drugs, doesn't work any better when a plant-derived compound called sterol is added to it, according to a new study.  “I expected to see a synergistic effect with red yeast rice, and I was shocked to see no effects whatsoever,” the study's lead author Dr. David Becker said. Statin drugs like Lipitor are the first-line option for lowering low-density lipoprotein (LDL) levels, or “bad cholesterol,” for patients at risk for heart disease, said Becker, a cardiologist with Temple Health Systems in Philadelphia. But while 15 million Americans take statin drugs, according to IMS Health, “10 to 20 percent of people can't tolerate statins and stop them,” said Becker, because of bothersome side effects, like muscle pain. Some of those people turn to red yeast rice, which is made by culturing yeast on the grain, and contains a statin-like compound that slows the body from making its own cholesterol. Red yeast rice supplements usually cost about $20 for a bottle of between 100 and 200 600-milligram tablets. Previous studies found that phytosterols, plant-derived steroids found in vegetable oil, lower LDL levels when used alone. Outside of dietary sources like margarine, phytosterol supplements are available in drug stores for about $20 for 200 900-milligram tablets. The study included 220 people with high LDL, averaging around 150 milligrams per deciliter, who had discontinued or declined statins prescribed by their doctor. (For people without heart disease risk factors, national U.S. guidelines recommend levels below 130.) They all took 1,800 milligrams of red yeast rice twice per day. Half of the group also took two 450-milligram tablets of phytosterols twice daily, while others took a placebo, for one year. Half of the participants attended meetings with doctors, dietitians and exercise physiologists for three months and was told to exercise and eat a Mediterranean diet for the rest of the year. The other half did not have special diet or exercise instructions. There was no difference in LDL cholesterol between the phytosterol or placebo groups at three months, six months or one year, according to the study published in the American Heart Journal. “There was absolutely no effect of phytosterols in any manner across the board,” Becker said. Though the diet and exercise group members seemed to have a head start at lowering their LDL, at the end of the study both groups had arrived at the same average of about 110 milligrams per deciliter. SEVERAL LIMITATIONS The trial had several limitations, according to Dr. Jeffrey Shanes, a cardiologist at Loyola-Gottlieb Memorial and Elmhurst Memorial Hospitals in Melrose Park, Illinois. About 30 percent of study participants dropped out of the trial after being screened and put in a treatment group, Shanes, who was not involved in the study, said. The statin-like compound in red yeast rice can cause the same muscle pain as synthetic statins for some patients, he said. Red yeast rice contains some sterols of its own, so it's possible that adding more sterols didn't appear to lower LDL any further because they were already in play, Shanes said. Becker would recommend diet and exercise before red yeast rice, he said. Batches subject to poor quality control may contain a potentially fatal liver-damaging byproduct of yeast fermentation, for example. And it may also increase the risk of muscle injury when combined with other cholesterol drugs. “Under no circumstances should people be going to Walgreens and getting red yeast rice because of the potential drug interactions, because every batch is different,” Shanes said.source : http://www.foxnews.com/health/2013/05/17/combined-supplements-no-better-for-cholesterol/