A new study suggests that antioxidants may play a role preventing erectile dysfunction and infertility in both men and women. This research comes from Tory Hagen, from the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University, and Francesco Visioli, from the Madrid Institute for Advanced Studies in Spain.
The key to this study is evidence that points to oxidative stress being an underlying factor for infertility. If this is true, then antioxidant treatment can be used to prevent infertility and erectile dysfunction at an early stage before it becomes harder to treat. The researchers point to the fact that infertility problems are often early indicators of other free radical related diseases such as atherosclerosis, high blood pressure and congestive heart failure.
These diseases are also related to the amount of nitric oxide in the body. Free radicals disrupt nitric oxide production in the body. Nitric oxide is a key player in relaxing blood vessels and helping men achieve erections.
Although some physicians are currently using antioxidants to help with these problems, there are no concrete scientific studies done in the area. More research needs to be done to determine the validity of Hagen and Visioli’s analysis.
In the United States, 11.8% of women ages 15-44 experience infertility. 5% of 40-year old men and 15% to 25% of 65-year old men experience erectile dysfunction on a long-term basis.
Tocotrienol, a powerful form of vitamin E, could help reduce brain damage that results from a stroke, according to research recently reported at the 2nd International Conference on Tocotrienols and Chronic Diseases. These findings can be especially helpful to people who are considered to be at the highest risk for a major stroke: those who previously suffered from a ministroke.
What is a Stroke?
A stroke is a sudden stoppage of blood supply to the brain. There are two types of strokes: (1) those caused by an abrupt blockage of arteries leading to the brain (ischemic stroke) and (2) those that are caused by bleeding into brain tissue when a blood vessel bursts (hemorrhagic stroke). When the symptoms of a stroke only last for a short period of time, it is called a ministroke.
Since different parts of the brain control different functions, the effects of stroke are dependent on which part of the brain is injured. The most common warning signs of a stroke are sudden weakness of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body. Even if these symptoms quickly go away, they should not be ignored. They may be an important warning that requires medical attention.
In the United States, stroke is the third leading cause of death. Over 143,579 people die from it each year. it is also the leading cause of long-term disability in the United States. Most strokes are ischemic (87%).
Tocotrienol Supplementation Study
In the study, 20 dogs received either tocotrienol supplementation or a placebo daily for ten weeks. A stroke was then induced by blocking an artery in the animal’s brains for one hour. Researchers discovered that 24 hours after the stroke, lesions in the brain were about 80% smaller in dogs that received the vitamin E than those that did not. Those dogs also showed better blood flow at the stroke site.
Tocotrienols ability to help stroke victims is related to its support of arteriogenesis, the creation of new arteries. In this process, collateral arteries remodel themselves into larger vessels to bypass the site of blockage. The genes that controlled this process appeared more active in the brain tissue of the dogs that received tocotrienol supplementation. Since large mammals such as dogs have similar brain function as humans, researchers note how this can have impact for future studies.
This is the first study that shows a vitamin can help to improve blood flow in stroke victims. Since 25% of stokes that occur are repeat events, tocotrienol supplementation may present a treatment option for those that suffered a ministroke.
has shown that nitric oxide has the ability to inhibit the growth of Salmonella. A team of researchers led by Professor Ferric Fang of the University of Washington has discovered the target in which nitric oxide acts on in Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium, a type of Salmonella that contaminates food and is similar to the bacteria that causes typhoid fever. The Cause of SalmonellaSalmonella
is a bacteria responsible for causing foodborne illness throughout the world. They can be passed from the feces of people or animals to other people or other animals. It lives in the intestinal tracts of humans and other animals. Salmonella is usually present in contaminated animal meat, such as meat, poultry, eggs, and milk. In foods, most strains of Salmonella don’t usually affect the taste, smell, or appearance of the food.
Human to human salmonella spread usually occurs when food handlers don’t wash their hands while preparing other’s food. Salmonella symptoms usually include fever, abdominal pain, diarrhoea, nausea, and vomiting. These symptoms usually appear about 12-72 hours after infection. The illness itself lasts about 4-7 days, with most people not needing treatment to recover. Nitric Oxide interferes with the Metabolism of PathogenNitric oxide
plays a key role in the body’s immune system, preventing disease causing organisms from wrecking havoc. Fang’s research has shown that nitric oxide puts restrictions on the metabolic pathways of pathogens. It can suppress many pathogens due to it reacting with a variety of metabolic targets.
Nitric oxide puts Salmonella into what is called nitrosative stress. Under this state, Salmonella is unable to produce two amino acids, methionine and lysine, that are essential for growth. Nitric oxide interferes with the citric acid cycle, an important stage in cellular respiration where fuel is broken down and released as energy for cell division and growth. Fang’s study also shows that nitric oxide blocks certain regulatory genes that would otherwise allow Salmonella another chemical route to deal with the nitrosative stress. Fang also notes that nitric oxide does not harm the bacteria’s host. Concluding Statements by Author
The author of the study stated that this shows how important it is to have an understanding of the host-pathogen interaction and detailed knowledge of the pathogens metabolism. He also notes that scientists may be able to develop new broad-spectrum antimicrobials, ones that promote the body’s own natural defenses against infection.
In the United States, anxiety ranks as the most common mental illness, affecting 40 million adults. Although anxiety disorders are treatable, statistically only one in three will seek and receive treatment. For most, the way they cope with their disease is through prescribed anti-anxiety medication. These drugs often contain numerous harmful side effects, and many are looking for alternative forms of treatment for their ailment. New research is starting to bring to light the role of omega 3 for anxiety.
Anxiety: an overview
Anxiety is a broad term for several disorders whose symptoms include nervousness, fear, apprehension, and worrying. Although people often express these states before confronting a challenging or difficult task, anxiety becomes a problem when these symptoms are unjustified and interfere with a person’s daily routine.
Anxiety is caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain. More specifically, the problem lies with some kind of disorder in the communication between the dopamine system - the part of the brain responsible for feelings of euphoria - and the amygdala - responsible for our “fight or flight” response.
Omega 3 Fatty Acid
Omega 3 is a polyunsaturated fatty acid. It is considered ‘essential’ for our diets because our bodies do not produce it naturally. The most common source of omega 3 is in cold water oily fish such as salmon, herring, and mackerel. It can also be found in some plants such as flax seed.
Originally studied for its benefits on the cardiovascular system, omega 3 research has gained significant traction due to its role in brain health. Notably, high levels of omega 3 in the body can result in a lower risk for depression.
How can Omega 3 help in Anxiety?
Researchers have determined that psychological disorders are marked by an increase in cytokine production. Cytokines are small messenger molecules that act to promote inflammation in the body. Inflammation is thought to be the underlying factor in a variety of diseases, including anxiety and depression.
In a recently published study, medical students were split into groups that either received omega-3 supplements or a placebo. These students were interviewed six times during the study. Blood samples were also drawn, as well as psychological surveys conducted. The supplement group received about four to five times the amount of fish oil you’d get from a daily serving of salmon.
At the end of the survey those that received the omega-3 supplement showed a 20 percent reduction in anxiety as compared to the placebo group. They also had a 14 percent reduction in cytokine production, which meant lower levels of inflammation.
Omega 3 for other physiological diseases
The study conducted is significant because it holds promise in helping those with higher levels of cytokine production who may actually be suffering from anxiety. Although the students did not normally have high levels of cytokine production, it is remarkable that a noticeable difference was seen after taking the omega 3 supplements.
The study also demonstrates that omega 3’s mechanism of action may be through the down regulation of the immune system. This means that increased anxiety may be a symptom in of itself of omega 3 fatty acid deficiency.
“5 million people are getting blood with the assumption of helping them, and in some, if not many cases it may even be hurting them”- Jonathan Stamler, M.D. (Duke professor of medicine and biochemistry)
Everyday more than 38,000 blood donations are needed. Blood transfusion is used to replace blood that is lost in events such as serious injury or surgery. Unfortunately, in some cases donated blood may be hurting its recipients
more than helping them. This is due to red blood cells losing its ability to open blood vessels. Studies have linked complications of blood transfusions with loss of nitric oxide in stored blood.
In some cases
, older blood or high amounts of blood can lead to complications such as infection, kidney or lung failure, and death. This is because as blood sits in storage, some of its components such as hemoglobin and red blood cells start to breakdown. When donated to patients, these broken down particles bind to and deplete the nitric oxide in the bloodstream.
Nitric oxide’s key role in the bloodstream is the dilating or opening up of blood vessels. This ensures normal, healthy blood flow. Since blood is responsible for the delivery of oxygen to tissues throughout the body, an inability of red blood cells to open up blood vessels results in insufficient oxygen and can lead to a variety of complications.
“Our blood loses a critical gas called nitric oxide whose responsibility is to keep those blood vessels open” - Jonathan Stamler, M.D.
Consequently, although we are giving blood to patients, we may not be increasing blood flow throughout the body. A lack of nitric oxide also results not only in red blood cells not being able to open blood vessels, but also happens to constrict vessels. In general, the longer the blood is stored the greater the risk of a patient developing pneumonia, upper respiratory infection, and sepsis. For example, a person who received 29 day old blood is at twice the risk for infection. Current federal guidelines states that blood can be stored for up to 42 days.
Although blood transfusion is necessary in many cases, either the standards we have for blood storage need to be rethought or more care needs to be put into transfused blood. Researchers at Duke University who were first to publish the study
on the risks of blood transfusion may have come up with a way to restore blood’s oxygen transporting efficacy. By treating red blood cells with a solution of aqueous nitric oxide, a 10-fold increase in S-nitrohemoglobin (the molecule that carries nitric oxide in the blood) was shown. This made the transfused blood not significantly different from fresh blood. This means that hospitals only need to implement this technique in order to avoid most complications associated with blood transfusion.
More clinical trials need to take place to determine if the technique utilized by Duke University can be applied to a hospital setting. Since blood transfusion is very important for many people, hopefully putting nitric oxide back into stored blood can lower the risk of blood transfusion.
has discovered that applying a nitric oxide containing ointment to the site of a snakebite will help slow the spread of some venoms. Application of this new treatment could be life saving as it may double the amount of time it takes for the poison to reach the bloodstream. Since World Health Organization statistics
show that about 20,000 deaths occur worldwide from snakebites each year, a nitric oxide containing cream may become a staple for snake bite first aid kids.
Snake bites are especially a problem in poorer rural areas where access to health services and antivenom are limited.
The Lymphatic system is responsible for the distribution of most venoms through your body and to the blood stream. The current recommended method of dealing with snake bites is called the “pressure-immobilisation
” technique. This reduces spread of the venom by placing a firm bandage over a folded pad onto the bitten area. If applied properly, the “pressure-immobilisation” technique is simple, safe, and will not cause any tissue damage.
Scientists have known that nitric oxide slows down a pumping mechanism in the lymphatic system, which in turn slows down the transportation of the venom to the bloodstream. Dirk van Helden, a researcher at the University of Newcastle in New South Wales, recently used this information to suggest nitric oxide as a possible treatment for snakebites.
To test his theory, Helden and fellow researchers injected a venom-like substance into one foot of 15 volunteers, and measured the amount of time it took for the substance to reach lymph nodes in the groin region. The results showed that when a nitric oxide inducing cream was spread around the puncture within one minute of the injection, the average time of transit dropped from 13 minutes to 54 minutes.
An experiment in rats yielded the same results. Rats injected with a venom that were treated with the ointment kept breathing 50 percent longer, as compared to rats who did not receive nitric oxide.
can have potential application for those who are bitten far away from any medical facility. The ointment cannot help victims if they are bitten by snakes such as the Black Mamba or cobra, since they release toxic proteins that are small enough to directly enter the bloodstream.
The full study can be found in Nature Medicine
. The next step for study is seeing how long application of the cream can be delayed after being bitten by the snake.
Malaria is a Parasitic DiseaseMalaria symptoms
include high fevers, chills, flu-like symptoms, and anemia. It is caused by a parasite that is transmitted from one human to another by the bite of an infected mosquito. These parasites multiply in our body’s red blood cells which rupture within 48 to 72 hours, infecting even more red blood cells. The first symptoms usually appear 10 days to 4 weeks after infection, although in some cases they can take as long as a year after infection to manifest.
Cerebral Malaria occurs when blood cells filled with parasites block the small blood vessels to your brain. This can create swelling of your brain or brain damage. Symptoms of cerebral malaria include convulsions or, in some cases, a coma. About 20% of those who suffer from this disease die, while another 20% suffer from permanent brain injuries.
In 2008, the disease caused nearly one million death
s, mostly among African children. In the country, the disease accounts for 20% of all childhood deaths. It is most predominant in sub-Saharan Africa, but it is also a problem in Asia, Latin America, the Middle East, and parts of Europe.
Malaria can cause a significant economic burden on countries with high prevalence of the disease. For these countries, gross domestic product (GDP) can decrease as much as 1.3%. It disproportionately affects poor people who cannot afford treatment or have limited access to health care.
Nitric Oxide Treatment
The big problem with cerebral malaria is determining the 2% of people who are susceptible to the disease and figuring out how to treat it. A study led by Dr. Kevin Kain may hold the answer to both problems. Those with cerebral malaria tend to have lower-than-normal levels of nitric oxide.
In a study
done by Dr. Kain and his fellow researchers, mice afflicted with cerebral malaria were split into two groups - one group was given the standard drugs to treat the malaria while the other was given both the drug and nitric oxide. The mice that had the nitric oxide treatment showed improved survival rate.
Dr. Kain believes that increasing nitric oxide levels can prevent the release of angiopoietin-2 (Ang-2), a blood protein that encourages the breakdown of blood vessels and puts the patient at risk for severe and fatal malaria. This would protect the blood vessels in the brain, decreasing the effects of malaria. Ang-2 also presents a possible key for screening people with cerebral malaria. A simple blood test will reveal elevated Ang-2 levels in the body, and then aggressive treatment involving nitric oxide can take place. The Study
Although this is not the first time nitric oxide’s role in malaria treatment
has been investigated
, Kain’s study may be the closest nitric oxide has gotten to practical application. His current study will provide 180 children between the ages of one and 10 with antimalarial drugs to treat the infection. 90 of those children will also be administered inhaled nitric oxide. The hope is that nitric oxide will provide humans the same survivability that it provided to mice. If his study is successful, nitric oxide may become available as a cost-effective malaria treatment!
Tomatoes are a food with great health benefits for the body. Although availability was limited due to their growth season in the past, tomatoes are now readily available at a year round basis. Even if you can’t find any fresh tomatoes, the nutritional benefit of these super foods can be found in processed foods as well. Spaghetti and pizza sauce, ketchup, and barbecue sauce all have the same health benefits as the fruit.
Lycopene is a member of the carotenoid family and is responsible for the red pigment of the tomato. More importantly for our bodies, lycopene has been extensively studied and praised for its antioxidant and cancer-preventing properties. Studies done in the 1980’s showed that people who ate large amounts of tomatoes were far less likely to die from a variety of cancer types as compared to those who ate little to no tomatoes. Another stuyd showed that lycopene introduced into pre-existing cancer cell cultures also prevented the continued growth of those cultures.
In addition to its cancer prevention benefits, lycopene plays a key role in the antioxidant defense of the skin. It can raise your skins sun protection factor (SPF) by up to 33% acting as a natural internal sunblock! Animal studies have shown that tomatoes can also lower the risk for age related macular degeneration, but human studies have shown mixed results and need more research.
It should be noted that lycopene is fat soluble. This means it needs a bit of dietary fat to be transported into the bloodstream. So although a whole tomato is not a good source of the nutrient, any tomato-based food prepared with some type of oil will give your body the health benefits. Also organic tomatoes have three times as much lycopene as non-organic brands.
In addition to lycopene, vitamin C and beta-carotene also act as powerful antioxidants. These antioxidants preserve cell membranes from inflammatory damage which hinders the progression of atherosclerosis. In fact, a German study showed that men who suffered from heart attacks had much lower lycopene levels than those who did not.
Tomatoes also contain potassium, niacin, vitamin B6, and folate, all of which promote heart health. Potassium has been shown to help reduce systolic blood pressure. Niacin reduces your LDL levels while increasing your HDL cholesterol, which reduces your risk of heart attack. Vitamin B6 and folate help to lower levels of homocysteine in your body. High levels of homocysteine are often linked to an increase risk of heart disease and stroke.
What you should take away from reading this article is that if you aren’t already eating tomatoes, you should be. Not only are tomatoes readily available for purchase at your local grocery store, processed tomato-based foods also contain the nutritional benefit of the fruit. It is recommended to get between seven and ten servings of lycopene-rich foods per day to give you the health benefits it provides. This equates to about 30 mg per day. Tomato paste provides 75.4 mg in one cup, puree has 54.4 mg in a cup and tomato soup contains 26.4 mg in one cup.
People are always on the lookout for the latest skin care product to hit the market. Many don’t realize, though, that a nutritious diet can be just as beneficial for their skin. Being specific, researchers and nutritionist have recognized the importance of omega 3 for skin care
. Here are some ways that a diet rich in omega 3 can benefit your skin.
1. Wrinkle Free Skin
As we age, the cells of our epidermis (the skin’s outer layer) become thinner and less sticky. This decrease the barrier function of the epidermis allowing moisture to be released from the skin and causing dryness. Also as epidermal cells start to decrease, the skin slowly loses its ability to repair itself efficiently. Simultaneously, the structural elements that support the skin start wear thin. All of these changes promote wrinkling.
One of the benefits of omega 3 fatty acid is the upkeep of your cells membrane
. The membrane is the outer layer of the cell and plays an important role in allowing nutrients and waste to enter and leave the cell. It also influences the cells ability to hold water. This yields moister, softer skin, which promotes the prevention of wrinkles.
2. UV protection
Ultraviolet radiation from the sun can be very hazardous for your skin. Exposure damages collagen fibers (a support for you skin) thereby accelerating the aging of the skin. Overexposure without enough protection can also lead to the development of skin cancer.
Research has found that foods or supplements that combines vitamin E and omega-3 fatty acid can play a role in reducing skin damage and the production of cancer cells. Food such as nuts and whole grains, for example, would be beneficial to eat. Since research isn’t very extensive on this topic, you should still take the standard precautions against UV radiation such as by using sunscreen.
3. Improvement for psoriasis
Psoriasis is a common skin condition that manifests itself as red, dry patches of thickened skin. The dry flakes are thought to be caused by the rapid buildup of skin sells. Psoriasis is considered a chronic, non-curable skin condition with no known cause. It is seen worldwide in all races and both sexes, and the severity of the condition can range from mild to severe.
Mild cases of psoriasis can be treated to varying degrees of success with topical creams. For more severe forms of the disease that involve a larger area of the body, topical products are usually less effective and not very practical to be used. In these cases, pills or injections may need to be used.
Several studies have been conducted demonstrating the potential use of omega 3 in treating this skin condition. Omega 3 injections, topical omega 3, and omega 3 supplements all improved the psoriasis in patients who received them. Omega 3 may not be able to cure psoriasis, but it may provide a natural alternative to reducing some of the symptoms.
Sleep Apnea is condition that affects over 18 million Americans. Those suffering from sleep apnea often go through their day tired and unable to focus properly. Not only that, but sleep apnea can also make some prone to cardiovascular disease. There are several treatment options for the condition that range from lifestyle changes to surgery. This article will examine an alternate form of treatment in omega 3 fatty acid. Several recent studies have demonstrated that one of the benefits of omega 3 fatty acids is in lowering the risk for sleep apnea.
About Sleep Apnea
Sleep Apnea is a condition that affects a person's breathing during sleep. It is a chronic condition that can worsen over time. It is characterized by a stoppage of breathing that can last anywhere from 10 to 30 seconds per incident. When multiple instances occur, this can add up to 400 seconds over the course of a single night. As mentioned, over 18 million Americans suffer from sleep apnea with 50% of all cases diagnosed in people aged 40 and over.
There are 3 types of sleep apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is the most common of the three, followed by central and mixed . OSA is caused due to one's muscle tissue causing a blockage of the airway in your throat. Central sleep apnea is caused by a problem in the brain's respiratory control center, while mixed sleep apnea is a combination of the other two types.
OSA is not only the most common form of sleep apnea, it is also the most common sleep disease in general. Being unable to get enough air through your mouth and nose can cause your oxygen levels in your body to drop. It can increase your risk for car crashes, work-related accidents, and is linked to cardiovascular disease.
Omega 3 for Sleep Apnea
Using omega 3 supplements for this sleep disorder is something that hasn't been researched very thoroughly, but is starting to gain recognition as people become more aware of the fatty acid. A study done by the University of Missouri showed an inverse relation between sleep apnea and DHA omega 3 fatty acid. The study showed that those with the highest occurrence of sleep apnea had the lowest levels of omega 3. The author of the study noted that it couldn't be determined if low levels of omega 3 caused sleep apnea or if sleep apnea led to low levels of DHA.
Since those who suffer from sleep apnea often have cardiovascular disease, another benefit of omega 3 supplements can be for that as well. Although the research for the benefits of omega 3 for sleep apnea is quite sparse at the moment, omega 3 should be included in part of your diet regardless. Having the proper amount in your diet is important for both heart health and brain health, as well as its role in a variety of other bodily functions. Hopefully more research can be done on the role of omega 3 in sleep apnea as I’m sure many would welcome a natural alternative to curbing the disease.