Antioxidant nutraceauticals help fight rheumatoid arthritis

Sunday Dec 2, 2012 ( — Taking antioxidant nutraceuticals or supplements may help manage rheumatoid arthritis, according to a recent review article published in Toxicology and Industrial Health.
S.Y. Al-Okbi at Food Sciences and Nutrition Department, National Research Centre in Cairo, Egypt reviewed previous studies and found evidence suggesting that foods with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory bioactive components such as phenolics, polyunsaturated fatty acids, phytosterols, tocopherols and carotenoids can help ease symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis.
Rheumatoid arthritis is recognized as a chronic inflammatory disease and prescription drugs are available to treat the disease, but they can cause side effects.  Antioxidants on the other hand are known to be able to reduce oxidative stress and they are generally recognized as safe.  For this reason, research has been conducted to examine if  it is possible to use natural antioxidant nutraceuticals to treat rheumatoid arthritis.
The author has been conducting a series of studies on anti-inflammatory activity of various food extracts in animals and clinical settings with patients with rheumatoid arthritis.  Studied food preparations included “fish oil, primrose oil, extracts of black cumin, fenugreek, liquorice, coriander, tomato, carrot, sweet potato, broccoli, green tea, rosemary, hazelnut, walnut, wheat germ, and date in addition to the probiotic Bifidobacterium bifidum.” according to the author.
Many of the studied nutraceuticals, the authors reported, showed an effect on inflammatory biomarkers, oxidative stress, antioxidant status, levels of copper (Cu) and zinc (Zn), and colonic microflora among other benefits.
The author concluded “Anti-inflammatory and antioxidant nutraceuticals may serve as complementary medicine for the management of RA (rheumatoid arthritis).”
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Antioxidants may ease PAD blood pressure increase

HERSHEY, Pa. — Low antioxidant levels contribute to increased blood pressure during exercise for people with peripheral arterial disease, according to researchers at Penn State Hershey Heart and Vascular Institute.

Peripheral arterial disease, or PAD, affects an estimated 10 million Americans and increases the chance of death from a cardiovascular event. Reduced blood flow causes pain in the legs and increases blood pressure in people who have PAD. However, the causes of the disease are unknown.

“Past studies have shown that having low antioxidant levels and increased reactive oxygen species — chemical products that bind to body cells and cause damage — is related to more severe PAD,” said Matthew Muller, postdoctoral fellow in Larry Sinoway’s lab at Penn State College of Medicine, and lead author of the study.

Antioxidants prevent the reactive oxygen species from damaging cells.

“This study shows that blood pressure increases more with exercise in more severe PAD cases. By infusing the antioxidant vitamin C into the blood, we were able to lessen the increase in blood pressure during exercise,” said Muller.

Vitamin C does not lessen the increase in blood pressure of PAD patients to that of healthy people. As the intensity of exercise increases, the effects of vitamin C decrease but are still seen. The researchers report their findings in the Journal of Physiology.

Penn State Hershey researchers looked at three groups of PAD patients to study the blood pressure increase. A group of 13 PAD patients was compared to people without PAD to see the effects of doing low-intensity exercise on blood pressure. From that group, a second group of nine patients was used to measure the effects of vitamin C. A third group of five PAD patients and five without PAD had their leg muscles electrically stimulated to remove the brain’s role in raising blood pressure during muscle contraction in this disease.

Increased blood pressure during exercise occurs in both legs, before pain begins, and relates to the severity of the disease. By using electrical stimulation, the scientists show that the blood pressure increase comes from the muscle itself, since the brain is not telling the leg to contract and the pressure still increases.

“This indicates that during normal, everyday activities such as walking, an impaired antioxidant system — as well as other factors — plays a role in the increased blood pressure response to exercise,” Muller said. “Therefore, supplementing the diet with antioxidants may help these patients, but more studies are needed to confirm this concept.”

Other researchers are Rachel C. Drew, postdoctoral fellow; Cheryl A. Blaha, research coordinator; Jessica L. Mast, research coordinator; Jian Cui, associate professor of medicine; and Amy B. Reed, associate professor of surgery, all of Penn State College of Medicine.

The study was funded by the National Institutes of Health.


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OPC found in Grape seed extract may help with norovirus infections

The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine writes that leaves and fruit of the grape have been used medicinally since ancient Greece. Grape seed extract is used today as a folk or traditional remedy for conditions which are related to the heart and blood vessels, such as atherosclerosis, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and poor circulation; complications related to diabetes, such as nerve and eye damage; vision problems, such as macular degeneration; swelling after an injury or surgery; cancer prevention; and wound healing.

In an article on Nov. 8, 2012 Science Daily has reported: Grape Seed Extract Bollixes Norovirus. Norovirus is the cause of more than half of all food-born illnesses in the United States, and is the second greatest source of reported food borne illness outbreaks in the European Union. A recent study has found that grape seed extract could reduce the infectivity of Norovirus surrogates. Norovirus surrogates are viruses which share pathological and/or biological features with human norovirus.

  Pakistani children get treated for stomach ailments, diarrhea and dehydration at a crowded IDP ward inside the Mardan District hospital in Mardan, Pakistan.Pakistani children get treated for stomach ailments, diarrhea and dehydration at a crowded IDP ward inside the Mardan District hospital in Mardan, Pakistan. Pakistani children get treated for stomach ailments, diarrhea and dehydration at a crowded IDP ward inside the Mardan District hospital in Mardan, Pakistan. Photo credit: Paula Bronstein /Getty Images

The source of this Science Daily report is from materials provided by the American Society for Microbiology. These researchers found evidence that grape seed extract could effectively damage the norovirus capsid protein, which could therefore reduce viral binding ability and infectivity accordingly. Norovirus has been found to be transmitted mainly fecal-orally, and infected food handlers, contaminated water, and surfaces can be identified as important sources of transmission, “which could further contaminate ready-to-eat foods, drinking water, shellfish, and fresh produce.”   This research has been published in the November 2012 issue of Applied and Environmental Microbiology.

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