Monday, 20 March 2017
Phytonutrients are natural compounds produced by plants for their protection. They help plants repel harmful insects, protect them from diseases, draught, ultraviolet rays, and pollutants. Until recently phytonutrients were not considered as important nutrients for humans; however, they are now thought to be necessary to sustain human life. Some examples of common phytonutrients are curcumin (which is an active component in turmeric), resveratrol (which is found in peanuts, pistachios, grapes, red and white wine, blueberries, and cocoa and dark chocolate), and quercetin (which is an active component present in red onions, apples, and peppers). It has been shown that several of these phytonutrients present in fruits and vegetables can reduce the incidence of chronic diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, atherosclerosis, and cancer.
Friday, 03 March 2017
Osteoporosis - or thinning of bones- is a condition affecting 200 million people worldwide. This figure includes both women and men over 50. Approximately 75 million of those affected are in the USA, Europe, and Japan. Although postmenopausal women are more likely to develop osteoporosis, one in five men will also develop significant bone thinning in their lifetime. Osteoporosis is a disease where the bones lose density and strength which increases the risk of fractures and debilitation. Osteoporosis is the most common - yet least detected - bone metabolism disorder. A sedentary lifestyle, the use of prescription drugs such as corticosteroids, antacids (specifically, proton pump inhibitors), and psychiatric medications can cause excessive bone loss leading to osteoporosis. In the elderly, thin bones are prone to breaking and can result in hip or vertebral fractures and can increase the risk of premature death.
Sunday, 19 February 2017
The human skeletal system is made up of bones and joints. It provides support and mobility, and protects the body’s organs. We are born with more than 300 bones. Many of them fuse together during childhood and an adult human being eventually has 206 bones. The largest bone in the human body is the femur (thigh bone) and the smallest bones in the human body are the three bones of the middle ear. Maximum bone growth occurs during childhood and puberty and tapers off at 16-18 years of age. While the bones do not grow in size after 18-20 years, they are not stagnant, hard, and inert structures. A continuous metabolic process called bone remodeling occurs within the bones throughout our life. This is an essential lifelong process during which the bone is resorbed and formed again by specialized cells in the skeletal system. Osteoclasts break down mineralized bone and participate in the bone reabsorption process, and osteoblasts build bone. Our entire skeleton is renewed every few years and it is estimated that at any time about 20% of an adult bone is undergoing remodeling.
Saturday, 04 February 2017
In our last Health Science News Page, we discussed the body’s requirements for fiber and presented dietary sources. Although dietary fiber is not defined as a nutrient, and the body does not digest or absorb it, dietary fiber has a critical role in the prevention of diseases and maintaining health.
Monday, 12 December 2016
The supplement market offers a variety of products in the form of tablets, capsules, soft gels, liquids, chewables, and powders. Each has specific applications but there is confusion about the pros and cons of each of them. Consumer education can bring a better understanding of the advances in supplement research and today’s far superior manufacturing technology. Armed with knowledge consumers can make supplement choices based upon what is best for their health needs rather than product format or impressive marketing and packaging.
Wednesday, 25 January 2017
“You are what you eat” is a common phrase, however, a more accurate statement is “You are what you digest.” This is because dietary nutrients will not be available for the body if they are not optimally digested and absorbed through the digestive tract. A poorly functioning digestive system leads to inadequate nutrient absorption/malnourishment and the development of various health issues such as seasonal allergies, acid reflux, autoimmune conditions like Crohn’s disease, and irritable bowel disease. Our ability to fight seasonal flu or serious infections depends upon a healthy digestive tract. Just like all other systems in our body, the digestive system requires not only macronutrients (carbohydrates, proteins and fats) and micronutrients (vitamins, minerals and amino acids), but also dietary fiber.
Tuesday, 08 November 2016
Sugar is required for production of bioenergy and other metabolic processes taking place in our body cells. Though sugar is an important part of our diet, the simple fact is that our consumption of sugar largely exceeds our body’s metabolic needs. The modern diet contains approximately 50-80 grams of sugar and most of it is derived from fructose. Fructose is metabolized differently in the body than glucose is. Present in soft drinks and most types of processed food and sweets, the consequences of excessive fructose consumption are dangerous and it has been associated with an increase in diabetes, heart disease and many other health problems.
Saturday, 29 October 2016
Our last issue of our Health Science News Page focused on polyphenols, which are the nutrient compounds present in various plants that help in protecting plants from insects, diseases, pollutants, and damage from ultraviolet rays. In Part 1 we discussed a few of the important and most researched polyphenols - specifically quercetin, curcumin, green tea extract, and resveratrol - and their actions and functions in the human body.
Monday, 17 October 2016
Phytonutrients are natural components of plants with important functions such as protecting plants from insects, diseases, draught, ultraviolet rays, and pollutants. The best known phytonutrients are the polyphenols, carotenoids, flavonoids, catechins, and isoflavones. There are various sub-classifications of phytonutrients which include ligans, phenolic acids, and indoles. Flavones are present in vegetables such as parsley and celery, and flavolones are present in tomatoes and other citrus fruits. Catechins are present in fruits, red wine, green tea and chocolate. Ligans are found in various legumes, cereals, grains, and flax seed. In addition to protecting plants against various pathogenic organisms and ultraviolet rays, polyphenols also act as antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agents.
Friday, 30 September 2016
In our last Health Science News Page, we discussed some of the general aspects of the role of micronutrients in pregnancy. The placental development begins in the first weeks when the woman is not even aware she is pregnant. The health of the placenta determines the overall growth and development of the baby throughout the entire course of pregnancy.
Friday, 16 September 2016
Pregnancy is one of the most exciting times in a woman’s life and every expecting mother wishes for a healthy baby. Yet, the progress and outcome of each pregnancy depends on multiple factors such as the mother’s diet and life style before and during pregnancy, the genetic makeup of the parents, and the physical and psychological health of the woman. Every woman of childbearing age should take care of her health all the time. The early days and weeks of pregnancy are critical for fetal development, when a woman may not be aware that she is pregnant. In the first 8-12 weeks of pregnancy, a woman’s body undergoes rapid changes, some experience morning sickness and lose important nutrients.
Wednesday, 07 September 2016
Everyone is exposed to a variety of infectious agents in the environment such as bacteria, viruses, and parasites. Any seasonal change challenges our immune system with new pathogens. This year - even before the start of the flu season - the World Health Organization has declared Zika virus infections an international public health emergency. The Zika virus is not a new virus and is similar to other viruses transmitted by mosquitoes such as West Nile virus, dengue, yellow fever, and Japanese encephalitis. The symptoms of Zika virus infection are similar to normal flu symptoms. They include fever, headache, muscle and joint pain, rash and conjunctivitis. Often there are no symptoms, and in most cases people are not aware that they are infected while they are spreading the virus. Currently, mosquito control is the only way for prevention from Zika infection and there are no treatments available. Therefore, it would be prudent to understand how to support our body’s immune system and protect it against Zika or other viral and infectious pathogens.
Friday, 19 August 2016
Vitamin C is a vital nutrient for human health and survival. It is not only a powerful antioxidant and immune booster, but it also supports collagen connective tissue formation and builds extracellular matrix, which is the “glue” that binds the body’s cells together. It is important for faster wound healing and prevention of various chronic conditions. Optimum amounts of vitamin C effectively protect the body and cardiovascular system against biological rusting. Additionally, there are several other important functions of vitamin C. It is a cofactor for a series of biological enzymes, which are important for the improved metabolism of cholesterol, triglycerides and other risk factors of heart disease. It is an important energy molecule needed to recharge energy carriers inside the cells. Vitamin C is essential for production of carnitine, the molecule that carries fatty acids into the mitochondria for energy production. It participates in biological recycling of vitamin E, glutathione and many other cell protective molecules, and when taken together with calcium, it increases calcium absorption. Vitamin C neutralizes various toxins in the body, and protects healthy cells from harmful substances and the effects of many pharmaceutical drugs.
Thursday, 04 August 2016
In the last Health Science News Page, we elaborated on the important role of lipoprotein (a), or Lp (a), acting as a surrogate for vitamin C. Lp (a) is a sticky molecule that contains a large protein chain called apolipoprotein(a) or apo(a) attached to a molecule of low-density lipoprotein (LDL). As such, the Lp (a) helps in transporting cholesterol and triglycerides in the body. In addition, the presence of apo(a) gives this molecule other distinct features such as its ability to “stick” to collagen and other structural proteins and to facilitate blood clotting. Lp (a) is found only in humans and animals that do not produce their own vitamin C, and its appearance in human metabolism coincides with a loss of vitamin C production in the ancestors of man. Today, the only reasonable explanation for these events remains Dr. Rath’s discovery that Lp (a) is a functional substitute for vitamin C as a temporary “repair factor” for damaged blood vessels caused by chronic deficiency of vitamin C.
Friday, 22 July 2016
Cancer is the second leading cause of death worldwide. The World Health Organization’s International Agency for Cancer Research has projected that as the life expectancy increases, cancer diagnosis will increase by 75%-90% by the year 2030. While enormous amounts of money are being spent on cancer research, there is still no cure in sight. This is because the cancer research establishment largely cultivates already tried conventional approaches and has become reluctant to trying and embracing new concepts and innovative thinking.
Monday, 11 July 2016
Although in our society it has gained cosmetic importance, hair on the head and entire body is one of the distinguishing characteristics of mammals. The main function of hair is to regulate body temperature by facilitating evaporation of sweat in hot weather and to create additional insulation by closing the skin pores in cold weather. Despite its important function, the hair shaft itself is not living tissue. Tiny blood vessels at the base of every hair follicle feed the hair root to keep it growing. Yet, the hair we see on the body contains only dead cells. As the new cells grow at the base of the hair follicle, the older cells die and are forced along the follicle towards the scalp. It is normal to shed approximately 100 to 150 hairs a day. Hair is made of a protein called keratin, and hair color is determined by the presence of melanin secreted by pigment cells. As we age, these pigment cells die and the hair turns gray.