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Oct 11

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News: Health Herbal Medicine Research Latest News

Latest News – For our clients and customers to keep up to date with current health and herbal medicine research and their conditions

  • Night-time loo trips ‘linked to salt in diet’ Monday March 27th, 2017

    People who wake at night with an urge to go to the loo may need to cut back on salt in their diets, doctors from Japan are suggesting.

    The problem – called nocturia – which mainly affects the over-60s, leads to disrupted sleep and can significantly affect people’s lives.

    In a study of more than 300 People who wake at night with an urge to go to the loo may need to cut back on salt in their diets, doctors from Japan are suggesting.

    The problem – called nocturia – which mainly affects the over-60s, leads to disrupted sleep and can significantly affect people’s lives.

    In a study of more than 300 volunteers, researchers found that reduced salt intake led people to urinate less.

    Advice to follow a sensible diet could help improve symptoms, UK doctors said.

    The researchers, from Nagasaki University, presented their findings at the European Society of Urology congress in London.

    They followed patients who had a high salt intake and sleeping problems for three months, after giving them advice to cut back on salt in their diet.

    On average, trips to the loo fell from more than twice a night to just one.

    This happened at night as well as during the day, and their quality of life also improved.

    Feeling the urge

    Conversely, 98 people in the study ended up eating more salt than normal and found they went to the loo more often at night-time.

    Study author Dr Matsuo Tomohiro said larger studies were needed to confirm the link but the results could offer help for older people.

    “This work holds out the possibility that a simply dietary modification might significantly improve the quality of life for many people,” he said.

    Prof Marcus Drake, a nocturia expert from the University of Bristol, said the amount of salt people ate was not generally considered to be a cause of nocturia.

    Usually, doctors tended to focus on the volume of water patients drank before bedtime and on bladder and prostate problems (in men), he said.

    “Here we have a useful study showing how we need to consider all influences to get the best chance of improving the symptom.”

    To pee or not to pee?

    The need to wake up at night to empty the bladder affects more than half of men and women over the age of 50.

    It is particularly common in elderly people, many of whom get up at least twice a night.

    When you start to need to make two or more trips to the bathroom at night, sleep is being disturbed – which can lead to stress, tiredness and irritability.

    Is it just a side-effect of getting old?

    Hormonal changes do happen as we age, making us produce more urine at night.

    Men’s prostate glands also often start growing with age.

    An enlarged prostate can press on the tube that urine passes through before leaving the body, increasing the need to pass urine.

    But this isn’t the whole story.

    Nocturia can be a sign of an underlying health problem, such as diabetes, heart problems or sleep-related conditions, such as sleep apnoea.

    How much salt is too much?

    Adults in the UK are recommended to eat no more than 6g of salt a day, equal to 2.4g of sodium.

    Children should eat less – only 2g of salt for ages one to three, rising to 5g for seven to 10-year-olds.

    After age 11, children can have up to 6g.

    Which foods are high in salt?

    Bread and breakfast cereals can contain more salt than you think.

    Bacon, ham, cheese, crisps and pasta sauces are also high in salt.

    When buying food, look at the figure for salt per 100g on the packaging.

    High salt content is more than 1.5g salt (0.6g sodium) per 100g. These foods may be colour-coded red.

    Source: BBC

  • Hibiscus tea more beneficial than black tea -Experts Thursday March 23rd, 2017

    If you’re a tea lover, it may make sense to experiment with other types of tea, like hibiscus tea which, additionally, is caffeine-free, unlike black tea, promotes a healthy heart and lower blood pressure.

    A growing body of research suggests that many of the health benefits attributed to tea are largely imparted by its polyphenols. In reality, each type of tea has unique properties due to its special blend of polyphenols, and there is some evidence to suggest that hibiscus tea (Hibiscus sabdariffa) may in fact be even more beneficial.

    Although the flowers, calyx, and fruit are all used for healing purposes, only the calyx is used for hibiscus tea. Hibiscus tea is rich in antioxidants such as vitamin A, vitamin C, and zinc. It is also a good source of vitamin B1 and iron.

    In folk medicine, the calyx extracts also known as roselle or Zobo, are used for the treatment of several health problems, including high blood pressure, liver diseases and fever.

    In Egypt, preparations from the calyx have been used to treat diseases that affect the heart and nerves and also to increase the production of urine.

    In North Africa, calyx preparations are used to treat sore throats and coughs, as well as genital problems, while the emollient leaf pulp is used for treating external wounds and abscesses. In Nigeria, the decoction of the seeds is traditionally used to enhance or induce breast milk production.

    In one study, people with diabetes drank either hibiscus tea or black tea twice a day for one month. Those in the hibiscus group benefited from a significantly improved blood lipid profile while those in the black-tea group did not.

    The study results showed the average systolic blood pressure for those drinking hibiscus tea decreased from 134.8 mmHg at the beginning of the study to 112.7 mmHg at the end of the study, one month later.

    Also, in a similar study, diabetic patients with mild hypertension who drank hibiscus tea lowered their blood pressure levels while those drinking black tea actually had an increase.

    In another study of 53 diabetics, mostly women, published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, participants were given either hibiscus tea or black tea (two cups a day for one month).

    In the group consuming hibiscus tea, there was an average 7.6 per cent decrease in total cholesterol, an 8.0 per cent decrease in low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, also known as “the bad” cholesterol; a 14.9 per cent decrease in triglycerides as well as a 16.7 per cent increase in HDL (‘healthy’) cholesterol.

    Hibiscus tea health benefits also include relieving symptoms of anxiety and depression. In a study published in the Indian Journal of Pharmacology in 2012, researchers found that it contains chemical substances such as flavonoids, anthocyanins and anthocyanidins with potential antidepressant activity.

    The antioxidant properties of hibiscus tea may also help treat liver disease. In a study published in the journal Food and Chemical Toxicology in 2000, researchers found that the anthocyannins in this tart-tasting tea could offer protection against liver damage and fat build up in the liver.

    Also, regular intake of hibiscus tea is good because of its strong antioxidant and anti-tumour properties. In a study published in the journal Biochemical Pharmacology in 2000, Taiwan researchers suggested that the protocatechuic acid in hibiscus tea inhibits cancer cell growth by inducing cell death in human leukaemia cells.

    Hibiscus tea can also be considered a valuable component to a weight loss programme. Hibiscus tea is low-in-calories, and it is a diuretic herb that helps flush toxins and excess fluids in the body.

    In a 12-week study published in the journal Food & Function in 2014, researchers found that hibiscus extract consumption could reduce obesity and abdominal fat, and improve liver damage in obese individuals.

    A research published in the journal Medical Hypotheses in 2002 also recommended hibiscus tea as a natural weight loss alternative. Furthermore, a 2010 review suggests that herbal teas like hibiscus tea can help support weight loss by increasing the intake of fluids.

    Previously, researchers have corroborated hibiscus tea’s folkloric use in the treatment of fever. In a 2005 study published in the journal, Phytotherapy Research, researchers found that it significantly reverse yeast-induced fever in rats.

    Moreover, researchers have indicated that hibiscus tea can help excrete uric acid from the body. Uric acid is associated with outbreaks in those with gout, a painful condition that affects the joints.

    Although hibiscus is a natural substance, caution should be taken when determining the appropriate dosage. Human studies have not determined a toxic level of hibiscus consumption.

    However, research on rats has found that high levels of consumption of Hibiscus tea can lead to chronic adverse effects, including a delayed onset of puberty and poor sperm quality.

    Source: Nigerian Tribune

  • Antioxidants will NOT help you beat dementia, study warns Thursday March 23rd, 2017

    Research by the University of Kentucky quashes hopes vitamin E and selenium supplements might prevent cognitive decline

    They were found to be almost pointless for people without dementia, and no more useful than a healthy diet for people with dementia

    Older men who take vitamin E and selenium supplements have the same risk of dementia as people who don’t use these products, a new study warns.

    The research by the University of Kentucky quashes hopes these antioxidants might prevent cognitive decline.

    Previous research has linked antioxidants to the prevention of cellular damage that can occur with aging as well as in cancer and other diseases.

    However, the supplements were found to be almost pointless for people without dementia, and no more useful than a healthy diet for people with dementia.

    Scientists believe the reason antioxidants are at times effective is because they halt or slow oxidative stress, which has also been linked to the progression of dementia.

    As the body uses oxygen, it produces by-products called free radicals. Damage to cells and tissues by oxygen free radicals is known as oxidative stress.

    ‘Antioxidants, either through food or supplements, are believed to reduce oxidative stress throughout the body,’ said senior study author Frederick Schmitt of the University of Kentucky in Lexington.

    ‘It could be that antioxidant supplements are less effective than those consumed through food,’ Schmitt said.

    ‘The take-home message is that the evidence for antioxidant supplements is limited.’

    For the current study, researchers examined data on 7,540 older men who took part in a larger trial of the effects of selenium and vitamin E on cancer risk.

    Participants were randomly assigned to one of four groups that received either vitamin E or selenium supplements, both supplements or placebo pills.

    About half the men were followed for five years and half for an additional six years. The study found no differences in dementia risk between any of the groups, researchers report in JAMA Neurology.

    At the start of the study, the men were 68 years old on average and had no history of cognitive or neurological problems. During the study, 325 of them developed dementia, or roughly 4.4 percent of the men in each treatment group.

    One limitation of the study is that many participants dropped out early.

    During the study, other research emerged linking vitamin E to an increased risk of prostate cancer and linking selenium to higher odds of diabetes; these findings may have prompted at least some men to leave the antioxidant study, the authors note.

    Based on the results, however, people without dementia should not be taking antioxidant supplements just to prevent cognitive decline, the researchers conclude.

    It’s possible that the study participants got enough antioxidants from their diets that the supplements didn’t appear beneficial, Schmitt said.

    The dose of supplements or the formulation might have also contributed to the lack of benefit found in the study.

    A Mediterranean diet rich in fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, fish and healthy fats may help ward off dementia even if supplements do not, and exercise may also help prevent cognitive decline, Schmitt said.

    Foods rich in antioxidants include a variety of berries like blueberries, cranberries, goji berries and elderberries as well as dark chocolate, pecans, artichokes and kidney beans.

    The antioxidant vitamin E can be found in nuts, seeds, vegetables and fish oil but the body may need supplements to get enough of this nutrient.

    Brazil nuts, tuna and certain other fish, as well as red meat and poultry can contain selenium, but supplements may also be needed to boost supplies of this nutrient.

    ‘If you aren’t taking antioxidant supplements, there is scant evidence that they will be of significant help in preventing dementia,’ said Dr. Steven DeKosky of the McKnight Brain Institute at the University of Florida in Gainesville.

    ‘However, healthy diets that contain vegetables with antioxidants would be good to choose as it does have the natural compounds needed,’ DeKosky, author of an accompanying editorial, said.

    Source: Daily Mail

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