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Oct 11

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News: Health Herbal Medicine Research Latest NewsFor our clients and customers to keep up to date with current health and herbal medicine research and their conditions

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  • Study Finds Cannabis Compounds Prevent Infection By Covid-19 Virus Wednesday January 12th, 2022

    Compounds in cannabis can prevent infection from the virus that causes Covid-19 by blocking its entry into cells, according to a study published this week by researchers affiliated with Oregon State University. A report on the research, “Cannabinoids Block Cellular Entry of SARS-CoV-2 and the Emerging Variants,” was published online on Monday by the Journal of Natural Products.

    The researchers found that two cannabinoid acids commonly found in hemp varietals of cannabis, cannabigerolic acid, or CBGA, and cannabidiolic acid, also known as CBDA, can bind to the spike protein of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19. By binding to the spike protein, the compounds can prevent the virus from entering cells and causing infection, potentially offering new avenues to prevent and treat the disease.

    “Orally bioavailable and with a long history of safe human use, these cannabinoids, isolated or in hemp extracts, have the potential to prevent as well as treat infection by SARS-CoV-2,” the researchers wrote in an abstract of the study.

    The study was led by Richard van Breemen, a researcher with Oregon State’s Global Hemp Innovation Center in the College of Pharmacy and Linus Pauling Institute, in collaboration with scientists at the Oregon Health & Science University. Van Breeman said that the cannabinoids studied are common and readily available.

    “These cannabinoid acids are abundant in hemp and in many hemp extracts,” van Breemen said, as quoted by local media. “They are not controlled substances like THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, and have a good safety profile in humans.”

    Cannabinoids Effective Against New Variants

    Van Breemen added that CBDA and CBGA blocked the action of emerging variants of the virus that causes Covid-19, saying that “our research showed the hemp compounds were equally effective against variants of SARS-CoV-2, including variant B.1.1.7, which was first detected in the United Kingdom, and variant B.1.351, first detected in South Africa.”

    The spike protein is the same part of the virus target by Covid-19 vaccines and antibody therapies. In addition to the spike protein, SARS-CoV-2 has three more structural proteins as well as 16 nonstructural proteins and several compounds van Breemen characterized as “accessory” proteins, all of which are potential targets for drugs developed to prevent Covid-19.

    “Any part of the infection and replication cycle is a potential target for antiviral intervention, and the connection of the spike protein’s receptor binding domain to the human cell surface receptor ACE2 is a critical step in that cycle,” van Breeman said. “That means cell entry inhibitors, like the acids from hemp, could be used to prevent SARS-CoV-2 infection and also to shorten infections by preventing virus particles from infecting human cells. They bind to the spike proteins so those proteins can’t bind to the ACE2 enzyme, which is abundant on the outer membrane of endothelial cells in the lungs and other organs.”

    Although further research is needed, van Breemen noted that study shows the cannabinoids could be developed into drugs to prevent or treat Covid-19.

    “These compounds can be taken orally and have a long history of safe use in humans,” van Breemen noted. “They have the potential to prevent as well as treat infection by SARS-CoV-2. CBDA and CBGA are produced by the hemp plant as precursors to CBD and CBG, which are familiar to many consumers. However, they are different from the acids and are not contained in hemp products.”

    Van Breeman also noted that the research showed the cannabinoids were effective against new variants of the virus, which he said are “one of the primary concerns” in the pandemic for health officials and clinicians. 

    “These variants are well known for evading antibodies against early lineage SARS-CoV-2, which is obviously concerning given that current vaccination strategies rely on the early lineage spike protein as an antigen,” said van Breemen. “Our data show CBDA and CBGA are effective against the two variants we looked at, and we hope that trend will extend to other existing and future variants.”

    The researcher added that “resistant variants could still arise amid widespread use of cannabinoids but that the combination of vaccination and CBDA/CBGA treatment should make for a much more challenging environment for SARS-CoV-2.”

    Source: Forbes

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  • Having more than half a tablespoon of olive oil a day could REDUCE risk of dying from heart disease and cancer, study finds Tuesday January 11th, 2022
    • A study of more than 90,000 suggests olive oil could reduce risk of dying early
    • Researchers found people who consumed more than half a tablespoon of olive oil a day were 19 per cent less likely to die from any cause than people who didn’t
    • Oil may even benefit people who have far less than those in the Mediterranean

    More than half a tablespoon of olive oil a day could reduce the risk of dying from heart disease and cancer.

    Olive oil is part of the ‘Mediterranean diet’ consumed in countries like Italy, Spain, France and Greece.

    People who eat this way, having lots of vegetables, fruit, fish, nuts and grains as well as the olive oil, are notoriously healthier and live longer.

    But a new study of more than 90,000 people suggests olive oil alone could reduce the risk of dying early.

    The study participants were asked about their diet every four years, including about olive oil used in salad dressings, added to food or bread, and used for baking or frying at home.

    They were followed up for 28 years, during which time 36,856 people died.

    Researchers found people who consumed more than half a tablespoon of olive oil a day were 19 per cent less likely to die from any cause than people who rarely or never had olive oil.

    Their risk of dying from cardiovascular disease was 19 per cent lower and their risk of dying from cancer was 17 per cent lower.

    A major advantage of olive oil may be that people use it instead of fatty products like butter and mayonnaise, helping to lower their level of ‘bad’ cholesterol.

    When the study looked at the effects of replacing around three-quarters of a tablespoon of butter with olive oil each day, they found this would reduce someone’s risk of an early death by 14 per cent.

    Dr Marta Guasch-Ferré, lead author of the study, from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, said: ‘Our findings support current dietary recommendations to increase the intake of olive oil and other unsaturated vegetable oils.

    ‘Clinicians should be counselling patients to replace certain fats, such as margarine and butter, with olive oil to improve their health.’

    The study, published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, shows olive oil may provide benefits even when people have far less of it than is consumed in Mediterranean countries.

    Source: Daily Mail

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  • Why fruit and veg could be nature’s secret sleep remedy: Never mind hot baths, pillow sprays and pills, experts say your DIET is key to getting a good night’s rest Tuesday January 11th, 2022

    Studies have found that around a third of people in the UK suffer from insomnia, meaning they struggle to fall or stay asleep, and around two million people rely on sleeping pills.

    But a growing body of research suggests there may be a simpler way to improve your slumber — and that is by improving what you eat.

    While it’s long been recognised that drinks and food containing caffeine, a stimulant, may hamper sleep, it seems that certain food groups — including fruit, vegetables and even certain breads — may have the opposite effect.

    This was the finding from a review of studies, recently published in the journal Annual Review of Nutrition.

    Marie-Pierre St-Onge, an associate professor of nutritional medicine at Columbia University in New York, one of the authors of the paper, told Good Health: ‘We found that eating a diet containing plenty of fruit and veg, plus legumes and dark wholegrain breads, was associated with better quality sleep.’

    The review was based on other findings, including one study published in Nutrients in 2020 and involving 400 women, which found that the more they adhered to a Mediterranean-style diet rich in fruit, vegetables, nuts and lean protein, then the more their sleep quality improved.

    This study was self–reported, i.e. the women themselves were noting down their diet and sleep, but other scientists have seen similar results.

    Indeed, following their own study, researchers from the University of Leeds, writing in BMJ Open in 2018, were so convinced of the link between diet and sleep, they said it could have ‘important implications for lifestyle and behavioural change policy’.

    Their research involved 1,612 adults who had to note their sleep patterns plus their fruit and vegetable intake over four days. Those who had fewer than seven hours sleep a night had 24g less fruit and vegetables a day than those who slept the optimum seven to eight hours.

    What’s more, while a healthy diet may benefit sleep, previous research by Dr St-Onge and her team suggests that eating more saturated fat and sugar may disturb it.

    In a study in 2016, published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, 26 volunteers underwent sleep polysomnography over five nights, with sophisticated monitoring equipment being used to record brainwaves and other vital signs that can determine the quality and quantity of sleep.

    This kind of analysis can determine, for example, how long people spend in deep sleep and how often they wake up.

    ‘The advantage of this study was that we had controlled their diet so we knew exactly what they were eating,’ says Dr St-Onge. ‘So for the first four days they had a healthy diet, low in saturated fat and containing recommended levels of fibre and sodium [salt]. On the fifth day, they were able to self-select what they ate — and that’s when we saw them have a far higher intake of saturated fat, salt and sugar.’

    When the team analysed the group’s sleeping habits, they found some surprising differences.

    ‘On the fifth day, it took almost twice as long for them to get to sleep — 12 minutes longer — compared to the previous days,’ Dr St-Onge told Good Health. ‘They also spent less time in deep sleep, which is the most restorative stage of sleep.’

    This is when brainwaves slow right down, allowing memories to be filed, and when the pituitary gland pumps out the growth hormone needed to regenerate cells. The study found the volunteers had 24 minutes of this deep sleep on the fifth night, compared to 29 minutes on the days when they ate a better diet.

    ‘That represents a 15 per cent reduction, which is quite a lot,’ says Dr St-Onge.

    From there, she went on to look at the specific foods they’d eaten, and their effects, and was able to identify three key food groups that had a significant impact.

    ‘The volunteers who’d eaten more fibre spent less time in the light stage of sleep, and more time in deep sleep,’ she says, ‘while eating more saturated fat was associated with less slow wave [deep] sleep.

    ‘And the more sugar they had, the more arousals they had that night. We think that in the case of sugar, it leads to unstable blood sugar levels, which is what interrupts sleep.’

    Why is not known, although a previous study published in PLoS ONE in 2015, involving 63 patients with type 2 diabetes, also found that poor blood sugar control was associated with poor sleep.

    While sugar may be detrimental to sleep, there are ‘multiple components in plant-based foods that may be associated with better sleep,’ says Dr St-Onge.

    Fibre is just one example. St-Onge’s research has found that those eating the most fibrous legumes — which includes pulses such as lentils and chickpeas — have the best ‘sleep efficiency’ (in other words, the amount of time spent in bed when you’re actually asleep).

    And when it comes to the Mediterranean-style diet in general, Dr St-Onge suggests it may be that its sleep benefits derive from tryptophan — an amino acid that the body uses (although cannot produce itself) to make the hormones melatonin, which helps us feel sleepy, and serotonin, which stabilises mood and also plays a role in sleep.

    Yet, in order to take effect, tryptophan (found, for example, in turkey, fish, bananas and seeds) has to cross the blood-brain barrier, the semi-permeable wall of cells that protects the brain from toxins.

    In order to cross it, tryptophan has to, in effect, hitch a ride on a ‘carrier’ protein — but it can be jostled out of the way by other amino acids waiting to get across. And at least one study has concluded ‘this limits the amount of serotonin that can be made’.

    ‘In the case of melatonin, your body is really good at producing it,’ says Kevin Morgan, an emeritus professor of psychology at the University of Loughborough, who’s spent much of his career researching sleep.

    ‘Sit in a bright light in the morning and you will kick-start the production of all you need.’

    Catherine Collins, an NHS dietitian based in Surrey, believes there isn’t enough evidence yet to recommend a single diet — or food stuff — as a way to improve sleep.

    ‘The Mediterranean diet is the gold standard of diets, there is no doubt about that,’ she says. ‘However, studies to date have not involved enough people or been conducted for long enough to say for sure that specific components of it aid sleep.’

    But, she says, the fact that the diet has anti-inflammatory effects ‘means it may be beneficial for health in other ways, such as for those with arthritis, for example, and may indirectly benefit sleep in the long term’.

    And the fact that it keeps you feeling fuller for longer may be beneficial too, she adds.

    ‘Going to bed hungry will not help sleep, but the Mediterranean diet is quite high in healthy fats, which gives it a low glycaemic index and makes you feel fuller for longer.’

    Professor Morgan believes it isn’t what you eat but when you eat that is key.

    Source: Daily Mail

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