Translate

Friday, March 31, 2017

What are the effects of essential oils from plants on pathogenic bacteria?


Abstract (as presented by the authors of the scientific work):

"The increasing resistance of microorganisms to conventional chemicals and drugs is a serious and evident worldwide problem that has prompted research into the identification of new biocides with broad activity. Plants and their derivatives, such as essential oils, are often used in folk medicine. In nature, essential oils play an important role in the protection of plants. Essential oils contain a wide variety of secondary metabolites that are capable of inhibiting or slowing the growth of bacteria, yeasts and moulds. Essential oils and their components have activity against a variety of targets, particularly the membrane and cytoplasm, and in some cases, they completely change the morphology of the cells. This brief review describes the activity of essential oils against pathogenic bacteria."


Covered topics (the letter size corresponds to the frequency of mentioning in the text):



Tuesday, March 28, 2017

New study points that two-thirds of cancers might be due to unavoidable errors associated with DNA replication, not inheritance or lifestyle


Abstract (as presented by the authors of the scientific work):

"Cancers are caused by mutations that may be inherited, induced by environmental factors, or result from DNA replication errors (R). We studied the relationship between the number of normal stem cell divisions and the risk of 17 cancer types in 69 countries throughout the world. The data revealed a strong correlation (median = 0.80) between cancer incidence and normal stem cell divisions in all countries, regardless of their environment. The major role of R mutations in cancer etiology was supported by an independent approach, based solely on cancer genome sequencing and epidemiological data, which suggested that R mutations are responsible for two-thirds of the mutations in human cancers. All of these results are consistent with epidemiological estimates of the fraction of cancers that can be prevented by changes in the environment. Moreover, they accentuate the importance of early detection and intervention to reduce deaths from the many cancers arising from unavoidable R mutations."


Covered topics (the letter size corresponds to the frequency of mentioning in the text):



Saturday, March 25, 2017

Cancer acidity and its potential as therapeutic target


Abstract (as presented by the authors of the scientific work):

"The link between cancer metabolism and immunosuppression, inflammation and immune escape has generated major interest in investigating the effects of low pH on tumor immunity. Indeed, microenvironmental acidity may differentially impact on diverse components of tumor immune surveillance, eventually contributing to immune escape and cancer progression. Although the molecular pathways underlying acidity-related immune dysfunctions are just emerging, initial evidence indicates that antitumor effectors such as T and NK cells tend to lose their function and undergo a state of mostly reversible anergy followed by apoptosis, when exposed to low pH environment. At opposite, immunosuppressive components such as myeloid cells and regulatory T cells are engaged by tumor acidity to sustain tumor growth while blocking antitumor immune responses. Local acidity could also profoundly influence bioactivity and distribution of antibodies, thus potentially interfering with the clinical efficacy of therapeutic antibodies including immune checkpoint inhibitors. Hence tumor acidity is a central regulator of cancer immunity that orchestrates both local and systemic immunosuppression and that may offer a broad panel of therapeutic targets. This review outlines the fundamental pathways of acidity-driven immune dysfunctions and sheds light on the potential strategies that could be envisaged to potentiate immune-mediated tumor control in cancer patients."


Covered topics (the letter size corresponds to the frequency of mentioning in the text):



Thursday, March 23, 2017

The health-promoting and microbiota-modulating properties of the fermented beverage kefir


Abstract (as presented by the authors of the scientific work):

"Kefir is a complex fermented dairy product created through the symbiotic fermentation of milk by lactic acid bacteria and yeasts contained within an exopolysaccharide and protein complex called a kefir grain. As with other fermented dairy products, kefir has been associated with a range of health benefits such as cholesterol metabolism and angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibition, antimicrobial activity, tumor suppression, increased speed of wound healing, and modulation of the immune system including the alleviation of allergy and asthma. These reports have led to increased interest in kefir as a focus of research and as a potential probiotic-containing product. Here, we review those studies with a particular emphasis on the microbial composition and the health benefits of the product, as well as discussing the further development of kefir as an important probiotic product."


Covered topics (the letter size corresponds to the frequency of mentioning in the text):



Traditional use of medicinal plants to combat disease: special journal issue of Frontiers in Pharmacology ( IF = 4.4, Q1 )


Submission is open for an ethnopharmacology-focused special issue of the journal Frontiers in Pharmacology ( IF = 4.4, Q1 ), guest edited by Atanas G. Atanasov, Judith Maria Rollinger, Judit Hohmann, and Anna Karolina Kiss.

With an emphasis on traditional European medicine, the special issue encourages submissions related to phytochemistry, clinical studies with herbal preparations, bioactivities and mechanism of action studies with natural products, pharmacokinetics and biotransformation of phytochemicals, field and observational studies on the use of local and traditional medicinal plants etc.

Frontiers in Pharmacology ( IF = 4.4, Q1 ) special issue image 1


Sunday, March 19, 2017

The novel dietary supplement methylsulfonylmethane (MSM): applications and safety


Abstract (as presented by the authors of the scientific work):

"Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) has become a popular dietary supplement used for a variety of purposes, including its most common use as an anti-inflammatory agent. It has been well-investigated in animal models, as well as in human clinical trials and experiments. A variety of health-specific outcome measures are improved with MSM supplementation, including inflammation, joint/muscle pain, oxidative stress, and antioxidant capacity. Initial evidence is available regarding the dose of MSM needed to provide benefit, although additional work is underway to determine the precise dose and time course of treatment needed to provide optimal benefits. As a Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS) approved substance, MSM is well-tolerated by most individuals at dosages of up to four grams daily, with few known and mild side effects. This review provides an overview of MSM, with details regarding its common uses and applications as a dietary supplement, as well as its safety for consumption."


Covered topics (the letter size corresponds to the frequency of mentioning in the text):



Thursday, March 16, 2017

Stress-induced despair behavior and intestinal microbiota: can eating yogurt combat depression?


Abstract (as presented by the authors of the scientific work):

"Depressive disorders often run in families, which, in addition to the genetic component, may point to the microbiome as a causative agent. Here, we employed a combination of behavioral, molecular and computational techniques to test the role of the microbiota in mediating despair behavior. In chronically stressed mice displaying despair behavior, we found that the microbiota composition and the metabolic signature dramatically change. Specifically, we observed reduced Lactobacillus and increased circulating kynurenine levels as the most prominent changes in stressed mice. Restoring intestinal Lactobacillus levels was sufficient to improve the metabolic alterations and behavioral abnormalities. Mechanistically, we identified that Lactobacillus-derived reactive oxygen species may suppress host kynurenine metabolism, by inhibiting the expression of the metabolizing enzyme, IDO1, in the intestine. Moreover, maintaining elevated kynurenine levels during Lactobacillus supplementation diminished the treatment benefits. Collectively, our data provide a mechanistic scenario for how a microbiota player (Lactobacillus) may contribute to regulating metabolism and resilience during stress."


Covered topics (the letter size corresponds to the frequency of mentioning in the text):




Monday, March 13, 2017

The stomach in health and disease


Abstract (as presented by the authors of the scientific work):

"The stomach is traditionally regarded as a hollow muscular sac that initiates the second phase of digestion. Yet this simple view ignores the fact that it is the most sophisticated endocrine organ with unique physiology, biochemistry, immunology and microbiology. All ingested materials, including our nutrition, have to negotiate this organ first, and as such, the stomach is arguably the most important segment within the GI tract. The unique biological function of gastric acid secretion not only initiates the digestive process but also acts as a first line of defence against food-borne microbes. Normal gastric physiology and morphology may be disrupted by Helicobacter pylori infection, the most common chronic bacterial infection in the world and the aetiological agent for most peptic ulcers and gastric cancer. In this state-of-the-art review, the most relevant new aspects of the stomach in health and disease are addressed. Topics include gastric physiology and the role of gastric dysmotility in dyspepsia and gastroparesis; the stomach in appetite control and obesity; there is an update on the immunology of the stomach and the emerging field of the gastric microbiome. H. pylori-induced gastritis and its associated diseases including peptic ulcers and gastric cancer are addressed together with advances in diagnosis. The conclusions provide a future approach to gastric diseases underpinned by the concept that a healthy stomach is the gateway to a healthy and balanced host. This philosophy should reinforce any public health efforts designed to eradicate major gastric diseases, including stomach cancer."


Covered topics (the letter size corresponds to the frequency of mentioning in the text):






Sunday, March 12, 2017

How beneficial is Silymarin / Silybin use in chronic liver disease?


Abstract (as presented by the authors of the scientific work):

"
Silymarin is the extract of Silybum marianum, or milk thistle, and its major active compound is silybin, which has a remarkable biological effect. It is used in different liver disorders, particularly chronic liver diseases, cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma, because of its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and antifibrotic power. Indeed, the anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory effect of silymarin is oriented towards the reduction of virus-related liver damages through inflammatory cascade softening and immune system modulation. It also has a direct antiviral effect associated with its intravenous administration in hepatitis C virus infection. With respect to alcohol abuse, silymarin is able to increase cellular vitality and to reduce both lipid peroxidation and cellular necrosis. Furthermore, silymarin/silybin use has important biological effects in non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. These substances antagonize the progression of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, by intervening in various therapeutic targets: oxidative stress, insulin resistance, liver fat accumulation and mitochondrial dysfunction. Silymarin is also used in liver cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma that represent common end stages of different hepatopathies by modulating different molecular patterns. Therefore, the aim of this review is to examine scientific studies concerning the effects derived from silymarin/silybin use in chronic liver diseases, cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma."


Covered topics (the letter size corresponds to the frequency of mentioning in the text):


How beneficial is Silymarin / Silybin use in chronic liver disease?


Thursday, March 9, 2017

Role of intestinal microbiota and metabolites in human diseases


Abstract (as presented by the authors of the scientific work):

"
BACKGROUND:
A vast diversity of microbes colonizes in the human gastrointestinal tract, referred to intestinal microbiota. Microbiota and products thereof are indispensable for shaping the development and function of host innate immune system, thereby exerting multifaceted impacts in gut health.
METHODS:
This paper reviews the effects on immunity of gut microbe-derived nucleic acids, and gut microbial metabolites, as well as the involvement of commensals in the gut homeostasis. We focus on the recent findings with an intention to illuminate the mechanisms by which the microbiota and products thereof are interacting with host immunity, as well as to scrutinize imbalanced gut microbiota (dysbiosis) which lead to autoimmune disorders including inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), Type 1 diabetes (T1D) and systemic immune syndromes such as rheumatoid arthritis (RA).
RESULTS:
In addition to their well-recognized benefits in the gut such as occupation of ecological niches and competition with pathogens, commensal bacteria have been shown to strengthen the gut barrier and to exert immunomodulatory actions within the gut and beyond. It has been realized that impaired intestinal microbiota not only contribute to gut diseases but also are inextricably linked to metabolic disorders and even brain dysfunction.
CONCLUSIONS:
A better understanding of the mutual interactions of the microbiota and host immune system, would shed light on our endeavors of disease prevention and broaden the path to our discovery of immune intervention targets for disease treatment."


Covered topics (the letter size corresponds to the frequency of mentioning in the text):



Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Potential benefits and harms of fasting


Abstract (as presented by the authors of the scientific work):

"Intermittent energy restriction (IER) has become popular as a means of weight control amongst people who are overweight and obese, and is also undertaken by normal weight people hoping spells of marked energy restriction will optimise their health. This review summarises randomised comparisons of intermittent and isoenergetic continuous energy restriction for weight loss to manage overweight and obesity. It also summarises the potential beneficial or adverse effects of IER on body composition, adipose stores and metabolic effects from human studies, including studies amongst normal weight subjects and relevant animal experimentation. Six small short term (<6 month) studies amongst overweight or obese individuals indicate that intermittent energy restriction is equal to continuous restriction for weight loss, with one study reporting greater reductions in body fat, and two studies reporting greater reductions in HOMA insulin resistance in response to IER, with no obvious evidence of harm. Studies amongst normal weight subjects and different animal models highlight the potential beneficial and adverse effects of intermittent compared to continuous energy restriction on ectopic and visceral fat stores, adipocyte size, insulin resistance, and metabolic flexibility. The longer term benefits or harms of IER amongst people who are overweight or obese, and particularly amongst normal weight subjects, is not known and is a priority for further investigation."


Covered topics (the letter size corresponds to the frequency of mentioning in the text):


Monday, March 6, 2017

Functional components and medicinal properties of food: a scientific review



Abstract (as presented by the authors of the scientific work):

"Research has proved a relationship between functional components of food, health and well-being. Thus, functional components of food can be effectively applied in the treatment and prevention of diseases. They act simultaneously at different or identical target sites with the potential to impart physiological benefits and promotion of wellbeing including reducing the risk of cancer, cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, inflammation, type II diabetes, and other chronic degenerative diseases, lowering of blood cholesterol, neutralization of reactive oxygen species and charged radicals, anticarcinogenic effect, low-glycaemic response, etc. Previously, it was thought that functional ingredients such as non-starchy carbohydrates including soluble and insoluble dietary fibres, fucoidan; antioxidants including polyphenols, carotenoids, tocopherols, tocotrienols, phytosterols, isoflavones, organosulphur compounds; plant sterols and soy phytoestrogens occur only in plant foods (whole grains, fruits, and vegetables) as phytochemicals. However, probiotics, prebiotics, conjugated linolenic acid, long-chain omega-3, -6 and -9-polyunsaturated fatty acids, and bioactive peptides have proved that functional components are equally available in animal products such as milk, fermented milk products and cold-water fish. The way a food is processed affects its functional components. Many processing techniques have been found to lower the concentration of functional components in food. Conversely, other techniques were found to increase them. Hence, in a time when the role of a healthy diet in preventing non-communicable diseases is well accepted, the borderline between food and medicine is becoming very thin."


Covered topics (the letter size corresponds to the frequency of mentioning in the text):



Sunday, March 5, 2017

The health-promoting potential of Dendrobium species (Orchidaceae)



Abstract (as presented by the authors of the scientific work):

"Dendrobium species, commonly known as "Shihu" or "Huangcao," represents the second largest genus of Orchidaceae, which are used commonly as tonic herbs and healthy food in many Asian countries. The aim of this paper is to review the history, chemistry, and pharmacology of different Dendrobium species on the basis of the latest academic literatures found in Google Scholar, PubMed, Sciencedirect, Scopus, and SID."


Covered topics (the letter size corresponds to the frequency of mentioning in the text):



Saturday, March 4, 2017

Mushrooms for improvement of health and life quality


 
Abstract (as presented by the authors of the scientific work):

"Mushrooms have been consumed since earliest history; ancient Greeks believed that mushrooms provided strength for warriors in battle, and the Romans perceived them as the "Food of the Gods." For centuries, the Chinese culture has treasured mushrooms as a health food, an "elixir of life." They have been part of the human culture for thousands of years and have considerable interest in the most important civilizations in history because of their sensory characteristics; they have been recognized for their attractive culinary attributes. Nowadays, mushrooms are popular valuable foods because they are low in calories, carbohydrates, fat, and sodium: also, they are cholesterol-free. Besides, mushrooms provide important nutrients, including selenium, potassium, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin D, proteins, and fiber. All together with a long history as food source, mushrooms are important for their healing capacities and properties in traditional medicine. It has reported beneficial effects for health and treatment of some diseases. Many nutraceutical properties are described in mushrooms, such as prevention or treatment of Parkinson, Alzheimer, hypertension, and high risk of stroke. They are also utilized to reduce the likelihood of cancer invasion and metastasis due to antitumoral attributes. Mushrooms act as antibacterial, immune system enhancer and cholesterol lowering agents; additionally, they are important sources of bioactive compounds. As a result of these properties, some mushroom extracts are used to promote human health and are found as dietary supplements."


Covered topics (the letter size corresponds to the frequency of mentioning in the text):




Thursday, March 2, 2017

What is inside the smoke of hallucinogen Salvia divinorum?



Abstract (as presented by the authors of the scientific work):

"Salvia divinorum is a hallucinogen sold over the internet in several forms. Perhaps the most common method of use is smoking the dried leaf material. The sole presumed active constituent, salvinorin A, is a selective kappa-opioid receptor agonist. Upon smoking of the dried leaf material, some of the salvinorin A is destroyed or converted to other materials, leaving in question the actual amount of salvinorin A delivered that leads to the psychotomimetic effect. On average, 133 μg of salvinorin A was delivered in the smoke from an 830 mg per cigarette, which contained ∼2.7 mg of salvinorin A. Hence, only ∼5% of the salvinorin A available in the dried plant material was delivered in the smoke. Upon smoking, hydrolysis of salvinorin A to salvinorin B, an inactive and minor component of the leaf material, also occurs as evidenced by a higher delivered amount of salvinorin B vs salvinorin A (217 vs 133 μg per cigarette). Since smoking is an effective means of achieving the hallucinogenic effect and salvinorin A is the presumed sole active ingredient in the plant, the estimated effective dose of salvinorin A by inhalation is <133 μg per person. Considering the reported rapid metabolism of salvinorin A in vivo, the dose reaching the brain would be substantially less."



Covered topics (the letter size corresponds to the frequency of mentioning in the text):

What is inside the smoke of hallucinogen Salvia divinorum image 1


Results and discussion (as presented by the authors of the scientific work):

"The average values of chemical analytes found in the smoke of a tobacco and an S. divinorum cigarette are listed in Table I. Excluding the psychoactive constituents of the respective plants, most of the analytes were found in similar amounts in the two plants. The S. divinorum plant material used in this study demonstrated some variation even within the small sampling of the leaf material used for the smoking studies. The three samples analyzed for 2.20 ± 0.30, 3.82 ± 0.65 and 3.69 ± 0.04 mg salvinorin A per gram of plant material (n = 4 for each determination). The grand average of these determinations is 3.24 mg salvinorin A per gram of plant material or 0.324% of the dried plant material, which is near the average 0.245% salvinorin A content reported by Siebert (3). An 830 mg cigarette would then have ∼2.7 mg salvinorin A present. In the smoke, 133 μg of salvinorin A was delivered (∼5% yield) indicating significant conversion of salvinorin A to other components during combustion. Some evidence for this was seen by the presence of 217 μg of salvinorin B, which is a non-psychoactive hydrolysis product of salvinorin A. Additionally, the presence of small amounts (18 μg) of related salvinorin D or E was detected as indicated by their MW. Since salvinorins D and E can interconvert, the observed material is likely a mixture of D & E (9). Additionally, salvinorins D and E are partial hydrolysis products of salvinorin C, which is present in the plant (3); therefore, the salvinorin D or E observed here are likely combinations of amounts present in the plant and products of the combustion process in a manner comparable to the conversion of salvinorin B from salvinorin A.Considering that smoking S. divinorum as a cigarette is an effective method of achieving a psychoactive effect and salvinorin A is considered to be the sole active ingredient in the plant accounting for the effects (1), then the 133 μg of salvinorin A represents a high estimate of the minimal dosage needed to obtain a psychoactive effect from the drug. The actual amount of salvinorin A that needs to reach the brain would be significantly less due to the rapid metabolism of salvinorin A in vivo (10).

These results are in good agreement to the findings of the vaporization studies of Johnson et al. (4), where they determined that 210–420 μg using a vaporizer as the minimally effective dose in a 70 kg. It should be noted that this was the dose applied to the vaporizer and that the amount actually delivered to the subject was not determined. The vaporization method used (heating of salvinorin A in a glass vessel) might be expected to lead to less degradation of the salvinorin A than pyrolysis in a cigarette. Hence, our finding of 133 μg delivered the S. divinorum cigarette smoke compares well. Caveats to these studies are that first a single sample of S. divinorum was used and that amounts of salvinorin A can vary significantly in the plant (3) and second, the mode of simulated inhalation in the smoking apparatus may not fully replicate the inhalation pattern utilized by individuals smoking the plant material to achieve an effect. Therefore, while the numbers reported cannot be said to precisely define the average dose of salvinorin A delivered by the smoking route, it does present a value that should be within the range of delivered doses by this route."


The referenced scientific work at PubMed:

Krstenansky JL, Muzzio M. Analysis of the smoke of cigarettes containing Salvia divinorum. J Anal Toxicol. 2014 Sep;38(7):451-5. doi: 10.1093/jat/bku054. PubMed PMID: 24908261.


Full-text access:



Webmaster:

Prof. Atanas G. Atanasov (Dr. habil., PhD)
https://about.me/Atanas_At


Keywords relevant for this post: natural products, medicinal plants, scientific studies, hallucinogens, opioids, phytochemicals, plant-derived constituents, Salvia divinorum, salvinorin A, salvinorin B, smoke of cigarettes, hallucinogen action, research, biochemistry, natural product, phytochemistry, bioactive compounds.

Plant Alkaloids for the Treatment of Depression



Abstract (as presented by the authors of the scientific work):

"Depression is a heterogeneous mood disorder that has been classified and treated in a variety of ways. Although, a number of synthetic drugs are being used as standard treatment for clinically depressed patients, but they have adverse effects that can compromise the therapeutic treatments and patient's compliance. Unlike, synthetic medications, herbal medicines are widely used across the globe due to their wide applicability and therapeutic efficacy associated with least side effects, which in turn has initiated the scientific research regarding the antidepressant activity. This review is mostly based on the literature of the last decade, aimed at exploring the preclinical profile of plant-based alkaloids (the abundant secondary metabolite) as an emerging therapy for depression."


Covered topics (the letter size corresponds to the frequency of mentioning in the text):



Conclusion (as presented by the authors of the scientific work):

"Our review on the basis of available literature suggested that alkaloids could play a potential role as natural antidepressants. Keeping in mind their abundance in nature, the alkaloids could be an economical source of healing the depressive disorder. The available therapeutic agents fail to produced effect in all patients; approximately 30–40% failure has been reported to first-line antidepressant drugs accompanied by the very slow onset of action. Several alkaloids are in clinical practice and producing outstanding results in different therapeutic classes. These reported alkaloids though evoked antidepressant effects in various animal studies, but still deficient in clinical evidence. In conclusion, enough scientific evidence gathered in our review supported that the plant-based alkaloids can serve as leads for antidepressant drug discovery. It is key to subject these alkaloids to further clinical studies for efficacy, potency, and safety to ensure their clinical status."


The referenced scientific work at PubMed:

Perviz S, Khan H, Pervaiz A. Plant Alkaloids as an Emerging Therapeutic Alternative for the Treatment of Depression. Front Pharmacol. 2016 Feb 15;7:28. doi: 10.3389/fphar.2016.00028. Review. PubMed PMID: 26913004; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4753303.


Full-text access:



Webmaster:

Prof. Atanas G. Atanasov (Dr. habil., PhD)
https://about.me/Atanas_At


Follow by Email