Friday Fun Facts

Holy cow! Is it that time already? Fact #1

Mastic is fantastic for H. pylori! A recent study evaluated the antibacterial activity of mastic gum, a resin obtained from the Pistacia lentiscus tree, against clinical isolates of Helicobacter pylori. The minimal bactericidal concentrations (MBCs) were obtained by a microdilution assay. Mastic gum killed 50% of the strains tested at a concentration of 125 microg/ml and 90% at a concentration of 500 microg/ml. The influence of sub-MBCs of mastic gum on the morphologies of H. pylori was evaluated by transmission electron microscopy. The lentiscus resin induced blebbing, morphological abnormalities and cellular fragmentation in H. pylori cells.

Fact #2

An ajoene -ajoene situation...a myriad of potential health benefits from garlic's most active compound. Garlic has been viewed for its health benefits for thousands of years, and recently science has begun to show why.

According to Dr. Eric Block, leading expert in garlic sulfur compounds, ajoene (pronounced ah-hoe-ene) and dithiins are the most active compounds formed from fresh garlic. Broad research speaks to the potential medical benefits of ajoenes. Since the discovery and identification of ajoene in 1984, there have been many studies that have demonstrated its activity on bacteria, lipids, fungus, cholesterol,viruses, inflammation, parasites, tumors, and blood clots and platelets.

Fact #3

Vitamins K1 and K2 are neck and neck. Japanese scientists, led by Jun Iwamoto from Keio University School of Medicine in Tokyo, reviewed seven randomized clinical trials for vitamin K1 and K2 in relation to bone health in post-menopausal women.

“Despite the lack of a significant change or the occurrence of only a modest increase in bone mineral density, high-dose vitamin K1 and vitamin K2 supplementation improved indices of bone strength in the femoral neck and reduced the incidence of clinical fractures,” wrote the researchers in Nutrition Research.

Fact #4

For immunity boosting...think zinc!

Zinc plays an important role in immune function. Researchers at Tufts University set out to determine whether serum zinc concentrations in nursing home elderly are associated with the incidence and duration of pneumonia, total and duration of antibiotic use, and both pneumonia-associated and all-cause mortality.Outcome measures included the incidence and number of days with pneumonia, number of new antibiotic prescriptions, days of antibiotic use, death due to pneumonia, and all-cause mortality.

Compared with subjects with low zinc concentrations, subjects with normal final serum zinc concentrations had a lower incidence of pneumonia, fewer (by almost 50%) new antibiotic prescriptions, a shorter duration of pneumonia, and fewer days of antibiotic use. Zinc supplementation to maintain normal serum zinc concentrations in the elderly may help reduce the incidence of pneumonia and associated morbidity.

Fact #5

Test, test, test --- calling you.

Insufficient and deficient levels of vitamin D may increase the risk of metabolic syndrome by 52 percent, according to a joint Anglo-Chinese study.

According to findings published in Diabetes Care, a study with 3,262 Chinese people aged between 50 and 70 showed that 94 percent were vitamin D deficient or insufficient, and 42 percent of these people also had metabolic syndrome. Vitamin D deficiency is becoming a major concern among the elderly.

For information about how to check your Vitamin D levels, click here.