Vegetables, fruits and phytoestrogens in the prevention of diseases.
The intake of 400-600 g/d of fruits and vegetables is associated with reduced incidence of many common forms of cancer, and diets rich in plant foods are also associated with a reduced risk of heart disease and many chronic diseases of ageing. These foods contain phytochemicals that have anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory properties which confer many health benefits. Many phytochemicals are colourful, and recommending a wide array of colourful fruits and vegetables is an easy way to communicate increased diversity of intake to the consumer. For example, red foods contain lycopene, the pigment in tomatoes, which is localized in the prostate gland and may be involved in maintaining prostate health, and which has also been linked with a decreased risk of cardiovascular disease. Green foods, including broccoli, brussels sprouts, and kale, contain glucosinolates which have also been associated with a decreased risk of cancer. Garlic and other white-green foods in the onion family contain allyl sulphides which may inhibit cancer cell growth. Other bioactive substances in green tea and soybeans have health benefits as well. Consumers are advised to ingest one serving of each of the seven colour groups daily, putting this recommendation within the United States National Cancer Institute and American Institute for Cancer Research guidelines of five to nine servings per day. Grouping plant foods by colour provides simplification, but it is also important as a method to help consumers make wise food choices and promote health.
J Postgrad Med. 2004 Apr-Jun;50(2):145-9
Induction of phase II detoxification enzymes in rats by plant-derived isothiocyanates: comparison of allyl isothiocyanate with sulforaphane and related compounds.
Plants of the family Brassicaceae contain high levels of glucosinolates. The latter compounds are degraded to isothiocyanates, some of which have been shown to be potent inducers of phase II detoxification enzymes in vitro. In the present study, the ability of six plant-derived isothiocyanates (allyl isothiocyanate, iberverin, erucin, sulforaphane, iberin, and cheirolin) to increase tissue levels of the phase II detoxification enzymes quinone reductase (QR) and glutathione S-transferase (GST) in a variety of rat tissues has been compared. At the low dose level employed (40 micromol/kg/day), cheirolin was without effect in any tissue. All of the other isothiocyanates, however, increased GST and QR activities in the duodenum, forestomach, and/or the urinary bladder of the animals, with the greatest effects being seen in the urinary bladder. With the exception of cheirolin, little difference was observed in the inductive activity of the various isothiocyanates. Phase II enzymes are known to protect against chemical carcinogenesis, and the selectivity of isothiocyanates in inducing such enzymes in the bladder is of interest in view of recent epidemiological studies showing a decreased incidence of cancer of this organ in individuals with a high dietary intake of Brassica vegetables.
J Agric Food Chem. 2004 Apr 7;52(7):1867-71
Consequences of moderate hyperhomocysteinemia in the internal medicine.
Homocysteine is an intermediate product in the methionine metabolism, which is catalysed by several enzymes with B2, B6, B12 vitamins and folic acid as cofactors. Moderate hyperhomocysteinemia, defined as total homocysteine concentration between 12 to 30 micromol/l, represents an independent risk factor for heart disease, vascular brain disease, phlebothrombosis and thromboembolic complications. It is related to placental abruptions, spina bifida and some neuropsychiatric disorders. Hyperhomocysteinemia is a metabolic syndrome based on interaction between genetic factors (most frequently 677C/T polymorphism of methylentetrahydrofolate reductase), diseases and demographic factors (smoking, aging, hormonal and nutritional factors). Moderate hyperhomocysteinemia occurs in about 20 to 30% of patients with clinical complications of atherosclerosis. Prospective and genetic studies have shown, that moderate hyperhomocysteinemia in healthy persons is only a weak predictor of cardiovascular diseases. Contrary to it, in patients with ischaemic heart disease, renal failure or diabetes mellitus and in thromboembolic disease, hyperhomocysteinemia represents a strong predictor of vascular morbidity and mortality. Toxic effects of hyperhomocysteinemia on the vascular wall can be explained by a chemical modification of lipoproteins and vascular structure, oxidative stress, endothelial dysfunction, inadequate endothelial cell regeneration, smooth muscle cell proliferation or by an accumulation of functionally non sufficient connective tissue. Also thrombogenic effects or an increased expression of cholesterol level controlling proteins and fatty acids in the liver can be considered. Treat-ment of hyperhomocysteinemia is based on the administration of pharmacological doses of folic acid, B6 and B12 vitamins, which can decrease total homocysteine concentration by 25 to 30%. Such decrease, which is in average 3 micromol/l, results in the decrease of relative risk of ischaemic heart disease by 11 to 16%, phlebothrombose by 25% and vascular brain diseases by 19 to 24%.
Cas Lek Cesk. 2004;143(6):367-74
Fresh organically grown ginger (Zingiber officinale): composition and effects on LPS-induced PGE2 production.
Gas chromatography in conjunction with mass spectrometry, a technique previously employed to analyze non-volatile pungent components of ginger extracts modified to trimethylsilyl derivatives, was applied successfully for the first time to analyze unmodified partially purified fractions from the dichloromethane extracts of organically grown samples of fresh Chinese white and Japanese yellow varieties of ginger, Zingiber officinale Roscoe (Zingiberaceae). This analysis resulted in the detection of 20 hitherto unknown natural products and 31 compounds previously reported as ginger constituents. These include paradols, dihydroparadols, gingerols, acetyl derivatives of gingerols, shogaols, 3-dihydroshogaols, gingerdiols, mono- and diacetyl derivatives of gingerdiols, 1-dehydrogingerdiones, diarylheptanoids, and methyl ether derivatives of some of these compounds. The thermal degradation of gingerols to gingerone, shogaols, and related compounds was demonstrated. The major constituent in the two varieties was -gingerol, a chemical marker for Z. officinale. Mass spectral fragmentation patterns for all the compounds are described and interpreted. Anti-inflammatory activities of silica gel chromatography fractions were tested using an in vitro PGE2 assay. Most of the fractions containing gingerols and/or gingerol derivatives showed excellent inhibition of LPS-induced PGE2 production.
Phytochemistry. 2004 Jul;65(13):1937-54
Magnesium in cardiovascular and other disorders.
PURPOSE: The physiological role and metabolism of magnesium, the causes of magnesium deficiency, clinical data on the benefits of magnesium supplementation, and the management of magnesium deficiency are discussed. SUMMARY: Magnesium is an often overlooked electrolyte that is essential to life. Magnesium plays a role in more than 300 enzymatic reactions and is critically involved in energy metabolism, glucose utilization, protein synthesis, fatty acid synthesis and breakdown, ATPase functions, and virtually all hormonal reactions. Magnesium is closely involved in maintaining cellular ionic balance through its association with sodium, potassium, and calcium. Deficiency of magnesium is becoming more common in the US population and may be attributed to decreased dietary consumption and the use of diuretics; in the elderly, magnesium deficiency may be a consequence of reduced appetite, decreased mitochondrial respiratory activity, and increased myocardial collagen. Conditions that may be associated with magnesium deficiency include hypertension, congestive heart failure, arrhythmia, myocardial infarction, diabetes mellitus, and preeclampsia; in many of these, magnesium supplementation has been found beneficial in clinical studies. Supplementation should be considered for patients with risk factors for deficiency and should be instituted for patients showing symptoms of deficiency. In addition to instituting supplementation when appropriate, the clinician should identify and correct the underlying cause of the deficiency. CONCLUSION: Magnesium deficiency may contribute to pathological processes. Clinicians should consider using magnesium supplementation to prevent deficiency in patients at risk and to treat deficiency when it occurs.
Am J Health Syst Pharm. 2004 Aug 1;61(15):1569-76
Organoselenium compounds as potential therapeutic and chemopreventive agents: a review.
Selenium (Se) is an essential trace element. It is, however toxic at concentration little above which is required for health. Selenium is incorporated into proteins as selenocysteine, the 21(st) amino acid. Selenoproteins are found in bacteria, archaea, and eukaryotes. Biochemical and physicochemical properties of selenium result in the unique redox characteristics of selenocysteine and its use in antioxidant enzymes. In this context of a redox reaction is the reduction of reactive oxygen metabolites by glutathione peroxidases, helping to maintain membrane integrity, reduces the oxidative damage to lipids, lipoproteins, and DNA. Selenium has structural and enzymatic roles. Selenium influences a number of endocrine processes, most notably, those involved in thyroid hormone synthesis and metabolism. Se is needed for the proper functioning of the immune system, a role in viral suppression, AIDS, and also is implicated in delaying the aging process. Its deficiency has been linked to a number of disorders such as heart disease, diabetes, and diseases of the liver, and it is required for sperm motility and may reduce the risk of miscarriage. Se supplementation has recently moved from the realm of correcting nutritional deficiencies to one of pharmacological intervention, especially in the clinical domain of cancer chemoprevention. During the last few years, a tremendous effort has been directed toward the synthesis of stable organoselenium compounds that could be used as antioxidants, enzyme modulators, antitumor, antimicrobials, antihypertensive agents, antivirals and cytokine inducers. The biochemistry and pharmacology of selenium-based compounds are subjects of intense current interest, especially from the point of view of public heath. The purpose of this review is to discuss the recent pharmacological applications of organoselenium compounds as therapeutic agents in the treatment of several diseases.
Curr Med Chem. 2004 Jun;11(12):1657-69
Selenium biochemistry and cancer: a review of the literature.
In recent years, the role of selenium in the prevention of a number of degenerative conditions including cancer, inflammatory diseases, thyroid function, cardiovascular disease, neurological diseases, aging, infertility, and infections, has been established by laboratory experiments, clinical trials, and epidemiological data. Most of the effects in these conditions are related to the function of selenium in antioxidant enzyme systems. Replenishing selenium in deficiency conditions appears to have immune-stimulating effects, particularly in patients undergoing chemotherapy. However, increasing the levels of selenoprotein antioxidant enzymes (glutathione peroxidase, thioredoxin reductase, etc.) appears to be only one of many ways in which selenium-based metabolites contribute to normal cellular growth and function. Animal data, epidemiological data, and intervention trials have shown a clear role for selenium compounds in both prevention of specific cancers and antitumorigenic effects in post-initiation phases of cancer.
Altern Med Rev. 2004 Sep;9(3):239-58