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One avocado a day keeps away bad cholesterol, according to a new study

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According to a new study by the State University of Pennsylvania, one avocado per day can be a great help in combating so-called “bad cholesterol,” which is understood both as oxidized low-density lipoproteins (LDL) and as small and dense LDL particles, especially in obese or overweight adults.

Researchers analyzed the effects of one avocado per day on 45 overweight or obese adult participants. The experiment, which lasted two weeks, provided a first phase in which the participants performed an average American diet. After this first phase, each participant in a second phase underwent three different therapeutic diets in random order of five weeks, one containing one avocado per day, while another was supplemented with extra healthy fats to compensate for the amount of monounsaturated fatty acids obtained by one avocado per day.

After five weeks, the researchers found that participants who consumed one avocado per day had a much lower oxidized LDL cholesterol content than at the beginning of the second phase of the study and than in the other two groups. These participants also showed a higher content of lutein, an antioxidant.

“When you think of bad cholesterol, you think of particles of LDL that vary in size,” reports Penny Kris-Etherton, the author of the study. “All LDLs are bad, but small, dense LDLs are particularly bad. An important finding is that people on an avocado diet had fewer oxidized LDL particles. They also had more lutein, which could be the bioactive agent that protects LDL from oxidation.”

In addition, the moderate low-fat diet without avocado, which contains the same monounsaturated fatty acids as this fruit, shows that the avocado itself must have additional positive bioactive elements. According to Kris-Etherton, this research shows that we still only know the tip of the iceberg when it comes to avocado and that there are many things that can be known in further research into this fruit, which is rich in healthy fats, carotenoids and many other nutrients.

LINKS AND SOURCES

https://news.psu.edu/story/592523/2019/10/28/research/one-avocado-day-helps-lower-bad-cholesterol-heart-healthy-benefits

https://academic.oup.com/jn/advance-article/doi/10.1093/jn/nxz231/5588100

IMAGE CREDIT

https://www.health.harvard.edu/media/content/images/p7_Avocado_HH1806_gi901359518.jpg

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Estradiol intake in time after menopause may benefit the arteries according to study

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According to an interesting study on estradiol intake, if estradiol is taken within six years of menopause, real benefits can be obtained to combat atherosclerosis and other pathologies such as the accumulation of plaque in the walls of the arteries. However, if the intake of the same oestradiol begins 10 years after the onset of menopause, there are no equal benefits.

The preliminary research was presented during a session of the American Heart Association 2020. The main author of the study is Roksana Karim, professor of preventive clinical medicine at the University of Southern California Medical School, Los Angeles.
According to the researcher, the results she obtained from her study show that taking oestradiol in time during menopause can help reduce atherosclerosis and reduce cholesterol buildup in the veins.
Atherosclerosis is one of the most common diseases that cause heart disease and its main feature is the accumulation of cholesterol in the walls of the veins.

To arrive at these results, the researcher carried out a study on 643 healthy post-menopausal women. The latter were divided into four groups: the first and second group consisted of women who received 1 mg of estradiol per day (first group) or a placebo pill (second group) within six years of the onset of menopause.
The members of the other two groups took the same thing (oestradiol for the third group and placebo pill for the fourth group) but 10 years or more after the onset of menopause. All components took either estradiol or the placebo pill every day for an average of five years.

In the end, the researchers found that the rate of advancement of atherosclerosis among the members of the first group was half as low as the women in the first group who took the placebo pill.
They also found that oestradiol had no effect in women in the second group, i.e. those who had started taking oestradiol 10 years or more after the onset of menopause. Patients in the third and fourth groups saw atherosclerosis progress in a similar way.

These results “show that starting oestradiol immediately after the onset of menopause may result in lower cholesterol deposition in the arteries than women who start [taking] oestradiol much later,” Karim reports.

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Scientists discover that protein that defends against infections also regulates mitochondrial function

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According to a new study published in Nature Communications, a protein, already known because it helps cells defend themselves against viruses, which is part of a group of proteins resistant to mixovirus (myxovirus-resistance, Mx), can also regulate the shape and function of mitochondria, a section of cells that contain the genetic material called “mitochondrial DNA”: this is the discovery made by a team of researchers at the Mayo Clinic.

This protein supports cells to fight infections without the use of antibodies or white blood cells. According to the authors, one of these proteins, MxB, associated with immune responses to HIV and herpes virus, can be considered as the key to mitochondrial support.
The researchers found that MxB is found in most immune tissues, such as tonsils, before a “red alert”.
Without this protein, mitochondria can no longer be functional, no longer produce the necessary energy and expel the DNA genome by rejecting it into the cytoplasm.

Mark McNiven, biologist and author sign of the study, explains the results: “Our work provides new insights into how this dynamic MxB protein helps fight viral infections, which could have important implications for health in the future.
“We were surprised to see MxB present and inside the mitochondria,” says Hong Cao, researcher at the Mayo Clinic and first author. “That it is induced in response to infection and vital to mitochondrial integrity is exciting, considering that HIV and herpes alter mitochondria during infection.”

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Prebiotics also useful to fight insomnia according to team of researchers

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Prebiotics, usually used to improve the health of the digestive system and intestines, may also help to combat insomnia or to promote sleep. This is the opinion of a team of researchers who published the results of their own study in Scientific Reports.
According to the researchers, prebiotics can in fact improve resistance to stress by affecting the intestinal bacteria themselves.

Sleep problems affect tens of millions of people today and this research shows that further treatment with prebiotics is possible.
As Robert Thompson, researcher at the Department of Integrative Physiology and lead author of the study, explains, prebiotics nourish the beneficial bacteria found in our intestines by creating a symbiotic relationship with our bodies. But this has very powerful effects, even on our brain and our behavior.

Prebiotics (not to be confused with probiotics, which are real microorganisms) are beneficial compounds that are not broken down by the body but play an important role in the intestinal flora. Man cannot digest prebiotics but they can serve as nourishment for the intestinal microbiome, that is, the set of trillions of bacteria that live in our intestine or other organs of our body, and can indirectly affect our brains and our behaviour.
To reach these conclusions, the researchers performed experiments on adolescent male rats.
Using mass spectrometry, researchers analyzed faecal samples from rats by measuring their metabolites, small bioactive molecules that are produced by bacteria when food is broken down in the intestines.

The researchers found that rats on a prebiotic diet showed a different metabolome (the sum of all metabolites) and this also influenced the behaviour of the rats themselves as a result of stress.
“Our results reveal new signals from intestinal microbes that can modulate the physiology of stress and sleep,” reports Monika Fleshner, senior author of the study, who believes that these results could lead, perhaps, in the future to new solutions and new options for people who suffer from insomnia but do not want to take narcotics: “With this information, we may be able to develop a targeted therapeutic approach that increases the molecules that protect against stress and compresses those that seem to disturb sleep.

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