Dairy as A Weight Loss Food Group

weight lossDietary calcium may cause weight loss because it is able to alter calcitriol levels. This suppression of calcitriol may have effects on adipocytes such that intracellular calcium ion levels fall. This then triggers a release of lipids from the adipocytes, and these lipids may be used as a source of fuel and oxidised. Further, the calcium may also inhibit the formation of new lipids in the adipocytes. Studies have investigated the effects of dairy foods on weight loss using yoghurt to deduce if dairy foods, which are a source of dietary calcium, can cause weight loss in healthy human subjects. For example, in one study researchers administered a low calcium diet to human subjects that contained 400-500 mg of calcium. Another group of individuals received 1100 mg of calcium in the diet, which came from the addition of yoghurt to the diet. The yoghurt group lost significantly more fat than the control group, and this was accompanied by a greater retention of lean tissue.  Yoghurt may therefore have weight loss effects in humans.

yoghurt weight loss

Yoghurt appears to cause weight loss in healthy human subjects, and this mnat be because of the calcium it contains. One particularly interesting facet of this weight loss, is that it the loss of fat may be preferentially from the trunk and abdominal area. This suggests that yogurt is beneficial because it reduces central adiposity.

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Zemel, M. B., Richards, J., Mathis, S., Milstead, A., Gebhardt, L. and Silva, E. 2005. Dairy augmentation of total and central fat loss in obese subjects. International Journal of Obesity. 29(4): 391-397
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Rhodiola Rosea Increases Exercise Performance

weight lossRhodiola rosea is an adaptogenic herb that is indigenous to the mountainous regions of the arctic circle. A number of benefits have been attributed to intake of Rhodiola rosea, and these effects include improvements in mental and physical performance. The ability of Rhodiola rosea to provide benefits to consumers, likely stems from its ability to alter brain neurochemistry and decrease the perception of stress. In this regard, a number of studies have investigated the effects of Rhodiola rosea on exercise performance. In one such study, researchers administered 200 mg of Rhodiola rosea extract to human subjects and exposed them to exercise. The Rhodiola extract was significantly beneficial at increasing the time to exhaustion of the subject from 16.8 minutes to 17.2 minutes. Peak oxygen consumption also increased in the subjects consuming the Rhodiola rosea extract. These results suggest that Rhodiola rosea may be an effective ergogenic aid and may have beneficial effects at improving endurance in healthy individuals.

rhodiola

Rhodiola extracts should be standardised to around 3 % rosavin and 1 % salidroside content. These phytochemicals may be responsible for the beneficial effects of the herb. Image shows the chemical structure of rosavin.

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De Bock, K., Eijnde, B. O., Ramaekers, M. and Hespel, P. 2004. Acute Rhodiola rosea intake can improve endurance exercise performance. International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism. 14(3): 298-307
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Fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graecum)

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Maca (Lepidium meyenii)

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More On Green Tea

weight lossTea is a drink made from the Camellia sinensis plant. After water, tea is the most popular drink in the world. Green tea is particularly healthy because of the way it is prepared, and in this regard contains high amounts of antioxidants called catechins. Catechins are phytochemicals belonging to the flavonoid group of polyphenols, and they have been shown to have a number of health effects. The health benefits of green tea include protection from a number of disease and disorders including cardiovascular disease, cancer, mental illness, obesity and inflammatory conditions. The health effects of green tea may vary from that of black tea, because while black tea has high amounts of oxidised polyphenols, green tea contains a much lower concentration of oxidised polyphenols. While often seen as a detrimental compound, the caffeine in green tea may be beneficial as studies show that caffeinated green tea is beneficial at causing weight loss in animals and humans, and this weight loss may have secondary health benefits.

green tea

As well as catechins, green tea contains a number of chemicals that may have health effects. Proteins make up about 20 % of the dry weight of green tea, and these proteins include enzymes. Free amino acids make up between 1 and 4 % dry weight of the tea. One free amino acid, L-theanine, has been shown to have particular effects at causing relaxation. Carbohydrates make up between 5 and 7 % of the dry weight of tea, and these include cellulose, pectins, glucose, fructose and sucrose. Lipids present in green tea include alpha-linolenic acid and linoleic acid. Vitamin B, C and E are also present as are a number of minerals including calcium, magnesium, manganese, iron, copper, zinc, molybdenum, selenium, sodium, potassium, cobalt, and nickel. The mineral composition tends to reflect the quality of the soil the tea is grown upon.

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Cabrera, C., Artacho, R. and Giménez, R. 2006. Beneficial effects of green tea – a review. Journal of the American College of Nutrition. 25(2): 79-99
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Anthocyanins: Plant Pigments and Healthy Phytochemicals

weight lossAnthocyanins are phytochemicals belonging to the flavonoid group. There are 17 naturally occuring anthocyanins, but only 6 are commonly found in plants (cyanidin, peonidin, pelargonidin, malvidin, delphinidin, and petunidin). Anthocyanins are red or orange under acidic conditions and blue or purple under alkaline conditions. Anthocyanins are found in nature almost always as glycated compounds, which means they are bonded to sugars, most commonly glucose. The sugars in turn can be acylated to organic acids including caffeic, p-coumaric, ferulic and sinapic acid. The non-bonded aglycone versions of the molecules are only found in very small quantities. The anthocyanin content of plants varies considerably even between plants of the same cultivars, suggesting that growing conditions are a key factor in the accumulation rate of anthocyanins in plants. Anthocyanins have been shown to be beneficial to the health, probably because they act as antioxidants and prevent oxidative stress.

anthocyanins flavonoids

Anthocyanins are found in most plants and in most plant components, including leaves, stems and roots, but are particularly concentrated in the fruits and flowers of certain plants including blackberries, red and black raspberries, blueberries, bilberries, cherries, currants, blood oranges, elderberries, grapes, and vegetables such as: red onion, radish, red cabbage, fennel, red lettuce, eggplant, red-skinned potato and purple sweet potato.

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Horbowicz, M., Kosson, R., Grzesiuk, A. and Dębski, H. 2008. Anthocyanins of fruits and vegetables-their occurrence, analysis and role in human nutrition. Vegetable Crops Research Bulletin. 68: 5-22
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Doxycycline and suicide

weight lossDoxycycline is an antibiotic often used to treat acne and respiratory tract infections. Side effects from the drug are known to include hepatotoxicity, pancreatitis, blood disorders, photosensitivity, hypersensitivity reactions, headache and visual disturbances. A number of medical case studies have been performed on young subjects who were treated for various skin disorders with doxycycline. However, this treatment subsequently caused suicidal feelings within the individuals. Further investigation revealed that the siblings of one of the individuals in the case study had also developed severe anxiety when being treated with doxycycline. These mood disorders all resolved themselves after removal of the doxycycline treatment suggesting that the drug had reversibly disrupted the brain chemistry of the individuals. The authors of the research paper that reported these findings, suggest that a genetic susceptibility to doxycycline may be present in certain individuals, such that these individual are not able to properly metabolise and excrete the drug because they have a defect in the relevant cytochrome metabolising enzyme.

antibiotics suicide

The perception that antibiotics are safe is not true. In fact antibiotics used in medical treatment of humans can cause significant disruption to the delicate metabolism of the individual, including disruption to neurochemistry. This may relate to the ability of antibiotics to eliminate healthy bacteria in the gut. The gut bacteria are required for correct metabolic regulation, and by destroying them, the metabolism of the individual is seriously compromised. Natural antibiotics such as those found in garlic should be considered where serious infection is not present. Most upper respiratory tract infections and skin disorders can be treated in this way.

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Atigari, O. V., Hogan, C. and Healy, D. 2013. Case Report: Doxycycline and suicidality. British Medical Journal Case Reports, 2013. doi:  10.1136/bcr-2013-200723
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Rosmarinic Acid: Brain Effects

weight lossRosmarinic acid is a metabolite produce by a number of plants including rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis), lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) and wormwood (Artemisia capillaris). Rosmarinic acid has a number of effects in animals including antiviral, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant activity. Researchers have investigated the effects of rosmarinic acid on the behaviour of animals in order to understand its effect on the brain and central nervous system. In this regard administration of rosmarinic acid to rats causes a significant attenuation of anxious behaviour when the rats are exposed to experimental stress in the from of a maze test. This effect is most evident at lower doses of rosmarinic acid. At higher doses of rosmarinic acid, there in an increase in motivation and locomotion in rats. Therefore rosmarinic acid may have different effects on the brain and central nervous system depending of the dose that is administered. The anxiolytic effects of rosmarinic acid may be explained by its antioxidant activity.

rosmarinic acid

Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) is a source of rosmarinic acid. For general health rosmarinic acid has excellent antioxidant capacity. This antioxidant effect may explain the beneficial effects of the compound on mood disorders such as anxiety.

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Pereira, P., Tysca, D., Oliveira, P., da Silva Brum, L. F., Picada, J. N. and Ardenghi, P. 2005. Neurobehavioral and genotoxic aspects of rosmarinic acid. Pharmacological Research. 52(3): 199-203
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Should You Take Vitamin D Supplements During the Summer?

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Phytochemicals in Cichorium intybus (Chicory)

weight lossCichorium intybus (chicory) is an interesting medicinal plant which contains a wide range of potentially therapeutic phytochemicals. These phytochemicals accumulate as secondary metabolites within the plant, as a product of the plants own metabolism. Researchers have analysed the phytochemistry of cichory and found it to contain sesquiterpene lactones, including  lactucin, lactucopicrin, 8-desoxy lactucin, and guaianolid glycosides (including chicoroisides B and C, sonchuside C), caffeic acid derivatives (including chiroric acid, chlorogenic acid, isochlorogenic acid, di-caffeoyl tartaric acid), inulin, sugars, proteins, hydroxycoumarins, flavonoids, alkaloids, steroids, terpenes, volatile compounds, coumarins, vitamins, and polyynes. These phytochemicals may explain the hepatoprotective, gastroprotective, cardiovascular, antioxidant, hypolipidemic, anticancer, reproductive, antidiabetic, anti-inflammatory, analgesic, sedative, immunological, antimicrobial, anthelmintic, anti-protozoal and wound healing effects.

cichory

Cichorium intybus (chicory) is a medicinal plant with a wide range of healing properties. Chicory is also a food because is it can be dried and ground and used as a coffee substitute. The leaves of young chicory plants can also be added to salads and eaten. Eating chicory will provide many of the phytochemicals that have healing properties.

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Al-Snafi, A. E. 2016. Medical importance of Cichorium intybus–A review. IOSR Journal of  Pharmacy. 6(3): 41-56
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