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February 2005

Use of folk remedies among patients in Karachi Pakistan.

BACKGROUND: The concept that food is medicine is being practiced in certain parts of the world, with positive outcomes on health of the population. We have such practice in Pakistan but it needs to be brought in line with the available scientific evidence. METHODS: The study was conducted on 270 patients, visiting the Family Practice Center, the Aga Khan University , Karachi . A questionnaire was used to collect information on the demographic profile, and the use of folk remedies for medicinal uses. RESULTS: Substantial use of folk remedies for different medical conditions has been documented. The remedies included cinnamon, ginger, cloves, cordimon, sesame oil, poppy seeds, honey, lemon, table salt, eggs and curd. The medical conditions in which folk remedies are used in respondents' view, include conditions such as common cold, cough and flu to more serious conditions such as asthma, jaundice and heat stroke. CONCLUSIONS: We have found a substantial use of folk remedies for treatment of medical conditions. There is a need to organize their use on scientific lines.

J Ayub Med Coll Abbottabad. 2003 Apr-Jun;15(2):31-3

Nitric oxide neurotoxicity in neurodegenerative diseases.

Nitric oxide (nitrogen monoxide; NO) is a simple molecule with diverse biological functions. NO and related reactive nitrogen oxide species (RNOS) mediate intricate physiological and pathophysiological effects in the central nervous system. Depending on environmental conditions, NO and RNOS can initiate and mediate neuroprotection or neurotoxicity either exclusively or synergistically with other effectors. The focus of this review is limited to the neuroprotectant/neurotoxic role of NO in Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) Dementia Complex (aka HIV--Associated Dementia; HAD) Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (aka Lou Gehrig's Disease), Alzheimer's Disease, Huntington's Disease, Multiple Sclerosis and Parkinson's Disease. This review will shed light on the question: "How important is NO in neurodegenerative diseases?"

Front Biosci. 2004 Jan 01;9:763-76

The effect of alpha- and gamma-tocopherol and their carboxyethyl hydroxychroman metabolites on prostate cancer cell proliferation.

It is known that gamma-tocopherol inhibits human prostate cancer cell proliferation via down-regulation of cyclin-related signalling but tocopherol and tocotrienol metabolites with a shortened phytyl chain, carboxyethyl hydroxychromans, were not previously investigated as anti-proliferative agents. In this study, the effect of the two main tocopherols, namely, alpha-tocopherol and gamma-tocopherol, and their corresponding metabolites (alpha- and gamma-carboxyethyl hydroxychromans) was studied on proliferation and cyclin D1 expression of the prostate cancer cell line PC-3. The hydrosoluble vitamin E analogues Trolox and alpha-tocopherol succinate were also tested. The most effective inhibitors of PC-3 proliferation were gamma-tocopherol and gamma-carboxyethyl hydroxychroman. Their effect was discernable at 1 microM and reached a plateau at concentrations > or = 10 microM with maximal inhibition values ranging between 70 and 82%. alpha-Tocopherol, alpha-carboxyethyl hydroxychroman, and the analogue Trolox were much less effective; a weak effect was observed for concentrations < or = 10 microM and a maximal inhibition of less than 45% was found at 50 microM concentration. PC-3 cells showed higher inhibition, particularly by the gamma derivatives, than HTB-82 and HECV cells. Tocopherols and carboxyethyl hydroxychromans exerted an inhibitory effect on cyclin D1 expression parallel to the retardation of cell growth. gamma-Carboxyethyl hydroxychroman and gamma-tocopherol showed effects also upstream of the cyclin modulation. Furthermore, the inhibition of cyclin D1 expression by gamma-carboxyethyl hydroxychroman was competed for by alpha-carboxyethyl hydroxychroman. In conclusion, this study shows that carboxyethyl hydroxychroman metabolites are as effective as their vitamin precursors to inhibit PC-3 growth by specific down-regulation of cyclin expression, with the gamma forms being the most effective ones. Although the inhibition of PC-3 cell growth and diminution of cyclin expression are clearly visible, more subtle mechanistic effects of tocopherols and their corresponding carboxyethyl hydroxychroman metabolites deserve further investigations.

Arch Biochem Biophys. 2004 Mar 1;423(1):97-102

Interaction of dietary fat types and sesamin on hepatic fatty acid oxidation in rats.

The interaction of sesamin, one of the most abundant lignans in sesame seed, and types of dietary fats affecting hepatic fatty acid oxidation was examined in rats. Rats were fed purified experimental diets supplemented with 0% or 0.2% sesamin (1:1 mixture of sesamin and episesamin), and containing 8% of either palm, safflower or fish oil for 15 days. Among the groups fed sesamin-free diets, the activity of various fatty acid oxidation enzymes was higher in rats fed fish oil than in those fed palm and safflower oils. Dietary sesamin increased enzyme activities in all groups of rats given different fats. The extent of the increase depended on dietary fat type, and a diet containing sesamin and fish oil in combination appeared to increase many of these parameters synergistically. In particular, the peroxisomal palmitoyl-CoA oxidation rate and acyl-CoA oxidase activity levels were much higher in rats fed sesamin and fish oil in combination than in animals fed sesamin and palm or safflower oil in combination. Analyses of mRNA levels revealed that a diet containing sesamin and fish oil increased the gene expression of various peroxisomal fatty acid oxidation enzymes and PEX11alpha, a peroxisomal membrane protein, in a synergistic manner while it increased the gene expression of mitochondrial fatty acid oxidation enzymes and microsomal cytochrome P-450 IV A1 in an additive manner. It was concluded that a diet containing sesamin and fish oil in combination synergistically increased hepatic fatty acid oxidation primarily through up-regulation of the gene expression of peroxisomal fatty acid oxidation enzymes.

Biochim Biophys Acta. 2004 Jun 1;1682(1-3):80-91

Impact of sesame oil on nifedipine in modulating oxidative stress and electrolytes in hypertensive patients.

The aim of the study was to investigate the effect of sesame oil as sole edible oil in hypertensive patients who were on medication with nifedipine, a calcium channel blocker. A sample of 396 hypertensive patients (aged 58 +/- 3.8 years; 215 men and 181 women) participated in this study. Forty patients were treated only with nifedipine while three hundred and fifty six patients were treated with nifedipine and instructed to use sesame oil in place of other edible oils for 60 days. The consumption of sesame oil remarkably reduced the (systolic and diastolic blood pressure from 166 +/- 4.2 and 101 +/- 3.1 to 134.2 +/- 3.4 and 84.6 +/- 3.0 respectively) blood pressure. The dosage of the drug also reduced, as there was a fall in blood pressure during sesame oil consumption. Plasma levels of sodium decreased while potassium and chloride increased significantly. Lipid peroxidation (thiobarbituric acid reactive substances) level significantly decreased while activities of enzymic (superoxide dismutase, glutathione peroxidase and catalase) and concentrations of non-enzymic antioxidants (vitamin C, vitamin E, beta-carotene and reduced glutathione) increased in nifedipine - sesame oil group. Nifedipine group showed a significant reduction in blood pressure, lipid peroxidation and improvement in reduced glutathione, however, the values are significantly lower than nifedipine - sesame oil group. These results suggest that dietary substitution of sesame oil, in nifedipine-taking hypertensive patients, has an additive effect in the reduction of blood pressure and plays an important role in the modulation of electrolytes and in the reduction of lipid peroxidation and elevation of antioxidants.

Asia Pac J Clin Nutr . 2004;13(Suppl):S107

Dietary manipulations of body fat-reducing potential of conjugated linoleic acid in rats.

To study whether the body fat-reducing potential of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) could be increased through dietary manipulations, the effects of the combination of CLA with different proteins, fats, and sesamin were examined in rats. Male rats were fed diets containing 1% CLA or linoleic acid (LA) in combination with different proteins (20% of casein or soybean protein), fats (7% perilla oil or soybean oil) and 0.2% sesamin (SES) for 3 or 4 weeks. When the dietary fat source was soybean oil, CLA, as compared with LA, significantly reduced weights of epididymal and perirenal adipose tissues, irrespective of the dietary protein sources. However, the highest reducing effect was shown when soybean protein was given as a protein source. SES stimulated the reduction of epididymal and perirenal adipose tissue weights in both protein diets. In contrast, CLA increased the weight of brown adipose tissue, and SES further increased it in combination with soybean oil but not with perilla oil. No effect of dietary manipulation was observed on serum leptin and TNF-alpha levels. Thus, the body fat-reducing potential of CLA can be increased by an appropriate combination with food factors that may stimulate fatty acid beta-oxidation.

Biosci Biotechnol Biochem. 2001 Nov;65(11):2535-4