Thursday, July 23, 2015

Plants benefit from probiotics as well

Just as humans can benefit from the good bacteria of probiotics, plants can benefit from certain microbes. And that benefit is also good for the environment.

In plants, beneficial bacteria and fungi are endophytes. Scientists have known for decades that plants like legumes (peas, beans, and lentils) have beneficial bacteria in nodules attached to their roots. These bacteria "fix" vital nitrogen, turning it into a form the plant can easily use. However, researchers in Crop Science have recently found some nitrogen-fixing bacteria actually live inside plant tissue--in the leaves, stems, and roots -- with impressive results.

Plants have a limited ability to genetically adapt to rapid environmental changes (heat, drought, toxins, or limited nutrients) and so they may use microbes that do have this capacity to rapidly evolve due to their vastly shorter life cycles. By having the right microbes for the conditions, the plants are healthier. That is how it is similar to humans taking probiotics to improve their health.

The next steps in this work have practical applications, including seed coating or spraying.

Saturday, July 04, 2015

Zinc Lozenges Greatly Reduce Cold Symptoms

According to a study in BMC Family Practice, high dose zinc acetate lozenges shortened the duration of common-cold.

The researchers believe that when zinc acetate lozenges dissolve in the mouth, zinc ions are released into the saliva of the pharyngeal region where the levels are consequently high. The high dose zinc acetate lozenges shortened the duration of nasal discharge by 34%, nasal congestion by 37%, sneezing by 22%, scratchy throat by 33%, sore throat by 18%, hoarseness by 43%, and cough by 46%. Furthermore, they found strong evidence that zinc lozenges also shortened the duration of muscle ache by 54%.

Quercetin Strikes Again

Consumption of flavonoid-rich foods such as cocoa and tea may reduce cardiovascular disease risk. The flavonoids epicatechin (in cocoa and tea) and quercetin (in tea) probably play a role by reducing endothelial dysfunction and inflammation, two main determinants of atherosclerosis.

Researchers in a study from The Journal of Nutrition studied the effects of supplementation of pure epicatechin and quercetin on biomarkers of endothelial dysfunction and inflammation in healthy men and women.

Epicatechin contributed to the cardioprotective effects of cocoa and tea through improvements in endothelial function. Quercetin contributed to the cardioprotective effects of tea by improving endothelial function and reducing inflammation.

Cod Liver Oil in older persons

Steve: Cod liver oil is a traditional source of vitamin D in Iceland, and regular intake is recommended partly for the sake of health. A British Journal of Nutrition study discovered that intake of aged participants was positively associated with serum vitamin D3 25(OH)D levels. Individuals with intakes of less than once/week, one to six time(s)/week and daily intake had concentrations of approximately 40, 50 and 60 nmol/l respectively. This is awesome!