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Fish Oil & Vitamin D Supplements Prevent Heart Attacks & Cardiovascular Diseases

Supplements containing essential fish oil and Vitamin D are great, but hold on a sec…

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fish oil vitamin D supplements
Fish oil supplements. Photo Credit: Frolicsomepl/Pixabay

Researchers reveal that fish oil and Vitamin D supplements are effective against various cardiovascular diseases. The researchers announced that drugs made with fish oil or Vitamin D protect against strokes and heart attacks.

The study was published in the New England Journal of Medicine and presented at the American Heart Association’s 2018 Scientific Sessions in Chicago.

The authors of the study analyzed different drugs containing various amounts of Omega-3 fatty acids. They conducted the trial on two sets of people – those with diabetes or cardiovascular diseases and those that do not have diseases. The researchers found that participants who took regular doses of medications containing Omega-3 fared better than those administered with a placebo.

In another study, researchers found that Vitamin D medications do not help patients with heart diseases, but they reduce incidents of cancer deaths.

Fish Oil Helpful For Lowering Conditions That Lead To Strokes and Heart Attacks

Up to 43 million people in the US take statins to reduce bad cholesterol or LDT. And doctors associate these drugs with lower rates of heart attacks and strokes. During the presentation in Chicago, researchers said cardiovascular patients who combine statins with the drug Vascepa may not suffer any serious heart attacks.

Vascepa contains a fish oil compound that reduces triglycerides, a type of bad fat in the blood. High levels of this bad fat is linked to thick or hardened arteries, a condition that can lead to strokes and heart attacks.

Vascepa is manufactured by Amarin Corp., sponsor of the REDUCE-IT study.

The study involved more than 8,000 participants and was led by Deepak L. Bhatt. He is the executive director of interventional cardiovascular programs at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. Tens of millions of people could be impacted by the positive outcome of the study, he said.

The other study is called VITAL.

In VITAL, about 26,000 people taking the drug Lovaza was monitored for about 5 years. Lovaza contains a different composition of Omega-3 fatty acids. The study showed this medication reduces likelihood for heart attacks by 28%.

Lovaza is manufactured by GSK. The VITAL study was funded by the National Institutes of Health.

Vitamin D Has Little Known Help, but May Not Be Stopped

JoAnne Manson, chief of the division of preventive medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, however said people should take it slow about rushing off to begin taking fish-oil supplements.

“We would encourage starting with more fish in the diet and having at least two servings a week,” Manson said. “One advantage of doing it through the diet…is that fish can replace red meat, saturated fat and processed food.”

VITAL researchers equally examined the potential benefits of Vitamin D for overall health. Vitamin D supplements are usually prescribed for older women suffering from arthritis or other joint pains. The study found that Vitamin D medications have no benefits for people at risks of strokes, heart disease and cancer.

However, patients who take Vitamin D medications based on the advice of doctors may continue taking them since the vitamin may inhibit cancers from metastasizing, but this is subject to more research, Manson said.

 

Nikki Austen finished from the University of California Davis where she majored in Physiotherapy. She practised as a physical therapist for several years before discovering she has a knack for reporting medical news. She worked as a health reporter for a couple health magazines before joining the team of Health News Office.

New Drugs

Local Herbs Found Only In Mauritius Hold Promise for Cancer Treatments

Researchers analyze medicinal herbs peculiar to Mauritius for cancer treatments

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Mauritius plants used to treat esophageal cancer
The Mauritian endemic medicinal plants under study for treating esophageal cancer. A – A. integrifolia; B – L. glauca; C – D. acutangula; D – G. psychotrioides; – E. tinifolia

Mauritius, an island country in the southwestern Indian Ocean, is home to numerous plants that cannot be found anywhere else in the world. Many of these plants are currently being analyzed to determine their cancer-fighting properties. This initiative is led by scientists from Russia, the UK, and Mauritius and their research published in the journal Acta Naturae.

The team of researchers is evaluating chemical compounds from three local herbs among others. These plants are –

  • Acalypha integrifolia
  • Eugenia tinifolia
  • Labourdonnaisia glauca, etc.

The Mauritius Herbs Showed Promise for Treating Esophageal Cancer

These plants grow only in Mauritius and nowhere else because of the geographical isolation of the country. The plants are believed to possess anti-cancer properties. Their extracts inhibit the growth of cancer cells by stimulating the 5’ AMP-activated kinase (AMPK) signaling pathway.

The scientists say the medicinal plants appear suitable for treating esophageal cancer. This is a malignant tumor of the esophagus, the tube extending from the mouth or throat to the stomach. Esophageal cancer is the seventh commonest cancer in men and the 13th in women, the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) says.

During trials, the scientists found that three of the five active chemical compounds found in the Mauritian plants inhibited the proliferation of esophageal cancer cells.

The Future of Medicine Is Dependent on the Preservation of Natural Biodiversity Worldwide

Alexander Kagansky, an expert in cancer epigenetics and chromosome biology, said modern diets and lifestyles have increased the incidence of esophageal cancer worldwide. Kagansky is one of the researchers and head of the Center for Genomic and Regenerative Medicine of the School of Biomedicine, Far Eastern Federal University (FEFU) in Vladivostok, Russia.

Kagansky agrees that cancer can be treated with surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy to extend the life of patients. But he cautioned that the extra months of life gained is riddled with physical pains – the side effects of the toxic drugs administered for treatments.

Considering the side effects produced by chemotherapy, many researchers opine that natural compounds from plants, fungi and bacteria should be applied to preventing and treating cancers. Based on this, Kagansky noted that the future of medicine is dependent on the preservation of natural biodiversity worldwide.

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Fitness & Exercise

Long-Term Weight Loss Can Be Most Assured With Metformin, Study Finds

Metformin induces 5% weight loss in one year, with promises of permanent weight loss forever

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Metformin and lifestyle interventions effective for weight loss. Photo Credit: PublicDomainPictures/Pixabay

People who lose weight have problems keeping it that way. Yet, effective weight loss is important for overall health management. It is also crucial to preventing or delaying the onset of type 2 diabetes. To this end, researchers found identifying predictors of long-term weight loss is important for better health. Metformin has been found to help.

In a clinical trial and follow-up study of the Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP), researchers found that patients who used metformin lost 5% of their body weight within one year. The American College of Physician researchers further found that the ability of a patient to lose weight within the first year of treatment is essential for continued loss of weight in subsequent years.

People Who Lose Weight with Metformin in First Year Maintain It for Several Years After

In fact, they found that people who used metformin lost significant weight and demonstrated potential for more weight loss in later years. This is not so true for people who were treated with placebo or asked to observe lifestyle interventions for weight loss.

Apart from treatment with metformin, researchers also found that older people who lost weight within one year are able to maintain their weight loss permanently for many years.

This study was published in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine. The study involved 3,000 participants with pre-diabetes. The research study is the largest and longest-running study where metformin is applied for the prevention of diabetes.

Participants who used metformin and adhered to lifestyle changes did not only lose 5% of their body weight within the first year of treatment, they maintained their weight loss 6-15 years after treatment. Meanwhile, early weight loss is essential for effectively managing diabetes incidence.

Metformin Tends To Lower Risks Associated With Obesity and Its Complications

Experts say patients who lose 5% of their body weight in one year have lower risks of developing full diabetes 15 years after.

The study authors advise that future studies should examine if metformin would be effective for maintaining long-term weight loss after initial weight loss with lifestyle modifications, anti-obesity drugs or devices, or bariatric surgery.

Obesity complications have been linked to diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and other health complications that are life-threatening. Some people find it hard to lose weight while others find it harder to maintain weight loss.

Medications such as metformin among others used in combination with lifestyle changes and weight loss devices have held out so much hope for patients.

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New Drugs

Birth Control Pills for Men May Soon Hit the Market In a Few Years

Male contraceptives will soon become available in less than 10 years

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Birth control pills for men
Birth control pills for men will soon become a reality. Photo Credit: Rich Pedroncelli, AP

Birth control pills for men – the first of its kind – may hit the market anytime from now. Well, not anytime soon, maybe in a few years more. Female birth control pills have already flooded the market since decades past, but the notion of male birth control pills was recented mooted and now about to become a reality.

Dr. Christina Wang, a researcher with LaBioMed, a Los Angeles-based non-profit organization, revealed progress on the male fertility control pill at the Endocrine Society conference in New Orleans. Several studies indicate the male contraceptive – known as 11-beta-MNTDC – is effective and safe for use, but it may take some years more before it attains final government approval.

“Safe, reversible hormonal male contraception should be available in about 10 years,” Wang said.

Initial research showed the pill reduced the activity of natural hormones required for sperm production.

Male Contraceptive Pills Developed Far Aheads of Its Time

LaBioMed in collaboration with the University of Washington conducted tests on the pill. Forty men were recruited for the study. Thirty of these took the drug for 28 days and 10 took placebos for the same period. The 30 who took the drug passed safety tests, although 22 of them said they experienced headaches and slightly reduced sex drive.

Director of male fertility at NYU Langone, Dr. Bobby Najari, wondered how users would fare after many years of using the drugs if some testers said they experienced reduced sex drive within 28 days of trial.

The study was sponsored by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.

Researchers at the study said the side effects reported by the participants do not warrant any considerable clinical concerns. Wang said 11-beta-MNTDC was developed far ahead of its time. In fact, it may take 10 years or less more for the drug to hit the market because of further need to verify effectiveness in men.

Zero Sperm Production Will Be Achieved In Three Months of Use

Some male fertility specialists hailed the development of the drug and found it exciting that it passed safety tests. But they want to know if the drug really hinders sperm production or hormones required for sperm production. According to them, sperm production must come down to zero to hinder fertility in males.

Wang revealed that zero sperm production may be achieved three months into using the male contraceptive pills.

Some attendees at the conference found this troubling. They said men may not find the pills attractive if it does kill sperm production almost immediately.

Wang said male contraceptives, like their female versions, ought to have been in the market for years if not for cultural attitudes. She said the society blames women for unplanned pregnancies, so research funding has been largely dedicated to female birth control solutions.

 

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