A Mediterranean diet in the UK would save 20,000 lives a year

Herbs and Helpers

Doctors have evaluated the effects of an olive oil, fish and nut-rich diet

1 in 8 deaths from heart attacks, strokes and other types of cardiovascular disease could be prevented if everyone followed a

Mediterranean diet
Several studies done in the

Mediterranean have shown it to benefit health

The lives of 20,000 Britons a year would be saved if everyone ate a Mediterranean diet, it is claimed.

In the first study of its kind, doctors evaluated the effects of an olive oil, fish and nut-rich diet on the health of ordinary people in England.

It revealed that one in eight deaths from heart attacks, strokes and other types of cardiovascular disease could be prevented if everyone followed a Mediterranean diet.

The lives of 20,000 Britons a year could be saved if everyone ate a Mediterranean diet rich in fruit, vegetables and olive oil

The Cambridge University researchers said this makes the eating plan as good for the heart as exercise.

Cardiovascular disease is behind more than one in four deaths, killing 155,000 Britons a year.

Seven million Britons are living with heart disease and the disability it causes, at a cost to the NHS of £11billion a year and rising.

Study author Dr Nita Forouhi said: ‘A higher level of adherence to the Mediterranean diet could have a significant impact on lowering the cardiovascular disease burden in the UK.’

The traditional diet of Greece and southern Italy involves eating meals rich in fruit, vegetables, cereals, nuts, seeds and olive oil

Dairy products, fish, poultry and red wine are also encouraged, but red and processed meat should be eaten in moderation

Dr Forouhi crunched data on almost 24,000 men and women aged 40-plus from Norfolk whose lives were tracked for up to 20 years.

All filled in a detailed dietary questionnaire, underwent various health checks and recorded whether they smoked and how much they exercised.

None suffered heart problems at the start of the study but, by its end, 7,606 of them had suffered a heart attack, stroke or other problem, and 1,714 had died as a result.

Those who ate the most Mediterranean-like diet had the fewest heart problems, the journal BMC Medicine reports.

Numerous studies done in the Mediterranean have shown it to benefit health, but those done in other countries have provided conflicting results

The traditional diet of Greece and southern Italy involves eating meals rich in fruit, vegetables, cereals, nuts, seeds and olive oil.

Dairy products, fish, poultry and red wine are also encouraged, but red and processed meat should be eaten in moderation.

And no proper research has been carried out in the UK, despite health authorities promoting the diet.

Dr Forouhi said: ‘We estimate that 3.9 per cent of all new cardiovascular disease cases, or 12.5 per cent of cardiovascular deaths in our study population, could potentially be avoided if this population increased their adherence to the Mediterranean diet.’

UK-wide, this would equate to almost 20,000 lives being saved annually.

The change could also provide numerous other benefits, with a Mediterranean diet warding off ills from cancer to diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease.

The Cambridge University researchers said this makes the eating plan as good for the heart as exercise

Dr Forouhi added: ‘Encouraging greater adoption of the Mediterranean diet looks like a promising component of a wider strategy to help prevent cardiovascular disease, including other important factors such as not smoking and maintaining a healthy weight, blood cholesterol and blood pressure.’

Professor Ian Johnson, of the Institute of Food Research in Norwich, said: ‘This is a careful and rigorous study showing a relatively small but potentially important association between higher adherence to a Mediterranean-style diet and reduced risk of heart disease and death from heart disease.’

The British Heart Foundation welcomed the research but cautioned that there is more to good health than just eating well.

Tracy Parker, a dietician at the charity, said: ‘The researchers found that those with high adherence to the diet were less likely to be smokers and more likely to be physically active – both important independent factors in reducing a person’s risk of cardiovascular disease.’

Source: Daily Mail

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THMPD: Has it delivered?

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There is a clear divide in the way the THMPD has been implemented across Europe, with the UK and Germany on one side; Italy, France and Belgium on the other.

Since EU’s THMPD (Traditional Herbal Medicinal Products Directive) came into force in 2011, there have been 1204 registrations, taking the total number of registrations since the directive became applicable up to 1577, according to European Medicines Agency (EMA) figures.

The underlying purpose of THMPD was to protect consumers by requiring companies to register traditional medicinal herbal products. Products have to meet certain criteria. For example, they must be able to demonstrate at least 15 out of 30 years of usage within the EU – potentially putting non-European herbal traditions at a disadvantage – and meet certain quality and manufacturing practices.

The extent to which this system has outlawed herbal products that don’t meet these requirements or that aren’t registered is difficult to gauge.

Across Europe, 215 applications have been refused since the directive was implemented. Then there are the products that are on sale illegally.

Of these, Sam Jennings, technical adviser for the Council for Responsible Nutrition UK (CRN-UK), said: “Within the UK, the Medicine and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency [MHRA] is constantly working to have unregistered products removed from the market, though this is made difficult owing to the very wide internet market. Enforcement differs from member state to member state and is partly affected by the resources available to the national authorities.”

Luca Bucchini, managing director of Italy-based Hylobates Consulting, agreed that the reality of THMPD varied greatly from state to state.

“It seems that in some member states, unregistered products are still on the market, while in others, policing has been more effective,” he said.

One of the criticisms levelled at THMPD by lobbyists was was that it would disadvantage smaller companies who couldn’t afford expensive registration fees – a prediction that has materialised, according to Bucchini.

“In some member states, they have made it very difficult for firms to apply for registration under the THMPD, especially by charging high fees,” he said.

Michel Horn, chairman of the European Federation of Health Products Manufacturers Associations (EHPM), added that “many products had been withdrawn from the market because it is difficult and expensive for small companies to obtain authorization.”

UK tops registration table

It is no coincidence that the UK and Germany have granted the most authorisations – 344 and 263 respectively, followed by Poland and Austria, whilst France and Italy are among the countries that have granted the fewest authorisations; France has granted 23, and Italy, just 10.

This, said Bucchini, is a legacy of two different approaches that have evolved in Europe.

“In Germany and the UK, the medicinal approach prevailed. This approach is embodied in the THMPD. In Italy, on the other hand, and to some extent elsewhere, the food supplement approach prevailed,” he said.

As a result, in those countries where most botanicals have historically been considered food rather than medicines, companies are opting for ‘food supplement’ status for their botanical products, rather than going down the THMPD registration route. This explains the minimal number of THMPD registrations in Italy.

“Certain member states allow a large range of botanicals to be used in food supplements, whereas in other member states, a number of those botanicals would only be permitted in THMP,” explained Jennings.

As an example, senna, a botanical used for its effect on bowel movement, is considered by the UK MHRA to be a medicine by function, whereas in Italy, France and Belgium, it is considered a food grade ingredient as long as certain daily limits are not exceeded.

This means that in these countries there is no incentive for companies to apply for THMPD status.

“Claims can be made for food supplements based on history of use. So when you look at how the authorities are handling things, at the moment there is no need for companies take the THMP route. Food supplement status gives them more freedom to explain a product’s benefits. As a result, today, in these countries, there are tens of thousands of products on the market as food supplements and very few as THMP,” said Horn.

Source: Nutraingredients

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Got kidney stones? Ride a roller coaster!

Herbs and Helpers

Researchers rode roller coasters 60 times in a row with a model kidney

They were testing their patients’ theory that it helps to pass stones

They deemed the theory was correct, especially at the back of the ride

A roller coaster ride is a fail-safe way to shift kidney stones, a new study claims.

But it may take you a few tries.

That is according to a team at Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine – who rode Disney World’s top rides 60 times to test their theory.

Researchers rode three roller coasters 60 times in a row with a model kidney to see if it helps to stimulate passing kidney stones. By the end of the unusual test they concluded it did

The study, published today, was the brain-child of lead author Dr David Wartinger, a urologist whose patients have been singing the praises of roller coasters.

Eventually, after years of hearing about this method of passing stones, Dr Wartinger decided to put it to the test.

He and his team developed a model kidney from 3D-printed silicone filled with urine and three kidney stones of differing sizes.

They then hopped on Walt Disney World’s Big Thunder Mountain Railroad ride 20 times, holding the model where it would be on a person.

Then they rode Space Mountain 20 times and the railway ride 20 times, sitting at different points of the ride each go.

By the end they concluded that roller coasters do indeed stimulate kidney stones to pass – and your best bet is sitting at the back.

It is the first study to scientifically test home methods of passing kidney stones.

Doctors have their own theories, with most advising patients to do physical exercise.

But until now there was no clear data to support it, bar anecdotes.

Dr Wartinger said: ‘Preliminary study findings support the anecdotal evidence that a ride on a moderate-intensity roller coaster could benefit some patients with small kidney stones.

‘Passing a kidney stone before it reaches an obstructive size can prevent surgeries and emergency room visits.

The team developed a model kidney from 3D-printed silicone (pictured)

They filled the model with urine and three kidney stones of differing sizes (pictured)

‘Roller coaster riding after treatments like lithotripsy and before planned pregnancies may prevent stone enlargement and the complications of ureteral obstruction.’

Kidney stones are quite common.

Around three in 20 men and up to two in 20 women develop the condition at some stage of their lives, mainly when between the ages of 30 and 60.

It is very common in pregnant women.

They are caused by a build up waste products in the blood forming crystals that form a hard stone-like lump in the kidneys.

The body tries to pass it out when you go to the toilet.

The study was published in The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association.

The purpose of this initial study was to validate the effectiveness of the model and support the case for further research.

Dr Wartinger added: ‘The osteopathic philosophy of medicine emphasizes prevention and the body’s natural ability to heal.

Kidney stones are caused by a build up waste products in the blood forming crystals that form a hard stone-like lump in the kidneys

‘What could be more osteopathic than finding a relatively low-cost, non-invasive treatment that could prevent suffering for hundreds of thousands of patients? ‘

The model held three actual kidney stones of various sizes positioned in the upper, middle or lower passageways of the kidney.

Researchers analyzed those 60 ride outcomes to determine how the variables of kidney stone volume, location in the kidney and model position in the front versus rear of the roller coaster impacted kidney stone passage.

Independent of kidney stone volume and location, findings showed sitting in the back of the roller coaster resulted in a passage rate of 63.89 per cent.

Front seat rides resulted in a passage rate of 16.67 per cent.

Source: Daily Mail

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