Brazilian acai berry antioxidants absorbed by human body when consumed both as juice and pulp

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Brazilian acai berry antioxidants absorbed by human body when consumed both as juice and pulpA Brazilian palm berry, popular health food though little research has been done on it, now may have its purported benefits better understood.

In the first research involving people, the acai (ah-sigh-EE) berry has proven its ability to be absorbed in the human body when consumed both as juice and pulp. That finding, by a team of Texas AgriLife Research scientists, was published in a recent issue of the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. Showing the berry’s absorption in humans is important because it is known to contain numerous antioxidants. The berry is heavily marketed in the U.S. as a health food.

The study involved 12 healthy volunteers who consumed a single serving of acai juice or pulp. Researchers believe the results point to the need for continued research on the berry which is commonly used in juices, beverages, smoothies, frozen treats and dietary supplements.

“Acai is naturally low in sugar, and the flavor is described as a mixture of red wine and chocolate,” said lead investigator Dr. Susanne Talcott, “so what more would you want from a fruit?”

Talcott, who also is assistant professor with the Texas A&M University’s nutrition and food science department, said that previous studies have shown the ability of the human body to absorb target antioxidants (from other produce), but “no one had really tested to see if acai antioxidants are absorbed in humans.” Brazilian acai berry antioxidants absorbed by human body when consumed both as juice and pulp

Apple juice can delay onset of Alzheimer’s disease

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Apple juice can delay onset of Alzheimer's diseaseAmsterdam, The Netherlands, January 22, 2009 – A growing body of evidence demonstrates that we can take steps to delay age-related cognitive decline, including in some cases that which accompanies Alzheimer’s disease, according to a study published in the January 2009 issue of the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease.

Thomas B. Shea, PhD, of the Center for Cellular Neurobiology; Neurodegeneration Research University of Massachusetts, Lowell and his research team have carried out a number of laboratory studies demonstrating that drinking apple juice helped mice perform better than normal in maze trials, and prevented the decline in performance that was otherwise observed as these mice aged.

In the most recent study Shea and his team demonstrated that mice receiving the human equivalent of 2 glasses of apple juice per day for 1 month produced less of a small protein fragment, called “beta-amyloid” that is responsible for forming the “senile plaques” that are commonly found in brains of individuals suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.

Dr. Shea commented that “These findings provide further evidence linking nutritional and genetic risk factors for age-related neurodegeneration and suggest that regular consumption of apple juice can not only help to keep one’s mind functioning at its best, but may also be able to delay key aspects of Alzheimer’s disease and augment therapeutic approaches.”

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The article is “Dietary Supplementation with Apple Juice Decreases Endogenous Amyloid-β Levels in Murine Brain” by Amy Chan and Thomas B. Shea. It is published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease 16:1 (January 2009).

Grapefruit juice boosts drug’s anti-cancer effects

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Grapefruit juice boosts drug's anti-cancer effectsIn a small, early clinical trial, researchers at the University of Chicago Medical Center have found that combining eight ounces of grapefruit juice with the drug rapamycin can increase drug levels, allowing lower doses of the drug to be given. They also showed that the combination can be effective in treating various types of cancer.

For two decades, pharmacists have pasted DO-NOT-TAKE-WITH-GRAPEFRUIT-JUICE stickers on various pill bottles because it can interfere with the enzymes that break down and eliminate certain drugs. This interference makes the drugs more potent. In data presented at the AACR 100th Annual Meeting 2009, the Chicago researchers examine ways to exploit this fruit’s medication-altering properties.

“Grapefruit juice can increase blood levels of certain drugs three to five times,” said study director Ezra Cohen, MD, a cancer specialist at the University of Chicago Medical Center. “This has always been considered a hazard. We wanted to see if, and how much, it could amplify the availability, and perhaps the efficacy of rapamycin, a drug with promise for cancer treatment.”

This trial was designed to test “whether we could use this to boost rapamycin’s bioavailability to the patient’s advantage, to determine how much the juice altered drug levels, and to assess its impact on anti-cancer activity and side effects,” he said.

The study followed 28 patients with advanced solid tumors, for which there is no effective treatment. The dose of the drug increased with each group of five patients, from 15 milligrams up to 35. Patients took the drug by mouth, as a liquid, once a week. Grapefruit juice boosts drug’s anti-cancer effects

Drinking 100 percent fruit juice is associated with lower risk of obesity and metabolic syndrome

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Drinking 100 percent fruit juice is associated with lower risk of obesity and metabolic syndromeNHANES analysis reveals drinking juice is associated with health-promoting behaviors in adults.

New Orleans (April 22, 2009) – If you enjoy a glass of 100% juice as part of your daily routine, chances are you also have fewer risk factors for several chronic diseases when compared to your non juice-drinking peers. New research presented today at the Experimental Biology (EB) 2009 meeting highlights this association among adult men and women, with evidence showing that 100% juice drinkers were leaner, had better insulin sensitivity and had lower risk for obesity and metabolic syndrome – a cluster of conditions that increases risk for stroke, heart disease and diabetes.

Looking at data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 1999-2004 – an ongoing data collection initiative through the Centers for Disease Control and Promotion – University of Minnesota’s Dr. Mark Pereira and co-author Dr. Victor Fulgoni found that, compared to non-consumers, 100% juice consumers had lower mean Body Mass Index (BMI), smaller waist circumference and lower insulin resistance (as estimated by homeostasis model assessment, HOMA). The researchers noted an inverse association between level of juice intake (oz/day) and these parameters.

Based on the analysis, risk for obesity was 22% lower among 100% juice drinkers, while risk for metabolic syndrome (defined as the presence of three or more of the following: central obesity, elevated blood glucose, elevated fasting triglycerides, low HDL-cholesterol, elevated blood pressure) was 15% lower compared to non-consumers. Drinking 100 percent fruit juice is associated with lower risk of obesity and metabolic syndrome

Men treated for localized prostate cancer could benefit from pomegranate juice consumption

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Men treated for localized prostate cancer could benefit from pomegranate juice consumptionLinthicum, MD, April 26, 2009–Pomegranate juice may slow the progression of post-treatment prostate cancer recurrence, according to new long-term research results being presented at the 104th Annual Scientific Meeting of the American Urological Association (AUA). Researchers found that men who have undergone treatment for localized prostate cancer could benefit from drinking pomegranate juice.

The two-stage clinical trial followed a total of 48 participants over six years. Eligible participants had a rising PSA after surgery or radiotherapy, a PSA greater than 0.2 ng/ml and less than 5 ng/ml and a Gleason score of 7 or less. These patients were treated by drinking eight ounces of pomegranate juice daily. Currently, in the sixth year of treatment, active patients who remain on the study have a median total follow-up of 56 months. These participants continue to experience a significant increase in PSA doubling time following treatment, from a mean of 15.4 months at baseline to 60 months post-treatment, with a median PSA slope decrease of 60 percent, 0.06 to 0.024.

Researchers compared active patients, who remain on the study, with non-active patients, who no longer remain on the study. Though these two groups demonstrated similar mean PSA doubling times at baseline, both the PSA doubling time prolongation and the decline in median PSA slope were greater in active patients when compared to non-active patients. Men treated for localized prostate cancer could benefit from pomegranate juice consumption

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