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Rapeseed oil cuts levels of inflammation

Consumption of canola-type rapeseed oil decreases the level of fibrinogen detrimental to health in the body. Universities of Helsinki and Tampere scientists conducted the study on fatty acids.

The increased fibrinogen level, caused by an imbalance in essential fats in one’s diet, decreases when saturated fatty acids are replaced with rapeseed oil. A complex state of balance, the haemostatic balance, prevails in the bloodstream. One player in this balancing act is fibrinogen, the single most important blood coagulation factor.

A high level of fibrinogen promotes the creation of thrombosis and maintains inflammation within the body. An increase in the fibrinogen level is closely linked with, for example, cardiovascular disease, strokes, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.

The new research demonstrated for the first time that an increase in the fibrinogen level of the blood is largely caused by the lack of Omega-3-alpha-linolenic acid in the diet.
The fat composition of rapeseed oil is optimal with regard to fatty acids essential to the body and consequently is well-suited to reduce the fibrinogen levels in the blood.

Compound in liquorice root could treat brain diseases

A compound found in liquorice root could help prevent or slow down the cell death associated with neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases, says Dr Rosemarie Booze, University of South Carolina. She is isolating liquiritigenin — or LQ, as Booze calls it — and is testing its neural effects.

LQ is a phytoestrogen, a compound that is found naturally in plants and that mimics the hormone estrogen. Phytoestrogens bind to one of two types of estrogen receptors (ER) — alpha and beta — found in cells in the human body, said Rosemarie.

Ones that target alpha ERs, which are found throughout the body, have demonstrated qualities that may prevent some cancers, including breast, ovary and uterus. Beta ERs, which LQ targets, are found in cells in the brain. “Phytoestrogens are only made by plants, and there are several different ones that target estrogen receptors. We are focusing on the beta compounds for neural effects, and these can be found in liquorice root, soybeans and other plants,” she said.

Red light forces cancer cells to absorb chemo drugs

Cancer cells suck up chemotherapy drugs more readily if they are zapped with red light. The finding could help produce more effective cancer treatments.

Most cancer chemotherapy relies on cells absorbing drugs by diffusion across the cell membrane. This does not always work, because some cells simply push the drug molecules back out using a natural pump mechanism. To overcome this problem, Andrei Sommer, University of Ulm, Germany and colleagues exposed cells to pulsed red laser light. Light of this wavelength decreases water density and pushes water out of the cell.

When the laser is switched off, the water returns to its high-density state, forcing the cell to ‘suck in’ water and any other molecules, including drugs, from its surroundings.

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