What's the Buzz

What's the Buzz

Soy beats milk in cholesterol lowering

Scientists have discovered that soy protein lowers total cholesterol and non-HDL (non-high-density lipoprotein) cholesterol significantly more than milk protein in patients with moderately high cholesterol levels. “Non-HDL cholesterol has been shown to be a somewhat stronger predictor of cardiovascular disease and mortality risk than LDL cholesterol in population studies,” said Elaine Krul, co-author of the study.

This randomised, controlled, parallel arm trial evaluated the effects of an insoluble fraction of soy protein, compared to total milk proteins with high calcium content, on the fasting lipid profile.

“The results of this study also showed that soy protein lowered non-HDL through a mechanism that does not involve increased bile acid excretion, but some yet to be determined mechanism,” said Kevin Maki, lead author of the study.

Solae’s soy protein that was used in this study was a relatively insoluble fraction of soy protein isolate that had been shown to lower plasma cholesterol and increase fecal bile acid excretion in animals.

The levels of isoflavones in the soy protein were lower than the average commercial soy protein isolate further supporting the notion that isoflavones do not play a role in the cholesterol lowering. The milk protein supplemented group also showed a modest cholesterol lowering.

Curry could provide a cure for the common cold

An ingredient often used to make curry may be the key to fending off the cold virus.
For centuries, mothers have used fenugreek, which is rich in antioxidants, to stimulate the production of breast milk during pregnancy and following childbirth. But now the herb has been hailed as an unlikely ‘fix-all elixir’ thanks to its powerful antiviral properties. Researchers found it may stave off viruses that cause sniffles and sore throats, helping to relieve the symptoms.

In a three-month period — between October and late December — 10 healthy volunteers consumed two portions of the herb per week. The same amount was consumed by another 10 volunteers with common cold symptoms for the same period.

The results appear to be conclusive, with volunteers reported immediate and sustained relief from symptoms of runny nose, cough, sneezing, sore throat, and tiredness. Volunteers who were fit and healthy at the outset remained that way for the duration of the trial, despite usually coming down with a cold at least once in the same period. The trial was conducted by the Anglo-Indian chef Gurpareet Bains, a leading nutritionist and the creator of the ‘world’s healthiest meal’.

Malaria parasite caught invading red blood cells

Using new image and cell technologies, Australian scientists have for the first time caught malaria parasites in the act of invading red blood cells. Researchers, from the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute, Melbourne, and the University of Technology, Sydney (UTS), achieved this long-held aim using a combination of electron, light and super resolution microscopy.

The detailed look at what occurs as the parasite burrows through the walls of red blood cells provides new insights into the molecular and cellular events that drive cell invasion and may pave the way for developing new treatments for malaria.

Dr Jake Baum, David Riglar, Dr Dave Richard and colleagues from the institute’s infection and immunity division led the research with colleagues from the i3 institute at UTS. Dr Baum said the real breakthrough for the research team had been the ability to capture high-resolution images of the parasite at each and every stage of invasion, and to do so reliably and repeatedly.

Get a round-up of the day's top stories in your inbox

Check out all newsletters

Get a round-up of the day's top stories in your inbox