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How Bitterleaf Helps Reduce Weight

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Daily intake of bitter leaf has been found to help check weight gain.
Bitter leaf is a common Nigeria’s indigenous staples as it is used as spice in food and vegetable in soups. Recent discovery by researchers say it may help to promote weight loss and lower bad cholesterol levels in the blood by decreasing the amount of dietary fat that is absorbed in the intestines.
In a new study, adding bitter leaf to the diet had a lowering effect on bad and total cholesterol concentration at both 5percent and 10%percent dietary incorporation levels under laboratory conditions in animals.
Administration of methanol extract of Vernonia colorata at 1000mg/kg and 200mg/kg significantly downregulated weight gain in animals fed a high-fat diet relative to the untreated group that was fed a high-fat diet only.
Experts, in the study, said bitter leaf may be useful in weight loss regimen, reducing dietary obesity and also serves as a potential drug lead in the search for natural products for the treatment of diseases associated with dyslipidemia, a condition in which there is abnormally high cholesterol or fat in the blood.
The study assessed the effect of feeding both a high-fat diet (HFD) and methanol extracts of Vernonia colorata (MEVC) on lipid profile (amount of cholesterol and fat in the blood) and body weight changes in 30 Wistar albino male rats aged between 10 and 12 weeks.
It was in the 2021 edition of the journal, Biokemistri. It involved Ijeoma Nina Eke-Ogaranya and Anthony Chibuzor Nnamudi at the PAMO University of Medical Sciences, Port Harcourt, Rivers State, in collaboration with Ifeoma Irene Ijeh at the Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike, Abia State.
Different amounts of the extract of Vernonia colorata were administered orally on a daily basis. Body weight was measured weekly while the amount of cholesterol and fat in the blood was measured at the end of the study which lasted for 10 weeks.
The study found that the bad cholesterol and fat lowering effects of extracts of Vernonia colorata were similar to Orlistat, the drug designed to treat obesity. It also resulted in a dose-dependent decrease of 22.2percent and 15.8percent in body weight of animals that were administered 1000mg/kg and 200mg/kg of methanol extract relative to a 12.5% decrease in the Orlistat group.
There was a significant decrease in LDL cholesterol concentration upon concomitant feeding of a high-fat diet and administration of methanol extract of Vernonia colorata relative to the high-fat diet control group.
Obesity is a complex disease involving an excessive amount of body fat. Obesity is not just a cosmetic concern; it is a medical problem that increases the risk of other diseases and health problems, such as heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure and certain cancers. High-fat foods rich in cholesterol and triacylglycerols have been implicated in these conditions.
Although there are genetic, behavioural, metabolic and hormonal influences on body weight, obesity occurs when there is overeating, especially in high-fat foods and physical inactivity. So, many therapies, therefore, target achieving weight reduction through dietary modulation.
Vernonia colorata is a perennial shrub that is found throughout Central and West Africa. It has broader, wildly hairy leaves and it is less bitter-tasting than Vernonia amygdalina. Hence, it can be described as a sweet-bitter leaf due to its characteristic non-bitter taste.
Vernonia colorata is similar to Vernonia amygdalina (commonly referred to bitter leaf, onugbu or ewuro), in appearance and nutrient content. They share many of the vernacular names and uses are the same.
Bitter leaf is commonly used in traditional medicine. Leaf decoctions are used to treat fever, malaria, diarrhoea, dysentery, hepatitis and cough as a laxative and as a fertility inducer. They are also used as a medicine for scabies, headache and stomachache. In Nigeria, its leaves are placed on a wound as a substitute for iodine.
Vernonia colorata is suggested to stimulate cholesterol-lowering activity, thereby ensuring the conversion of more cholesterol into bile acids, thus resulting in the reduction of total blood cholesterol level due to increased excretion.
According to the study, “The dose-dependent steady loss in weight could have been as a result of the presence of anti-nutritional factors such as saponins in Vernonia colorata which may reduce lipid distribution and nutrient availability by delaying the absorption of fats in the intestines.”
Adapted from Tribune online Previous reports state that regular intake of the bitter leaf also protects the vital organs from damage due to toxicity from poisonous substances. A study published in the Journal of Food and Nutrition Sciences demonstrated how bitter leaf could be used to prevent kidney, liver and heart damage.

According to the study, the ethanol leaf extract of Vernonia amygdalina ameliorates and protects the liver, kidney and heart of male albino Wistar rats against theobromine induced toxicity and modulates the adverse effects on lipid profile.

Also, researchers from the Department of Biochemistry, Delta State University, Abraka, in a study, published in the International Journal of Veterinary Science and Medicine, indicated that administration of bitter leaf extract offered defence against the induced negative effects of crude petroleum and ameliorated and restored the lost kidney function capabilities.
Adapted from The Tribune

Lemon Juice and Diabetes — Experts

It is not easy to control blood sugar. Many diabetics have difficulty regulating the amount of sugar in their blood, leaving them at greater risk of headaches and lethargy as well as future heart attacks and nerve damage. But a new study found that lemon juice, not tea, can help to modify how food is digested and to reduce sugar spikes after meals.

In the study, the researchers tested the impact of black tea and lemon juice on the glycemic response to bread and subsequent energy intake in healthy adults. They gave equal portions of bread (100 g) and 250 ml of water, black tea or lemon juice and later measured their blood glucose concentrations.

The researchers noted that tea had no effect on the glycemic response but lemon juice significantly lowered the mean blood glucose concentration peak by 30 per cent. It delayed more than 35 minutes. None of the tested beverages had an effect on the energy available for the body to use all the time as reported in the European Journal of Nutrition.

The researchers stated: “the effect of lemon juice was similar to what has been repeatedly observed with vinegar and other acidic foods. Including acidic beverages or foods in starchy meals thus appears to be a simple and effective strategy to reduce their glycemic impact.”

The researchers stated in the European Journal of Nutrition that “the effect of lemon juice was similar to what has been repeatedly observed with vinegar and other acidic foods. Including acidic beverages or foods in starchy meals thus appears to be a simple and effective strategy to reduce their glycemic impact.”

To fuel the body, starch in food is broken down into sugars by enzymes in saliva, first in the mouth and then the stomach. Further conversion happens in the intestine and liver to produce glucose that is transported around the body via the bloodstream.

The hormone insulin plays a vital role in helping cells refuel with sugar. Blood sugar levels rise in diabetics when the body either does not produce enough insulin or if it is overwhelmed with large amounts of glucose.  An unruly blood sugar levels set the stage for a host of complications if left untreated.

Diet plays a role in managing blood sugar levels. There is increasing evidence, however, that certain foods can help lower glucose.

The inhibition of enzymes that breaks down the starch in food during digestion could constitute an opportunity to slow down the release, and ultimately the uptake, of starch-derived glucose in the stomach, hence preventing a spike in blood sugar level.

Lemon juice, which is packed with polyphenols, is often mixed with water to help flush toxins out of the body. It is a miracle potion for those looking to shed some extra pounds and a go-to drink after a nasty hangover.

Also in another study, researchers from Université Paris-Saclay discovered that lemon juice slows the body’s digestion system, suppressing the conversion of carbohydrates into sugar and therefore suggested that by adding lemon juice to their mealtimes, diabetics could help level off the spikes in blood sugar that affect their daily lives. It was published in the journal Food Chemistry.

According to them, “lemon juice had a remarkable effect. The results provide a strong biochemical rationale for the development of dietary strategies to improve the glycaemic impact of starch-rich diet.”

The research had assessed how different drinks influence the actions of the salivary enzymes in breaking down starch at the start of that chain. Laboratory experiments recreated conditions in the stomach with bread digested in the presence of black tea, green tea, coffee, wine, vinegar and lemon juice.

The enzymes were seen to slow down markedly in the acidic conditions provided by teas, wine and vinegar, but tended to recover their efficacy over the subsequent 30 to 60 minutes.

However, when pH levels dropped below 2.5, as with lemon juice, there was a “complete interruption of starch hydrolysis during the gastric phase of digestion.”

Researchers believe that lemon juice intake may reduce blood sugar levels spikes in a small time frame of 45 minutes. They stated that those who drank lower amounts of lemon juice also had lower blood glucose than those who drank none. The difference, however, was not significant.

They recruited 12 subjects, all aged between 20 to 30 years, who were divided into three different groups.

The first control group ate 200 grammes of cooked rice, while a second group was given 15 grammes of lemon juice, followed by 200 grammes of cooked rice.  The third group of participants was given 30 grammes of lemon juice followed by 200 grammes of cooked rice.

Lemon juice was mixed with water, and all subjects were instructed to eat food within 10 minutes of drinking their beverage. They all had their blood sugar levels measured at zero, 15, 30, 45, 60, 90 and 120 minutes after consumption.

Lemon water may not directly impact the blood sugar levels, causing it to come down, but it is packed with soluble fibres, which also help keep the heart healthy by regulating cholesterol and stabilising blood pressure.

Squeezing lemon juice and drinking it with water may not amount to your daily recommended intake of fibre or vitamin C. But it is dubbed by American Diabetes Association as “Diabetes Superfood” because it is full of fibre, vitamin C, folate and potassium, which would help benefit a healthy diabetic diet.
Adapted from the Nigerian Tribune

By: Kevin Nengia

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COVID-19: WHO Vaccinates Over 1.4bn …Says 15 Countries Now Free From Mother To Child HIV Transmission

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A report by the World Health Organisation(WHO) says it has vaccinated over 1.4 billion persons across the globe for COVID-19.
It also said it has given the world’s first malaria vaccine (RTS,S) to over 1 million children, as it hinted of plans to  save 40, 000 to 80, 000 lives a year, when used with other malaria control interventions.
The report forms part of its 2020-2021 Results Report tracks of achievements across the globe.
Released ahead of the World Health Assembly next week, the report details accomplishments that include the delivery of more than 1.4 billion vaccine doses via the COVAX facility, the recommendation for broad use of the world’s first malaria vaccine and WHO’s response to some 87 health emergencies, including COVID-19.
Between 2020-2021, WHO led the largest-ever global response to a health crisis, working with 1600 technical and operational partners, and helped galvanise the biggest, fastest and most complex vaccination drive in history.
The Organisation spent US$1.7 billion on essential supplies to the COVID-19 response, noting that, “even as WHO has responded to the most severe global health crisis in a century, we have continued to support our member states in addressing many other threats to health, despite squeezed budgets and disrupted services.”
Said WHO Director-General, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, “As the world continues to respond to and recover from the pandemic in the years ahead, WHO’s priority is to invest even more resources for our work in countries, where it matters most.”
He continued, “Ensuring WHO has sustainable, predictable and flexible financing is essential for fulfilling our mission to promote health, keep the world safe and serve the vulnerable.”
The global apex body for health said the global rollout of crucial health materials included nearly US$500 million worth of personal protective equipment; US$ 187 million in oxygen supplies, US$4.8 million in treatments and 110 million diagnostic tests.
However, it pointed out that much remains to be done for the world to get on track for WHO’s target of each country vaccinating 70percent of its population by July 2022.  The Results Report reveals noteworthy achievements beyond the pandemic that struck the world in 2020 and 2021.
Among these include the mandatory policies prohibiting the use of trans -fatty acids (a hazardous food compound linked to cardiovascular disease), are in effect for 3.2 billion people in 58 countries. Among these countries, 40 have best practice policies, including Brazil, Peru, Singapore, Turkey and the United Kingdom. WHO’s REPLACE initiative aims for a world free of trans-fats by the end of 2023.  This success was attributed to implementation of measures mandated by WHO’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, tobacco use is decreasing in 150 countries, saving lives and livelihoods.
Consequently, due to efforts to scale up life-saving interventions guided by WHO guidelines, 15 countries have achieved elimination of mother-to-child transmission of HIV and or syphilis.

By: Kevin Nengia

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Lab Scientists, Key To Effective Medicare – Expert

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A prominent medical laboratory expert and lecturer at the Rivers State University, Prof. Barthemeus Ebirien, has underscored the importance of med lab scientists in health care delivery.
Speaking at a one-day Malaria Colloquium organised by Ekpirikpo Erens Health Foundation in collaboration with Association of Medical Laboratory Scientists in Port Harcourt, recently, the professor said any attempt to ignore role of med lab professionals may spell doom for the nation’s health care.
“ Any attempt to ignore them or play down on them is like surviving a ship wreck without a life guard “ Ebirien remarked.
The professor opined that med lab scientists are not adjunct in the health care delivery system but independent professionals whose role is key to health.
As key players in the health care system, he urged medical lab professionals to be proud and ensure their work was done ethically .
Meanwhile, Chairman of Andoni Local Government Area, Hon. Erastus Awortu, has pledged to support medical lab scientists in the operation of the revived General Hospital at Ngo, headquarters of the council.
Hon. Awortu, while thanking the body for the award given to the Andoni Council in fighting malaria scourge, also urged them not to relent in the quest to eliminate malaria.
The Andoni council chairman assured the health professionals that the area was secure and peaceful, as he pleaded for their support to help improve health care delivery in the area.

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Using Water To Heal (Pt 1)

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Let me begin by reminding you about some familiar things you know about water: Your body is about 70 per cent water. Your muscle is about 75 per cent water. Your brain cells are 85 per cent water. Your blood is approximately 82 per cent water. Even your bones are approximately 25 per cent water.
You can live five to seven weeks without food, but the average adult can last no more than five days without water.
So now you know that water is essentially part of your make-up. Water is the single most important nutrient for our bodies. It is involved in every function of our bodies.
Once your body begins to lack water, or dehydrated; it begins to ration water to some organs and that finally leads to serious system disorder or ailment.
The unfortunate part of this scenario is that many people do not drink enough water. Even me that is writing this, I hardly drink enough water. But the fortunate thing is that I try as much as I can to drink two sachets of our Nigerian,” pure water”.
First, once I wake up in the morning I make sure I drink a sachet and the second one can come during or in between meals. I know that is not enough for my body. And that is why I have decided to write about it.
I see many people jettison water after eating and end up using soft drinks or what we call” mineral” in Nigerian parlance to down their food. The habit is common among market women from my observation. I have equally seen sedentary office workers in the same habit of drinking soft drinks more than water.
So the question is what are the effects? A popular physician, F. Batmangheldj, in his book, “ Water for Health, for Healing, for Life”, pointed out that water is the main lubricant in the joints spaces and helps prevents arthritis and back pain.
Water increases the efficiency of the immune system. Water prevent clogging of arteries in the heart and brain, and thus helps reduce risk of heart attack and stroke. Water is directly connected to brain function – it is needed for the efficient manufacture of neurotransmitters, including serotonin.
Water affects our appearance , making our skin smoother and giving it sparkling luster; it also reduces the effect of aging.
As stated earlier, many people prefer soft drinks and juice to water and end up damaging their system the more. Every sugary juice drain water in the body and makes you more dehydrated. That is why a bottle of your usual “coke” or any soft drink can not quench your thirst. As you drink more, you ask for more.
When once the juice and “ mineral” dominate the body, they begin to unleash many kinds of ailment since they lack the nutrient water provides to the body.
The result is that bodily sickness begin to emerge with more soft drinks. The body begins to ache from your knees, head, back, your blood pressure goes up and arthritis, constipation show up easily.
Water is key to addressing these ailments as we shall see in the next article. Why not begin today by drinking more water, at least four glasses a day.

By Kevin Nengia

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