Friday, May 30, 2014

Spitting in the Face of Danger

A chemical compound in human saliva, along with the common proteins in the body's blood and muscle, protects cells from the powerful toxins found in tea, coffee and liquid smoke flavoring, according to a study led by investigators at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center.

The findings, reported in Food and Chemical Toxicology, suggest that people naturally launch multiple defenses against plant chemicals called pyrogallol-like polyphenols or PLPs found in teas, coffees and liquid smoke flavoring. The presence of these defenses help explain why PLPs are not crippling cells and causing illness as would be expected from their toxic punch and widespread use.

Johns Hopkins investigator Scott Kern, M.D., and his colleagues previously demonstrated that PLPs found in everyday foods and flavorings could do 20 times the damage of chemotherapy drugs delivered to cancer patients. The researchers sought to find out why there wasn't more damage, and subsequently looked for ways that cells might be fighting back.

"If these chemicals are so widespread--they're in flavorings, tea, coffee -- and they damage DNA to such a high degree, we thought there must be defense mechanisms that protect us on a daily basis from plants we choose to eat," Kern said.

Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center Office of Public Affairs
Food and Chemical Toxicology

Artwork: Death Wish Coffee
Medicinal Plants and Seeds

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Can Red Wine Prevent Cavities?

A new study published in the American Chemical Society's Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry suggests that red wine, as well as grape seed extract, could help prevent cavities.

In their study, researchers grew cultures of the bacteria responsible for dental diseases as a biofilm. Then they dipped the biofilms for a couple of minutes in different liquids, including red wine, red wine without the alcohol, red wine spiked with grape seed extract, and water and 12 percent ethanol for comparison.

Red wine, with or without alcohol, and wine with grape seed extract were the most effective at getting rid of the bacteria.

Sources: American Chemical Society

Artwork: Wine Goblet
Beverage Supplies