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Mastic GumIn a follow-on to other recent discussions concerning mastic gum for oral health and allergic/asthmatic presentations, a look at studies surrounding the use of mastic gum (Pistacia lentiscus) for management of blood sugar and cholesterol is warranted. The potential benefits of chios mastic gum have long been known to extend far beyond treatment of Helicobacter pylori infection, with historic uses ranging from treatment of poor digestion and oral health maintenance, to the treatment of infection including tuberculosis.[i] However in the 18th and 19th century when mastic products experienced their greatest trade and fame, conditions such as dysglycaemia and dyslipidaemia were not a public health concern. Only in the early 1900’s was cholesterol coming to medical awareness, with discoveries by familiar names such as Virchow and others of circulating lipoproteins and deposition of lipids in atherosclerotic plaques.[ii]

April of 2013 FOCUS introduced the latest research on mixed tocotrienols from organic virgin red palm oil, and in November 2013 we further explored these novel molecules. We feel the quote from Bharat B. Agarwahl, PhD, of the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, sums it up well: “Tocotrienols exhibit health benefits quite different from that of tocopherols, and in most cases, these activities are superior for human use. Promising oral agents like tocotrienols are bioavailable, work on multiple pathways, and are already recognised as safe.”

Hidden in the stately steppes of gentle rice paddies, lurking in shiny clusters of red and purple palm fruit, nestled in tiny annatto seeds from the achiote tree…lies a quartet of potent anti-inflammatory, highly protective molecules called tocotrienols. They are cousins to the four tocopherols. Together, all eight comprise the Vitamin E family, a lipid-loving arsenal of molecules essential to health. Each has its own healing profile. According to molecular biochemist Chandan Sen, of Ohio State University, “Current studies of the biological functions of vitamin E continue to indicate that each member of the vitamin E family possesses unique biological functions often not shared by other family members.”[1] 

The use of a standardised sea weed extract by the name of Eckclonia cava has attracted considerable interest in the management of a variety of human health problems, mainly based around its purported long half-life antioxidant capabilities. This paper published in Phytotherapy Research adds further clarification to its potential use in the management of individuals with weight and lipid related problems.[1]

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