Dandelion leaf extract blocks spike proteins from binding to the ACE2 cell surface receptor
University of Freiburg (Germany), June 28, 2021
The engineered spike proteins from SARS-CoV-2 can be STOPPED by a common “weed” that is exterminated from lawns every year. A German university study found that the common dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) can block spike proteins from binding to the ACE2 cell surface receptors in human lung and kidney cells. The water-based dandelion extract, taken from the plant’s dried leaves, was effective against spike protein D614 and a host of mutant strains, including D614G, N501Y, K417N and E484K.
Dandelion extract blocks SARS CoV-2 spike proteins and their variants
The researchers used high molecular weight compounds taken from a water-based dandelion extract and put them to the test in human HEK293-hACE2 kidney and A549-hACE2-TMPRSS2 lung cells. The dandelion blocked the protein-to-protein interactions between the S1 sub unit of the spike protein and the human ACE2 cell surface receptor. This effect was also true against the spike protein mutations from the predominant variants in circulation, including the United Kingdom (B.1.1.7), South African (B.1.351) and Brazilian (P.1) variant.
The dandelion extract stopped SARS-CoV-2 spike pseudotyped lentivirus particles from attaching to lung cells and stopped an inflammatory process called interleukin-6 secretion. Because the study was conducted in vitro, further clinical studies are needed to understand how the dandelion extract is absorbed and utilized in biological systems of the human body.
As vaccines weaken herd immunity, natural herbs promise true prevention, more substantial immunity
Even though tens of billions of public funds have been poured into experimental vaccine development and propaganda campaigns, the world continues to struggle with new respiratory infections, as SARS-CoV-2 is pressured to mutate into different variants. There is no evidence to suggest that coronaviruses can be eradicated from the Earth, so human adaptation will be essential going forward. Dandelion extract is one of many herbs that will assist in a healthy immune response. Better yet, dandelion extract could prove to prevent infections altogether, by blocking the precise channel by which the spike proteins attach and cause viral replication.
Other natural compounds have been investigated using molecular docking studies. Nobiletin is a flavonoid isolated from citrus peels. Neohesperidin, a derivative of hesperetin, is a flavanone glycoside also found in citrus fruits. Glycyrrhizin is a molecular compound extracted from licorice root. All three of these natural substances also block spike proteins from binding to ACE2 receptors. Hydroalcoholic pomegranate peel extract blocks the spike protein at the ACE2 receptor with 74 percent efficacy. When its principal constituents were tested separately, punicalagin was 64 percent effective, and ellagic acid was 36% percent effective.
These natural compounds (along with dandelion extract) can be readily mass produced, combined and deployed as preventative medicine for all future spike protein variants. These herbs are generally recognized as safe, and there are no known cases of overdose with dandelion leaf extract. According to the European Scientific Cooperative on Phytotherapy, the recommended dosage of dandelion leaf is 4–10 grams steeped in hot water, up to three times per day.
The study authors warn that reliance on vaccines is risky and dangerous, not just for individual health but also for herd immunity. Vaccine reliance only focuses on antibody augmentation and is proving to be a high-risk intervention with short term results. Vaccine injuries are frequently reported. Re-infections post vaccination are also common, as the vaccine puts pressure on the original engineered spike protein to mutate.
The authors conclude: “Thus, factors such as low toxicity in humans and effective binding inhibition of five relevant spike mutations to the human ACE2 receptor, as reported here in vitro, encourage for more in-depth analysis of T. officinales’ effectiveness in SARS-CoV-2 prevention and now requires further confirmatory clinical evidence.”
Brigham and Women’s Hospital, June 23, 2021
Eating milk chocolate every day may sound like a recipe for weight gain, but a new study of postmenopausal women has found that eating a concentrated amount of chocolate during a narrow window of time in the morning may help the body burn fat and decrease blood sugar levels.
To find out about the effects of eating milk chocolate at different times of day, researchers from the Brigham collaborated with investigators at the University of Murcia in Spain. Together, they conducted a randomized, controlled, cross-over trial of 19 postmenopausal women who consumed either 100g of chocolate in the morning (within one hour after waking time) or at night (within one hour before bedtime). They compared weight gain and many other measures to no chocolate intake.
Researchers report that among the women studied:
- Morning or nighttime chocolate intake did not lead to weight gain;
- Eating chocolate in the morning or in the evening can influence hunger and appetite, microbiota composition, sleep and more;
- A high intake of chocolate during the morning hours could help to burn fat and reduce blood glucose levels.
- Evening/night chocolate altered next-morning resting and exercise metabolism.
“Our findings highlight that not only ‘what’ but also ‘when’ we eat can impact physiological mechanisms involved in the regulation of body weight,” said Scheer.
“Our volunteers did not gain weight despite increasing caloric intake. Our results show that chocolate reduced ad libitum energy intake, consistent with the observed reduction in hunger, appetite and the desire for sweets shown in previous studies,” said Garaulet.
Researchers find health benefits of connecticut-grown sugar kelp
University of Connecticut, June 24, 2021
When most Americans think of seaweed, they probably conjure images of a slimy plant they encounter at the beach. But seaweed can be a nutritious food too. A pair of UConn researchers recently discovered Connecticut-grown sugar kelp may help prevent weight gain and the onset of conditions associated with obesity.
In a paper published in the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry by College of Agriculture, Health, and Natural Resources faculty Young-Ki Park, assistant research professor in the Department of Nutritional Sciences, and Ji-Young Lee, professor and head of the Department of Nutritional Sciences, the researchers reported significant findings supporting the nutritional benefits of Connecticut-grown sugar kelp. They found brown sugar kelp (Saccharina latissima) inhibits hepatic inflammation and fibrosis in a mouse model of diet-induced non-alcoholic steatohepatitis, a fatty liver disease.
They studied the differences between three groups of mouse models. They placed two on high-fat diets but incorporated sugar kelp, a kind of seaweed, into the diet of one. The third group was on a low-fat diet as a healthy control. The group that ate sugar kelp had lower body weight and less adipose tissue inflammation – a key factor in a host of obesity-related diseases – than the other high-fat group.
Consuming sugar kelp also helped prevent the development of steatosis, the accumulation of fat in the liver. Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) is a condition often associated with obesity that can cause inflammation and reduced functionality in the liver.
The mice on the sugar kelp diet also had healthier gut microbiomes. The microbiome is a collection of bacteria and other microorganisms in and on our bodies. The diversity and composition of the microbiome are key to maintaining a host of health functions.
“I wasn’t surprised to see the data, as we know seaweeds are healthy,” Lee says. “But it’s still pretty amazing data as this is the first scientific evidence for health benefits of the Connecticut-grown sugar kelp.”
This study is the first time researchers have looked at the link between the US-grown sugar kelp and obesity.
“There hadn’t been a study about this kind of aspect before,” Park says.
Park and Lee saw an opportunity to conduct research on the nutritional science of seaweed, a growing agricultural industry in the United States. They hoped that, by gathering concrete data on the health benefits of sugar kelp, it could encourage people to consume seaweed.
“Consumers these days are getting smarter and smarter,” Lee says. “The nutritional aspect is really important for the growth of the seaweed industry in Connecticut.”
The researchers specifically used Connecticut-grown sugar kelp, as Connecticut regulates the safety of seaweeds. This is important for monitoring heavy metals that seaweed may absorb from the water.
Most of the seaweed consumed in the US is imported. Park and Lee hope more research on the benefits of locally grown seaweed will prompt consumers to support the industry stateside.
“It’s really an ever-growing industry in the world,” Lee says.
After completing this pre-clinical study, the researchers now hope to move into clinical studies to investigate the benefits sugar kelp may have for other health concerns. They also want to work on reaching out to people to teach them how to incorporate sugar kelp into their diet.
This work represents a fruitful collaboration between researchers, farmers, and the state.
“Farmers need to know what we’re doing is a good thing to help boost their sales,” Park says. “We can be a partner.”
In collaboration with Anoushka Concepcion, an extension educator with the Connecticut Sea Grant and UConn Extension Program, Park and Lee hope to build stronger partnerships with seaweed growers in Connecticut.
Serving larger portions of veggies may increase young kids’ veggie consumption
Penn State University, June 24, 2021
It can be difficult to get young kids to eat enough vegetables, but a new Penn State study found that simply adding more veggies to their plates resulted in children consuming more vegetables at the meal.
The researchers found that when they doubled the amount of corn and broccoli served at a meal — from 60 to 120 grams — the children ate 68% more of the veggies, or an additional 21 grams. Seasoning the vegetables with butter and salt, however, did not affect consumption.
The daily recommended amount of vegetables for kids is about 1.5 cups a day, according to the official Dietary Guidelines for Americans as set by the U.S. Departments of Agriculture and Health and Human Services.
“The increase we observed is equal to about one third of a serving or 12% of the daily recommended intake for young children,” said Hanim Diktas, graduate student in nutritional sciences. “Using this strategy may be useful to parents, caregivers and teachers who are trying to encourage kids to eat the recommended amount of vegetables throughout the day.”
Barbara Rolls, Helen A. Guthrie Chair and director of the Laboratory for the Study of Human Ingestive Behavior at Penn State, said the findings — recently published in the journal Appetite— support the MyPlate guidance from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which recommends meals high in fruits and vegetables.
“It’s important to serve your kids a lot of vegetables, but it’s also important to serve them ones they like because they have to compete with the other foods on the plate,” Rolls said. “Parents can ease into this by gradually exposing kids to new vegetables, cooking them in a way their child enjoys, and experimenting with different flavors and seasonings as you familiarize them.”
According to the researchers, the majority of children in the U.S. don’t eat the recommended daily amount of vegetables, which could possibly be explained by children having a low preference for them. And while serving larger portions has been found to increase the amount of food children eat — called the “portion size effect” — kids tend to eat smaller amounts of vegetables in response to bigger portions compared to other foods.
For this study, the researchers were curious if increasing just the amount of vegetables while keeping the portions of other foods the same would help increase veggie consumption in kids. They also wanted to experiment with whether adding light butter and salt to the vegetables would increase their palatability and also affect consumption.
For the study, the researchers recruited 67 children between the ages of three and five. Once a week for four weeks, the participants were served lunch with one of four different preparations of vegetables: a regular-sized serving of plain corn and broccoli, a regular-sized serving with added butter and salt, a doubled serving of plain corn and broccoli, and a doubled serving with added butter and salt.
During each meal, the vegetables were served alongside fish sticks, rice, applesauce and milk. Foods were weighed before and after the meal to measure consumption.
“We chose foods that were generally well-liked but also not the kids’ favorite foods,” Rolls said. “If you offer vegetables alongside, say, chicken nuggets you might be disappointed. Food pairings are something you need to be conscious of, because how palpable the vegetables are compared to the other foods on the plate is going to affect the response to portion size. You need to make sure your vegetables taste pretty good compared to the other foods.”
After analyzing the results, the researchers found that while the larger portions of vegetables were associated with greater intake, the addition of butter and salt was not. The children also reported liking both versions — seasoned and unseasoned — about the same. About 76% of kids rated the vegetables as “yummy” or “just ok.”
“We were surprised that the butter and salt weren’t needed to improve intake, but the vegetables we served were corn and broccoli, which may have been already familiar to and well-liked by the kids,” Diktas said. “So for less familiar vegetables, it’s possible some extra flavoring might help to increase intake.”
Diktas said that while serving larger portions may increase vegetable consumption, it also has the potential to increase waste if kids don’t eat all of the food that is served.
“We’re working on additional research that looks into substituting vegetables for other food instead of just adding more vegetables,” Diktas said. “In the future, we may be able to give recommendations about portion size and substituting vegetables for other foods, so we can both limit waste and promote veggie intake in children.”
Potato and rice protein shakes may be a viable vegan alternative to whey protein shakes
University of Westminster (UK), June 24, 2021
A study from the Centre for Nutraceuticals at the University of Westminster found that plant-based protein shakes may be potential viable alternatives to milk-based whey protein shakes, particularly in people with need of careful monitoring of glucose levels.
The study, published in the journal Nutrients, is the first to show potato and rice proteins can be just as effective at managing your appetite and can help better manage blood glucose levels and reduce spikes in insulin compared to whey protein.
During the study the blood metabolic response of participants was measured after drinking potato, rice and whey protein shakes. Appetite was also monitored in the following three hours to understand how these drinks may affect the participants’ hunger and their desire to eat.
The research observed that vegan protein shakes led to a lower rise in blood insulin compared to whey, while potato protein prevented any rise in insulin. This may explain the better blood glucose control following consumption of the plant-based protein and poses the question of whether vegan protein shakes are more suitable for individuals who need to need control their blood glucose levels such as diabetic and obese individuals.
Interestingly, release of the key appetite regulating hormone GLP-1 was greater after drinking the whey protein shake. However, the greater GLP-1 response did not translate to an increased feeling of fullness as there were no differences observed in appetite perception between the three different protein shakes.
Consumer trends in protein intake are on the rise with milk protein derivatives such as whey extensively used in consumer products such as protein shakes, fortified food and beverage products.
There are alternative protein products available for vegetarians and vegans such as soy, rice, wheat and pea proteins but there is a relative lack of evidence on their health benefits in comparison to milk proteins. Potato protein is a novel plant-based protein product that is obtained from the waste material from potato starch production and is a sustainable economic protein source. This study provides the first evidence to suggest that it may be an alternative to whey protein sources.
Professor M Gulrez Zariwala, corresponding author and Director of the Centre for Nutraceuticals at the University of Westminster, said: “Global concerns on sustainability have led to consumer shifts towards ethical eating and a change in dietary habits with increased adoption of vegetarian and vegan diets.
“However, research in this area is still lacking and it would be interesting to clarify whether proteins from plant sources can provide identical metabolic health benefits as those with traditional sources such as milk.
“Our results shed new light in this area and improves our understanding of how plant source proteins can be a more sustainable yet nutritionally beneficial food source. We plan to conduct follow-up studies further research this exciting area.”
Stress really can make young adults feel older
North Carolina State University, June 28, 2021 Psychology researchers have found that stress can play a significant role in how old emerging adults feel, with every stressful event above the daily norm making many young people feel at least one year older.
“Emerging adults are at an age where they are no longer kids, but they haven’t settled into their adulthood yet,” says Shevaun Neupert, an associate professor of psychology at North Carolina State University and co-author of a paper on the work. “We wanted to know if stress affected their subjective age – how old they felt – and we found that it could make a big difference.”
For the study, researchers tracked 53 men and 53 women between the ages of 18 and 22 years old. Every day for eight days study participants filled out a survey that tracked stressful events and asked questions regarding their subjective age. Participants also completed a questionnaire designed to capture the extent to which they felt they were still in the process of determining who they would be as adults – which is often viewed as a defining characteristic of emerging adulthood.
The researchers found that 58 percent of study participants reported fluctuating senses of age, reporting that they felt at least two of the three options (older, younger, or their real age) at different points during the study.
“Stress was the determining factor,” Neupert says. “It could be stress related to school, work or social circumstances, but stressful days led to study participants feeling older.”
And there was an additive effect.
“The more stressors someone experienced, over and above their average day, the older they felt. We calculated that each additional stressor made people feel an average of at least one year older. There was also an effect of being generally ‘stressed out’ such that young adults who were generally more stressed felt an additional five years older.”
The response to stress was particularly pronounced for study participants who were “identity explorers,” meaning those who were embracing their emerging adulthood as an opportunity to explore who they wanted to be. Participants at the opposite end of the spectrum – those with a fixed identity – reported little or no impact on subjective age in response to stress.
Identity explorers who experienced five additional stressors on a given day reported feeling 11 years older, whereas those with a fixed identity displayed no change at all.
“We know that children often report feeling older than they actually are,” Neupert says. “And that adults often report feeling younger. This work helps us understand the role that emerging adulthood plays as a crossover period from one to the other – as well as the importance of stress in influencing fluctuations during that transition.”
The paper, “Daily Subjective Age in Emerging Adults: ‘Now We’re Stressed Out,'” was published June 27 in the journal Emerging Adulthood. Lead author of the paper is Jennifer Bellingtier, a former Ph.D. student at NC State who is now a postdoctoral researcher at Friedrich Schiller University Jena.