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A 130,000-year-old archaeological site in southern California, USA substantially revises the timing of arrival of Humans into the Americas.

Posted on February 23, 2022 at 7:20 AM Comments comments (0)


The earliest dispersal of humans into North America is a contentious subject, and proposed early sites are required to meet the following criteria for acceptance: (1) archaeological evidence is found in a clearly defined and undisturbed geologic context; (2) age is determined by reliable radiometric dating; (3) multiple lines of evidence from interdisciplinary studies provide consistent results; and (4) unquestionable artefacts are found in primary context1,2. Here we describe the Cerutti Mastodon (CM) site, an archaeological site from the early late Pleistocene epoch, where in situ hammerstones and stone anvils occur in spatio-temporal association with fragmentary remains of a single mastodon (Mammut americanum). The CM site contains spiral-fractured bone and molar fragments, indicating that breakage occured while fresh. Several of these fragments also preserve evidence of percussion. The occurrence and distribution of bone, molar and stone refits suggest that breakage occurred at the site of burial. Five large cobbles (hammerstones and anvils) in the CM bone bed display use-wear and impact marks, and are hydraulically anomalous relative to the low-energy context of the enclosing sandy silt stratum. 230Th/U radiometric analysis of multiple bone specimens using diffusion–adsorption–decay dating models indicates a burial date of 130.7 ± 9.4 thousand years ago. These findings confirm the presence of an unidentified species of Homo at the CM site during the last interglacial period (MIS 5e; early late Pleistocene), indicating that humans with manual dexterity and the experiential knowledge to use hammerstones and anvils processed mastodon limb bones for marrow extraction and/or raw material for tool production. Systematic proboscidean bone reduction, evident at the CM site, fits within a broader pattern of Palaeolithic bone percussion technology in Africa3,4,5,6, Eurasia7,8,9 and North America10,11,12. The CM site is, to our knowledge, the oldest in situ, well-documented archaeological site in North America and, as such, substantially revises the timing of arrival of Homo into the Americas.

Indexed for Nature Journal/Magazine by Dragonfly Kingdom Library


When alien species invade and take over communities, they may not come alone -- many plant species are host to a whole suite of microorganisms

Posted on January 25, 2022 at 6:15 AM Comments comments (0)

Invasive species are among the world's greatest threats to native species and biodiversity. Once invasive plants become established, they can alter soil chemistry and shift nutrient cycling in an ecosystem. This can have important impacts not only on plant composition, diversity, and succession within a community, but also in the cycling of critical elements like carbon and nitrogen on a larger, potentially even global, scale. Clearly, both native and exotic plants form intimate relationships with bacteria in the soil that facilitate the extraction and conversion of elements to biologically usable forms. Yet an unanswered question with regard to plant invasions remains: could the changes in soil biogeochemistry be due to an advantage that invasive plants get from interacting with their microbiome?

When alien species invade and take over communities, they may not come alone -- many plant species are host to a whole suite of microorganisms that not only live in plant cells, but also in the soil surrounding the plants' roots. These microbes form close, often mutualistic, associations with their plant hosts. Some convert atmospheric nitrogen into bioavailable forms that are then exchanged for carbon from the plant. Bioavailable nitrogen is frequently limiting in soils, yet many invaded ecosystems have more carbon and nitrogen in plant tissues and soils compared with systems dominated by native plants. Since changes in the soil nitrogen cycle are driven by microbes, could bacteria associated with invasive species not only be responsible for the observed changes in soil nutrient concentrations, but also for enabling the continued growth and persistence of the invader species?


These were the kinds of questions that started percolating for Marnie Rout (University of North Texas Health Science Center) after she drove by a remnant tallgrass prairie in North Central Texas as a beginning graduate student. She was particularly struck by the obvious and drastic changes the native prairie was undergoing due to the invasion of an exotic grass.


"It literally looked like someone had drawn a line down the field," Rout explained. "On one side was the native prairie, the other side had this towering monoculture of invasive Sorghum. The plant looked like it was invading in a military fashion, forming this distinct line that was clearly visible."


Subsequent literature searches led to the discovery that sugar cane, an agriculturally important crop, is a nitrogen fixer that contains bacterial endophytes, and Rout became curious if the microbes she and her colleague Tom Chrzanowski (The University of Texas Arlington) discovered in invasive Sorghum might be providing similar benefits to this invasive plant.


Rout combined forces with colleagues from The University of Montana, The University of Texas Arlington, and University of Washington to investigate whether the differences in soil nutrient concentrations found in an invaded prairie could be due to metabolic processes of the bacterial microbiome associated with the invasive grass, and to determine whether these microbial agents facilitate the perpetuation and spread of this invasive grass. They published their findings in a Special Section in the American Journal of Botany on Rhizosphere Interactions: The Root Biome.




"Things attributed to plant-plant interactions like competition and facilitation are likely under more microbial regulation than we have been giving them credit," Rout commented. "Studying disruptions to ecosystems like those seen in plant invasions provides a window into something -- specifically the process of co-evolution -- that we normally don't get to observe in a single human lifetime."


Indeed, the alarming rate -- almost 0.5 meters a year -- at which the invasive grass Sorghum halepense has invaded the tallgrass prairie, formerly dominated by the native little bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium), over the last 25 years, and the complete dominance of that invasive was the ideal situation in which Rout could test her ideas.


Rout and colleagues first confirmed that the invaded soils of the prairie did indeed have higher levels of nitrogen, phosphorous, and iron-derived chemicals compared with the non-invaded prairie soils still dominated by native plants. They then tested whether the interactions between the dominant invasive grass and the soil biota could be responsible for the observed changes in the soil nutrient concentrations.


By isolating five bacterial strains of endophytes found inside S. halepense rhizomes (subterranean stems used for storage and vegetative reproduction) and growing them in the lab in different mixtures of substrates, the authors determined that these microbes were able to fix and mobilize nitrogen, phosphorus, and iron. All three are important elements associated with plant growth; however, some were produced in excess of what would be needed for plant growth. Indeed, perhaps somewhat alarmingly, the amount of iron that was produced reached levels that are toxic to many crops -- and may even inhibit establishment of native species.


Furthermore, the authors were able to show that not only can this invasive plant acquire microbes from the environment, but that it is also capable of passing them on to the next generation via seeds. Using a sophisticated series of intricate experiments involving growing seedlings from surface sterilized seeds in nitrogen- deprived or nitrogen-augmented soils and slurries with different suites of soil microbes, Rout and colleagues showed that these microbes enabled the grass to produce 5-fold increases in rhizomes, a primary mechanism driving invasions of this species.......... https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/09/130926131631.htm

These results suggest that soil abiotic and biotic legacies may jointly contribute to plant invasions.

Posted on January 25, 2022 at 6:05 AM Comments comments (0)

 ISSN: 2641-3094

 Global Journal of Ecology

Open Access Peer-Reviewed

Soil abiotic and microbial legacies jointly contribute to growth of invasive Solidago canadensis


The invasion success of exotic plants strongly depends on soil properties of new ranges, however, little is known about the joint contribution of soil abiotic and biotic legacies to this success. To address the role of soil abiotic and microbial properties in plant invasions and associated mechanisms, we conducted two complementary experiments. In the first experiment, we grew invasive Solidago canadensis in regular soils from its different invasion stages and measured plant growth to address the joint contribution of soil abiotic and microbial properties. In a second experiment, we set up four sterilization × three sites treatments and measured plant growth to address the influence of different soil microbes on S. canadensis. The growth of S. canadensis was constrained by soil N and bacteria, and was positively correlated to its leaf area and root area, but not its leaf chlorophyll contents and root hydraulic conductivity. Bactericide had no effects on S. canadensis growth, and the decreased growth was greater in the presence of bactericide and fungicide together than in the presence of fungicide alone. The effects of microbial removal varied with microbial groups and sites. These results suggest that soil abiotic and biotic legacies may jointly contribute to plant invasions.


The successful invasion of exotic plants can be ascribed to multiple possible mechanisms [1,2]. Of all the mechanisms, the properties of soils alone (e.g. nutrient availability and enemies) and plant-soil interactions (e.g. positive or negative feedback) have been increasingly recognized as key mechanisms determining invasion success [2-7]. In other words, the initial regimes of soil abiotic and biotic properties and their changes induced by invader-soil interactions play a crucial role in plant invasions (see below). Accordingly, increasing attention focusing on plant invasions has been paid to soil legacy effects [8-10].

The importance of soil abiotic properties (i.e. soil abiotic legacy) in plant invasions at least encompasses two mechanisms: resources and conditions. For example, soil nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) determine the growth of invasive plants because they usually grow rapidly and thus need large quantities of soil N and P [1,2,11], soil pH, as a condition, influences soil nutrient availability and soil microbial composition and structure [12,13]. The importance of soil microbes (i.e. soil microbial legacy) in plant invasions also at least covers two mechanisms: beneficial and detrimental effects. For example, the releases of soil-borne enemies or enhanced mutualisms benefit invasive plants whereas accumulated pathogens harm native plants [3,4,6,14,15]. However, it should be noted that invasive plants commonly interact with their surrounding soils [16,17]. This interaction can dramatically alter soil abiotic and biotic legacies, thereby influencing the performance of invasive plants (Gaggini et al. 2017)..........

Indexed for Global Journal of Ecology 

Yoga Meditation: Meditation Malas

Posted on January 19, 2022 at 8:35 AM Comments comments (0)

Meditation Mala

This study gives strong evidence that electromagnetic field sensitivity exists, and can be elicited under environmentally controlled conditions.

Posted on January 19, 2022 at 6:00 AM Comments comments (0)


This study gives strong evidence that electromagnetic field sensitivity exists, and can be elicited under environmentally controlled conditions.

Journal of Bioelectricity

Volume 10, 1991 - Issue 1-2

Original Article

Electromagnetic Field Sensitivity

William J. Rea,Yagin Pan,Ervin J. Fenyves,Iehiko Sujisawa,Hideo Suyama,Nasrola Samadi & show all

Pages 241-256 | Published online: 07 Jul 2009




A multiphase study was performed to find an effective method to evaluate electromagnetic field (EMF) sensitivity of patients. The first phase developed criteria for controlled testing using an environment low in chemical, particulate, and EMF pollution. Monitoring devices were used in an effort to ensure that extraneous EMF would not interfere with the tests. A second phase involved a single-blind challenge of 100 patients who complained of EMF sensitivity to a series of fields ranging from 0 to 5 MHz in frequency, plus 5 blank challenges. Twenty-five patients were found who were sensitive to the fields, but did not react to the blanks. These were compared in the third phase to 25 healthy naive volunteer controls. None of the volunteers reacted to any challenge, active or blank, but 16 of the EMF-sensitive patients (64%) had positive signs and symptoms scores, plus autonomic nervous system changes. In the fourth phase, the 16 EMF-sensitive patients were rechallenged twice to the frequencies to which they were most sensitive during the previous challenge. The active frequency was found to be positive in 100% of the challenges, while all of the placebo tests were negative. we concluded that this study gives strong evidence that electromagnetic field sensitivity exists, and can be elicited under environmentally controlled conditions.

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Combination exercise gave greater benefits for weight loss, fat loss and cardio-respiratory fitness

Posted on January 15, 2022 at 4:15 AM Comments comments (0)


Evidence suggests that exercise training improves CVD risk factors. However, it is unclear whether health benefits are limited to aerobic training or if other exercise modalities such as resistance training or a combination are as effective or more effective in the overweight and obese. The aim of this study is to investigate whether 12 weeks of moderate-intensity aerobic, resistance, or combined exercise training would induce and sustain improvements in cardiovascular risk profile, weight and fat loss in overweight and obese adults compared to no exercise.

Twelve-week randomized parallel design examining the effects of different exercise regimes on fasting measures of lipids, glucose and insulin and changes in body weight, fat mass and dietary intake. Participants were randomized to either: Group 1 (Control, n = 16); Group 2 (Aerobic, n = 15); Group 3 (Resistance, n = 16); Group 4 (Combination, n = 17). Data was analysed using General Linear Model to assess the effects of the groups after adjusting for baseline values. Within-group data was analyzed with the paired t-test and between-group effects using post hoc comparisons.

Significant improvements in body weight (−1.6%, p = 0.044) for the Combination group compared to Control and Resistance groups and total body fat compared to Control (−4.4%, p = 0.003) and Resistance (−3%, p = 0.041). Significant improvements in body fat percentage (−2.6%, p = 0.008), abdominal fat percentage (−2.8%, p = 0.034) and cardio-respiratory fitness (13.3%, p = 0.006) were seen in the Combination group compared to Control. Levels of ApoB48 were 32% lower in the Resistance group compared to Control (p = 0.04).

A 12-week training program comprising of resistance or combination exercise, at moderate-intensity for 30 min, five days/week resulted in improvements in the cardiovascular risk profile in overweight and obese participants compared to no exercise. From our observations, combination exercise gave greater benefits for weight loss, fat loss and cardio-respiratory fitness than aerobic and resistance training modalities. Therefore, combination exercise training should be recommended for overweight and obese adults in National Physical Activity Guidelines.

This clinical trial was registered with the Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry (ANZCTR), registration number: ACTRN12609000684224

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Molecules of Silence: Effects of Meditation on Gene Expression and Epigenetics

Posted on December 27, 2021 at 4:25 AM Comments comments (0)


Many studies have consistently demonstrated an epigenetic link between environmental stimuli and physiological as well as cognitive responses. Epigenetic mechanisms represent a way to regulate gene activity in real time without modifying the DNA sequence, thus allowing the genome to adapt its functions to changing environmental contexts. Factors such as lifestyle, behavior, and the practice of sitting and moving mindful activities have been shown to be important means of environmental enrichment. Such practices, which include mindfulness meditation, Vipassana, Yoga, Tai Chi, and Quadrato Motor Training, have been reported to positively impact well-being. In fact, they can be considered emotional and attentional regulatory activities, which, by inducing a state of greater inner silence, allow the development of increased self-awareness. Inner silence can therefore be considered a powerful tool to counteract the negative effects of overabundant environmental noise, thanks to its power to relieve stress-related symptoms. Since all these positive outcomes rely on physiological and biochemical activities, the molecular and epigenetic mechanisms influenced by different mindful practices have recently started to be investigated. Here, we review some of the findings that could allow us to uncover the mechanisms by which specific practices influence well-being.

Keywords: meditation, silence, epigenetics, epigenetic marks, gene-expression, mindfulness...........

Indexed for NIH / Frontiers In Psychology by Dragonfly Kingdom Library 

A new category of pathogenic components, normally dormant within human genomes, has been identified

Posted on December 27, 2021 at 3:05 AM Comments comments (0)
A new category of pathogenic components, normally dormant within human genomes, has been identified


The causes of multiple sclerosis and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis have long remained elusive. A new category of pathogenic components, normally dormant within human genomes, has been identified: human endogenous retroviruses (HERVs). These represent ∼8% of the human genome, and environmental factors have reproducibly been shown to trigger their expression. The resulting production of envelope (Env) proteins from HERV-W and HERV-K appears to engage pathophysiological pathways leading to the pathognomonic features of MS and ALS, respectively. Pathogenic HERV elements may thus provide a missing link in understanding these complex diseases. Moreover, their neutralization may represent a promising strategy to establish novel and more powerful therapeutic approaches.

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Copyright © 2018 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd.. All rights reserved 

Herbal natural products as a source of monoamine oxidase inhibitors: a review

Posted on December 13, 2021 at 4:10 AM Comments comments (0)


Drugs of natural origin still play a major role in the treatment of many diseases and as lead structures for the development of new synthetic drug substances. This review article deals the pharmacological effects on the Central Nervous System (CNS) of some plant extracts and their isolated chemical components due to their monoamine oxidase (MAO) activity. Herbs and herbal preparations containing MAO-A inhibitors have been widely used as an effective alternative in the treatment of neuropsychiatric diseases such as depression. Inhibitors of MAO-B not only enhance dopaminergic neurotransmission but also prevent activation of toxin and free radical formation, alleviating the process of neuron denaturalization, on account of which they are used in Parkinson disease (PD). Several methods have been developed for monitoring MAO activity and its inhibitor screening of bioactive natural products. 

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These findings provide the utility of yoga and exercise-based intervention in improving cognitive functions among substance abusers.

Posted on December 9, 2021 at 3:45 AM Comments comments (0)


Background: Chronic vulnerability characterizes substance abuse disorder with consequent relapse. The process of abstinence depends on cognitive recovery. Hence, behavioral intervention should account for cognitive dimension of substance abusers. Recent studies highlight yoga-based intervention as a promising add-on therapy for treating and preventing addictive behaviors.

Purpose: The study aimed to evaluate the efficacy of a yoga-based intervention as an add-on in enhancing cognitive functions, compared with physical exercise to newly admitted substance abusers seeking an inpatient treatment program.

Methods: The study was a single-blind, randomized, comparative design that included 96 male participants, between 18 and 40 years in a residential rehabilitation treatment unit. Partakers in the yoga or physical exercise group received supervised daily training for 12 weeks, in addition to standard rehabilitation treatment. Raters blind to the study assessed the patients on digit span task, cancellation test, and Stroop tests at the baseline and following 12 weeks of intervention.

Results: A significant enhancement in digit forward (yoga - p < 0.0005, d = 0.81; exercise - p < 0.0005, d = 0.73), digit backward (yoga - p < 0.0005, d = 0.88; exercise - p < 0.0005, d = 0.58), and letter cancellation test scores (yoga - p < 0.0005, d = 1.31; exercise - p < 0.0005, d = 1.4) were observed in both the yoga and the exercise groups. Stroop word and color task scores were seen significantly higher following yoga (p < 0.005, d = 0.74; p < 0.005, d = 1.13) and exercise (p < 0.0005, d = 0.62; p < 0.0005, d = 0.61). Furthermore, Stroop color-word test showed significant enhancement after yoga (p < 0.0005, d = 1.10) and exercise (p < 0.0005, d = 0.42), with degree of variation higher in the yoga group.

Conclusion: Our results suggest that the add-on yoga or exercise-based intervention show enhancement of cognitive functions. These findings provide the utility of yoga and exercise-based intervention in improving cognitive functions among substance abusers. Furthermore, rigorous trials are needed to explore the potential long-term effects of these procedures.

Keywords: Cognition; Exercise; Substance Abusers; Yoga

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Forest bathing trips resulted in enhanced immune system. - Dragonfly Kingdom Library

Posted on December 5, 2021 at 12:05 AM Comments comments (0)


In Japan, a forest bathing trip, called “Shinrinyoku” in Japanese, is a short, leisurely visit to a forest; it is regarded as being similar to natural aromatherapy. This review focuses on the effects of forest bathing trips on human immune function. Beginning in 2005, adult Japanese individuals, both male and female, participated in a series of studies aimed at investigating the effect of forest bathing trips on human immune function.

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The subjects experienced a 3-day/2-night trip to forest areas, and blood and urine were sampled on days 2 (the first sampling during each trip) and 3 (the second sampling during each trip), and on days 7 and 30 after the trips. Natural killer (NK) activity, the numbers of NK, granulysin-, perforin-, and granzymes A/B-expressing lymphocytes in the blood, and the concentration of urinary adrenaline were measured. The same measurements were made before the trips on a normal working day as a control. The mean values of NK activity and the numbers of NK, granulysin-, perforin-, and granzymes A/B-expressing cells on forest bathing days were significantly higher than those on the control days, whereas the mean values of the concentration of urinary adrenaline on forest bathing days were significantly lower than that on the control days in both male and female subjects.

Gander Outdoors

The increased NK activity lasted for more than 30 days after the trip, suggesting that a forest bathing trip once a month would enable individuals to maintain a higher level of NK activity. In contrast, a visit to the city as a tourist did not increase NK activity, the numbers of NK cells, or the level of intracellular granulysin, perforin, and granzymes A/B. These findings indicate that forest bathing trips resulted in an increase in NK activity, which was mediated by increases in the number of NK cells and the levels of intracellular granulysin, perforin, and granzymes A/B........ https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2793341/

Improvement of glutathione and total antioxidant status with yoga. - Bright Star Apothecary at Dragonfly Kingdom International Service Agency

Posted on December 4, 2021 at 11:20 AM Comments comments (0)


Objective: Several studies suggest that yoga can decrease oxidative stress. However reports are scanty regarding whether yoga training can improve the glutathione level of individual. This study is designed to appraise the role of yoga in maintaining glutathione (reduced and oxidized) levels and antioxidant status.

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Study design: This study was conducted on healthy male volunteers from the Indian Navy, who were divided into two groups--a yoga (n = 30) group and a control (n = 21) group. The yoga group was trained in yoga for 6 months. The yoga schedule consisted of prayers, asana, pranayama, and meditation. The control group practiced routine physical training exercise for 6 months. Blood samples were collected when the volunteers were in fasting condition before and after completion of 6-month training period. Reduced and oxidized glutathione, glutathione reductase activity and total antioxidant status (TAS) were estimated.


Results: Reduced glutathione level increased significantly (p < 0.05) in the yoga group after completion of training. Glutathione reductase activity increased significantly in the control group (p < 0.05). TAS increased significantly (p < 0.001) in the yoga group and decreased significantly (p < 0.001) in the control group.


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Conclusions: Regular practice of yoga can maintain or improve antioxidant level of the body. The clinical relevance is that yoga practice can be used to maintain the antioxidant defense system under stressful conditions of training as observed in the case of soldiers and athletes. 

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Sahaja Yoga Meditation Proven Highly Effective for Treatment of Stress and Depressive Mood

Posted on December 4, 2021 at 7:25 AM Comments comments (0)

In one of the most thoroughly designed studies of meditation ever published, full-time workers who used Sahaja Yoga meditation became much less stressed and depressed compared to more conventional approaches to relaxation or even placebo, according to a paper published this week in the online journal Evidence Based Complementary Medicine, a leading publication in its field.


A team of researchers, at Sydney University’s Meditation Research Programme, monitored stress levels of full-time Australian workers in Sydney’s CBD to determine the effectiveness of meditation in combating this widespread and expensive problem.


The 8 week clinical trial provides strong evidence that there are measurable, practical and clinically relevant effects that appear to be specific to Sahaja Yoga meditation.


The study divided volunteers into three groups. And those who used Sahaja Yoga meditation showed significant reduction in their stress levels compared to those who used other methods of meditation that didn’t involve thoughtless awareness, which usually only generate a placebo effect at best.


It’s one of only a few meditation studies in the world that clearly demonstrates an effect that is much greater than just placebo hence it has broad and important implications for all levels of society.


Work stress is described by many experts as a modern epidemic. It costs the Australian economy $15 billion per year and the US economy more than $300 billion. It is a leading cause of absenteeism, causing both mental health problems such as anxiety and physical problems such as heart disease. Sahaja Yoga can now be confidently put forward as a simple, low cost intervention that can help prevent this.


The strategies currently available to tackle work stress often have limited effectiveness. This is where this study is remarkably relevant. It shows that a simple, mental silence orientated meditation skill, reduces stress significantly more than other often more expensive approaches to stress management.


Another remarkable aspect of the study was the impact on depressive mood. Depression is a major problem in our society, so any low cost intervention that reduces the risk of depression is of great public health significance. This study, along with the evidence from other research that we have done, indicates that strategies such as Sahaja Yoga should be used to prevent some of the major mental health problems that are facing our community.


A substantial proportion of depression in the community starts as works stress, says recent Australian research. Given the shortage of other options to prevent the mental health epidemic that threatens the younger generation, we should seriously examine the potential of this unique finding to stem the tide of depression that affects our communities.


Stress is not just limited to the workplace. In western countries, studies estimate that more than 70% of medical consultations feature stress as a major issue. Until now medical practitioners have been at a loss to know what to recommend that is safe, effective and scientifically evaluated to tackle this stress. This study clearly says that Sahaja Yoga is something that health professionals can confidently recommend to both prevent and reduce stress.

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Supplementation with tomato-based products increases lycopene, phytofluene, and phytoene levels in human serum and protects against UV-light-induced erythema

Posted on November 28, 2021 at 5:35 AM Comments comments (0)



Carotenoids are suitable photoprotectants, and beta-carotene supplements are used for protection against ultraviolet (UV) light-induced erythema. Protective effects are also observed when carotenoids are provided with the diet. Here, we investigated the photoprotective effects of synthetic lycopene in comparison with a tomato extract (Lyc-o-Mato) and a drink containing solubilized Lyc-o-Mato (Lyc-o-Guard-Drink). With these different sources, the volunteers ingested similar amounts of lycopene (about 10 mg/day). After 12 weeks of supplementation, significant increases in lycopene serum levels and total skin carotenoids were observed in all groups. Significant increases in the serum levels of phytofluene and phytoene occurred in the Lyc-o-Mato and the Lyc-o-Guard-Drink group. At weeks 0, 4, and 12 an erythema was induced with a solar light simulator. Dorsal skin of each subject was irradiated with 1.25 minimal erythemal dose (MED). Reddening of the skin was evaluated before and 24 hours after irradiation by chromametry and expressed as positive a-values (red/green-axis). delta a-values (difference of a-value before irradiation and after 24 hours) were used as an index of erythema intensity. A decrease in the delta a-value from week 0 to week 12, indicating prevention of erythema formation, was observed in all groups. Compared to week 0, the delta a-value at week 12 was 25% lower in the synthetic lycopene group. The protective effect was more pronounced in the Lyc-o-Mato (38%) and Lyc-o-Guard-Drink (48%) groups. In the two latter groups, phytofluene and phytoene may have contributed to protection. Both of these carotenoids exhibit absorption maxima at wavelengths of UV light. Absorption of UV light protects skin from photodamage and might explain the differences observed between groups.

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Lycopene-rich products and dietary photoprotection

Posted on November 28, 2021 at 5:30 AM Comments comments (0)


Plant constituents such as carotenoids and flavonoids are involved in the light-protecting system in plants and contribute to the prevention of UV damage in humans. As micronutrients they are ingested with the diet and are distributed into light-exposed tissues where they provide systemic photoprotection. beta-Carotene is an endogenous photoprotector, and its efficacy to prevent UV-induced erythema formation has been demonstrated in intervention studies. Lycopene is the major carotenoid of the tomato and is a very efficient singlet oxygen quencher in the group of carotenoids. Following ingestion of lycopene or tomato-derived products rich in lycopene, photoprotective effects have been demonstrated. After 10-12 weeks of intervention a decrease in the sensitivity towards UV-induced erythema was observed in volunteers. Dietary carotenoids may contribute to life-long protection against harmful UV radiation. 

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Vitamin D: the light side of sunshine

Posted on November 28, 2021 at 4:35 AM Comments comments (0)


Under normal circumstances, vitamin D is mainly obtained from skin through the action of ultraviolet B irradiation on 7-dehydrocholesterol. It is further metabolized to 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25OHD), the major circulating vitamin D compound, and then to 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D, the hormonal form. The major function of vitamin D compounds is to enhance active absorption of ingested calcium (and phosphate). This assists in building bone at younger ages and ensures that despite obligatory urinary losses, bone does not need to be resorbed to maintain blood calcium concentrations. Vitamin D compounds appear to have direct effects to improve bone and muscle function, and there is good, although not entirely consistent, evidence that supplemental vitamin D and calcium together reduce falls and fractures in older individuals. On the basis of calcium control and musculoskeletal function, target levels for 25OHD in blood are at least 50-60 nmol/l and there may be a case for higher targets of 75-80 nmol/l. There are vitamin D receptors in most nucleated cells and some evidence, although not consistent, that adequate vitamin D levels may be important in reducing the incidence of, or mortality from, some cancers and in reducing autoimmune disease. Adequate vitamin D may also allow for a normal innate immune response to pathogens, improve cardiovascular function and mortality and increase insulin responsiveness. Vitamin D levels are maintained better in the presence of adequate calcium intakes, more exercise and less obesity. Genetic variation may have an effect on vitamin D blood levels and response to treatment with vitamin D. 

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