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Discovery and quantification of plastic particle pollution in human blood

Posted on May 31, 2022 at 7:55 AM Comments comments (0)

Environment International

Volume 163, May 2022, 107199

Discovery and quantification of plastic particle pollution in human blood



A method was validated for polymer mass concentrations in human whole blood.


Polymers from plastics were detected and quantified in human blood.


Polymers in human blood represent several high production volume plastics.


Blood donors were from general public.


Quality control of background plastic throughout sampling and analysis is key.




Plastic particles are ubiquitous pollutants in the living environment and food chain but no study to date has reported on the internal exposure of plastic particles in human blood. This study’s goal was to develop a robust and sensitive sampling and analytical method with double shot pyrolysis - gas chromatography/mass spectrometry and apply it to measure plastic particles ≥700 nm in human whole blood from 22 healthy volunteers. Four high production volume polymers applied in plastic were identified and quantified for the first time in blood. Polyethylene terephthalate, polyethylene and polymers of styrene (a sum parameter of polystyrene, expanded polystyrene, acetonitrile butadiene styrene etc.) were the most widely encountered, followed by poly(methyl methacrylate). Polypropylene was analysed but values were under the limits of quantification. In this study of a small set of donors, the mean of the sum quantifiable concentration of plastic particles in blood was 1.6 µg/ml, showing a first measurement of the mass concentration of the polymeric component of plastic in human blood. This pioneering human biomonitoring study demonstrated that plastic particles are bioavailable for uptake into the human bloodstream. An understanding of the exposure of these substances in humans and the associated hazard of such exposure is needed to determine whether or not plastic particle exposure is a public health risk.......

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First evidence of microplastics in human placenta

Posted on May 31, 2022 at 7:45 AM Comments comments (0)

Environment International

Volume 146, January 2021, 106274

Plasticenta: First evidence of microplastics in human placenta



For the first time microplastics were detected by Raman microspectroscopy in human placentas.


Microplastics were found in all placental portions: maternal, fetal and amniochorial membranes.


Microplastics carry with them substances which acting as endocrine disruptors could cause long-term effects on human health.




Microplastics are particles smaller than five millimeters deriving from the degradation of plastic objects present in the environment. Microplastics can move from the environment to living organisms, including mammals. In this study, six human placentas, collected from consenting women with physiological pregnancies, were analyzed by Raman Microspectroscopy to evaluate the presence of microplastics. In total, 12 microplastic fragments (ranging from 5 to 10 μm in size), with spheric or irregular shape were found in 4 placentas (5 in the fetal side, 4 in the maternal side and 3 in the chorioamniotic membranes); all microplastics particles were characterized in terms of morphology and chemical composition. All of them were pigmented; three were identified as stained polypropylene a thermoplastic polymer, while for the other nine it was possible to identify only the pigments, which were all used for man-made coatings, paints, adhesives, plasters, finger paints, polymers and cosmetics and personal care products.

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Increased Grey Matter Associated with Long-Term Sahaja Yoga Meditation: A Voxel-Based Morphometry Study

Posted on May 28, 2022 at 8:30 AM Comments comments (0)

Definition - What does Sahaja mean?

From birth, born with, naturally occurring, congenital. 

Sahaja is a Sanskrit word that translates to “spontaneous” or “naturally born together." This term is widely used in Buddhism and has particular importance in Tantrism.


Additionally, Sahaja yoga is a form of meditation which was devised by Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi in 1970 and has become popular all around the world. Since its inception, this type of yoga has been practiced by hundreds of thousands of people in more than 90 countries.


Yogapedia explains Sahaja

Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi says that Sahaja yoga allows an awakening to occur in each person, which, on a larger scale, will help achieve a global unity of mankind. She also claims that this practice lets each person become their own spiritual guide.


For those who mediate for the purpose of achieving liberation or a spiritual awakening (moksha), this is a form of yoga that offers an intense meditative practice to that end. The goal is to expand one's awareness until it is capable of discovering the eternal truths of the universe and human existence.  -- Yogapedia

Increased Grey Matter Associated with Long-Term Sahaja Yoga Meditation: A Voxel-Based Morphometry Study

Sergio Elías Hernández, José Suero, .....and Katya Rubia


To investigate regional differences in grey matter volume associated with the practice of Sahaja Yoga Meditation.


Twenty three experienced practitioners of Sahaja Yoga Meditation and twenty three non-meditators matched on age, gender and education level, were scanned using structural Magnetic Resonance Imaging and their grey matter volume were compared using Voxel-Based Morphometry.


Grey matter volume was larger in meditators relative to non-meditators across the whole brain. In addition, grey matter volume was larger in several predominantly right hemispheric regions: in insula, ventromedial orbitofrontal cortex, inferior temporal and parietal cortices as well as in left ventrolateral prefrontal cortex and left insula. No areas with larger grey matter volume were found in non-meditators relative to meditators.


The study shows that long-term practice of Sahaja Yoga Meditation is associated with larger grey matter volume overall, and with regional enlargement in several right hemispheric cortical and subcortical brain regions that are associated with sustained attention, self-control, compassion and interoceptive perception. The increased grey matter volume in these attention and self-control mediating regions suggests use-dependent enlargement with regular practice of this meditation.......

Indexed for NIH by Dragonfly Kingdom Library

Spices in the Apiaceae Family Represent the Healthiest Fatty Acid Profile

Posted on May 22, 2022 at 7:20 AM Comments comments (0)

Spices in the Apiaceae Family Represent the Healthiest Fatty Acid Profile: A Systematic Comparison of 34 Widely Used Spices and Herbs

Ramesh Kumar Saini, Awraris Derbie Assefa, and Young-Soo Keum



Spices and herbs are well-known for being rich in healthy bioactive metabolites. In recent years, interest in the fatty acid composition of different foods has greatly increased. Thus, the present study was designed to characterize the fatty acid composition of 34 widely used spices and herbs. Utilizing gas chromatography (GC) flame ionization detection (FID) and GC mass spectrometry (MS), we identified and quantified 18 fatty acids. This showed a significant variation among the studied spices and herbs. In general, oleic and linoleic acid dominate in seed spices, whereas palmitic, stearic, oleic, linoleic, and α-linolenic acids are the major constituents of herbs. Among the studied spices and herbs, the ratio of n−6/n−3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) was recorded to be in the range of 0.36 (oregano) to 85.99 (cumin), whereas the ratio of PUFAs/saturated fatty acids (SFAs) ranged from 0.17 (nutmeg) to 4.90 (cumin). Cumin, coriander, fennel, and dill seeds represent the healthiest fatty acid profile, based upon fat quality indices such as the ratio of hypocholesterolemic/hypercholesterolemic (h/H) fatty acids, the atherogenic index (AI), and the thrombogenic index (TI). All these seed spices belong to the Apiaceae family of plants, which are an exceptionally rich source of monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs) in the form of petroselinic acid (C18:1n12), with a very small amount of SFAs.

Keywords: polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), erucic acid, petroselinic acid, fat quality indices, hypocholesterolemic fatty acids, atherogenic index (AI)

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1. Introduction

Spices and herbs are a vital part of human nutrition around the world, especially in India, China, and southeastern Asian countries [1]. Spices and herbs are food adjuncts, traditionally used as flavoring, seasoning, coloring, and as a food preservative agent [1,2]. Moreover, spices and herbs are an exceptionally rich source of nutritionally important phenolic compounds [3]. These phenolic compounds are primarily responsible for the potent antioxidative, digestive stimulative, hypolipidemic, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, and anticancer properties of spices and herbs [4,5,6].

In general, the terms herbs and spices have more than one meaning. However, the most widely used are those that consider herbs to be derived from the green parts of a plant, such as a stem and leaves used in small amounts to impart flavor, whereas spices are obtained from seeds, buds, fruits, roots, or even the bark of the plants [2].

Fatty acids are the primary nutritional components found in edible seed oils [7]. Seed oils provide essential polyunsaturated fatty acids, linoleic acid (ω−6 or n−6), and α-linolenic acid (n−3) to humans and other higher animals. In the human body, linoleic acid give rise to n−6 very long-chain (VLC)-PUFA arachidonic acid, and α-linolenic acid converts to n−3 VLC-PUFA eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA, n−3). These n−6 and n−3 VLC-PUFAs plays key distinct roles in regulating body homeostasis. In general, n−6 VLC-PUFAs gives rise to proinflammatory mediators (eicosanoids) whereas n−3 VLC-PUFAs give rise to anti-inflammatory mediators. Thus, a higher amount of n−3 VLC-PUFAs in the body may protect from chronic diseases, including cancer, inflammatory, or cardiovascular diseases (CVD) [8]. Moreover, a diet with a high proportion of n−6 PUFAs (high ratio of n−6/n−3 PUFAs) cannot be considered beneficial to health, as n−3 PUFAs to n−3 VLC-PUFAs conversion occurs at a very low rate (e.g., 8% for EPA and less than 1% for DHA), and conversion is largely dependent upon the ratio of ingested n−6 (linoleic acid) and n−3 (α-linolenic) PUFAs [9]. In human hepatoma cells, this conversion is highest when these n−6 and n−3 acids are provided at a 1:1 ratio. Thus, the consumption of an appropriate amount of fats with a 1:1 n−6/n−3 PUFAs ratio, which was probably followed by our ancestors [10], may be considered beneficial.

Similar to the consumption of fats with a balanced ratio of n−6/n−3 PUFAs, growing evidence suggests that replacing saturated fatty acids (SFAs) with monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs) from plant sources may decrease the risk of CVD [11]. And with the health benefits associated with consumption of n−3 PUFAs and MUFAs, consumer interest is shifting towards foods with a low proportion of SFAs, a high proportion of MUFAs, and balanced n−6/n−3 PUFAs. Given this, it is necessary to characterize all the major and minor components of the diet to acquire a better estimate of the fatty acid composition of our food.

Spices and herbs are not a significant source of fatty acids, as they form a small part of the diet. However, a detailed and comparative study of the fatty acid composition of various spices and herbs may be useful to identify those with health-beneficial fatty acids. Considering these facts, this study aims to investigate the fatty acid composition of commercially available major spices and herbs utilizing gas chromatography-flame ionization detection and GC-mass spectrometry analysis. We used fatty acid composition data to study spices and herbs to determine their fat quality indices. We anticipate the results contained herein will contribute significantly to the identification of spices with a healthy fatty acid profile.

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2. Materials and Methods

2.1. Plant Material, Reagents, and Standards

A total of 34 commercially packed spices and herbs (Table 1; 200–500 g each spice and herb from at least three different brands) were obtained from retail outlets in Seoul, Korea. The spice and herb samples of different brands were mixed in equal proportions (200–300 g total) to make a representative sample, ground into a fine powder using a 7010HG laboratory blender (Waring Commercial, Torrington, CT, USA), placed into an air-tight container, and stored at room temperature. The fatty acid standard mix (37 Component FAME Mix, CRM47885) was obtained from Merck Ltd., Seoul, Korea. The organic solvents used for the extraction of lipids were of high-pressure liquid chromatography (HPLC) grade, obtained from Samchun Chemical Co., Ltd., Seoul, Korea.

List of spices and herbs used in the present investigation (arranged according to botanical name).

2.2. Extraction of Crude Lipid Compounds

The crude lipids were extracted by using the previous method [12,13] with minor modification. Briefly, 0.6 g dehydrated and powdered spices and herb samples were precisely weighed and transferred to a 50 mL glass tube. In each tube, 150 mg sodium ascorbate and 22 mL (isopropyl alcohol/cyclohexane, 10:12, v/v) containing 0.075% butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT: w/v; antioxidant) were added, and the contents were subjected to bath sonication (JAC-2010; 300 w, 60 Hz, for 12 min) for efficient disintegration and complete extraction, followed by 15 h shaking (200 RPM at 22 °C) in a rotary shaker. Contents were centrifuged at 7000× g (12 min at 4 °C). The supernatant was collected, and pellets were extracted again with 30 mL cyclohexane. Supernatants from both extractions were pooled (total volume of ~50 mL) and partitioned with an equal volume of 1 M of sodium chloride (NaCl). The upper cyclohexane phase containing crude lipids were collected, filtered over anhydrous sodium sulfate, transferred to a 250-mL round-bottom flask, and vacuum-dried in a rotary evaporator at 30 °C. The crude lipids were recovered into 3 mL methanol/dichloromethane (DCM) (1:3, v/v) containing 0.1% BHT, transferred to a 5 mL glass vial fitted with a Teflon-lined screw cap, and stored at −20 °C. One milliliter of sample was used to prepare fatty acid methyl esters (FAMEs).

2.3. Preparation of Fatty Acid Methyl Esters (FAMEs)

The crude lipids extracted from the spices and herb samples were used to prepare the FAMEs, following the previously optimized method [14] with minor modification. Briefly, 1 mL of a crude lipids sample was transferred into a 5 mL glass vial fitted with a Teflon-lined screw cap. Contents were evaporated to dryness using a rotary evaporator at 30 °C. After evaporation, 3 mL of anhydrous methanolic-HCl (methanol/acetyl chloride, 95:5, v/v) was added and incubated for 2 h at 55 °C in a heat block. Samples were cooled in ice, and FAMEs were sequentially washed with 1M NaCl and 2% sodium bicarbonate (NaHCO3) and recovered in 4 mL hexane. A pinch of anhydrous sodium sulfate (Na2SO4) was added to the recovered sample (hexane) to absorb the traces of water. One milliliter of sample was filtered through a 0.45 μm PTFE syringe filter and transferred to a 1.5 mL autosampler vial for GC-FID and GC-MS analysis.

2.4. GC-FID and GC-MS Analysis of FAMEs

FAMEs were quantitatively analyzed with GC (Agilent 7890B, Agilent Technologies Canada, Inc., Mississauga, ON, Canada) equipped with an autoinjector, an FID, and an SP-2560 capillary column (100 m, 0.20 μm film thickness, 0.25 mm ID; Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany). The injector and the detectors were maintained at 250 °C and 260 °C, respectively. The inlet flow was 2 mL/min with a constant pressure of 54 psi. The FID parameters of hydrogen (H2) fuel flow, airflow, and make flow (nitrogen, N2) were set to 30, 400, and 25 mL/min, respectively. The column oven temperature was kept at 140 °C for 5 min, then progressively increased to 240 °C for 25 min (linear temperature program 4 °C/min and held at 240 °C for 15 min [15]. The FAMEs were precisely identified by comparing them with the retention time with authentic standards. For a more accurate qualitative analysis, the mass spectra were also recorded using a GC-MS system (QP2010 SE; Shimadzu, Kyoto, Japan), following the optimized GC-FID analysis thermal program. The identity of FAMEs was confirmed by comparing their fragmentation pattern with authentic standards, and also by using the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST; U.S. Department of Commerce, Gaithersburg, MD, USA) mass spectrum database (NIST08 and NIST08s).

2.5. Calculation of Fat Quality Indices

We used the spice and herbs fatty acid profile to determine several nutritional parameters of lipids, including the ratios of PUFAs/monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs), PUFAs/saturated fatty acids (SFAs), the ratio of hypocholesterolemic/hypercholesterolemic (h/H) fatty acids, atherogenic index (AI), and thrombogenic index (TI) [16]. The ratio of h/H fatty acids, AI, and TI was calculated with the following equations [16]:

2.6. Statistical Analysis and Quality Control

We performed a total of six replicate extractions and analyses from each representative sample. The data were analyzed by one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA), and homogenous subsets (mean separation) were determined using Turkey HSD with a significance level of p < 0.05, utilizing the IBM statistical 25.0 software.

The method used for GC-FID quantification of FAMEs was validated recently [15].

3. Results and Discussion

3.1. Fatty Acids Composition

In the present study, 18 fatty acids were identified and quantified, utilizing GC-FID and GC-MS analyses (Table 2). The results, given in Table 2, show that oleic (C18:1n9) and linoleic acid (C18:2n6) are dominated in seed spices, and palmitic (C16:0), stearic, oleic, linoleic, and α-linolenic acid (C18:3n3) are the major constituents of herbs. An exception was myristic (C14:0) acid, which was 60.8% of total fatty acids in Myristica fragrans (nutmeg) seeds (Figure 1A,B). Surprisingly, myristic acid was just 1.59% of the total fatty acids in the M. fragrans (mace; Figure 1C) seed arils. The highest proportions of oleic acid (41.64–41.85%) were recorded in cardamon pods/capsules (Figure S1) and white pepper seeds (Table 2). The data of the fatty acid composition of cardamom pods and white pepper seeds are scarce. However, 40.6–49.2% of oleic acid has been reportedly extracted from cold-pressed cardamom seeds [17,18], which agrees with data obtained in the present study from whole cardamon pods.

(A) The gas chromatography (GC)-flame ionization detection (FID) profiles of fatty acid methyl esters (FAMEs) of nutmeg. (B) The GC-mass spectrum of dominating fatty acid (myristic acid) from nutmeg. (C) The GC-FID profiles of FAMEs of mace. The numbers, ...

Fatty acid composition of spices and herbs.

In the present study, a substantial amount of erucic (C22:1n9; 17.3%) and eicosenoic (20:1n9; gondoic acid; 8%) acids were exclusively recorded in white mustard (Sinapis alba; syn Brassica alba) seeds. Similarly, a significant amount of petroselinic acid (C18:1n12c; an isomer of oleic acid) was recorded only in Apiaceae family seeds.

Among the studied 34 spices and herbs, total fatty acids were recorded to be in the range of 2.3 (galangal root) to 130.32 mg/g (mace). The odd chain fatty acid, pentadecanoic (C15:0) acid, was recorded as being a minor constituent (1.18%) in the galangal root. Similarly, heptadecanoic (C17:0) was recorded at only 0.13–0.14% in cayenne pepper, allspice, and mace. In nutmeg (Myristica fragrans) seed hexane extract, Anaduaka et al. [19] reported a significant amount of (27%) heptadecanoic (C17:0; margaric) acid. However, in the present study, heptadecanoic acid is not detected in nutmeg seeds.

3.2. Black Pepper and White Pepper

Black pepper and white pepper are prepared from the fruits of Piper nigrum L., according to the harvesting time and inclusion of the outer skin. Black pepper is the dried immature but fully developed fruit, whereas white pepper consists of the mature fruit lacking the outer skin [20]. The fatty acid composition data of black and white pepper is scarce. In the present study, 28.57%, 14.95%, 26.61%, and 9.32% of palmitic, oleic, linoleic, and α-linolenic acid were recorded being in black pepper. In contrast, 22.55%, 41.64%, 17.19%, and 1.49% of palmitic, oleic, linoleic, and α-linolenic was reported as being in white pepper (Table 2). These observations show that oleic acid increases significantly, whereas the palmitic, linoleic, and α-linolenic acids decrease significantly during the maturation of pepper fruits.

3.3. Nutmeg and Mace

Nutmeg and mace spices are obtained from different parts of the same fruit of the nutmeg (Myristica fragrans; Myristicaceae) tree. Nutmeg is the dried kernel of the seed, whereas mace is the dried aril surrounding the seed [21]. Myristic acid’s name is derived from Myristica fragrans, from which it was first isolated [22]. In the present study, myristic acid was 60.8% of total fatty acids in nutmeg, followed by oleic (C18:1n9c; 13.4%), linoleic (C18:2n6c; 11.9%), and palmitic (C16:0; 8.94%) (Figure 1A). Surprisingly, in mace, linoleic acid was 33.7% of total fatty acids, followed by palmitic (30.6%) and oleic (28.0%). Myristic acid was only 1.59% of the total fatty acids (Figure 1C, Table 2). In the investigations of Al-Khatib et al. [23], myristic acid was recorded as being 79.7% of the total fatty acids in nutmeg. Kozłowska et al. [24] analyzed the fatty acids composition of plant seeds, including anise, coriander, caraway, white mustard, and nutmeg. They reported dominance of oleic (56.5%), palmitic (18.29%), and linoleic (13.6%) acids in nutmeg. These contrasting observations probably arose as these authors reported only above C16 fatty acids. Myristic acid is widely used in the food industry as a flavor ingredient. It is approved as a pharmaceutical excipient by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and declared generally recognized as safe (GRAS) by various regulators [25].

3.4. Erucic Acid in White Mustard

Mustard (Sinapis alba; syn Brassica alba) seeds are well known for the occurrence of a substantial amount of erucic and eicosenoic acid [24]. In the present study, white mustard seeds were found containing 17.3% and 8.0% of erucic and eicosenoic acid, respectively (Figure 2A, Table 2). High intake of erucic acid is considered harmful for cardiac health [26]. The panel on contaminants in the food chain established a tolerable daily intake (TDI) of 7 mg/kg body weight (BW) for erucic acid based on a no-observed adverse effect level (NOAEL) for myocardial lipidosis in rats and pigs [26]. Considering the 43 mg of total fatty acids/g of white mustard seeds, consumption of 100 g of seeds may provide 7.31 mg of erucic acid. The intake of erucic acid from white mustard used as food condiments in daily food preparations is far below the TDI and is safe for consumption.

(A) The gas chromatography (GC)-flame ionization detection (FID) profiles of fatty acid methyl esters (FAMEs) of white mustard seeds. (B,C) The GC-mass spectrum of eicosenoic acid and erucic acid from white mustard seeds. (D) The GC-FID profiles of FAMEs ...

Petroselinic acid (C18:1n12c; an isomer of oleic acid) is the major component of the lipid constituent of Apiaceae family seeds [27,28]. In a previous study [27] of dill (Anethum graveolens) seeds, 87.2% of total fatty acids were composed of petroselinic acid. Similarly, in celery (Apium graveolens), coriander seeds (Coriandrum sativum), and fennel seeds (Foeniculum vulgare), petroselinic acid was recorded as being 56.1%, 72.8%, and 31.32% of total fatty acids. In agreement with the present study, we have also recorded the 50.4%, 49.4%, 62.1%, and 63.3% of petroselinic acid in dill, coriander celery, and fennel seeds, respectively (Table 2). And a similar high amount of petroselinic acid was reported to be in the seeds of other Apiaceae family plants, such as caraway (Carum carvi, 34.1%) and cumin (Cuminum cyminum; 49.9%). In seeds of different varieties of caraway, Reiter et al. [28] recorded 33.5–42.5% of petroselinic acid, which is in agreement with the present study. Petroselinic acid possesses potent anti-inflammatory and antiaging properties by reducing the metabolites of arachidonic acid [29]. And owing to its anti-aging properties, petroselinic acid is widely used in cosmetics or dermatological compositions [29]. Surprisingly, petroselinic acid was not detected in herbs (leaves) of the Apiaceae family member parsley (Petroselinum crispum). In the parsley herb, hexadecatrienoic (C16:3n3) was reported to be 17.7% of the total fatty acids (Figure 2D), whereas no other spices were found to contain this fatty acid. Parsley has been previously classified as a “16:3” plant owing to the presence of a significant amount of hexadecatrienoic acid in photosynthetic tissues, which is part of primitive lipid metabolism [30].

3.5. Fat Quality Indices

The present study is based on the fatty acid composition of 34 spices and herbs. We evaluated them for fat quality indices, including the n–6/n–3 ratio, AI, TI, and h/H fatty acid ratios (Table 3). Among the studied spices and food condiments, the ratio of n–6/n–3 PUFAs was found to be in the range of 0.36 (oregano) to 85.99 (cumin). In view of health benefits associated with the consumption of n−6/n−3 PUFAs ratio of 0.5–2.0 (nearest to 1:1), lipids obtained from leaf spices, including tarragon (0.76), bay leaf (1.33), basil (0.55), marjoram (0.75), parsley (0.48), white mustard (0.95), sage (0.86), and thyme (0.52) can be considered to be beneficial. In general, the high occurrence of α-linolenic acids compared to linoleic acid is responsible for the low n−6/n−3 ratio in leaves (photosynthetic tissue).

The fat quality indices of lipids of spices and herbs.

In view of the high risk of CVD and other chronic diseases that are associated with the dietary intake of SFAs [11], fats with a PUFAs/SFAs ratio lower than 0.45 are not advised for diet [31]. In the present study, PUFAs/SFAs ratios ranged from 0.17 (nutmeg) to 4.90 (cumin). Low PUFAs/SFAs ratios of 0.17 in nutmeg lipids are the result of the dominance of myristic acid (an SFA; Figure 1A), whereas in the case of cumin, linoleic acid is dominant over SFAs. In addition to the nutmeg, low PUFAs/SFAs ratios (<0.44) were recorded from galangal root (0.29), lemongrass (0.24), rosemary (0.28), and sage (0.38) because of the occurrence of a substantial amount of palmitic acid (Figure S2).

Fats with lower AI and TI and higher ratios of h/H fatty acids are recommended for minimizing the risk of CVD [32]. In the present study, a significant difference was recorded for AI, TI values as well as h/H fatty acids among the studied spices and herbs. The lowest significant values of the AI (0.06) and the highest ratios of h/H fatty acids (17.0) were obtained from cumin seeds (Table 3, Figure 3), because of the presence of a low amount of atherogenic lauric, myristic, and palmitic fatty acids, and high amounts of hypocholesterolemic C18:1 MUFAs and PUFAs. Whereas the lowest significant values of TI (white mustard, due to the low contents SFAs and high content of PUFAs.

(A) Illustrations showing the high content of healthy monounsaturated (MUFAs) and polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) in cumin, compared to low contents of MUFAs and PUFAs, and high contents of saturated fatty acids (SFAs) in nutmeg. (B) Arrangements ...

Overall, based on a higher ratio of h/H fatty acids and their lower AI and TI values, cumin, coriander, fennel, and dill spices have the healthiest fatty acid profiles (Figure 3). These spices belong to the Apiaceae family. White mustard also represents a higher ratio of h/H fatty acids and lower values of AI and TI. However, it contains a substantial amount of erucic acid.

In Figure 3, cumin, coriander, fennel, and dill spices top the fat quality indices, the ratio of h/H fatty acids, AI, and TI. However, the occurrence of a very low proportion of α-linolenic acid (a n−3 PUFA; 0.35–0.85%) and a fairly good amount of linoleic acid (a n–6 PUFA; 19.60–33.34%) in these spices, give rise to the high ratio of n–6/n–3 PUFAs (24.02–85.99), which is substantially higher than the recommended ratio of 1:1. Considering this, the culinary use of these spices can be recommended with n–3 PUFA rich components to obtain the overall n–6/n–3 PUFAs ratio of 1:1.

Previously, we had analyzed the total phenolic contents (TPC) and antioxidant activities of 39 spices and herbs (including the 34 spices and herbs investigated in the present study) and found that cloves possess the highest antioxidant activities, followed by allspice, cinnamon, oregano, and marjoram [33]. The high antioxidant activities of these spices and herbs were probably the results of the richness of phenolic compounds, as the antioxidant activities showed a good correlation (0.835–0.966) with TPC. In contrast, in the present study, cumin, coriander, fennel, and dill spices showed the healthiest fatty acid profile among the 34 spices and herbs. These observations show that the selection of healthy spices and herbs may vary with nutrient requirements. Thus, in the present study, cumin, coriander, fennel, and dill spices are the recommendations based on the fatty acid profile. However, other spices and herbs might be richer in other health-beneficial dietary components.

4. Conclusions

Spices belonging to Apiaceae family plants (cumin, coriander, fennel, and dill) are an exceptionally rich source of monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs) in the form of petroselinic acid, a good amount of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs; linoleic acid), and a small amount of saturated fatty acids. And, with high proportions of MUFAs and PUFAs, the Apiaceae family spices top the fat quality indices, particularly in terms of a higher ratio of hypocholesterolemic/hypercholesterolemic fatty acids, and lower values of the atherogenic index and the thrombogenic index (Figure 3).


This paper was supported by the KU Research Professor Program of Konkuk University, Seoul, Korea.

Supplementary Materials

The following are available online at https://www.mdpi.com/article/10.3390/foods10040854/s1, Figure S1: (A) The gas chromatography (GC)-flame ionization detection (FID) profiles of fatty acid methyl esters (FAMEs) of cardamom. (B) The GC-mass spectrum of dominating fatty acid (Palmitic acid); Figure S2. (A–C) The gas chromatography (GC)-flame ionization detection (FID) profiles of fatty acid methyl esters (FAMEs) of lemongrass, rosemary, and Sage. The GC-mass spectrum of dominating fatty acid (Palmitic acid). The numbers, 4, 7, 9, 11, and 14 correspond to peak numbers illustrated in Table 1. BHT: Butylated hydroxytoluene (A synthetic antioxidant used during lipid extraction).

Author Contributions

Conceptualization, R.K.S. and A.D.A.; methodology, R.K.S. and A.D.A.; software, R.K.S. and A.D.A.; validation, R.K.S. and A.D.A. and Y.-S.K.; formal analysis, R.K.S.; investigation, R.K.S.; resources, Y.-S.K.; data curation, R.K.S. and A.D.A.; writing—original draft preparation, R.K.S.; writing—review and editing, A.D.A. and Y.-S.K.; visualization, Y.-S.K.; supervision, Y.-S.K.; project administration, R.K.S.; funding acquisition, R.K.S. All authors have read and agreed to the published version of the manuscript.



This paper was supported by the KU Research Professor Program of Konkuk University, Seoul, Republic of Korea and “The APC was supported by Konkuk University research fund (2021A0190061)”.


Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflict of interest.


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Article information

Foods. 2021 Apr; 10(4): 854.

Published online 2021 Apr 14. doi: 10.3390/foods10040854

PMCID: PMC8071036

PMID: 33920058

Ramesh Kumar Saini,1 Awraris Derbie Assefa,2 and Young-Soo Keum1,*

Andreas Eisenreich, Academic Editor and Bernd Schaefer, Academic Editor

1Department of Crop Science, Konkuk University, Seoul 05029, Korea; rk.ca.kuknok@7991inias

2National Agrobiodiversity Center, National Institute of Agricultural Sciences, Rural Development Administration, Jeonju 54874, Korea; rk.aerok@sirarwa

*Correspondence: rk.ca.kuknok@lanoitar

Received 2021 Mar 8; Accepted 2021 Apr 12.

Copyright © 2021 by the authors.

Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).

This article has been cited by other articles in PMC.

Articles from Foods are provided here courtesy of Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute (MDPI)


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As demonstrated in countries with good health services, the availability of PCI leads to low abortion rates

Posted on May 21, 2022 at 7:50 AM Comments comments (0)



At present there is a high demand for PCI. The psychological distress experienced by women after unprotected intercourse while awaiting the onset of her next menses could be avoided with effective postcoital treatment. As demonstrated in countries with good health services, the availability of PCI leads to low abortion rates. PCI is designed for use as an emergency method after unprotected intercourse as an isolated incident. Women who have frequent intercourse however, do better to use a regular, very effective, method of contraception such as a combined oral contraceptive. Postcoital progestagens can well be used in infrequent intercourse since they are to be taken after each coitus, if applicable several times a month. Such use however leads to menstrual cycle disturbances and irregular bleedings. The estrogen-only and the estrogen-progestin combination are recommended, but need to be given within 2 or 3 days after the event of unprotected intercourse, preferably periovulatory. The latest development of the anti-progestins as a morning-after pill is promising. Taken from day 27 through 30 of the menstrual cycle it induces menstruation at the expected day. Side effects are minimal and the efficacy is good. Because of the imperfectness of PCI to prevent all pregnancies, sofar this regimen cannot be recommended for monthly use and does not replace regular oral contraceptives. PCI has a definite place in family-planning and fertility regulation. Since different methods are available today careful assessment of individual needs can help to decide for the best suitable method for the individual person.

Indexed for NIH Pubmed by Dragonfly Kingdom Library



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Now There's Two Sponsored Projects You Can Give A Tax Deductible Donation To At Dragonfly Kingdom Library/Dragonfly Kingdom International Service Agency

Posted on May 17, 2022 at 4:45 AM Comments comments (0)


Now There's Two Sponsored Projects You Can Give A Tax Deductible Donation To At Dragonfly Kingdom Library/Dragonfly Kingdom International Service Agency



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Sponsored by Permaculture Association of North East (P.A.N.)/Northeast Permaculture



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Nature Yogi Marco Andre Indulges In A Wide Pallet Of Sound Design

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Calcium Channel Blockers As Birth Control For Men

Posted on May 6, 2022 at 5:55 AM Comments comments (0)

The effect of calcium ion channel blockers on sperm fertilization potential


Objective: To evaluate the effects of calcium ion (Ca2+) channel blockers on male fertility potential.

Design: A case comparison of the surface expression of mannose-ligand receptors on motile spermatozoa from 10 known fertile males and from 10 normospermic men taking Ca2+ channel blockers who were seeking infertility treatment. Examination of the effects of in vitro exposure of sperm from fertile donors (n = 14) to antihypertensive medications.

Setting: Patients from a successful university hospital-based IVF-assisted reproductive technology program and from a male urology private practice.

Interventions: Prescription of alternate hypotensive medications for four male patients; cholesterol loading and unloading in vitro of fertile donor sperm.

Main outcome measures: Motile sperm were tested for their ability to bind fluorescein isothiocyanate-labeled, mannosylated bovine serum albumin as an index of the surface expression of mannose-ligand receptors associated with fertility potential. Acrosome status was simultaneously evaluated by fluorescence microscopy with rhodamine-labeled Pisum sativum lectin. Sperm were assayed before and after an 18-hour or 3-day incubation under capacitating conditions in vitro.

Results: Motile spermatozoa of normospermic men taking calcium antagonists for hypertension control do not express head-directed mannose-ligand receptors at high frequency, nor do they undergo spontaneous acrosome loss. Unexpectedly, mannose-ligand receptor translocation from the subplasmalemmal space over the acrosome to the sperm surface and aggregation over the equatorial-postacrosomal regions occurred in acrosome-intact sperm. This differs from fertile controls in whom receptor translocation to the equatorial-postacrosomal segment is coupled with the acrosome reaction (AR). Discontinuation of calcium antagonists results in complete recovery of parameters associated with sperm fertilizing potential: time-dependent increases in the percentages of spermatozoa exhibiting surface mannose-ligand binding and spontaneous ARs in vitro. The effects of in vivo administration of calcium antagonists is mimicked in control fertile donor sperm by inclusion of a Ca2+ channel blocker in the media employed during capacitating incubations.

Conclusions: Therapeutic administrations of calcium antagonists for hypertension control cause reversible male infertility associated with an IVF failure. A mechanism of inhibition of sperm fertilizing potential through insertion of lipophilic calcium ion antagonists into the lipid bilayer of the sperm plasma membrane is consistent with our in vitro studies.

Indexed for NIH Pubmed by Dragonfly Kingdom Library

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Sexual activity played a protective effect, in both genders, on the quarantine-related plague of anxiety and mood disorders.

Posted on April 24, 2022 at 8:50 AM Comments comments (0)



The COVID-19–related lockdown has profoundly changed human behaviors and habits, impairing general and psychological well-being. Along with psychosocial consequences, it is possible that sexual behavior was also affected.



With the present study, we evaluated the impact of the community-wide containment and consequent social distancing on the intrapsychic, relational, and sexual health through standardized psychometric tools.



A case-control study was performed through a web-based survey and comparing subjects of both genders with (group A, N = 2,608) and without (group B, N = 4,213) sexual activity during lockdown. The Welch and chi-square tests were used to assess differences between groups. Univariate analysis of covariance, logistic regression models, and structural equation modeling were performed to measure influence and mediation effects of sexual activity on psychological, relational, and sexual outcomes.



Main outcome measures were General Anxiety Disorder-7 for anxiety, Patient Health Questionnaire-9 for depression, Dyadic Adjustment Scale for quality of relationship and a set of well-validated sexological inventories (International Index of Erectile Function, Female Sexual Function Index, and male-female versions of the Orgasmometer).



Anxiety and depression scores were significantly lower in subjects sexually active during lockdown. Analysis of covariance identified gender, sexual activity, and living without partner during lockdown as significantly affecting anxiety and depression scores (P < .0001). Logistic regression models showed that lack of sexual activity during lockdown was associated with a significantly higher risk of developing anxiety and depression (OR: 1.32 [95% CI: 1.12 - 1.57, P < .001] and 1.34 [95% CI: 1.15 - 1.57, P < .0001], respectively). Structural equation modeling evidenced the protective role of sexual activity toward psychological distress (βmales = -0.18 and βfemales = -0.14), relational health (βmales = 0.26 and βfemales = 0.29) and sexual health, both directly (βmales = 0.43 and βfemales = 0.31), and indirectly (βmales = 0.13 and βfemales = 0.13).


Clinical translation

The demonstrated mutual influence of sexual health on psychological and relational health could direct the clinical community toward a reinterpretation of the relationship among these factors.

Strengths and limitations

Based on a large number of subjects and well-validated psychometric tools, this study elucidated the protective role of sexual activity for psychological distress, as well for relational and sexual health. Main limitations were the web-based characteristics of the protocol and the retrospective nature of prelockdown data on psychorelational and sexual health of subjects recruited


COVID-19 lockdown dramatically impacted on psychological, relational, and sexual health of the population. In this scenario, sexual activity played a protective effect, in both genders, on the quarantine-related plague of anxiety and mood disorders

Indexed for NIH by Dragonfly Kingdom Library

Mollaioli D, Sansone A, Ciocca G, et al. Benefits of Sexual Activity on Psychological, Relational, and Sexual Health During the COVID-19 Breakout. J Sex Med 2021;18:35–


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Good News! Regular sex benefits your mental health, too

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

Now for some good news: regular sex benefits your mental health, too

Everyone has probably heard about the physical benefits of having sex (it helps the immune system, lowers blood pressure, burns calories). But are you aware of the long list of psychological benefits?


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Sex eases stress

It’s well known stress can have serious implications. Stress is largely the result of many interacting psychological factors and can vary significantly between people. Nevertheless, it can cause all kinds of health problems from mild headaches, sleeping difficulties and muscle tension, to more severe issues such as malfunction of the immune system and chronic depression.



There is evidence that being close to your partner (physically and emotionally) can lower stress levels. Physical intimacy can trigger the release of all kinds of chemicals in the brain including:


dopamine - which plays a major role in reward-motivated behaviour, focuses attention and generally increases motivation

endorphins – our body’s natural pain and stress fighters, and

oxytocin – affectionately known as “the cuddle hormone”, which can trigger feelings of compassion.

After an orgasm, the body releases the hormone prolactin, which often leads to drowsiness and a general feeling of relaxation. Comfort ultimately resulting in sleep is a common post-orgasm response.

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Sex boosts self-esteem

There’s an old saying “sex is like food; it’s only a big deal when you’re not getting enough of it”. With sex it’s not so much a matter of “the more the better”, but a complete lack of sex can be quite harmful. There is some evidence a lack of sex is associated with feelings of depression and low self-worth

In today’s world there is a lot of social pressure to be sexually active. Having a nonexistent or minimal sex life can feel socially stigmatising. In this way, having sex can unburden someone from a strong social pressure and enhance their self-estee

All of us have fundamental psychological needs we need to fulfil in order to remain mentally healthy. Having sex isn’t (strictly) a fundamental human need, but it’s an important part of love and connection...... Full article at 


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Increased sexual activity was associated with positive physical, social, and emotional health indicators.

Posted on April 11, 2022 at 7:15 AM Comments comments (0)


Introduction: Understanding sexual behavior is important when evaluating the health needs of older adults. Little research has addressed the effect of specific health conditions on sexual inactivity in this growing population.


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Aim: The study aims to assess the association of mental and physical health conditions with sexual inactivity among adults 55 and older living in The Villages, Florida.

Methods: Exposure data for 22 self-reported health conditions were assessed in relation to sexual inactivity in 22,654 participants ages 55 and older, including 1,879 participants over age 80 in a community-based cross-sectional study. Logistic regression analyses were conducted separately for men and women to evaluate the likelihood of being sexually active for each health condition. Covariates included age, race, education, income, self-reported overall health, and marital status.


Main outcome measures: The odds ratio and 95% confidence intervals for sexual activity status were calculated separately for men and women.

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Results: Fifty-five percent of men and 45% of women reported being sexually active. Significant positive correlates of sexual activity included walking at least 1-2 times per week, participating in at least two registered clubs, engaging in physical and social activities, no tobacco use, fewer medications, increased alcohol consumption, and reporting a good quality of life, psychological well-being, or social support. Sexual inactivity was significantly related to cancer, bladder/bowl problems, major surgery, poor vision, mental health conditions, and cardiovascular disease and its risk factors including diabetes, hypertension, and high cholesterol. Additional associations with sexual inactivity included hearing loss and dementia for men, and dermatologic conditions, problems with the joints, bone or back, gastrointestinal problems, alcohol misuse, chronic wound care, and gum disease in women.

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Conclusions: Mental and physical health conditions have very similar associations with sexual inactivity in men and women. Increased sexual activity was associated with positive physical, social, and emotional health indicators.


Keywords: Aging; Epidemiology; Risk Factors; Sexual Behavior.

Indexed for NIH Pubmed by Dragonfly Kingdom Library


© 2013 International Society for Sexual Medicine.

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Honeybee venom can cure breast cancer, study finds

Posted on April 6, 2022 at 9:30 AM Comments comments (0)

The cancer community is buzzing over a new study that says venom from bees can kill cancer cells.

Scientists at the Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research in Western Australia tested venom from more than 300 honeybees and bumblebees against two types of aggressive, hard to treat breast cancer: triple negative and human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2) enriched. They found that a compound in the venom called melittin could destroy breast cancer cells within an hour, without causing harm to other cells. They also found that when used in conjunction with chemotherapy drugs, the melittin helped formed pores in the cancer cell membrane which could potentially allow therapies to better penetrate the cells........ 


Despite decades of study, the molecular mechanisms and selectivity of the biomolecular components of honeybee (Apis mellifera) venom as anticancer agents remain largely unknown. Here, we demonstrate that honeybee venom and its major component melittin potently induce cell death, particularly in the aggressive triple-negative and HER2-enriched breast cancer subtypes. Honeybee venom and melittin suppress the activation of EGFR and HER2 by interfering with the phosphorylation of these receptors in the plasma membrane of breast carcinoma cells...... https://www.nature.com/articles/s41698-020-00129-0

Does sex count as exercise?

Posted on March 29, 2022 at 5:25 AM Comments comments (0)

Sex is often referred to as the breakfast of champions, and breakfast is commonly called the most important meal of the day. So does that mean you can have sex for breakfast? If that’s the case, then one thing is for sure: if we’re lucky to ‘eat’ breakfast daily, we’d all be assured of losing weight.

Okay, so it’s fair to say that sex may be the food of love, but, strictly speaking, it’s not food. Lately, though, I have read a few studies that claim that, while sex may not be considered a meal, it could possibly be considered exercise. So, how does that work?

Studies from a book called Human Sexual Response published in the 1960s found that the body’s response to sex is comparable to exercise, with ‘participants’ showing increased respiratory and heart rates, as well as higher (but still healthy) blood pressure. These are all signs of the body working at an elevated rate similar to when you exercise.

According to www.fitday.com, research shows that women who exercise regularly lead more active sex lives, can climax quicker and are more easily aroused in general. And being fit also means that you can afford to have a more adventurous sex life. But what about the sex itself?

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Depending on the vigour of your lovemaking, sex can have the same effect as an intense workout: you burn calories, strengthen muscles, stretch parts of your body you normally would not, and increase your heart rate along with your metabolic rate – again, all signs that are similar to exercise. However, an average cardio session lasts around half an hour, so, unless you’re a dynamo between the sheets, you’re most likely not getting the same benefits..........