Monday, December 28, 2009

Hot stuff for slimmers: The chilli pill that burns off as many calories as a 25-minute jog

Even accepting the claims below as read, you could get a much bigger effect by skipping dessert

A slimming pill whose creators claim can burn calories while you sit at your desk goes on sale today. Capsiplex's makers say the capsule, which is made from hot peppers and capsicum and is used by Hollywood stars Jennifer Lopez, Brad Pitt and Britney Spears, can eat up as many calories as 80 minutes of walking or a 25-minute jog.

Trials at the University of Oklahoma showed adults taking Capsiplex burned off 278 more calories before, during and after a bout of exercise than those on placebos. Experts who developed it had to overcome the fact that capsicum extract is unbearably hot and would cause irritation if eaten in large quantities. A spokesman for Capsiplex said: 'For decades, scientists have known about the weight-loss potential of red-hot peppers. The problem has been the ability to consume such a highly concentrated amount, but we have overcome this by putting a protective coating on the ingredients which stops any gastric irritation. [And stops its absorption??] 'At last we have a safe and healthy supplement to help weight loss.'

A month's supply of the one-a-day capsules costs £29.99. The production of the tablet follows years of medical research into hot peppers and capsicum and their benefits to slimmers. Several studies have found that hot peppers and their extracts are a safe option for nutritional supplements aimed at regulating diet.

The pills are already used in the United States by personal trainers because chilli and capsicum help speed up the metabolism, meaning people can lose weight more rapidly.


Pomegranate lotion offers new hope in war on superbugs

How is an ointment going to be useful against MRSA? For topical use, iodine would probably be just as effective

The secret to beating the superbug MRSA could be found in the pomegranate. Scientists have created an ointment that tackles drug-resistant infections by harnessing chemicals that are contained in the fruit's rind. They found that by combining pomegranate rind with other natural products they created a strong, infection-busting compound. It is hoped that this could lead to the creation of a lotion for hospital patients, or even an antibiotic.

The need for a new method of tackling superbugs is growing more and more desperate as they continue to develop resistance to common antibiotics. Professor Declan Naughton, biomolecular scientist at the University of Kingston, Surrey, said the breakthrough by his team was significant and argued that one way to solve the problem of growing drug resistance was to investigate natural products. He added: 'A great deal of medicines come from plants, but the normal approach taken by the pharmaceutical industry is to try to find one particular active molecule.

'We found that combining three ingredients - pomegranate rind, vitamin C and a metal salt - gave a much more potent effect; killing off, or inhibiting, drug-resistant microbes from growing. 'It was the mix that fantastically increased the activity - there was synergy, where the combined effects were much greater than those exhibited by individual components. It shows nature still has a few tricks up its sleeve.'

Professor Naughton said he hoped the fact that natural products were being used would mean patients would suffer fewer side-effects. [Silly dream. Many natural molecules are highly toxic]

However, it will be a long time before any pomegranate- derived lotions come on to the market. Despite three years of research, the Kingston scientists are still at the stage of testing the fruit's actions on MRSA bacteria in the lab. More testing will be needed to see if it would work on a patient in the ward.

Professor Anthony Coates, a medical microbiologist at St George's Hospital in London, urged caution. He said: 'This observation - the fact it has acted against MRSA and other drug-resistant infections - is potentially significant. 'But we need to remember it is early research, of an observational nature, in vitro [in laboratory glassware].

'The need for new antibiotics is acute. To put it in context, about 20 new classes of antibiotics were marketed between 1940 and 1962 yet only three have been marketed since. 'In all classes, resistance has arisen. Most antibiotics come from nature, so it is very valid to look at natural sources.'


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