Saturday, October 09, 2010

Three cups of tea a day 'can protect against heart attacks' (?)

I drink tea regularly so I could be inclined to hail the findings below. But the tiny difference quoted is incapable of supporting causal inferences. It's all just another sermon of the stupid old antioxidant religion

Drinking just three cups of tea a day can protect against heart attacks and stroke, claim researchers. A new review shows regular drinking of either black or green tea can reduce the risk of heart problems by 11 per cent. It cuts the build-up of plaque in the arteries - a combination of dangerous fat and cholesterol.

In terms of the delivery of antioxidants, two cups of tea is equivalent to five portions of vegetables or two apples

The review by researchers at the University of Western Australia says the benefits of tea are largely due to the flavonoid content, antioxidant ingredients that counteract cardiovascular disease. One cup of tea provides 150-200mg of flavonoids. In terms of the delivery of antioxidants, two cups of tea is equivalent to five portions of vegetables or two apples.

The review published in the science journal Molecular Aspects of Medicine also found the flavonoid content of black tea is equal to that of green tea. Almost 80 per cent of Britons are tea drinkers.

Dr Jonathan Hodgson, co-author of the review, said 'There is now consistent data indicating that tea and tea flavonoids can enhance nitric oxide status and improve endothelial function, which may be at least partly responsible for benefits on cardiovascular health.'

Dr Catherine Hood from the industry-backed Tea Advisory Panel said 'Compared with US studies, the cardiovascular benefits of tea are particularly strong in European studies. This includes UK studies where most of the tea consumed is black.

'Plaques in the carotid artery (a marker of atherosclerosis) have been shown to be less common in both men and women who drink tea. 'Bearing in mind the number of studies, including human trials, data demonstrates that flavonoids in tea can inhibit the development of atherosclerosis.

'This review also highlights evidence from randomised controlled trials showing that tea consumption may improve the health of the inner lining of the blood vessels as well as evidence that tea may reduce the risk of high blood pressure and lower blood pressure.

'Adding milk to tea doesn’t affect the absorption of flavonoids from tea, according to several human research trials. In addition, the antioxidant effects seen in our blood following tea consumption are similar whether or not milk is added.'

She said 'Evidence is growing that three to four cups of black tea each day is good not only for general health, but also for cardiovascular health. 'Given the popularity of black tea in the UK, this is good news for those who enjoy regular cups of tea.'


Obesity war risking people's lives

Sustained (life-long) weight loss is virtually impossible without medical intervention so the "war" is pressuring people into taking drugs and having procedures that are far more risky to health than the "obesity" itself. Diets mostly end up making people fatter so in desperation some turn to these dangerous measures

A POPULAR weight loss drug has been withdrawn from sale following a review by Australia's medical watchdog and research showing it could cause overweight people to suffer a heart attack or stroke.

Pharmaceutical company Abbott on Friday announced it would immediately cease distribution of its drug sibutramine, which is sold under the brand name Reductil.

Australians now using the prescription-only medicine should make an appointment with their doctor to seek advice on an alternative, a company spokesperson said in a statement.

"Abbott today announces that it has voluntarily ceased marketing and distribution of sibutramine in Australia," the spokesperson said. "Doctors should not issue any new prescriptions for sibutramine. "Patients who wish to stop treatment before seeing their doctor can do so at any time."

The spokesperson said 30 million people had used the drug worldwide since it was introduced in 1997, though it was a "modest-sized product for Abbott in Australia".

The European Medicines Agency suspended the marketing of sibutramine earlier this year, while Australia's Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) moved in June to tighten the conditions under which doctors could prescribe the drug.

This followed the release of preliminary results of the six-year and 10,000 patient SCOUT study, which showed the weight loss drug carried a potentially fatal cardiovascular risk.

"Analysis of the final results of the SCOUT study have since confirmed there is an increased ... risk of major cardiac events such as heart attack and stroke in obese and overweight patients," the TGA said in an update posted on its website on Friday.

"... It remains unclear whether the safety of sibutramine is acceptable even in those who respond to the medicine."
The Abbott spokesperson said the company still believed the drug had a "positive benefit/risk profile when used appropriately" although it would be pulled from sale following talks with the TGA.

Other known side-effects of the drug include trouble sleeping, constipation, a dry mouth, fast heartbeat, elevated blood pressure, heart palpitations, headache, anxiety and dizziness.


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