Critical Health News

Chitin

Chitin

Shrimp and lobsters make their own anti-inflammatory molecules, and that has scientists very excited. In a press release posted last week by the College of Medicine at Florida Atlantic University, officials announced that they had received a $380,000 National Institute of Health grant to investigate just how the marine medicine could be used to eliminate inflammatory diseases in humans.

The crabby chemical that is the center of attention is called a chitin, and it’s a key constituent of the shells of various oceans animals including crayfish, shrimp, krill, and barnacles, and is one of the most abundant molecules in all of nature, second only to cellulose. And, as it turns out, in addition to being abundant (and cheap), chitin has powerful anti -inflammatory properties. Properties that are so impressive, that the natural molecule found in so many crust critters is being studied in hope of finding a pharmaceutical treatment for inflammatory diseases including Irritable Bowel Syndrome, arthritis, and heart disease. And it’s not just shellfish that contain this fascinating medicinal molecule. You can find chitin in the hard shells of insects as well as in the cell walls of most fungi and algae.

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Unsaponifiables

Unsaponifiables

Recently something called “Avocado Soybean Unsaponafiables” (ASUs) has gotten a lot of attention. Dr. (Wizard of) Oz and guests on his syndicated television show have raved about it. A European research review determined that it was beneficial for patients with osteoarthritis of the hip. And, according to U.S. National Library of Medicine, ASUs can help reduce the production of inflammatory agents secreted from the body’s defense (immune) system.

As the name implies, ASUs are derived from avocados and soy. But what exactly are “unsaponifiables”? Well, to understand unsaponafiables, we must first understand saponafiables.

Basically, there are two important classes of active materials we can get from plants. One can be turned into soap; the other can’t. Scientists call the soapy ones “saponafiable” and the rest are said to be “un-saponafiable”. Saponafiables called glucosides are a key ingredient in many “natural” cleansing products. For example, one specific type of glucoside called “decyl glucoside” is a standard issue foaming ingredient derived from the saponafiable components of corn. Unsaponifiables, on the other hand, while valuable are the parts of plants, including avocado and soy that can’t clean your skin.

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Stem Cells and Skin Care

Stem Cells and Skin Care

The latest skin care must have ingredient is plant stem cells.  Now if you’re asking yourself why exactly you need or want to be using these substances which are technically called meristem cells on your skin, this article is written for you.

So first of all what exactly are “stem cells”?  Well, the simple answer is stem cells are precursor cells.  They are essentially blank cells that can be turned into any other type of cell.  They stay dormant until they are triggered to become specialized.  Scientists refer to them as “pluripotent”.  That means they are potent in many different ways.   Stem cells in other words are like magical raw material “master” cells that be me transformed into bone cells OR skin cells OR brain cells or any other of the 220 different types of biological cells.  That’s pretty cool.  This pluripotent property makes stem cells the ideal raw material for the body to use to repair various organs and tissues in the case of injury, damage or simply wear and tear.  And it makes them potentially very useful for medical treatments that can restore and regenerate the health of bodily systems that contain cells damaged from disease

The skin which is turning over and subject to more damage than most other systems in the body understandably contains large concentrations of stem cells.  Thus manufacturers of skin care products have become intrigued with the use of these elements as for their potential use in skin care products.

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