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Metabolic Effects of Spices, Teas & Caffeine
Margriet Westerterp-Plantengaa, b, , , Kristel Diepvensa, Annemiek M.C.P. Joosena, Sonia Bérubé-Parentc and Angelo Tremblayca
A) Department of Human Biology, Nutrim, Maastricht University, Maastricht, The Netherlands
B) Wageningen Centre of Food Sciences, Wageningen, The Netherlands
C) Institute of Nutraceuticals and Functional Foods and Division of Kinesiology, Laval University, Québec, Canada Received 24 November 2005;
revised 25 January 2006; accepted 25 January 2006. Available online 30 March 2006.

Consumption of spiced foods or herbal drinks leads to greater thermogenesis & in some cases to greater satiety. In this regard, capsaicin, black pepper, ginger, mixed spices, green tea, black tea & caffeine are relevant examples. These functional ingredients have the potential to produce significant effects on metabolic targets such as satiety, thermogenesis, & fat oxidation. A significant clinical outcome sometimes may appear straightforwardly but also depends too strongly on full compliance of subjects. Nevertheless, thermogenic ingredients may be considered as functional agents that could help in preventing a positive energy balance & obesity.

Caffeine & Coffee: Their Influence on Metabolic Rate & Substrate Utilization In Normal Weight & Obese Individuals
KJ Acheson, B Zahorska-Markiewicz, P Pittet, K Anantharaman & E Jequier
A series of four trials was carried out to investigate the effects of caffeine & coffee on the metabolic rate and substrate utilization in normal weight & obese individuals. In the first trial 8 mg/kg caffeine was compared with a placebo in normal weight subjects. Metabolic rate increased significantly during the 3 hr after caffeine ingestion. While plasma glucose, insulin & carbohydrate oxidation did not change significantly, plasma free fatty acid levels rose from 432 +/- 31 to 848 +/- 135 muEq/litre & were accompanied by significant increases in fat oxidation during the last hour of the test. In the second and third trials the effects of coffee providing 4 mg/kg caffeine were studied in control & obese subjects. Metabolic rate increased significantly in both groups; however, significant increases in fat oxidation were only observed in the control group. Plasma free fatty acids did not change in the obese. In the fourth trial, coffee was taken with a 3080 kJ meal. The thermic effect of the meal was significantly greater after coffee than after decaffeinated coffee & again fat oxidation was significantly greater after coffee. In conclusion caffeine/coffee stimulates the metabolic rate in both control and obese individuals; however, this is accompanied by greater oxidation of fat in normal weight subjects.

Caffeine: A Double-blind, Placebo-controlled Study of its Thermogenic, Metabolic & Cardiovascular Effects in Healthy Volunteers
A Astrup, S Toubro, S Cannon, P Hein, L Breum and J Madsen Research Department of Human Nutrition, Royal Veterinary & Agricultural University, Frederiksberg, Copenhagen, Denmark.
In humans caffeine stimulates thermogenesis by unknown mechanisms & its effect on body weight has not been studies. The effect of placebo and 100, 200, and 400 mg oral caffeine on energy expenditure, plasma concentrations of substrates & hormones, blood pressure & heart rate was investigated in a double-blind study in healthy subjects who had a moderate habitual caffeine consumption. Caffeine increased energy expenditure dose dependently & the thermogenic response was positively correlated with the response in plasma caffeine (r = 0.52; p less than 0.018), plasma lactate (r = 0.79; p less than 0.000001) & plasma triglyceride (r = 0.53; p less than 0.02). Stepwise regression analysis with the thermogenic response as the dependent variable excluded plasma caffeine & yielded the following equation: thermic effect (kcal/3 h) = -0.00459 X heart rate + 0.30315 X (triglyceride) + 0.53114 X (lactate) + 15.34 (r = 0.86; p = 0.0001). The results suggest that lactate & triglyceride production & increased vascular smooth muscle tone may be responsible for the major part of the thermogenic effect of caffeine.

Product Rationale Written by Cynthia Pileggi, Herbalist, Nutritional Consultant
Reishi Mushroom Mycelia Extract, (Ganoderma lucidium) (Ling-Zhi)
Recorded use of Reishi mushroom dates back 2,000 years in China & Japan. Reishi is one of the most highly regarded & widely studied of all herbs in Oriental Medicine. This mushroom is considered a fu zheng tonic: a medicine that improves the ability of the body to maintain homeostasis by strengthening natural resistance & by improving general health (47 ). Reishi is considered a superior tonic for the cardiovascular system. A human study on hypotensive patients revealed the ability of Reishi to inhibit platelet aggregation & lower blood pressure (48). Reishi mushroom has demonstrated antioxidant, antitumor, antihepatotoxic (liver protecting) & cholesterol regulating properties in numerous studies. In China, Reishi is commonly used in treatment of liver dysfunction. The liver is important as it helps with fat utilization, detoxifying potential free radicals & foreign microbes, utilization of nutrients, particularly those that are fat soluble & functions in cholesterol breakdown & utilization. It is important in hormone utilization & metabolism as well as having myriad other roles in the physiology. The mycelia of Reishi contains active anti-tumor polysaccharides & about 100 different triterpenes. The triterpenes such as ganoderic acids, have shown to assist in lowering blood pressure & cholesterol, improving liver function & inhibiting histamine release. The polysaccharides include Beta-D-glucan & Ganoderans A, B, C. Research demonstrates that they stimulate the immune system, creating a heightened response to foreign cells, whether bacteria, viruses or tumor cells. Several of Reishi’s polysaccharides have antitumor & cardio-protective properties. Reishi provides adaptogenic support to adrenal function & assists with the body’s innate stress response. It supports the central nervous system, helps with insomnia & inhibits allergic reactions. Traditionally it is thought that Reishi increases mental & intellectual capacity & has aphrodisiac properties (45-48).
Actions: antioxidant, antitumor, antihepatotoxic & cholesterol regulating, anti-allergenic, detoxifying.
Constituents: polysaccharides including Beta-D-glucan & Ganoderans A,B,C triterpenes such as ganoderic acids

Isolation & Characterization of α-Glucosidase Inhibitor from the Fungus Ganoderma lucidum
The Journal of Microbiology, September 2004, p.223-227 Vol. 42, No. 3 Copyright ⓒ 2004, The Microbiological Society of Korea
Glycosidases located in the brush-border surface membrane of intestinal cells are the key enzymes of carbohydrate digestion. This is because only monosaccharides are readily taken up from the intestine & all other carbohydrates have to be broken down enzymatically in the intestine before they can be absorbed. The other cellular glycosidases are known to be vital for the processing of glycoproteins & glycolipids (Kornfeld & Kornfeld, 1985; Asano, 2003), which are involved in various biological reactions such as immune responses, metastasis of cancer & viral infections (Fischer et al., 1995). No doubt, glycosidase inhibitors would be the most powerful tool for influencing the kinetics of intestinal carbohydrate digestion with immediate effects on glucose absorption, arise in blood sugar levels & insulin response. Also, these inhibitors might exhibit antiviral, antimetastatic & immunostimulatory activities through interference with the normal processing of glycoproteins & glycolipids

A powder made from seeds & shells of a rose-hip subspecies (Rosa canina) reduces symptoms of knee & hip osteoarthritis: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial
K Winther1, K Apel2, G Thamsborg2 1Department of Clinical Biochemistry, Copenhagen County Hospital Gentofte, and 2Department of Rheumatology, Copenhagen County Hospital Glostrup, University of Copenhagen, Denmark
Objective: The aim of this study was to determine whether a herbal remedy made from a subspecies of rose-hip (Rosa canina) might reduce symptoms of osteoarthritis & consumption of rescue medication in patients
suffering from osteoarthritis.
Methods: 94 patients with osteoarthritis of the hip or knee were enrolled in a randomized, placebo controlled, double-blind crossover trial. 47 patients were given 5 g of the herbal remedy daily for a period of 3 months & the remaining patients were given a similar amount of placebo. The group initially treated with placebo was then changed to rose-hip & vice versa for another 3-month period. Upon inclusion & after 3 weeks & 3 months of each treatment period, pain, stiffness, disability & global severity of the disease were scored on a Western Ontario & McMaster Universities (WOMAC) questionnaire. After 3 weeks of treatment, patients, if possible, were allowed to reduce their consumption of ‘rescue medication’. Data were analysed on the basis of intention to treat.
Results: Rose-hip resulted in a significant reduction in WOMAC pain (pv0.014) as compared to placebo, when testing after 3 weeks of treatment. The consumption of ‘rescue medication’ significantly declined as a result of active treatment (pv0.027). WOMAC disability, stiffness & global assessment of severity of the disease were not altered by 3 weeks but decreased significantly (pv0.018, pv0.038, and pv0.035, respectively) after
3 months of treatment.
Conclusion: The data suggest that the present herbal remedy can alleviate symptoms of osteoarthritis & reduce the consumption of ‘rescue medication’.

Semen Cassiae are dried mature seeds of a leguminous plant, Cassia obtusifolia L., which has the effect of dispelling pathogenic wind & heat, removing heat from the liver & improving eyesight & loosening the bowel to relieve constipation. Semen Cassiae is used to decrease the level of serum cholesterol in clinical practice. Semen Cassiae contains a variety of anthraquinone & benzopyrone components. It has been reported that among those components, some anthraquinone glycosides & benzopyrone glycosides have the efficacy of preventing the damage of tetrachloromethane & galactosamine to the primary hepatic cell culture of mouse (Qiwei, Zhang, et al., Chinese Traditional & Herbal Medicine, 1996, 27 (2): 79; Wong, SM, et al., Planta Med. 1989, 55 (3): 276 and 28 (1): 211). Many medicaments for reducing blood fat & reducing weight, prepared from Semen Cassiae & other traditional Chinese medicine, have been proposed in many patent applications.

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