Home Authors Posts by Dr. Marie Gabrielle Laguna

Dr. Marie Gabrielle Laguna

Medical doctor-internist

A sore throat can be very painful. The key symptom is pain and irritation in the throat, particularly when you swallow. A sore throat happens as part of your body’s immune react to viral or bacterial infections. Your natural immune reaction leads to irritation and swelling of the mucous membranes in the throat.

Here are 6 natural sore throat remedies:

  1. Marshmallow root

The marshmallow plant has been used to cure sore throats and other illnesses since the middle ages. Its root comprises a gelatin-like ingredient known as mucilage, which coats and loosens the throat when you swallow it.

Here is a recipe for a cold marshmallow root infusion to relax a sore throat:

Marshmallow root infusion


  • Cold water.
  • 1 ounce (28 grams) dried marshmallow root.


  1. Fill a 1-quart (1-liter) jar with cold water.
  2. Place the marshmallow root in cheesecloth and tie up in a bundle.
  3. Lower the bundle into the water just until it’s totally sunken in the water.
  4. Place the tied end of the bundle over the lip of the jar, place the lid on the jar and screw on the lid.
  5. Permeate overnight, or for at least eight hours, and then remove the bundle.
  6. Pour desired amount into a glass. Add sweetener of choice, if desired.

When this is ready, you can sip on it throughout the day to aid lessen your symptoms.

  1. Sage and echinacea

Sage originated in the Mediterranean and is now grown all over the world. It has been used to cure numerous inflammatory conditions, and controlled studies suggest it can aid relieve throat pain. Echinacea is another herb that is extensively used in traditional medicine. It has been shown to combat bacteria and decrease inflammation.

Follow this recipe to create your own sage-echinacea throat spray at home:

Sage-echinacea throat spray


  • 1 teaspoon ground sage.
  • 1 teaspoon ground echinacea.
  • 1/2 cup water.


  1. Boil water.
  2. Place sage and echinacea in a small jar and then fill with boiling water.
  3. Let steep for 30 minutes.
  4. Pour mixture through strainer and then combine with 1/2 cup hard liquor.
  5. Place in small spray bottle and spray into throat every two hours or as necessary.


  1. Apple cider vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is a natural health stimulant that’s been used in folk medicine remedies for centuries. Its main active ingredient, acetic acid, helps combat bacteria.

To help dismiss throat pain, drink 1 cup of warm water mixed with 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar. And you can add an optional tablespoon of honey.


  1. Salt water gargle

Gargling with salt water is a famous natural remedy to get rid of a sore throat. The salt helps diminish swelling by pulling water out of your throat tissue. It may also help combat annoying microbes in your throat.

Combine 1 cup of warm water with 1 teaspoon of salt and stir to liquefy. Gargle with a mouthful of this combination for 30 seconds, once per hour.


  1. Honey

Honey is a pleasant sweetener that is frequently used in mixture with other natural ingredients to relax a sore throat. In addition to helping combat infection and providing pain relief, honey can unquestionably make remedies taste well.

Honey may be particularly effective when mixed with warm water and apple cider vinegar or herbs.

However, it shouldn’t be given to children under the age of one. Also, people who avoid sugar or follow a low-carb diet may want to select another remedy.


  1. Licorice root

Licorice is a plant native to Europe and South Asia. Remarkably, it has been used in traditional medicine to cure several disorders. Licorice has properties comparable to aspirin that may help lessen sore throat pain.

Unluckily, there isn’t any research on its capacity to relieve illness-related sore throats. But, studies on persons who had just experienced major surgery found that licorice suggestively condensed throat pain due to breathing tube removal.

Licorice root tea can be bought at natural grocery stores or from online retailers. You can also create your own to drink or gargle. Mix ground licorice root with hot water, let it steep for five minutes, and then strain it prior to drinking.

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Have you found yourself difficult in sleeping soundly due to constant stress? Everyone empirically knows that stressful dealings definitely affect a sound sleep. Scientists in the Japanese sleep institute found that the active element rich in sugarcane and other natural products may amend sleep stress and help you having a sound sleep. In this article we are going to share you how you can cure your sleep stress and achieve a sound sleep.

How to Cure Sleep Stress?

Today's world has an ever-changing setting, tough job works and socio-economic factors impose sleep deprivation in most of human population. Sleep deprivation brings remarkable amount of stress. And stress itself is one of the major factors responsible for sleep stress or difficulty in falling into sleep. Sadly, our current available sleeping pills does not address stress factor and often have severe side effects. Sleep stress is also connected with certain other diseases including obesity, cardiovascular diseases, depression, anxiety, mania deficits etc.

The research group headed by Mahesh K. Kaushik and Yoshihiro Urade of the International Institute for Integrative Sleep Medicine (WPI-IIIS), University of Tsukuba, found that octacosanol decreases stress and repairs stress-affected sleep back to normal.

Octacosanol is richly present in numerous everyday foods. Examples of food that are rich with octacosanol include sugarcane, rice bran, wheat germ oil, bee wax etc. The crude extract is policosanol, where octacosanol is the main component. Policosanol and octacosanol have already been used in humans for countless other medical conditions.

In the current research, authors made progression and investigated the effect of octacosanol on sleep regulation. They tested it on slightly stressed mice by oral administration. Octacosanol condensed corticosterone level in blood plasma, which is a stress indicator. The octacosanol-administered mice also showed normal sleep, which was previously bothered due to sleep stress. The researchers therefore claim that the octacosanol alleviates stress in mice. Octacosanol also returns stress-affected sleep to normal in mice. The sleep brought by octacosanol was comparable to natural sleep and physiological in nature. However, researchers also proved that octacosanol does not affect sleep in normal animals. The results of the researchers clearly verified that octacosanol is an active compound that has potential to cure sleep stress. It is also proven that octacosanol increase sleep, and it could potentially be beneficial for the treatment of insomnia caused by stress. Octacosanol can be measured safe for human use as a treatment. It is safe because it is a food-based compound and believed to show no side effects.

Octacosanol/policosanol supplements are used by humans for purposes such as lipid metabolism, cholesterol lowering or to deliver strength. Yet, well-thought-out clinical studies need to be carried out to approve its effect on humans for its stress-mitigation and sleep-inducing potentials. “Future studies include the identification of target brain area of octacosanol, its BBB permeability, and the mechanism via which octacosanol lowers stress,” Kaushik says.

If you are constantly struggling with sleep stress, include food in your diet that is rich with octacosanol. You can also intake octacosanol/policosanol supplements to help you achieve a sound sleep.

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New research suggests you might want to take extra care when eating late at night. It could cause skin damage and make your more vulnerable to sun damage.

Does late-night snacking cause skin damage?

According to researchers, mice that were fed during the day rather than at night experienced more skin damage. The skin damage is caused as a result of exposure to ultraviolet radiation, compared with mice fed at normal times.

Study co-author Dr. Joseph S. Takahashi, of the Department of Neuroscience at University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas. And colleagues report that the irregular eating times changed the circadian rhythm in the skin of the mice. This occurs because of decreasing the daytime activity of a skin-protecting enzyme.

The results were recently published in the journal Cell Reports. Whether from the sun or tanning beds, UV rays harm the DNA in skin cells. Making UV contact a main risk factor for sunburn, skin aging, and skin cancer. UVB rays caused most harm to the outer skin layers, and they are the chief factors of sunburn and skin cancer.

Wearing sun-protective clothing and sunscreen are two of the best ways to avoid skin damage against effects of UV radiation. The new study from Dr. Takahashi and colleagues, however, advises that following to a normal eating pattern may also help.

Activity of skin-protecting enzyme altered

The researchers came to their conclusion by evaluating the effects of UVB contact on skin of two groups of mice. One group was fed during the daytime only, an irregular eating time for the nocturnal rodents. The other group was fed at nighttime only, the usual eating time for mice.

The team found that contact to UVB radiation during the daytime caused more skin damage in mice. Whose eating patterns were irregular, compared with mice that had regular eating patterns.

Further investigation showed that abnormal eating times generated changes in the circadian rhythm of the rodents’ skin.

Specifically, an enzyme called xeroderma pigmentosum group A (XPA) became less active in the daytime and more active at nighttime. Mice that monitored their regular eating patterns, however, showed no change in XPA activity.

Additionally, the researchers discovered that different eating patterns in the rodents affected the expression of around 10 percent of their skin genes, though the effects of these gene expression changes are uncertain.

Further research is required to check whether eating times affect the circadian rhythm of skin in humans. The researchers say their results specify that our eating habits may influence our vulnerability to UV damage.

“If you have a normal eating schedule, then you will be better protected from UV during the daytime. If you have an abnormal eating schedule, this could cause a harmful shift in your skin clock.ť Says, Dr. Joseph S. Takahashi

“It’s hard to translate these findings to humans at this point.” Adds study co-author Dr. Bogi Andersen, of the University of California, Irvine. “But it’s fascinating to me that the skin would be sensitive to the timing of food intake.”

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Protein is a vital nutrient to your body, it is use to build and repair tissues. Though animal foods are usually highest in protein, some plants also comprise decent quantities.

Here are 7 healthy vegetables that contain a fair amount of protein:

  1. Watercress

Watercress is a cruciferous plant that breeds in water and has high protein content. One cup (34 grams) of chopped watercress covers 0.8 grams of protein and 100% of your RDI of vitamin K. It also has great quantities of B vitamins, calcium, manganese, potassium, vitamin A and vitamin C.

Moreover, watercress has been revealed to deliver antioxidant protection. It also covers phenolic compounds that may help prevent cancer.

Avoid boiling watercress in water, since this will lessen the antioxidant content. Instead, try consuming raw watercress in salads, stuff it in sandwiches or mix it in smoothies.

  1. Alfalfa sprouts

Alfalfa sprouts are very low in calories, but high in nutrients. One cup (33 grams) of alfalfa sprouts offers 1.3 grams of protein. This vegetable also has decent quantities of folate, B vitamins, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, copper, and vitamins K and C

Alfalfa sprouts have also been revealed to shrink inflammation, reduce symptoms of menopause and help cure and prevent osteoporosis.

  1. Spinach

Spinach is one of the most nutrient-solid leafy green vegetables you can consume. Protein accounts for 30% of its calories and it contains all the essential amino acids. A 1-cup (30-gram) serving offers 1 gram of protein and 181% of the RDI for vitamin K.

It also includes high quantities of folate, manganese, magnesium, iron, potassium, calcium, vitamin A and vitamin C.

Furthermore its high protein content, spinach comprises plant compounds that can increase antioxidant defense and decrease inflammation. Lastly, frequently consuming spinach has been associated to as much as a 44% lower risk of breast cancer.

  1. Chinese cabbage or bok choy

Chinese cabbage, also known as bok choy, is a good basis of vegetable protein. One cup (70 grams) of Chinese cabbage covers 1 gram of protein. It’s also an outstanding foundation of folate, calcium, potassium, manganese, iron and vitamins A, C and K.

A number of cell studies revealed that Chinese cabbage is high in compounds with antioxidant activity. Its outer leaves seem to comprise the most antioxidants. Plus, it has been displayed to have anti-inflammatory properties.

  1. Asparagus

Asparagus is a very popular vegetable with a rich nutrient content. A 1-cup (134-gram) serving covers 2.9 grams of protein. It is also an outstanding basis of B vitamins, folate, copper, manganese, phosphorus, magnesium, and vitamins A and K.

Asparagus is believed to have anti-inflammatory and anticancer properties. It also comprises fructooligosaccharides (FOS), which offer prebiotic benefits, stimulating the growth of friendly intestinal bacteria.

  1. Mustard greens

Mustard greens belong to the Brassica family and are very comparable to kale but with a different mustard flavor.

A 1-cup (56-gram) serving of mustard greens offers 1.5 grams of protein, as well as 348% of the RDI for vitamin K and 118% of the RDI for vitamin A. It is also rich in manganese, calcium, potassium, B vitamins, vitamin C and vitamin E.

Mustard greens, like other plants, cover phenolic compounds that give them antioxidant properties.

  1. Broccoli

Broccoli is a very popular vegetable that also happens to be rich in protein. It can be enjoyed raw or cooked.

A 1-cup (91-gram) serving of raw chopped broccoli can offer 2.6 grams of protein, including all the necessary amino acids. It also comprises plenty of folate, manganese, potassium, phosphorus and vitamins C and K.

Additionally, broccoli can help enhanced liver health by encouraging detoxification and the production of antioxidant compounds in the liver.

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Mother’s milk, contains a complex and continually changing blend of proteins, fats and sugars, helps shield babies against bacterial infections.

Why is mother's milk valuable?

In the past, scientists have focused their search for the source of its antibacterial properties on the proteins it contains. Though, an interdisciplinary team of chemists and doctors at Vanderbilt University have discovered that some of the carbohydrates in mother's milk not only have antibacterial properties of their own but also improve the effectiveness of the antibacterial proteins also present.

“This is the first example of generalized, antimicrobial activity on the part of the carbohydrates in human milk.” This said by Assistant Professor of Chemistry Steven Townsend, who directed the study. “One of the remarkable properties of these compounds is that they are clearly non-toxic, unlike most antibiotics.”

“We started to look for different methods to defeat infectious bacteria. For inspiration, we turned to one particular bacterium, Group B Strep. We wondered whether its common host, pregnant women, produces compounds that can either weaken or kill strep. Strep is a leading cause of infections in newborns worldwide,” Townsend said.

Instead of searching for proteins in mother's milk with antimicrobial properties, Townsend and his colleagues turned their attention to sugars. Focusing in sugars are considerably more difficult to study.

“For most of the last century, biochemists have argued that proteins are most important and sugars are an afterthought. Most people have bought into that argument, even though there’s no data to support it,” Townsend said. “Far less is known about the function of sugars and, as trained glycoprotein chemist, I wanted to explore their role.”

To do so, the researchers collected mother's milk carbohydrates, also called oligosaccharides, from a number of different donor samples. Then, they profiled them with a mass spectrometry technique that can classify thousands of large biomolecules instantaneously. Then they added the compounds to strep cultures and perceived the result under the microscope. This displayed that some of these oligosaccharides kill the bacteria directly. But some also physically break down the biofilms that the bacteria form to shield themselves.

In a pilot study, Townsend’s lab collected five samples. They found that the sugars from one sample approximately killed a total strep colony. In another sample, the sugars were discreetly effective while the remaining three samples displayed a lower level of activity. In a follow-up study, they are analyzing more than two dozen additional samples. So far, two broke down the bacterial biofilms and killed the bacteria. Four broke down the biofilms but did not kill the bacteria. And two killed the bacteria without breaking down the biofilms.

“Our results show that these sugars have a one-two punch,” said Townsend. “First, they sensitize the target bacteria and then they kill them. Biologist sometimes calls this ‘synthetic lethality’ and there is a major push to develop new antimicrobial drugs with this capability.”

By dosing strep cultures with a mixture of mother's milk sugars and antimicrobial peptides from human saliva, the researchers also exhibited that the sugars’ ability to break down biofilms can also improve the effectiveness of the other antimicrobial agents that mother's milk contains.

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Something as simple as a feces sample reveals whether you can lose weight by following dietary approvals. Dietary approvals categorized by a high content of fruit, vegetables, fibers and whole grains. This is a discovery of a new study showed at the Department of Nutrition, Exercise and Sports at the University of Copenhagen, Denmark.

How do stools reveal whether you can lose weight?

The bacteria we all have in our gut may play a crucial part in personalized nutrition and development of obesity. This is shown by numerous studies that have probed into the significance of these bacteria.

The ratio between the two groups of intestinal bacteria is vital

A bond between two groups of intestinal bacteria is significant for whether overweight people lose weight on a diet. If they can follow the Danish national dietary recommendations and comprises a lot of fruit, vegetables, fiber and whole grains. In the study 31 subjects followed the New Nordic Diet for 26 weeks and lost an average of 3.5 kg. However, the 23 subjects consuming an Average Danish Diet lost an average of 1.7 kg. Thus subjects lose weight was on average 1.8 kilos greater in the subjects on the New Nordic Diet.

High proportion of Prevotella bacteria lead to weight loss

The subjects were distributed by their level of intestinal bacteria. They found that people with a high proportion of Prevotellabacteria in relative to Bacteroides bacteria lose weight 3.5 kg more in 26 weeks. That, when consumed a diet collected by the New Nordic Diet principles compared to those consuming an Average Danish Diet. Participants with low percentage of Prevotella bacteria in relation to Bacteroides did not lose weight on the New Nordic Diet. Overall, around 50 percent of the population has a high amount of Prevotella-bacteria in relation to Bacteroides-bacteria.

“The study indicates only about half of the population will lose weight if they follow the Danish national dietary endorsements. And if they eat more fruit, vegetables, fibers and whole grains. The other half of the population doesn’t seem to gain any advantage in weight from this change of diet.” Stated by Assistant Professor Mads Fiil Hjorth at the Department of Nutrition, Exercise and Sports at the University of Copenhagen. He continues: “These people should effort on other diet and physical activity endorsements until a strategy that works especially well for them is recognized.”

Personalized weight loss management

The results show those biomarkers, e.g. fecal samples, blood samples, or other samples from our body. Those results says something about our state of health, should play a far greater part in nutritional management.

“This is a key step forward in personalized nutritional guidance. Management based on this information of intestinal bacteria will most probably be more active than the “one size fits all.” This approach often characterizes dietary recommendations and dietary management,” says Assistant Professor Mads Fiil Hjorth.

At present it is mainly research units at universities and other academic institutions that study the composition of intestinal bacteria. But, as an effect of this discovery the University of Copenhagen has licensed a company in Boston, USA. This to develop and publish an idea based on this research that will be of benefit to obese people.

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Passing a kidney stone is often labeled as one of the most painful things a person will ever experience. As many as 1 in 10 people will grow kidney stones in their lifetime. Kidney stones are small, hard deposits that form in the kidneys when there is a decrease in urine. Kidney stones also grow when an increase in certain substances, such as minerals and salts. Luckily, dietary changes as laid out in the kidney stone diet can help prevent kidney stones from growing or cycling.

What are kidney stones?

Kidney stones are a formation of minerals that may be caused by a variety of factors. When urine reduces and certain minerals in the kidneys are abundant, the minerals stick together and form stones.

There are several types of common stones. Common kinds of kidney stone include the following:

  • calcium oxalate stones
  • calcium phosphate stone
  • struvite stones
  • uric acid stones
  • cystine stones

A range of factors can cause kidney stone, including the following dietary factors:

  • high oxalate intake from certain foods
  • a high protein diet
  • too much sodium
  • dehydration or low fluid intake

Foods that may prevent kidney stones

Because kidney stone vary bestowing to what they are made of, the foods to include in a diet will differ. A person should talk to their doctor about which food cause stones. This is to help them determine what they should and should not eat to help avoid the formation of stones.

The following are some recommendations on what to include in a diet to avoid the formation of kidney stone:

  1. Calcium and oxalate-rich foods

Foods rich in calcium, such as milk-based products, are recommended to help shrink kidney stones. A person should include foods rich in calcium, predominantly if consuming foods that are higher in oxalate. The calcium and oxalate drag together in the intestines, reducing the formation of stones.

Some foods to include are:

  • milk-based products
  • calcium fortified foods, such as cereal, bread, and juices
  • beets on a spinach salad with low-fat cheese
  • yogurt with berries
  1. Fruits and vegetables

Fruits and vegetables are essential part of any diet. Increasing the amount of vegetables in their diet can help a person stop stone formation. Fruits can be dried, frozen, or fresh. Fruits abundant in citric acid have also been shown to have a positive effect in avoiding kidneys stones. Get to know the specific fruits and veggies that have high oxalate content and try to limit them. Also, be sure to eat them in mixture with calcium-rich foods.

  1. Water

Including extra water in the diet can help avoid the formation of both uric acid and cystine stones. Including other liquids in addition to water is adequate. Nevertheless, it is essential to check sodium levels in the beverage.

  1. Plant-based protein

Small amounts of animal-based proteins are good. Yet, too much animal protein can increase the risk of forming kidney stones. Plant-based protein sources, however, are promoted. Examples include beans, peas, and lentils. People should discuss their individual protein needs with a doctor or dietitian, as needs will differ from person to person.

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There is a record of herbal tea being used as a beverage in China since 2,000 B.C.E. Besides water, it is consumed more than any other drink worldwide. The four main types of herbal tea are black, green, white, and oolong.

Oolong tea accounts for only 2 percent of tea consumption all over the world. Though less popular, oolong tea still has a range of benefits.

What is oolong herbal tea?

Oolong tea is usually consumed in China and Taiwan. Although all true tea comes from the same plant, the variances befall in the harvesting and processing. Oolong tea is moderately fermented, while black tea is fully fermented.

Tea can also vary in quantities and types of antioxidants. Green tea is rich in a class of antioxidants known as catechins. Antioxidants in black tea are theaflavins and thearubigins, oolong tea falls in the middle, concerning the antioxidant amounts.

Potential health benefits of oolong herbal tea

  1. Heart disease

Researchers in China studied the connection between drinking oolong tea and cholesterol levels. High cholesterol levels can be linked with an increased risk for heart disease.

They discovered that people who drank at least 10 ounces of oolong tea per week had lesser risks of having high total cholesterol. They have also lower risks of having high triglyceride, and LDL or “bad” cholesterol levels. The same was also true of people who drank comparable quantities of green and black teas.

  1. Weight loss

A study in overweight and obese Chinese adults observed at the outcome of oolong herbal tea consumption on body weight. Study subjects drank 300 milliliters (mL) of oolong tea four times per day. After 6 weeks, more than half of the subjects had lost more than 1 kilogram.

  1. Cancer

Researchers in Taiwan studied the relation between drinking tea and the risk of head and neck or throat cancer.

Each cup of oolong herbal tea drank per day associated to 4 percent lower risk, but the result was not noteworthy. Each cup of green tea drank per day equated to a 6 percent lower risk for head and neck cancer.

  1. Diabetes

Some studies have shown that drinking 3 or more cups of tea per day is linked with a lower risk of type 2 diabetes. Though, studies explicitly looking at oolong tea have had varied results.

In one study, healthy men consumed almost 6 cups per day of oolong herbal tea. At altered intervals, they consumed oolong tea that comprised supplemental antioxidants, which were in the form of catechins or polyphenols. Each of the teas drank for 5 days. Researchers found that consuming oolong tea did not enhance blood sugar or insulin levels.

  1. Dental health

Fluoride is a component that is often added to drinking water, toothpaste, and mouthwash to help stop dental cavities.

Tea leaves naturally comprise fluoride, so drinking oolong herbal tea could aid prevent cavities. Additional fluoride can be damaging, but drinking less than 1 liter of oolong tea per day is safe for adults.

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High salt intake is linked with a doubled risk of heart failure. The statement is according to a 12-year study in more than 4,000 people existing today at ESC Congress.

Does high salt intake double the risk of heart failure?

“High salt (sodium chloride) intake is one of the key causes of high blood pressure and an independent risk factor for coronary heart disease (CHD) and stroke,” said Prof Pekka Jousilahti, research professor at the National Institute for Health and Welfare, Helsinki, Finland. “In addition to CHD and stroke, heart failure is one of the major cardiovascular diseases in Europe and globally but the role of high salt intake in its development is unknown.”

This study evaluated the relationship of salt intake and the development of heart failure. Assessment of individual salt intake is systematically demanding and therefore suitable population-based cohorts are rare. This study used 24 hour sodium extraction, which is deliberated the gold standard for salt intake assessment at individual level.

This was a follow-up study of 4 630 unsystematically selected men and women aged 25 to 64 years at baseline. Baseline data collection comprised a self-administered questionnaire on health behavior, measurements of weight, height and blood pressure. It also includes a venous blood sample for laboratory analysis, and collection of a 24 hour urine sample.

At the study site, nurses sedate urine volume and took a 100 ml sample for laboratory analysis. One gram of salt intake was calculated as equal to 17.1 mmol sodium excretions.

The study cohort was followed up for 12 years through computerized register linkage to National Health Records. Cases of instance heart failure were identified from the Causes of Death Register, the Hospital Discharge Register and drug reimbursement records. The association of salt intake in quintiles and the risk of an incident new heart failures event were assessed.

During the follow-up, 121 men and women established new heart failures. In an age, sex, study year and area adjusted model, danger ratios in the 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th salt consumption quintiles, compared to the 1st one, were: 0.83, 1.40, 1.70 and 2.10. After further alteration for systolic blood pressure, serum total cholesterol level and body mass file the hazard ratios. The hazard ratios were: 1.13, 1.45, 1.56 and 1.75, respectively.

Prof Jousilahti said: “The heart does not like salt. High salt intake markedly upsurges the risk of heart failure. This salt-related upsurge in heart failures risk was independent of blood pressure.” “People who consumed more than 13.7 grams of salt daily had a two times higher risk of heart failure. Compared to those consuming less than 6.8 grams,” he continued.

“The prime daily salt intake is probably even lower than 6.8 grams. The World Health Organization endorses a maximum of 5 grams per day. And the physiological need is 2 to 3 grams per day.”

Prof Jousilahti finished: “Studies in larger, pooled population cohorts are needed to make more detailed estimations of the increased heart failure risk associated with consuming salt.”

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For kids and adults with food allergies, a restaurant outing can be an anxious experience. Even when care is taken, freshly prepared or packaged meals can unintentionally become cross-contaminated with an offending food and activate a reaction. Now, researchers report in the journal ACS Nano the development of a new portable food allergen detection system. Food allergen detection systems that include keychain analyzer that could help avert trips to the emergency room.

What is a food allergy?

Food allergy is an abnormal reaction to a food activated by your body’s immune system.

In adults, the foods that most often activate allergic reactions include fish, shellfish, peanuts, and tree nuts, such as walnuts. Problematic foods for children can include eggs, milk, peanuts, tree nuts, soy, and wheat.

The allergic reaction may be minor. In rare circumstances it can cause a severe reaction called anaphylaxis. Symptoms of food allergy include:

  • Itching or swelling in your mouth
  • Vomiting, diarrhea, or abdominal cramps and pain
  • Hives or eczema
  • Tightening of the throat and trouble breathing
  • Drop in blood pressure

Your health care provider may use detailed history, elimination diet, and skin and blood tests to detect a food allergy.

You can only avert the symptoms of food allergy by avoiding the food. After you and your health care provider have recognized the food you're sensitive with, eliminate them from your diet.

Why is key chain food allergen detector really helpful?

A portable food allergen detection system with a keychain analyzer could greatly help people with food allergies test their meals.

Most people with food allergies copes their condition by avoiding the specific nuts, fish, eggs or other products that cause a reaction. Consuming food products that have food allergen can range from a mild rash to life-threatening anaphylaxis. But avoidance isn’t always promising because food can be mislabeled or cross-contaminated. Conformist methods to detect these hidden triggers either require bulky laboratory equipment, or don’t pick up on low concentrations. Ralph Weissleder, Hakho Lee and colleagues wanted to create a more practical, consumer-friendly option.

The researchers established a $40 portable food allergen detection system called integrated exogenous antigen testing, or iEAT.  The integrated exogenous antigen testing (iEAT) consists of a handheld device to extract allergens from food. It is also an electronic keychain reader for detecting allergens that wirelessly communicates the results to a smartphone. In less than 10 minutes, the prototype could detect five allergens. The prototype can detect one each from wheat, peanuts, hazelnuts, milk and egg whites. It can also detect at levels even lower than the gold standard laboratory assay.

Using iEAT to test on samples of menu items from restaurants showed some food allergen in unexpected dishes and beverages. Example of food allergens that are detected are gluten in salad and an egg protein in beer. Though the prototype was intended to sense five allergens, the researchers say the device could be expanded to test for additional compounds. The prototype can be expanded by containing other allergens and non-food contaminants such as pesticides.

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