Friday, October 19, 2012

SuppVersity Science Round-Up Seconds: Topical Stevia Ointment and Oral Stevia Both Speed Up Wound Healing & Fight Bacteria. + Kinesio Taping, Exercise vs. Parkinson's and Non-Permanent Infertility Due to Low Dose Finasteride

The SuppVersity Science Round-Up live on SHR Thursdays 1PM EST!
As expected, Carl and I did not get to all of the potential topics in yesterday's installment of the SuppVersity Science Round Up on Super Human Radio (download the podcast here). The topics we covered were awesome (the protein study that was in the news, yesterday; nitrate supplementation; breast cancer and health benefits of minimalist multi- or rather tri-vitamins), but even the promised stevia based wound ointment did not make it into the 68min show (yeah, we went longer, once again). Therefore, it seems only logical to give you a brief summary of what you have or have not been missing in yesterday's installment of the thursdaily SuppVersity Science Round Up.

Alright, why don't we just start with the wound ointment and finish up with a brief mash-up of selected pieces from the 2nd line?

Stevia wound ointment improves tissue regeneration after incision

In a recent study that was conducted the St Johns College of Pharmacy in Bangalore, India, Kuntal Das investigated the effect of an easily compounded stevia containing wound ointment on the wound healing process of a pretty hefty excision wound that was 2.5 cm in width (circular area = 4.90 cm²) and 0.2 cm deep on the back of male Swiss Albino mice  and compared the results to a longstanding standard treatment (in the developing world still the goto ointment to be applied) with povidone-iodine, a stable chemical complex of polyvinylpyrrolidone and elemental iodine.

Stevia: Drink it, eat it, rub it, ... !?

How to prepare your own wound ointment: (1) Go and buy some decolorized 80%+ stevia extract and a parafin wax carrier wherever you want (2)  Mix the stevia into the white parafin base so that you get a 5/95 ratio of stevia to parafin.
Upon examining the wounds of the rats after 14 days of topical application of the self-made stevia ointments with a 2.5% and 5% w/w stevia content, Da found that the overall healing rate was dose dependently increased in the stevia group (Da. 2012):
  • the rate of wound closure was significantly higher
  • there was a decrease in the period of epithelialization 
  • the skin breaking strength increased,
  • the weight of the granulation tissue was decreased,
  • the hydroxyproline content was elevated, and
  • the wound surface microbial load decreased
In view of the anti-inflammatory effects of stevia and the recent news on similar effects being observed with a likewise anti-inflammatory curcumin ointment on burns (see "Curcumin to treat burns"), these improvements in wound healing and the formation of new unscarred tisse probably don't come as a surprise. With more and more germs becoming resistant to standard antibiotics, another item on the "benefit list", namely the anti-microbial effects of the topically applied stevia ointment, could however turn out to be of greater importance, than a speedier wound closure, anyway.
Figure 1: Effects of stevia ointment containing 2.5% or 5% stevia extract on excision wound surface microbial load (in CFU/ml; left); effect of orally administered stevia on parameters of wound healing (data expressed relative to untreated group; middle) and on on excision wound surface microbial load (in CFU/ml; right)
And if you are not into rubbing anything on your wound, I guess you will be happy to hear that similar, yet obviously less pronounced effects can be achieved if you simply eat or drink ~1.5-3g of 80% pure stevia extract per day - I know that's plenty, but this is the human equivalent dose of the 250-500mg/kg the rodents in the Da study received... what? No, I don't know if stevia suppositories will work as well, but maybe you could ask Mr. Da, if he was interested in doing another study ;-)

Selected additional "news quickies" that did not make it into yesterday's show

  • Suggested read: "Stretching before a workout can make you weak"
    Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation versus Kinesio Taping Application. In a recent crossover study with male healthy, physically active subjects, both regimen provided similar beneficial results in terms of the first-felt and maximum tolerant-felt range of motioncompared to control.

    Contrary to the correctly applied kineseo tape (just bandaging yourself all over with packaging band won't cut it, guys ;-), the proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation protocol did yet not blunt the post exercise increase in hamstring muscle stiffness and the concomitant decrease in maximal knee flexion peak torque at 180 °/s that occured to similar extends in both the PNF and the no-stretch control condition (Chen. 2012).
  • Treadmill running protects "Parkinson's mice" from neuronal loss. Listen up guys, even though you may not have been so concerned about the +117% and +236% increase in breast cancer risk in non-exercising and non-exercising women, who were also under psychological stress, Carl and I talked about on yesterday's show, you are by no means off the hook. After all, men may be (relatively) protected against breast cancer, but on the other hand more likely to develop Parkinson's. And as if that was not bad enough, the symptoms will also be more severe in men than in women (Haaxma. 2006).

    Just in case you forgot: Among tons of other health benefits, moderate daily caffeine intake in amounts similar to what you would get from 3 regular cups of coffee  (300-450mg) appears to exert protective effects against Parkinson's, as well (read more)
    Against that background, you are probably either relieved (if you are a physical culturist) or annoyed, when I am telling you that a recent rodent study clearly demonstrated how 30 min of aerobic exercise (as good as mice with existing MPTP/P induce "Parkinson's" can "exercise" on a treadmill) prevented further loss of nigrostriatal dopaminergic neurons, and ameliorated existing motor balance and coordination dysfunction (Sung. 2012).

    These results do by the way stand in line with recent findings from a human study by Abrantes et al. who found that "[c]ovarying for age and gender, higher levels of physical activity were associated with significantly less fatigue, as well as a trend for less apathy and depression and greater positive affect." (Abrantes. 2012) - regardless of the type of exercise the patient wanted / could still perform, by the way!
  • Infertility due to finasteride usage: While it's real, it's rarely permanent As a recent case report that has been published ahead of print in the online edition of International Urology and Nephrology ealier this week shows, the "prolonged [8.5 years] use of low-dose [1 mg daily] finasteride for androgenetic alopecia" can induce DNA damage to sperm, which- in this particular case . rendered a 40-year old patient totally infertile (I don't want to think about what happened if the sperm was only "mildly damaged", though).

    With respect to the underlying mechanism, Ahmet Salvarci and Okan Istanbulluoglu, two researchers from the Rumi University in Meram, Konya  (Turkey) state:
    "It was reported in an in vitro study that dihydrotestosterone promoted the expression of claudin-11, the protein component in tight junctions between Sertoli cells. It has been shown that finasteride may cause a disruption of tight junctions and trigger a cascade of immunologic reactions, by causing germ cell atresia. Although the significance of dihydrotestosterone in spermatogenesis is not fully understood, the absence of this molecule may cause spermatogenic failure." (Salvaci. 2012)
    Now, the good news is, after the treatment was discontinued, the sperm recovered - slowly and from generation to generation, so to say, but it did- contrary to what dozens of horror stories on the Internet will make you believe,  eventually recover: 11 months after taking the last 1mg pill of the type II 5a-reductase inhibitor that blocks the conversion of testosterone to DHT (read more about 5-alpha reductase), his sperms DNA had recovered and his wife became pregnant. She gave birth to a healthy a baby boy and they lived happily... ah, wrong genre ;-)
So, that's it for today, but there are more news on Facebook and of course the official saturdaily installment of On Short Notice, tomorrow. So, stay tuned!

  • Abrantes AM, Friedman JH, Brown RA, Strong DR, Desaulniers J, Ing E, Saritelli J, Riebe D. Physical Activity and Neuropsychiatric Symptoms of Parkinson Disease. J Geriatr Psychiatry Neurol. 2012 Aug 20.
  • Chen CH, Huang TS, Chai HM, Jan MH, Lin JJ. Two Stretching Treatments on Hamstring: Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation versus Kinesio Taping Application. J Sport Rehabil. 2012 Oct 11.
  • Das K. Investigation of wound healing potential of aqueous crude extract and ointment of Stevia rebaudiana Bert. in mice. Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Biomedicine. 2012: 1-6.
  • Haaxma CA, Bloem BR, Borm GF, Oyen WJ, Leenders KL, Eshuis S, Booij J, Dluzen DE, Horstink MW. Gender differences in Parkinson's disease. J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry. 2007 Aug;78(8):819-24.
  • Salvarci A, Istanbulluo─člu O. Secondary infertility due to use of low-dose finasteride. Int Urol Nephrol. 2012 Oct 16.
  • Sung YH, Kim SC, Hong HP, Park CY, Shin MS, Kim CJ, Seo JH, Kim DY, Kim DJ, Cho HJ. Treadmill exercise ameliorates dopaminergic neuronal loss through suppressing microglial activation in Parkinson's disease mice. Life Sci. 2012 Oct 12. pii: S0024-3205(12)00590-5.