ST. JOHN'S WORT AND ZOLOFT? TREAT DEPRESSION
FISH OIL MAY BENEFIT BLOOD PRESSURE LEVELS
IN THE NEWS
ST. JOHN'S WORT AND ZOLOFT? TREAT DEPRESSION EQUALLY WELL
A new study indicates St. John's wort is as effective as the prescription
drug Zoloft? for the treatment of mild to moderate depression.
The double-blind randomized, single-center trial was performed on 30 male
and female outpatients in a community hospital. Researchers gave patients
either 600 mg/day of a standardized hypericum extract or 50 mg/day of
sertraline (Zoloft) daily for one week. This regimen was followed by giving
subjects either 900 mg per day of St. John's wort or 75 mg/day of
sertraline for six weeks. Both regimens significantly reduced the severity
of depressive symptoms, as measured with scores on the Hamilton Rating
Scale for Depression (HAM-D) and the Clinical Global Impression scale.
Clinical response, defined as a 50% reduction or more in HAM-D scores, was
noted in 47% of patients receiving hypericum and 40% of those receiving
sertraline. The difference was not statistically significant.
The study appears in volume 22, issue number 4 of the journal Clinical
Therapeutics. The article is entitled, "Comparison of an Extract of
Hypericum (LI 160) and Sertraline in the Treatment of Depression: A
Double-Blind, Randomized Pilot Study."
FISH OIL MAY BENEFIT BLOOD PRESSURE LEVELS
Incorporating omega-3 fatty acids, found in cold-water fish, can reduce the
risk of heart disease.
A review of scientific studies on the effect of fatty acids on blood
pressure revealed these acids may have a dose-dependent response in
reducing blood pressure in people with high blood pressure, according to
Dr. Lawrence J. Appel, Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Md.
Supplementation with 3 grams of omega-3 fatty acids daily can lower blood
pressure in people with untreated high blood pressure, according to Appel.
Among the studies reviewed were those performed by Dr. Robert A. Vogel,
University of Maryland School of Medicine, examining which parts of the
Mediterranean diet protect the heart. Participants in the study were fed
five meals containing 50 grams of fat total. The source of fat consisted of
olive oil, canola oil, and salmon in three of the meals. The olive oil meal
had beneficial effects on blood flow; none of the other four meals had this
effect. As a result of the study, Vogel concluded the beneficial components
of the Mediterranean diet seem to be antioxidant-rich foods, such as fruits
and vegetables and omega-3 rich fish and canola oils.
Appel's presentation was shared at a meeting of the American Heart
Association in Reston, Va., June 5, 2000.
FIBER FIGHTS HIGH CHOLESTEROL
Filling up on fiber can help reduce cholesterol levels in most people,
according to a recent study of 250 men and women with high blood
Incorporating fiber into a healthy diet can reduce cholesterol to the
extent that many people can reduce their need for drug therapy. Psyllium, a
fibrous material, can reduce harmful cholesterol by as much as 5%,
according to Dr. James Anderson, professor of medicine and clinical
nutrition at the University of Kentucky, one of the study's authors. That
5% reduction translates into a 10% to 15% reduction in the risk for heart
attack, a notable reduction.
Psyllium apparently lowers cholesterol by dragging bile acids, which are
converted into cholesterol, out of the body. Other foods, such as oat bran
and soy protein, can also reduce cholesterol levels.
The study found that 10 grams of psyllium daily, in addition to a low-fat,
low- cholesterol diet, could reduce the risk of heart attack by as much as
20% to 30%. The six-month study supports incorporating fiber into an
already healthful diet, especially for people who want to protect
themselves from heart disease, people who have high cholesterol, or people
who have a family history of heart disease.
The study also involved researchers from the Chicago Center for Clinical
Research, the Ochsner Clinic in New Orleans, the Medlantic Research
Institute in Washington, D.C., and the Department of Medicine and College
of Physicians and Surgeons at Columbia University in New York. Study
results were published in the June 2000 issue of The American Journal of
HERBAL COMBINATION BOOSTS MENTAL POWER
Even healthy, middle-aged adults who live and work in a fast-paced and
demanding work environment can benefit from the herbal combination of
stabilized Panax ginseng and Ginkgo biloba.
A unique combination of the two herbs has been shown to significantly
enhance fast, accurate thinking and short-and long-term memory, and reduce
The 14-week, double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized, multi-center
study looked at the cognitive effects of the herbal combination in 256
healthy volunteers between ages 38 and 66. The volunteers performed a
battery of tests using the Computerized Cognitive Assessment System, a
validated testing method accepted by the FDA and used to assess the effect
of cognitive enhancing products. The study showed the group of volunteers
receiving the active herbal combination had statistically significant
improvement in cognitive function (average of +7.5%) compared to the
Results of the study were presented at a National Institute of Mental
Health seminar and announced June 6, 2000, at a press conference at The
Rockefeller University in New York City