Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Prescription Anti-Depressants are little use

A recent study into the effectiveness of prescribed medication for the treatment of depression has revealed that the new generation of prescription anti-depressants have very little clinical benefit for most patients. In fact, researchers have found that the drugs only help a very small number of the most severely depressed. Whilst doctors are advising not to abruptly cease administration of the prescribed drugs without consulting a doctor evident that it may be more beneficial for those suffering from depression to seek natural alternatives for an anti-depressing effect. The number of prescriptions for anti-depressants hit a record high in the UK in 2006 with more than 31 million prescriptions.

In the latest study, researchers reviewed a series of studies on four anti-depressants to determine whether the response of people on these drugs was dependent upon how severe the symptoms of depression were before getting treatment. The study ultimately revealed that when compared with a placebo, the new generation anti-depressants did not offer any clinically significant improvements in condition for those suffering from moderate or even notably severe depression. Significant benefits were only evident in the most severely depressed.

Lead author, Professor Irving Kirsch from the University of Hull, UK said, "The difference in improvement between patients taking placebos and patients taking anti-depressants is not very great. And the effect for patients seems to be due to decreased responsiveness to placebo, rather than increased responsiveness to medication. Given these results, there seems little reason to prescribe anti-depressant medication to any but the most severely depressed patients, unless alternative treatments have failed to provide a benefit."

Nonetheless, these findings give further reasons for those suffering from depression to seek natural alternatives to relieve their symptoms. In coincidence with many studies which have shown that St. John’s Wort is significantly more effective than a placebo and at least as effective as certain antidepressant drugs, these new findings highlight just how beneficial natural supplements can be.

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Source: BBC News, RTE News, Healthnotes

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Omega 3 fatty acid can help in the treatment of Eczema

Whilst eczema affected skin seems to cry out for moisture-rich creams and oils to relieve dryness, itching and inflammation, recent research has revealed that what is on the inside may be more significant than how eczema sufferers treat its uncomfortable symptoms externally.

Eczema is an extremely common inflammatory skin condition which is largely treated by the use of topical creams and ointments with the occasional use of oral steroids. It is quite normal for those who suffer from eczema to also suffer from inflammatory conditions including allergies and asthma. One of the most common causes of the troublesome condition has been found to be stress, which can not only cause eczema to appear but also can increase tendencies to scratch and itch the affected areas of skin.

A new study published by the British Journal of Dermatology has found that omega 3 fatty acids, DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) in particular, helped to relieve symptoms of eczema in those suffering from the condition. The research which studied 44 adults with eczema, analysed the symptom severity of those taking a daily supplement of DHA in comparison to those taking a placebo, for a period of eight weeks. Symptoms including the size of the affected area, swelling, redness, scabbing, dryness and itching were monitored and scored based on their severity.

Results showed that symptom scores improved in the taking a daily does of DHA omega 3 fatty acids, whilst the symptom scores of those taking the placebo did not significantly change at all. One of the most noticeable improvements in symptoms was the reduction in the size of the affected area with an impressive 42% decrease in size in those taking DHA.

The omega 3 fatty acids DHA and EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) are primarily found in the fish oils and have received huge attention for their remarkable anti-inflammatory properties which are well established and documented. These essential fatty acids have been the subject of many research studies which have also found them to be beneficial in the treatment and prevention of many common ailments including, arthritis, cardiovascular disease and depression, to name but a few. One earlier study supports the findings of the new research with results showing that taking a daily supplement of fish oil reduced symptoms in eczema sufferers.

For optimum benefits an omega 3 supplement containing high levels of DHA and EPA can be taken on a daily basis. High Quality Omega 3 Triple Strength 1000mg, offering a remarkable 330mg of EPA and 220mg of DHA is available exclusively at Simply Supplements (www.simplysupplements.co.uk) (Buy One Get One Free, £4.85).

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Vitamin E found to ‘Ward Off Decline”

Recent research has found that a daily supplement of vitamin E can help to reduce physical decline in elderly people. The study revealed that the physical ability of people aged over 65 was worst in those who had lower levels of vitamin E.

It has been suggested that the secret behind vitamin E’s ability to protect against physical decline lies in the fact that it is a potent antioxidant that works to protect the body’s tissue from damage caused by rampaging free radicals.

In the latest Italian study, which was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, researchers measured levels of vitamins in the blood of 698 people. Performance of the volunteers was monitored over a three-year period and was based upon three physical tests – a short walk, balance and standing up from a seated position. Researchers found that there became a clear association between vitamin E and performance, reporting that “the odds of declining in physical function was 1.62 times greater in persons with low levels of vitamin E, when compared with individuals with higher levels” as said by the leading researcher Dr Benedetta Bartali.

Dr Bartali confirmed that the results of the study suggested that “an appropriate dietary intake of vitamin E may help to reduce the decline in physical function among older persons.” Researchers also highlighted that as well as its antioxidant effect, vitamin E is involved in the production of red blood cells.

This research also highlighted that many older people do not have an adequate intake of vitamins and minerals and therefore, in order for them to get essential nutrients, a daily supplement is largely the most effective means. A healthy and nutritious diet is essential for wellbeing and a healthy life expectancy, particularly in older people.

Source: BBC News

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