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Biomedical Engineering

The Biomedical Engineering blog is the place for conversation and discussion about topics related to engineering principles of the medical field. Here, you'll find everything from discussions about emerging medical technologies to advances in medical research. The blog's owner, Chelsey H, is a graduate of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) with a degree in Biomedical Engineering.

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The Secret of Strawberries- Saving Your Stomach From Alcohol

Posted January 03, 2012 12:00 AM by Chelsey H

There is an age-old saying that "an apple a day keeps the doctor away". But wouldn't it be great if a fruit could also help you be a little bad?

Well strawberries can, according to a study released in PLoS ONE online journal.

Image Credit: .hackettstownbid.com

The Problem

Gastritis is a common condition where there is inflammation, irritation, or erosion of the lining of the stomach (the gastric epithelium) causing the patient stomach pain, nausea, and vomiting. The gastric epithelium is a complex structure formed into tubular branched gastric glands, which contains a wide variety of cell types concerned with the secretion of hydrochloric acid, proteases, mucus and a range of signaling molecules. This lining is often attacked by physical, chemical or microbiological agents acting from the gastric lumen. It can be damaged by alcohol, stress, as well as medical drugs including aspirin and other non-steroidal antirheumatic drugs. The damage can manifest in the form of ulcer, gastritis, or even cancer of the stomach. Ulcers, many a result of gastritis, affect about 5 million Americans each year.

Image Credit: zracenja.ozdravljenje.net

Clinical studies have shown that reactive oxygen species (ROS) cause ulcers and gastritis. Reactive oxygen species are chemically-reactive molecules containing oxygen such as ions and peroxides. They can lead to oxidative stress which causes cellular damage and have been linked to cancer, atherosclerosclerosis, ischemic injury, inflammation and neurodegenerative diseases.

The nature of ROS. Image Credit: Siberiantigernaturals.com

The Science

Diet plays an important role in protecting the mucosa of the gastrointestinal tract and in defending against reactive oxygen species. Fruits and vegetables in particular are an important part in preventing gastric erosions, ulcerations and cancer. The foods have high levels of phenolic compounds, which are a class of phytochemical and antioxidants. They perform an action called gastro- or cyto-protection, to protect against the action of various irritants and ulcerogens. Fruits and vegetables contain a particular polyphenolic compound called a flavonoid, which has antioxidant qualities. Antioxidants protect the cells against the damage done by reactive oxygen species and flavonoids may also provide protection by combining with antioxidants.

Strawberries have been under previous research for their health benefits and have become popular with scientists. The strawberry- fragariaxananassa- is one of the most commonly consumed berries in the world. The consumption of strawberries has already been linked to increases in both plasma and cellular antioxidant defenses. The delicious berry has a high content of flavonoid anthocyanins and non-flavonoid condensed tannins.

A study was done to evaluate the in vivo effects of three different strawberry extracts which have been known for their nutritional quality and their ability to protect the gastric mucosa against damages mediated by noxious agents, such as ethanol.

The study was performed on laboratory rats. They were given 40 milligrams per kilo of strawberry extract, the equivalent to daily consumption of this fruit by a human being half a kilo. The rats were given the extract for ten days and then they were given a large concentration of alcohol.

Representative rat stomachs exposed to absolute ethanol for one hour: (A) non-pretreated rats, (B) rats pretreated with 100 mg/kg of Quercetin. Rats pretreated with 40 mg/kg of strawberry crude extracts once per day for 10 days: (C) Adria extract, (D) Alba extract and (E) Sveva extract. The last administration of strawberry extract was 2 h before absolute ethanol administration that induced gastric lesions. Image Credit: *

A Berry-Helpful Discovery

Results of the research showed that the degree of stomach mucous damage of the animals that were given strawberries was far less than with those that were not given the extract', Doctor Dekanski, study co-author, says. Strawberries, especially those with a high level of anthocyanin (a unique flavonoid), were shown to prevent or delay the appearance of those diseases.

Strawberries also activated enzymes that may fight inflammation, can help protect the heart, increase levels of good cholesterol, lower blood pressure, and guard against cancer.

But before you start throwing a strawberry in every glass of champagne, the discovery was not a remedy for binge drinking. "This study was not conceived as a way of mitigating the effects of getting drunk but rather as a way of discovering molecules in the stomach membrane that protect against the damaging effects of differing agents," Battino, a research coordinator at Marche Polytechnic University in Italy, said. The use of the strawberries and their extracts could go a long way in helping with treatments for gastritis, ulcers, and other conditions caused by ROSs.

Image Credit: saras-scrapbook.tumblr.com

Now, if you want to throw a strawberry in every glass of champagne because it's delicious -that's a different story!

Happy New Year!

References

Antioxidant Activities of Flavonoids

Oxidative stress and free radicals

Attack and defense in the gastric epithelium - a delicate balance

*Alvarez-Suarez JM, Dekanski D, Ristić S, Radonjić NV, Petronijević ND, et al. (2011) Strawberry Polyphenols Attenuate Ethanol-Induced Gastric Lesions in Rats by Activation of Antioxidant Enzymes and Attenuation of MDA Increase. PLoS ONE 6(10): e25878. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0025878

Serbian doctors discover that strawberries protect against ulcer and cancer

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#1

Re: The Secret of Strawberries- Saving Your Stomach From Alcohol

01/04/2012 5:47 AM

It's not just strawberries. One of the control groups in this experiment was given quercetin, a flavonoid with antioxidant properties. The quercetin group showed as little damage to the stomach lining as the 3 strawberry groups. Quercetin is widely distributed in other fruit and vegetables, with high concentrations in apples, citrus fruit, red grapes, leafy vegetables including broccoli, and tea.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quercetin

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#2

Re: The Secret of Strawberries- Saving Your Stomach From Alcohol

01/04/2012 10:12 AM

Isn't it just like MOM always tells us to eat a well balanced diet and everything in moderation?

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#3

Re: The Secret of Strawberries- Saving Your Stomach From Alcohol

01/04/2012 10:42 AM

That makes the strawberry daiquiri the perfect drink???

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