Sunday, November 15, 2009

Tomato helps prevent heart problem

A syrup extracted from tomato pips is the latest treatment for preventing blood clots.
As well as cutting the risk of heart attacks and stroke, the food supplement may have advantages over a standard drug treatment, low-dose aspirin.

Professor Asim Duttaroy discovered a chemical in tomatoes that has a milder but broader effect than aspirin.
Unfortunately eating lots of tomatoes doesn't have the same benefit.

The product, which was developed by Provexis, is designed to be used by manufacturers as an additive in foods, such as juices, margarines and yoghurts, without affecting their taste.
Currently, it is used in Sirco fruit juice available in some supermarkets (costing between £1 and £2).
'If the EFSA have said Fruitflow is effective, we are happy to accept that it is,' says Ursula Arens of the British Dietetic Association.

'Many people find it hard to make radical changes to their diet to protect their hearts, so if there is an easily accessible food product that lowers the risk we welcome that.Read more:

Facts on Aspirin is taken by millions of otherwise healthy people to thin their blood and lower the risk of dangerous clots.

However, last week a major analysis found that unless you have a history of heart trouble, the benefits of taking it are outweighed by the raised risk of internal bleeding.

Basically, healthy people should not be taking aspirin as a preventative.
Unlike aspirin, the new tomato treatment, Fruitflow, doesn't cause bleeding. Its effects also last just 18 hours - compared with ten days for aspirin.
This is important because it makes the effects more easily reversible: if you suffer an injury or need surgery, doctors have to quickly restore normal clotting to prevent excessive blood loss.
Both Fruitflow and aspirin work by tackling platelets, tiny cells in the blood.

Normally these platelets are smooth, but inflammation in the blood vessels - linked to smoking, high cholesterol and stress - causes them to become spiky,
They then clump together, forming clots (a process known as platelet aggregation).

Aspirin strongly blocks one set of signals that causes this to happen. Fruitflow more gently damps down three others - this is enough to reduce the risk of clotting.

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