Low Cholesterol and Infections

by Uffe Ravnskov, M.D., Ph.D.

Several researchers have claimed that statin treatment prevents infections. Recently a Dutch group published an analysis of the statin trials where the authors had reported the number of infections. Not unexpectedly they didn´t find any difference between the statin groups and the controls (those who got an ineffective placebo pill).

In an editorial in the same issue of British Medical Journal, where the Dutch report was published, Beatrice Golomb commented the study. It was certainly not expected either because, as she wrote, a number of relevant factors may distort the results. One of them is the fact that among 632 statin trials, only eleven reported the number of infections, and “most authors declined to provide the omitted information when approached”. “The best evidence”, she concluded, “is that statins should not be used to forestall infection or its consequences.” 

There is even evidence of the opposite. As Golomb also pointed out, low cholesterol is a risk factor for infection, and as we have a plausible mechanism to propose, we send a letter to British Medical Journal, now published as a Rapid Response.

If you sympathize with our letter you are most welcome to vote (on the right hand column). Many positive votes may possibly increase its chance to become published in the paper version as well.

 

Uffe Ravnskov, MD, PhD, independent investigator
President of THINCS, The International Network of Cholesterol Skeptics
Magle Stora Kyrkogata 9, 22350 Lund, Sweden
tel +46 46145022  or  +46-702580416
www.ravnskov.nu/uffe


Coriander Oil Could Tackle Food Poisoning And Drug-Resistant Infections

Coriander oil has been shown to be toxic to a broad range of harmful bacteria. Its use in foods and in clinical agents could prevent food-borne illnesses and even treat antibiotic-resistant infections, according to the authors of a study published in the Journal of Medical Microbiology.

The researchers from the University of Beira Interior in Portugal tested coriander oil against 12 bacterial strains, including Escherichia coli, Salmonella enterica, Bacillus cereus and meticillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). Of the tested strains, all showed reduced growth, and most were killed, by solutions containing 1.6% coriander oil or less.

Coriander is an aromatic plant widely used in Mediterranean cuisine. Coriander oil is one of the 20 most-used essential oils in the world and is already used as a food additive. Coriander oil is produced from the seeds of the coriander plant and numerous health benefits have been associated with using this herb over the centuries. These include pain relief, ease of cramps and convulsions, cure of nausea, aid of digestion and treatment of fungal infections.

This study not only shows that coriander oil also has an antibacterial effect, but provides an explanation for how it works, which was not previously understood. “The results indicate that coriander oil damages the membrane surrounding the bacterial cell. This disrupts the barrier between the cell and its environment and inhibits essential processes including respiration, which ultimately leads to death of the bacterial cell,” explained Dr Fernanda Domingues who led the study.

The researchers suggest that coriander oil could have important applications in the food and medical industries. “In developed countries, up to 30% of the population suffers from food-borne illness each year. This research encourages the design of new food additives containing coriander oil that would combat food-borne pathogens and prevent bacterial spoilage,” said Dr Domingues. “Coriander oil could also become a natural alternative to common antibiotics. We envisage the use of coriander in clinical drugs in the form of lotions, mouth rinses and even pills; to fight multidrug-resistant bacterial infections that otherwise could not be treated. This would significantly improve people’s quality of life.”

 

Reference

Silva F, Ferreira S, Duarte A, Mendonça DI, Domingues FC. Antifungal activity of Coriandrum sativum essential oil, its mode of action against Candida species and potential synergism with amphotericin B. Phytomedicine. 2011 Jul 23. [Epub ahead of print].