ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Asthmatics Who Quit Smoking May Reverse Lung Damage
Know Your Asthma Triggers
Obesity May Raise Kids' Allergy Risk
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
U.S. Spends Billions On Alternative Medicine
Massage Therapy Helps Those With Advanced Cancer
Bitter Melon Extract May Slow, Stop Breast Cancer
ANIMAL CARE
Safe Toys for Dogs
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
Separation Anxiety, Canine-Style
BONES & JOINTS
New Clues to How Fish Oils Help Arthritis Patients
Put Your Best Foot Forward Next Year
Drinking Cuts Rheumatoid Arthritis Risk
CANCER
Seaweed May Help Treat Lymphoma
Adding Garlic Might Cut Cancer Risk
Researchers ID Genetic Markers for Esophageal Cancer
CAREGIVING
Children's Bath Products Contain Contaminants
Robots May Come to Aging Boomers' Rescue
ER Less Likely to Diagnose Stroke in Younger Folks
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Smog Tougher on the Obese
Night Shift Work Hard on the Heart
Exercise May Blunt Salt's Effect on Hypertension
COSMETIC
Contact Lenses Boost Kids' Self-Image
Gum Chewing May Cut Craving for Snacks
Wrinkle Fillers Need Better Label Warnings: FDA Panel
DENTAL, ORAL
Obesity Boosts Gum Disease Risk
Biological Product Shows Promise Against Gum Disease
Sports Drinks May Be Tough on Teeth
DIABETES
Saliva Test Could Monitor Type 2 Diabetes
'Standard' Glucose Test May Be Wrong One for Obese Children
Lifestyle Factors Tied to Older Adults' Diabetes Risk
DIET, NUTRITION
Go Healthy, Not Hungry for Holiday Eating
Eating Healthy : You Can Live Longer
Six Healthy-Sounding Foods That Really Aren't
DISABILITIES
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Exposure to 9/11 Fumes Tied to Chronic Headaches
Green Areas Lower Health Inequities Between Rich, Poor
Fish in U.S. Rivers Tainted With Common Medications
EYE CARE, VISION
FDA Goes After Unapproved Eye Washes, Skin Ointments
Nearly 18 Million Will Have Macular Degeneration by 2050
Autistic Children Make Limited Eye Contact
FITNESS
Higher Fitness Levels Tied to Lower Heart, Death Risks
More Steps a Day Lead to Better Health
Exercise Key Player in Knee Replacement Recovery
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Gum Chewing May Speed Colon Surgery Recovery
Intestinal Bacteria Trigger Immune Response
New Yogurt May Ease Stomach Ulcers
GENERAL HEALTH
Air Pollution May Raise Blood Pressure
Eating Nuts May Help Cholesterol Levels
To Quit Smoking, Try Logging On
HEAD & NECK
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Subway Defibrillators Save Lives
Study Suggests Link Between Cell Phones and Brain Tumors
The Internet Is Becoming One-Stop Shopping for Health Help
HEARING
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Shedding Light on Why Omega-3 Fatty Acids May Help the Heart
Heart Disease May Be Prevented By Taking Fish Oils, Study Shows
Fructose Boosts Blood Pressure, Studies Find
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Viral Infection Might Trigger High Blood Pressure
Hand Washing 10 Times a Day May Help Keep Flu Away
Chinese 'Devil Dung' Plant Could Be a Swine Flu Fighter
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Babies Who Eat Fish Lower Eczema Risk
Family Medicine Cabinet Top Source Of Kid's Poisonings
Boosting Kids' Stroke IQ May Save Lives
MEN'S HEALTH
Physical Activity May Prolong Survival After Colon Cancer
Soy Linked to Low Sperm Count
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
MENTAL HEALTH
Mind Exercise Might Help Stroke Patients
Breast-Fed Baby May Mean Better Behaved Child
Heal Your LifeŽ Tips for Living Well
PAIN
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Pre-Pregnancy Weight Linked to Babies' Heart Problems
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
Yoga's Benefits Outweigh Risks for Pregnant Women
SENIORS
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
Friends, Not Grandkids, Key to Happy Retirement
For a Healthier Retirement, Work a Little
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Meditation May Help Put Primary Insomnia to Bed
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
Moderate Aerobics May Ease Insomnia Symptoms
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Pre-Pregnancy Weight Linked to Babies' Heart Problems
Being Active an Hour a Day Puts Brakes on Weight Gain
Natural Childbirth Moms More Attuned to Babies' Cry
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Tequila Plant May Help Fight Bone Loss

An ingredient in agave -- the plant used to make tequila -- may help fight bone-weakening osteoporosis and other diseases, Mexican researchers say.

Agave, artichokes, garlic, onions and chicory are rich, natural sources of fructans -- nondigestible carbohydrates consisting of molecules of fructose linked together into chains, according to background information in a news release from the American Chemical Society.

"Experimental studies suggest that fructans may be beneficial in diabetes, obesity, stimulating the immune system of the body, decreasing levels of disease-causing bacteria in the intestine, relieving constipation and reducing the risk of colon cancer," Mercedes Lopez, of the National Polytechnic Institute in Guanajuato, said in the news release.

Previous research has also suggested that fructans stimulate the growth of beneficial bacteria in the large intestine in a way that increases the body's absorption of minerals, including calcium and magnesium, which are needed for bone growth.

In this study, Lopez and colleagues tested the effects of agave fructans on bone growth in mice. Compared to other mice, those fed agave fructans absorbed more calcium from food, excreted less calcium in their feces, and had a 50 percent increase in levels of a protein associated with the build-up of new bone tissue.

"These results suggest that the supplementation of the standard diet with agave fructans prevented bone loss and improved bone formation, indicating the important role of agave fructans on the maintenance of healthy bone," Lopez said. "They can be used in many products for children and infants to help prevent various diseases, and can even be used in ice cream as a sugar substitute."

But drinking tequila won't help, the study authors noted. The fructans turn into alcohol when agave is processed into tequila, they said.

The study was to be presented Tuesday at the national meeting of the American Chemical Society in San Francisco.

SOURCES: American Chemical Society, news release, March 23, 2010 Published on: March 23, 2010