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In view of the winter season and COVID-19 pandemic, health experts on Saturday said that taking natural antioxidants may help keep the heart healthy along with other health benefits.

“We are a little worried about our health because those people get more affected by COVID who have heart-related problems. During this situation at an individual level, you can work harder to protect ourselves by improving immunity and heart health,” the experts said.


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Experts suggest taking natural antioxidants like Gamma-oryzanol, a natural antioxidant found in rice bran which is also gaining popularity in India.

Most research shows that taking gamma oryzanol decreases total cholesterol, “bad” low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, and blood fats called triglycerides in people with high cholesterol.

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Gamma-oryzanol, a mixture of antioxidant compounds in the bran’s oil fraction, is thought to play a role in reducing blood cholesterol levels, among other health-promoting benefits.

As Gamma-oryzanol is found to be effective in controlling high cholesterol levels in the body, it is registered in Japan and the US as a natural medicine to treat hyperlipidemia (elevated cholesterol levels).


“Gamma-oryzanol is useful for controlling elevated cholesterol and triglyceride levels, supporting cardiovascular health along with controlling menopausal symptoms,” Dr. Swapna Chaturvedi, a senior dietician from the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) New Delhi, told IANS.

“Gamma-oryzanol helps lower cholesterol because it helps decrease cholesterol absorption and increases cholesterol elimination. Along with this, it is also known to boost metabolic rate and may help with weight loss,” Chaturvedi added.

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According to Praveen Chandra, Head of Department, Interventional Cardiology, Medanta Hospital in Gurugram, Gamma oryzanol also helps in preventing heart attack by preventing platelet aggregation, a system where platelets blood gets stuck together and form clots that block arteries.

The experts stressed that people with weak hearts should be particularly careful during the winter season. Though they should continue to exercise regularly, they should modify their timings, so as to avoid extreme weather.

Also Read: Hospital Floors Being Main Place of Bacteria Accumulation

Salt and water intake should be reduced as there is no loss to sweating. With medications and lifestyle modification which include proper diet and exercise, heart patients can remain stable for a long period of time, they noted. (IANS)


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NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory has for the first time spotted signs of a planet transiting a star outside of the Milky Way galaxy, opening up a new avenue to search for exoplanets at greater distances than ever before.

The possible exoplanet -- or planets outside of our Solar System -- candidate is located in the spiral galaxy Messier 51 (M51), also called the Whirlpool Galaxy because of its distinctive profile, NASA said in a statement.

Astronomers have, so far, found all other known exoplanets and exoplanet candidates in the Milky Way galaxy, almost all of them less than about 3,000 light-years from Earth.

An exoplanet in M51 would be about 28 million light-years away, meaning it would be thousands of times farther away than those in the Milky Way, NASA said.

"We are trying to open up a whole new arena for finding other worlds by searching for planet candidates at X-ray wavelengths, a strategy that makes it possible to discover them in other galaxies," said Rosanne Di Stefano of the Center for Astrophysics at Harvard and Smithsonian (CfA) in Cambridge, Massachusetts, who led the study.

The findings are published in the journal Nature Astronomy.

The exoplanet candidate was spotted in a binary system called M51-ULS-1, located in M51. This binary system contains a black hole or neutron star orbiting a companion star with a mass about 20 times that of the Sun. The X-ray transit they found using Chandra data lasted about three hours, during which the X-ray emission decreased to zero.

Based on this and other information, the team estimates the exoplanet candidate in M51-ULS-1 would be roughly the size of Saturn and orbit the neutron star or black hole at about twice the distance of Saturn from the Sun.

The team looked for X-ray transits in three galaxies beyond the Milky Way galaxy, using both Chandra and the European Space Agency's XMM-Newton. Their search covered 55 systems in M51, 64 systems in Messier 101 (the "Pinwheel" galaxy), and 119 systems in Messier 104 (the "Sombrero" galaxy).

However, more data would be needed to verify the interpretation as an extragalactic exoplanet. One challenge is that the planet candidate's large orbit means it would not cross in front of its binary partner again for about 70 years, thwarting any attempts for a confirming observation for decades, NASA said.

Named in honor of the late Indian-American Nobel laureate, Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar, the Chandra X-ray Observatory is the world's most powerful X-ray telescope. It has eight times greater resolution and is able to detect sources more than 20-times fainter than any previous X-ray telescope.

Known to the world as Chandra (which means "moon" or "luminous" in Sanskrit), Chandrasekhar was widely regarded as one of the foremost astrophysicists of the twentieth century. (IANS/JB)


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