National Institute of Integrative Medicine

Melbourne, Australia

National Institute of Integrative Medicine

Melbourne, Australia
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Ried K.,University of Adelaide | Ried K.,National Institute of Integrative Medicine | Alfred A.,University of Adelaide
BMC Women's Health | Year: 2013

Background: Infertility affects about 15% of couples in Western-societies with most progressing to fertility clinics for treatment. Despite being common, infertility is often experienced as a lonely road for affected couples. In this paper we expand on our previously published findings of women's experiences with infertility or difficulty of viable pregnancy who had sought Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) therapy in Australia, and focus on women's quality of life, coping strategies, and support needs.Methods: We applied mixed methods using the Tuebingen Quality of Life and the COPE questionnaires and in-depth interviews with 25 women with primary or secondary infertility, recurrent miscarriages or unexplained stillbirth, and who had consulted a TCM practitioner. We used a thematic approach to analyse the interviews, and descriptive statistics to evaluate questionnaire responses.Results: Women reported through both questionnaires and interviews compromised quality of life due to the high level of distress, guilt, grief, and frustration caused by infertility. However, our women represented a highly motivated sample, actively seeking alternative support. While the TCM approach to infertility management increased women's sense of personal agency and control through education and continuity of care, the need for greater understanding and support on a societal level remains.Conclusions: In infertility, ongoing emotional and instrumental support is pivotal to the wellbeing and quality of life of the affected. Traditional Chinese Medicine addresses some support needs in infertility not routinely available in the Western model of care. More peer-led and professional-led support groups are greatly needed for women experiencing infertility to help break isolation and raise awareness of integrative approaches to fertility management. © 2013 Ried and Alfred; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

Ried K.,University of Adelaide | Ried K.,National Institute of Integrative Medicine | Toben C.,University of Adelaide | Fakler P.,University of Adelaide
Nutrition Reviews | Year: 2013

Hypercholesterolemia is associated with an increased risk of heart disease. The effect of garlic on blood lipids has been studied in numerous trials and summarized in meta-analyses, with conflicting results. This meta-analysis, the most comprehensive to date, includes 39 primary trials of the effect of garlic preparations on total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and triglycerides. The findings suggest garlic to be effective in reducing total serum cholesterol by 17±6mg/dL and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol by 9±6mg/dL in individuals with elevated total cholesterol levels (>200mg/dL), provided garlic is used for longer than 2 months. An 8% reduction in total serum cholesterol is of clinical relevance and is associated with a 38% reduction in risk of coronary events at 50 years of age. High-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels improved only slightly, and triglycerides were not influenced significantly. Garlic preparations were highly tolerable in all trials and were associated with minimal side effects. They might be considered as an alternative option with a higher safety profile than conventional cholesterol-lowering medications in patients with slightly elevated cholesterol. © 2013 International Life Sciences Institute.

Pase M.P.,Swinburne University of Technology | Grima N.,Monash University | Cockerell R.,Swinburne University of Technology | Stough C.,Swinburne University of Technology | And 3 more authors.
Journal of the American College of Nutrition | Year: 2015

Results: Treatment allocation had no effect on the primary cognitive outcomes at endpoint. Absolute increases in the red blood cell omega-3/6 ratio were associated with improvements in spatial working memory. The group receiving 6 g fish oil without the multivitamin displayed a significant decrease in aortic pulse pressure and aortic augmentation pressure, two measures of aortic blood pressure and aortic stiffness.Conclusions: Fish oil decreased aortic pulse pressure and augmentation pressure. Reductions in aortic blood pressure were not accompanied by consistent improvements in cognition.Objective: Fish oils and multivitamins are two of the most commonly used dietary supplements. Fish oil use may reduce vascular risk factors associated with cognitive decline, thus providing benefits to both heart and brain health. Multivitamins may also have direct effects on brain function. The present study investigated the effects of fish oil, with and without the addition of a multivitamin, on cognitive and cardiovascular function.Methods: In a randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind fashion, 160 healthy adults aged 50–70 years were randomized to receive either 3 g of fish oil (240 mg eicosapentaenoic acid [EPA] + 240 mg docosahexaenoic acid [DHA]) with a multivitamin, 6 g of fish oil (480 mg EPA + 480 mg DHA) with a multivitamin, or 6 g of fish oil without a multivitamin or a placebo. Cognitive performance, brachial blood pressure, and aortic (central) blood pressure were measured at baseline, 6 weeks, and 16 weeks. © 2015, © American College of Nutrition.

Harris E.,Swinburne University of Technology | MacPherson H.,Swinburne University of Technology | Vitetta L.,University of Queensland | Vitetta L.,National Institute of Integrative Medicine | And 4 more authors.
Human Psychopharmacology | Year: 2012

Objective Nutritional and vitamin status may be related to cognitive function and decline in older adults. The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of nutritional supplementation on cognition in older men. Method The current study was an 8-week, placebo-controlled, double-blind investigation into the effects of a multivitamin, mineral and herbal supplement (Swisse Men's Ultivite®, Swisse Vitamins Pty Ltd, Melbourne, Australia) on cognitive performance in older men. Participants were 51 male individuals aged between 50 and 74 years, with a sedentary lifestyle. Cognitive performance was assessed at baseline and post-treatment using a computerised battery of cognitive tasks, enabling the measurement of a range of attentional and memory processes. Blood measures of vitamin B12, folate and homocysteine were collected prior to and after supplementation. Results The results of this study revealed that contextual recognition memory performance was significantly improved following multivitamin supplementation (p < 0.05). Performance on other cognitive tasks did not change. Levels of vitamin B12 and folate were significantly increased with a concomitant decrease in homocysteine, indicating that relatively short-term supplementation with a multivitamin can benefit these risk factors for cognitive decline. Conclusion Findings from this study indicate that daily multivitamin supplementation may improve episodic memory in older men at risk of cognitive decline. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Ried K.,University of Adelaide | Ried K.,National Institute of Integrative Medicine | Frank O.R.,University of Adelaide | Stocks N.P.,University of Adelaide
European Journal of Clinical Nutrition | Year: 2013

Background/objectives: Hypertension affects about 30% of adults worldwide. Garlic has blood pressure-lowering properties and the mechanism of action is biologically plausible. Our trial assessed the effect, dose-response, tolerability and acceptability of different doses of aged garlic extract as an adjunct treatment to existing antihypertensive medication in patients with uncontrolled hypertension. Subjects/methods: A total of 79 general practice patients with uncontrolled systolic hypertension participated in a double-blind randomised placebo-controlled dose-response trial of 12 weeks. Participants were allocated to one of three garlic groups with either of one, two or four capsules daily of aged garlic extract (240/480/960 mg containing 0.6/1.2/2.4 mg of S-allylcysteine) or placebo. Blood pressure was assessed at 4, 8 and 12 weeks and compared with baseline using a mixed-model approach. Tolerability was monitored throughout the trial and acceptability was assessed at 12 weeks by questionnaire. Results: Mean systolic blood pressure was significantly reduced by 11.8±5.4 mm Hg in the garlic-2-capsule group over 12 weeks compared with placebo (P=0.006), and reached borderline significant reduction in the garlic-4-capsule group at 8 weeks (-7.4±4.1 mm Hg, P=0.07). Changes in systolic blood pressure in the garlic-1-capsule group and diastolic blood pressure were not significantly different to placebo. Tolerability, compliance and acceptability were high in all garlic groups (93%) and highest in the groups taking one or two capsules daily. Conclusions: Our trial suggests aged garlic extract to be an effective and tolerable treatment in uncontrolled hypertension, and may be considered as a safe adjunct treatment to conventional antihypertensive therapy. © 2013 Macmillan Publishers Limited.

Rohner A.,University of Basel | Ried K.,National Institute of Integrative Medicine | Sobenin I.A.,Russian Cardiology Research and Production Complex | Bucher H.C.,University of Basel | Nordmann A.J.,University of Basel
American journal of hypertension | Year: 2015

BACKGROUND: Many patients prefer herbal medications to conventional drugs. Limited trial evidence suggests that garlic preparations reduce high blood pressure (BP).METHODS: We searched electronic databases through March 2014 to identify all randomized controlled trials that compared a garlic preparation to placebo in hypertensive patients. Trials were required to report BP values at baseline and after a follow-up of at least 4 weeks.RESULTS: Nine double-blind trials with 482 individuals fulfilled our inclusion criteria. Included trials were rather small, and the quality of the majority of included trials was moderate. Follow-up ranged from 8 to 26 weeks. All trials reported office BP measurements. Systolic BP and diastolic BP (SBP and DBP) were more effectively reduced in individuals treated with garlic preparations than in individuals treated with placebo. However, heterogeneity was high (weighted mean difference (WMD) for SBP was -9.1 mm Hg; 95% confidence interval (CI), -12.7 to -5.4; P for heterogeneity = 0.0006; and I2 = 71%; WMD for BP was -3.8 mm Hg; 95% CI, -6.7 to -1.0; P for heterogeneity = 0.00001; I2 = 80%). When analyses were restricted to higher-quality trials using intention-to-treat analysis or to trials with concealed treatment allocation and standardized and blinded BP measurement, effect sizes for SBP but not for DBP were lower and heterogeneity disappeared.CONCLUSIONS: Although evidence from this review suggests that garlic preparations may lower BP in hypertensive individuals, the evidence is not strong. A well-conducted and powered trial of longer duration is needed to confirm these findings. © American Journal of Hypertension, Ltd 2014. All rights reserved. For Permissions, please email:

Ried K.,National Institute of Integrative Medicine | Travica N.,National Institute of Integrative Medicine | Sali A.,National Institute of Integrative Medicine
Blood Pressure Monitoring | Year: 2016

Background Regular intake of vitamin C/ascorbate reduces blood pressure (BP) in hypertensives. High-dose intravenous vitamin C (IVC) achieves higher plasma levels; however, there is a paucity of research on acute BP effects. Our study is the first to investigate the effect of high-dose IVC, with or without concomitant i.v. nutrients, on BP during i.v. treatment. Methods A cohort of adult patients scheduled to receive IVC treatment for infection, cancer or fatigue, as prescribed by their treating doctor, participated at a Melbourne clinic, Australia. Ambulatory BP was assessed every 10 min over 90 min during i.v. treatment. Patients received 15-100 g of IVC alone or in addition to i.v. vitamin B, glutathione, magnesium or zinc. BP change over time adjusted for baseline BP, IVC dosage, i.v. treatment and BMI was analysed. Results A total of 77 mostly normotensive patients participated, with a third receiving IVC alone (42±20 g), and two-thirds also received other i.v. nutrients. IVC alone (>30 g) reduced the mean BP up to 8-9 mmHg in prehypertensive patients. In contrast, concomitant intravenous vitamin B12 (IVB12) significantly increased the mean BP by 11-13 mmHg. Comparison of BP change during IVC versus IVC+IVB12 indicated a highly significant difference [systolic blood pressure: mean difference (SD)=16.6 (17.8) mmHg, P<0.001; diastolic blood pressure: mean difference (SD)=12.5 (16.7) mmHg, P=0.003]. Conclusion Our study suggests an acute BP-reducing effect of high-dose IVC, particularly with dosages above 30 g, and in patients with prehypertension and normal BMI. Furthermore, our study indicated a marked and clinically relevant hypertensive effect of IVB12, suggesting routine BP monitoring during i.v. therapy in clinical practice. © 2016 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc.

Ried K.,National Institute of Integrative Medicine
Complementary Therapies in Medicine | Year: 2015

Objectives: To assess the effect of Traditional Chinese herbal medicine (CHM) in the management of female infertility and on pregnancy rates compared with Western medical (WM) treatment and update previous meta-analyses. Methods: We searched the Medline and Cochrane databases until December 2013 for randomized controlled trials and meta-analyses investigating Chinese herbal medicine therapy for female infertility and compared clinical pregnancy rates achieved with CHM versus WM drug treatment. Results: Forty RCTs involving 4247 women with infertility were included in our systematic review. Meta-analysis suggested a 1.74 higher probability of achieving a pregnancy with CHM therapy than with WM therapy alone (risk ratio 1.74, 95%CI: 1.56-1.94; p<. 0.0001; odds ratio 3.14; 95%CI: 2.72-3.62; p<. 0.0001) in women with infertility. Trials included women with PCOS, endometriosis, anovulation, fallopian tube blockage, or unexplained infertility. Mean pregnancy rates in the CHM group were 60% compared with 33% in the WM group. Conclusions: Our review suggests that management of female infertility with Chinese herbal medicine can improve pregnancy rates 2-fold within a 3-6 month period compared with Western medical fertility drug therapy. In addition, fertility indicators such as ovulation rates, cervical mucus score, biphasic basal body temperature, and appropriate thickness of the endometrial lining were positively influenced by CHM therapy, indicating an ameliorating physiological effect conducive for a viable pregnancy. © 2015 Elsevier Ltd.

Background: Garlic has been shown to have cardiovascular protective and immunomodulatory properties. Objectives: We updated a previous meta-analysis on the effect of garlic on blood pressure and reviewed the effect of garlic on cholesterol and immunity. Methods: We searched the Medline database for randomized controlled trials (RCTs) published between 1955 and December 2013 on the effect of garlic preparations on blood pressure. In addition, we reviewed the effect of garlic on cholesterol and immunity. Results: Our updated meta-analysis on the effect of garlic on blood pressure, which included 20 trials with 970 participants, showed a mean6SE decrease in systolic blood pressure (SBP) of 5.162.2mmHg (P < 0.001) and a mean6 SE decrease in diastolic blood pressure (DBP) of 2.5 6 1.6 mm Hg (P < 0.002) compared with placebo. Subgroup analysis of trials in hypertensive subjects (SBP/DBP ≥140/90 mm Hg) at baseline revealed a larger significant reduction in SBP of 8.7 6 2.2 mm Hg (P < 0.001; n = 10) and in DBP of 6.1 6 1.3 mm Hg (P < 0.001; n = 6). A previously published meta analysis on the effect of garlic on blood lipids, which included 39 primary RCTs and 2300 adults treated for aminimumof 2wk, suggested garlic to be effective in reducing total and LDL cholesterol by 10% if taken for > 2 mo by individuals with slightly elevated concentrations [e.g., total cholesterol > 200mg/dL (> 5.5 mmol/L)]. Garlic has immunomodulating effects by increasing macrophage activity, natural killer cells, and the production of T and B cells. Clinical trials have shown garlic to significantly reduce the number, duration, and severity of upper respiratory infections. Conclusions: Our review suggests that garlic supplements have the potential to lower blood pressure in hypertensive individuals, to regulate slightly elevated cholesterol concentrations, and to stimulate the immune system. Garlic supplements are highly tolerated and may be considered as a complementary treatment option for hypertension, slightly elevated cholesterol, and stimulation of immunity. Future long-term trials are needed to elucidate the effect of garlic on cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. © 2016 American Society for Nutrition.

Ried K.,National Institute of Integrative Medicine | Fakler P.,National Institute of Integrative Medicine
Integrated Blood Pressure Control | Year: 2014

Garlic supplements have shown promise in the treatment of uncontrolled hypertension, lowering blood pressure (BP) by about 10 mmHg systolic and 8 mmHg diastolic, similar to standard BP medication. Aged garlic extract, which contains S-allylcysteine as the bioactive sulfur compound, in particular is standardizable and highly tolerable, with little or no known harmful interaction when taken with other BP-reducing or blood-thinning medication. Here we describe biologically plausible mechanisms of garlic’s BP-lowering effect. Garlic-derived polysulfides stimulate the production of the vascular gasotransmitter hydrogen sulfide (H2S) and enhance the regulation of endothelial nitric oxide (NO), which induce smooth muscle cell relaxation, vasodilation, and BP reduction. Several dietary and genetic factors influence the efficiency of the H2S and NO signaling pathways and may contribute to the development of hypertension. Sulfur deficiency might play a part in the etiology of hypertension, and could be alleviated with supplementation of organosulfur compounds derived from garlic. © 2014 Ried and Fakler.

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