Stroke and Seed Nutrition

Dr. Weeks’ Comment:   Unadulterated organic non GMO seed oils are therapeutic for vascular health including the blood vessels of the brain. Strokes (cerebral vascular infarcts) are inflammatory in nature so eating anti-inflammatory seeds are a must for people who are concerned about brain health.  Note: fish or krill oil capsules are bad for the brain whose tissues are made of omega 6 much more than omega 3 oils  (the brain is 100:1 omega 6 to omega 3 )


Exp Toxicol Pathol. 2014 Jan;66(1):13-7. doi: 10.1016/j.etp.2013.07.002. Epub 2013 Jul 30.

Thymoquinone ameliorates lead-induced brain damage in Sprague Dawley rats.


The present study aims to investigate the protective effects of thymoquinone, the major active ingredient of Nigella sativa seeds, against lead-induced brain damage in Sprague-Dawley rats. In which, 40 rats were divided into four groups (10 rats each). The first group served as control. The second, third and fourth groups received lead acetate, lead acetate and thymoquinone, and thymoquinone only, respectively, for one month. Lead acetate was given in drinking water at a concentration of 0.5 g/l (500 ppm). Thymoquinone was given daily at a dose of 20mg/kg b.w. in corn oil by gastric tube. Control and thymoquinone-treated rats showed normal brain histology. Treatment of rats with lead acetate was shown to produce degeneration of endothelial lining of brain blood vessels with peri-vascular cuffing of mononuclear cells consistent to lymphocytes, congestion of choroid plexus blood vessels, ischemic brain infarction, chromatolysis and neuronal degeneration, microglial reaction and neuronophagia, degeneration of hippocampal and cerebellar neurons, and axonal demyelination. On the other hand, co-administration of thymoquinone with lead acetate markedly decreased the incidence of lead acetate-induced pathological lesions. Thus the current study shed some light on the beneficial effects of thymoquinone against neurotoxic effects of lead in rats.


Br J Pharmacol. 2011 Dec;164(7):1871-82. doi: 10.1111/j.1476-5381.2011.01442.x.

Contrasting actions of diesel exhaust particles on the pulmonary and cardiovascular systems and the effects of thymoquinone.



Acute exposure to particulate air pollution has been linked to acute cardiopulmonary events, but the underlying mechanisms are uncertain. EXPERIMENTAL APPROACH We investigated the acute (at 4 and 18 h) effects of diesel exhaust particles (DEP) on cardiopulmonary parameters in mice and the protective effect of thymoquinone, a constituent of Nigella sativa. Mice were given, intratracheally, either saline (control) or DEP (30 µg·per mouse). KEY RESULTS At 18 h (but not 4 h) after giving DEP, there was lung inflammation and loss of lung function. At both 4 and 18 h, DEP caused systemic inflammation characterized by leucocytosis, increased IL-6 concentrations and reduced systolic bloodpressure (SBP). Superoxide dismutase (SOD) activity was decreased only at 18 h. DEP reduced platelet numbers and aggravated in vivo thrombosis in pial arterioles. In vitro, addition of DEP (0.1-1 µg·mL(-1)) to untreated blood-induced platelet aggregation. Pretreatment of mice with thymoquinone prevented DEP-induced decrease of SBP and leucocytosis, increased IL-6 concentration and decreased plasma SOD activity.Thymoquinone also prevented the decrease in platelet numbers and the prothrombotic events but not platelet aggregation in vitro.


At 4 h after DEP exposure, the cardiovascular changes did not appear to result from pulmonary inflammation but possibly from the entry of DEP and/or their associated components into blood. However, at 18 h, DEP induced significant changes in pulmonary and cardiovascular functions along with lung inflammation. Pretreatment with thymoquinone prevented DEP-induced cardiovascular changes.



Int J Cardiol. 2004 Jan;93(1):19-23.

Thymoquinone and Nigella sativa oil protection against methionine-induced hyperhomocysteinemia in rats.


Although the state of hyperhomocysteinemia (HHcy) appears to be associated with higher risks of coronary,cerebral and peripheral vascular disease as well as with a number of other clinical conditions, the underlying molecular mechanisms are not fully elucidated. There is strong evidence, however, that HHcy could induce a pathogenic state of oxidative stress. The interest in modulating the elevated levels of total homocysteine in HHcy and/or their negative impacts through preventive strategies, particularly through the supplementation with vitamins that may be linked to the homeostasis of homocysteine (folate, vitamin B(12), and vitamin B(6)), has increased in recent years. Here we show that active antioxidant components of the traditionally used black seeds of Nigella sativa plant protect against the development of methionine-induced HHcy and its associated state of oxidative stress. Pretreatment of rats with an oral dose of 100 mg/kg of thymoquinone, the main active constituent of the black seed, for 30 min and for 1 week almost completely protected against induced HHcy measured 5 h after methionine load (100 mg/kg). Under similar conditions pretreatment with commercial black seed oil (100 microl/kg) for 30 min and for 1 week produced significant and strong protection levels of 74.2 and 94.5%, respectively. Under the state of induced HHcy there were significant increases in the plasma levels of triglycerides, lipid peroxidation, cholesterol and in the activities of glutathione peroxidase and superoxide dismutase. Catalase activity was not affected. The total antioxidant status, however, was significantly depressed. All of these effects were almost totally blocked by prior treatment with thymoquinone or black seed oil. These findings may contribute towards a protective measure utilizing the black seed against the negative impacts of HHcy.

J Pharm Bioallied Sci. 2013 Apr;5(2):119-25. doi: 10.4103/0975-7406.111825.

Neuroprotective effects of chloroform and petroleum ether extracts of Nigella sativa seeds in stroke model of rat.



Stroke still remains a challenge for the researchers and scientists for developing ideal drug. Several new drugs are being evaluated showing excellent results in preclinical studies but when tested in clinical trials, they failed. Many herbal drugs in different indigenous system of medicine claim to have beneficial effects but not extensively evaluated for stroke (cerebral ischemia).


The present study was undertaken to evaluate chloroform and petroleum ether extract of Nigella sativa seeds administered at a dose of 400 mg/kg, per orally for seven days in middle cerebral artery occluded (MCAO) rats for its neuroprotective role in cerebral ischemia.


Focal cerebral ischemia was induced by middle cerebral artery occlusion for two hours followed by reperfusion for 22 hours. After 24 hours, grip strength, locomotor activity tests were performed in different treatment groups of rats. After completing behavioral tests, animals were sacrificed; brains were removed for the measurement of infarct volume followed by the estimation of markers of oxidative stress.


Both chloroform and petroleum ether extracts-pretreated rats showed improvement in locomotor activity and grip strength, reduced infarct volume when compared with MCAO rats. MCA occlusion resulted in the elevation of levels of thiobarbituric acid reactive substance (TBARS), while a reduction in the levels of glutathione (GSH) and antioxidant enzymes viz. superoxide dismutase (SOD) and catalase levels were observed. Pre-treatment of both extracts of Nigella sativa showed reduction in TBARS, elevation in glutathione, SOD, and catalase levels when compared with MCAO rats.


The chloroform and petroleum ether extract of Nigella sativa showed the protective effects in cerebral ischemia. The present study confirms the antioxidant, free radical scavenging, and anti-inflammatory properties of Nigella sativa already reported.


Chloroform; Nigella sativa; cerebral ischemia; neuroprotective effects; petroleum ether extract



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