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British Heart Foundation: Understanding blood clots

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Thrombotic events occur when a blood clot forms inside a vein, preventing blood flow within arteries. This causes pain and swelling in one leg, numbness on one side of the body, and life-threatening complications like stroke when poorly managed. The risk factors for these events are wide-ranging, but among the less widely discussed is the consumption of certain superfoods like date seed powder.

Various reports state that date seed powder is touted as a “superfood” due to its high levels of antioxidants, terbinafine structure fibre and minerals.

Some studies have suggested it may play a role in the regulation of cholesterol and blood sugar levels, and improve digestion as well as overall health.

Potential side effects of the superfood have been less widely discussed, however.

In 2021, the Hindawi Journal reported on the case of an 82-year-old man with a history of diabetes who was referred to hospital because of generalised abdominal pain.

The epigastric pain, which radiated to the back, began approximately four days before the patient arrived at the hospital.

The patient had no history of alcohol or drug use nor any prior experience with thrombotic events, but tests revealed thrombosis in the portal vein, which drains blood from the gastrointestinal tract to the liver.

“He had been eating date seeds powder (two tablespoons rice a day) for two weeks to relieve chronic knee joint pain without a physician’s prescription,” wrote the authors.

A large number of studies have reported allergic events and hypersensitivity in connection with date palm fruit and pollen, with date palm fruit being considered a strong allergen.

“There are also some concerns about date varieties with high concentrations of selenium, which is related to the amount of selenium in the soil,” states the patient’s report.

“However, to the best of our knowledge, no studies have reported the adverse effects of data seeds. We report the first case of PVT after consumption of date seeds for a long time.”

Date seeds are some used as an ingredient to enhance the nutritional value of other functional foods in the human diet.

Sometimes, it is used as an additive in pharmaceutical and cosmetic products, both in its powdered and oil form.

The seeds, characterised by lower moisture and high carbohydrate and fat content, have shown that the superfood can interact with the intestinal microflora in some studies.

This interaction particularly affects the probiotic bacteria, causing the growth of probiotics.

With this knowledge, the doctors caring for the patient hypothesised that date seed powder may interact with gut microbiota and cause various deleterious reactions.

These reactions could lead to the production of the natural compound trimethylamine N-Oxide, otherwise known as TMAO, which is closely related to blood clotting events.

The metabolite is generated in the body after the consumption of certain foods, and the gut converts it into molecules.

Despite the case report suggesting that date seeds may have dangerous side effects, more clinical trials are required to confirm this claim.

“In addition, most studies have dealt with the health benefits of date seed consumption and have not considered its possible side effects,” noted the authors.

Since date seeds are used for human consumption and disease treatment in some cultures, however, the researchers believe it is critical to pay attention to potential aftereffects.

They added: “In geographical areas where date seeds are ingested, health professionals should pay attention to the side effects of date seed, inform consumers and prevent its complications.”

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