Archive for the ‘Heart Disease’ Category

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Vitamin D Prevents Systemic Inflammation to Keep Chronic Diseases in Check

December 3, 2012
Vitamin D Prevents Systemic Inflammation to Prevent Chronic Diseases

Vitamin D Prevents Systemic Inflammation to Prevent Chronic Diseases

The connection between cellular saturation of the prohormone, vitamin D and development of chronic conditions ranging from cancer, dementia, stroke and heart disease have been well documented among forward-thinking scientists for at least a decade now. The specific mechanism of action has not been well documented though, as most studies have not drawn a clear line between blood levels of vitamin D and disease prevention.

High Vitamin D Status Inhibits Inflammatory Messengers to Prevent Chronic Disease

High Vitamin D Status Inhibits Inflammatory Messengers to Prevent Chronic Disease

High Vitamin D Status Inhibits Inflammatory Messengers to Prevent Chronic Disease

Researchers from National Jewish Health reporting in The Journal of Immunology have discovered specific molecular and signaling events by which vitamin D inhibits inflammation to help prevent and possibly even treat a host of potentially deadly diseases. Current levels considered satisfactory by most medical professionals did not inhibit the inflammatory cascade, leading to the progression of many forms of disease. Conversely, individuals that maintain significantly higher blood levels of vitamin D had lower levels of inflammatory markers known to aggravate disease progression and were protected against the major killers so prevalent today.

The study author, Dr. Elena Goleva noted that this research “goes beyond previous associations of vitamin D with various health outcomes. It outlines a clear chain of cellular events, from the binding of DNA, through a specific signaling pathway, to the reduction of proteins known to trigger inflammation.” Current guidelines call for minimum vitamin D blood serum levels of 20 ng/ml, a benchmark set decades ago that was intended to prevent rickets in children and promote bone health. Researchers conducting this study found improvement in inflammation levels at a minimum of 30 ng/ml. leaving millions at risk for chronic disease.

Check Vitamin D Blood Levels Every Six Months to Prevent Inflammation

Check Vitamin D Blood Levels Every Six Months to Prevent Inflammation

Check Vitamin D Blood Levels Every Six Months to Prevent Inflammation

Scientists conducting this study examined the specific mechanisms exhibited by vitamin D to act on immune and inflammatory pathways. They incubated white blood cells with different saturation levels of vitamin D and then exposed the culture to an inflammatory molecule known to promote intense inflammatory responses. Cells exposed to low levels of vitamin D (less than 15 ng/ml) produced excessive levels of the inflammatory cytokines IL-6 and TNF-alpha, associated with disease development and progression. The highest level of inflammatory inhibition occurred at 50 ng/ml and above as cells become fully saturated with the prohormone and maximum immune response is observed.

Researchers identified a new location where the vitamin-D receptor appears to bind directly to DNA and activate a gene known as MKP-1, interfering with the inflammatory cascade promoted by long-term stress and a highly refined, processed food diet. Dr. Goleva concluded “The fact that we showed a dose-dependent and varying response to levels commonly found in humans also adds weight to the argument for vitamin D’s role in immune and inflammatory conditions.” Maintain your vitamin D blood levels above 50 ng/ml (measured with the 25(OH)D test) to afford maximum protection against chronic inflammatory-mediated diseases.

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Fish Oil Supplements Improve Systemic Inflammation to Slash Heart Disease Risk

November 1, 2012
Omega-3 Fats Slash Inflammation to Fight Cancer and Heart Disease

Omega-3 Fats Slash Inflammation to Fight Cancer and Heart Disease

It is a commonly accepted fact within the medical research community that systemic inflammation is a primary cause of many forms of cancer, heart disease and other chronic diseases that take the lives of millions well before their time. Poor diet, stress and lifestyle factors all contribute to inflammation that overworks body metabolism and encourages damage to the delicate vascular system that feeds our heart. Production of inflammatory chemical markers such as cytokines are accelerated over months and years of exposure that creates an environment known to encourage the spread of cancer cells and propagate cardiovascular disease.

Two independent studies published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition have found that supplementing Omega-3 fats lowers the release of inflammatory biomarkers that are involved in damage to cells called soluble adhesion molecules. Researchers have demonstrated that Omega-3 fats from fish oil supplements effectively lower levels of circulating adhesion molecules to decrease risk of atherosclerosis and counteract the pro-carcinogenic action of these damaging compounds produced by long-term inflammation throughout the body.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids Inhibit Adhesion Molecules to Lower Heart Disease Risk

Omega-3 Fatty Acids Inhibit Adhesion Molecules to Lower Heart Disease Risk

Omega-3 Fatty Acids Inhibit Adhesion Molecules to Lower Heart Disease Risk

To prepare their work, researchers conducted a meta-analysis on eighteen separate studies that examined the effect of soluble adhesion molecules (sICAM-1) and Omega-3 fats and their impact on systemic inflammatory markers in the body. The results showed that Omega-3 supplements were associated with sICAM-1 reductions in both healthy people and subjects with abnormal blood lipid levels.

The scientists commented “This finding suggests that omega-3 PUFA reduces inflammation by selectively inhibiting monocyte activation rather than endothelial activation… and supports the notion that omega-3 PUFA can be supplemented to prevent the development and progression of atherosclerosis.” The Omega fats were found to lower levels of oxidized LDL cholesterol molecules and decrease particle size, both factors known to lower cardiovascular risk. The fats were also found to inhibit platelet aggregation or clumping and resolve particle adhesion properties to allow blood to flow freely through the vascular arteries.

Eat Fish Three Times Each Week or Supplement Daily with Distilled Fish Oil

Eat Fish Three Times Each Week or Supplement Daily with Distilled Fish Oil

Eat Fish Three Times Each Week or Supplement Daily with Distilled Fish Oil

A second research study performed in France determined that Omega-3 fats lower breast and prostate cancer risk in a cohort of 408 individuals with the disease, compared to 760 healthy control subjects. The scientists found a direct correlation between cancer development and Omega-3 supplementation, again by inhibiting the expression of adhesion molecules required for cancer cells to propagate.

Oily fish is the natural food source for pre-formed DHA and EPA Omega-3 fats. Many people avoid fish due to mercury contamination and unknown harvesting methods, making supplementation with a moleculary distilled form a viable option. Plant-based Omega-3 sources such as walnuts and flax seeds do not provide a good source of the necessary pre-formed long-chain fats, and while they are very healthy foods, do not yield a reliable supply of EPA and DHA fats. Read supplement labeling for a brand yielding 1,200 to 2,400 mg each day of combined EPA/DHA Omega-3 fats to lower the risks associated with heart disease and cancer.

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Sugary Drinks Boost Heart Disease In Men by Twenty Percent

October 13, 2012
Sweetened Beverages Increase Heart Disease Risk In Men

Sweetened Beverages Increase Heart Disease Risk In Men

Researchers publishing the results of a study in the prestigious American Heart Association journal Circulation have found that men who drank a 12-ounce sugar-sweetened beverage a day had a 20 percent higher risk of heart disease compared to men who didn’t drink any sugar-sweetened drinks. This should come as no surprise as sweetened (and calorie-free) beverages have come under scrutiny for contributing to increased risk of potentially fatal conditions such as diabetes, dementia, stroke, liver necrosis (fatty liver), overweight and obesity.

Excess glucose in the bloodstream is easily converted to triglycerides by the liver and promptly stored as fat, typically around the waistline for use during leaner times. This survival mechanism worked very well for our ancestors of several hundred generations past, but times of plenty now exist regularly, several times each day for most.

Sugar-Sweetened Beverages Boost Blood Fats to Significantly Increase Heart Disease Risk

Sugar-Sweetened Beverages Boost Blood Fats to Significantly Increase Heart Disease Risk

Sugar-Sweetened Beverages Boost Blood Fats to Significantly Increase Heart Disease Risk

Humans were never metabolically wired to consume the large amount of nutrient-poor calories as we do today, and it is leading to an early grave for millions. The bottom line is simple: eliminate calories from sugar-sweetened beverages and lower your risk of heart disease by one-fifth.

Researchers reviewed the beverage consuming habits of 42,883 men in the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study, and after controlling for risk factors including smoking, physical inactivity, alcohol use and family history of heart disease, they determined that daily consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages resulted in a twenty percent increase in cardiovascular disease. Scientists found that less frequent consumption, on the order of twice weekly to twice monthly did not increase risk.

Eliminate Sugary Drinks in Favor of Water, Green and White Teas

Eliminate Sugary Drinks in Favor of Water, Green and White Teas

Eliminate Sugary Drinks in Favor of Water, Green and White Teas

Lead study author, Dr. Frank Hu and his team from the Harvard School of Public Health measured blood markers for cardiovascular disease in the group such as C-reactive protein (CRP), potentially damaging blood fats including triglycerides and oxidized LDL cholesterol as well as good lipids known as high-density lipoproteins (HDL). They found that compared to a group of non-sweetened beverage drinkers, the test participants had significantly elevated levels of triglyceride, CRP and lower HDL levels.

These findings are to be expected with excess consumption of glucose. Excess sugar in the blood, when not required for energy to fuel metabolic processes is rapidly converted to free circulating blood fats and then stored as body fat. High levels of LDL cholesterol become oxidized (making the lipoprotein molecules sticky) where they are easily combined with calcium and other materials in the blood and are incorporated into atherosclerotic plaque. Most health-minded people will eliminate sugar-sweetened beverages entirely from their diet, as well as dramatically reduce all sources of quick-releasing refined carbohydrates to dramatically lower their risk of heart disease.

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Vitamin D Lowers Systemic Inflammation to Decrease Heart Disease Risk

September 10, 2012
Vitamin D Dramatically Lowers Heart Disease Risk

Vitamin D Dramatically Lowers Heart Disease Risk

Thousands of research studies have demonstrated the powerful health-promoting properties of the prohormone compound, vitamin D3. Researchers publishing in The Journal of Immunology explain the specific molecular and signaling events by which vitamin D inhibits inflammation in the human body. In a very detailed analysis, scientists show that low blood circulating levels of vitamin D do not adequately inhibit the inflammatory cascade necessary to turn off this potentially destructive mechanism.

Low levels of inflammation, normally used by the body to fight pathogenic invaders, become a primary cause of heart disease, diabetes, many cancer lines and Alzheimer’s dementia.  Additional evidence reported in the British Journal of Nutrition demonstrates that adequate vitamin D levels reduce critical markers of cardiovascular health and can lead to significant reductions in body fat in overweight and obese people. It is critical to have your vitamin D level checked, and supplement as necessary to lower inflammation levels and risk of heart disease.

Vitamin D Lowers Inflammation to Prevent Chronic Disease and Stimulate Immune Response Systems

Vitamin D From Gelcaps Reduces Metabolic Inflammation

Vitamin D From Gelcaps Reduces Metabolic Inflammation

Dr. Elena Goleva, lead scientist from National Jewish Health, found that prior studies with vitamin D show a clear and positive link between blood levels of the prohormone and a variety of different health outcomes. Dr. Goleva and her team looked for specific mechanisms to explain precisely how vitamin D functions at the cellular level to prevent disease in the human body.

Dr. Goleva and her team of researchers noted that vitamin D is a catalyst that initiates “a clear chain of cellular events, from the binding of DNA, through a specific signaling pathway, to the reduction of proteins known to trigger inflammation.”  To test how vitamin D acts on immune and inflammatory pathways, team scientists exposed human white blood cells to varying levels of vitamin D and exposed them to an agent known to promote intense inflammatory responses and advance disease processes.

Vitamin D Lowers Inflammatory Markers and Increases Health-Promoting HDL Cholesterol

Vitamin D Improves the Immune Capacity of White Blood Cells

Vitamin D Improves the Immune Capacity of White Blood Cells

White blood cells that were incubated with no vitamin D or a solution of 15 ng/mL produced very high levels of the pro-inflammatory cytokines IL-6 and TNF-alpha. In vivo, these signaling messengers are known to be responsible for the development and progression of cardiovascular disease, certain forms of cancer and dementia. Cells incubated at a concentration of 30 ng/mL and above showed a significantly reduced response, while the highest level of inflammatory inhibition occurred at 50 ng/ml.

Supporting evidence for the health-promoting effect of vitamin D as reported in the journal BMJ shows marked improvement in cardiovascular biomarkers including HDL cholesterol. Additionally, researchers found the hormone-like substance lowered the risk of lipid peroxidation, the process responsible for making LDL cholesterol molecules sticky and prone to form atherosclerotic plaque. They also determined that high circulating levels of vitamin D were associated with “significant reductions in fat mass” in overweight and obese people.

There should be no doubt that the millions of people living with grossly sub-optimal vitamin D levels are dramatically increasing their risk of developing a plethora of potentially deadly illnesses. Health-minded individuals will ensure they maintain a circulating blood level of 50 to 70 ng/mL by means of a 25(OH)D blood test to regulate systemic inflammation and fight chronic disease.

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Green Tea Improves Weight Loss and Heart Health

April 9, 2012
Green Tea Boosts Metabolism to Aid Weight Loss

Green Tea Boosts Metabolism to Aid Weight Loss

Green tea (and its less refined cousin, white tea) has been a part of the ancient Chinese tradition for countless generations, in large part due to its rich endowment of bioactive catechins. Many studies over the past decade have shown that green tea is a powerful tool to improve metabolism in a way that is supportive of weight loss.

Scientists publishing in the Journal of Agricultural Food Chemistry demonstrate that it activates genes associated with fat burning while also helping to reduce absorption of fat from the digestive tract. Further evidence on the gene-altering activity of green tea is reported in the International Journal of Cardiology, as polyphenols from the drink lower free radical damage to help maintain telomere length in heart cells. Drinking several cups of green tea each day may hold the key to effective weight management and cardiac health.

Green Tea Supplementation Assists Weight Loss by Reducing Abdominal Fat Stores

EGCG in Green Tea Inhibits Lipid Metabolism to Assist Weight Loss

EGCG in Green Tea Inhibits Lipid Metabolism to Assist Weight Loss

Researchers from the Departments of Chemical Biology and Pharmacology and Toxicology at Rutgers University in New Jersey examined the effect of green tea supplementation on obese mice, known to exhibit similar metabolic characteristics to humans. The animals were broken into two groups and both were fed a traditional high fat/Western style diet. One group received water supplemented with the green tea bioactive catechin EGCG, while the second group acted as a non-supplemented control.

The study determined that EGCG supplementation significantly reduced body weight gain associated with increased fecal lipids and decreased blood glucose levels compared to those of the control group. Scientists further found that fatty liver incidence, associated liver damage and liver triglyceride levels were also decreased by the EGCG treatment. Treated animals also experienced improved insulin response as well as lowered C-reactive protein (CRP) and interlukin-6 (IL-6) levels, both strong indicators of systemic inflammation and immune response.

EGCG is a Powerful Antioxidant Shown to Increase Heart Muscle Lifespan

Green Tea Improves heart Muscle Function to Prevent Heart Disease

Green Tea Improves heart Muscle Function to Prevent Heart Disease

The study authors concluded “Our results demonstrate that the high fat/Western diet produces more severe symptoms of metabolic syndrome and that the EGCG treatment can alleviate these symptoms and body fat accumulation. The beneficial effects of EGCG are associated with decreased lipid absorption and reduced levels of inflammatory cytokines.” Green tea helps our cellular engines (mitochondria) to better metabolize calories more efficiently, providing a significant weight management tool.

Additionally, supporting research documents the effect of green tea catechins on extending the lifespan of heart muscle cells. Scientists found that EGCG supplementation exerted a potent antioxidant effect that lowered free radical damage to preserve telomere length and reduce heart cell death. Nutrition experts recommend two to four cups of fresh brewed green tea daily or an organically compounded and standardized EGCG supplement (300 to 500 mg daily) to assist weight management goals and improve cardiovascular health.

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Watermelon Assists Weight Management and Lowers Heart Disease Risk

March 5, 2012
Watermelon Aids Weight Loss and Lowers Heart Disease Risk

Watermelon Aids Weight Loss and Lowers Heart Disease Risk

Researchers from the University of Kentucky have demonstrated that consuming watermelon juice can have a significant impact on artery-clogging plaque deposition by modifying blood lipids and lowering dangerous belly fat accumulation. Heart disease takes the lives of millions of unsuspecting individuals each year, and atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) leading to a heart attack is the most common form of the disease.

Many different species of melons have been shown to benefit human health and watermelon is no exception. Regular consumption of the red fruit can help manage fat deposition and weight management goals while lowering the risks associated with coronary artery plaque accumulation and heart disease.

Watermelon Improves Lipid Profile and Fat Accumulation to Lower Heart Disease Risk

Watermelon Boosts Fat Metabolism to Boost Weight Loss

Watermelon Boosts Fat Metabolism to Boost Weight Loss

Researchers using mice with diet-induced high cholesterol were given supplemental watermelon juice while a control group was fed a typical diet with plain water. After a study period of eight weeks, the animals given watermelon juice had lower body weight than the control group, due to decreased fat mass. They experienced no decrease in lean mass, an important finding as muscle tissue remained viable and weight loss was due to loss of abdominal body fat.

Further, the study authors determined that plasma cholesterol concentrations were significantly lower in the supplemented group, with modestly reduced intermediate and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol concentrations as compared to the control group. An examination of plaque affected lesion areas found that the watermelon juice group experienced significant reductions in atherogenic plaque lesions and a statistically significant reduction in risk of progressive arterial hardening and heart attack.

Watermelon Consumption is Shown to Stabilize or Slow Arterial Plaque Growth

Watermelon Juice Lowers Deadly Arterial Plaque Accumulation

Watermelon Juice Lowers Deadly Arterial Plaque Accumulation

Lead investigator, Dr. Sibu Saha concluded “Melons have many health benefits… this pilot study has found three interesting health benefits in mouse model of atherosclerosis. Our ultimate goal is to identify bioactive compounds that would improve human health”. Any intervention that can stabilize or slow the growth of arterial plaque will result in a critical lowered risk of atherosclerosis (arterial hardening), the leading form of heart disease.

Like many other fruits and vegetables found in their natural form, watermelons contain powerful carotenoid antioxidant compounds that promote human health and fight disease. Watermelons derive their red color from lycopene, a nutrient well known for its ability to fight colon and prostate cancer. In addition, watermelon consumption is associated with protection against macular degeneration and has been shown to help lower blood pressure and improve insulin signaling. Prior studies have used three cups of watermelon juice or two and a half cups of fruit chunks to provide clinically significant levels of lycopene.

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Omega-3 Fats Improve Insulin Resistance and Lower Heart Disease Risk

February 27, 2012
Fish Oil Fats Improve Blood Lipids to Lower Heart Disease Risks

Fish Oil Fats Improve Blood Lipids to Lower Heart Disease Risks

Compelling evidence now exists to demonstrate that heart disease is largely caused by the proliferation of increased levels of small, dense LDL cholesterol particles that have become oxidized in the blood and abnormalities relating to insulin resistance. Both factors combine to deal a potentially deadly punch to the vascular system, leading to metabolic stress, diabetes and increased risk for a heart attack.

Published studies appearing in the journals Nutrition Review and Biological Psychology detail the impact of nutritional intervention with the long-chain omega-3 fats EPA and DHA to improve insulin signaling and lower heart disease risk. A balanced diet including fatty fish, nuts, seeds and olive oil or fish oil supplementation are shown to significantly improve biological markers associated with diabetes and cardiovascular pathogenesis.

Omega-3 Fats Lower Risk for Heart Disease in Women by 38 Percent

Fish Oil is Shown to Lower Inflammatory Factors That Promote Heart Disease

Fish Oil is Shown to Lower Inflammatory Factors That Promote Heart Disease

Many people discount the effect of mental stress on physical health and cardiovascular disease in particular. Overt demands on the nervous system that result from unresolved stress result in excessive demands on the circulatory system, reduced blood flow to cells and increased levels of damaging inflammation. Combined with a diet favoring poor balance of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids, the stage is set for a dangerous deterioration of the cardiovascular system.

Researchers examined 3277 Danish men and women over a period of 23 years to determine the effect of long-chain omega-3 fats on cardiac health. Scientists found that 471 cases of ischemic heart disease (IHD) occurred during the study period. A detailed analysis of the results showed that those participants with the highest intake of EPA and DHA omega-3 fats (1.4 total grams of EPA/DHA per day) experienced the highest risk reduction for IHD. The study authors noted that omega-3 fat intake “was especially clear for women, who had a statistically significant 38 percent risk reduction for heart disease. Men also showed a benefiting trend of 26 percent risk reduction.”

Omega-3 Fat Supplementation Regulates Insulin Function to Lower Inflammatory Disease Risks

Omega-3 Fats Improve Insulin Resistance to Assist Weight Loss

Omega-3 Fats Improve Insulin Resistance to Assist Weight Loss

Further evidence demonstrating the importance of omega-3 fats for optimal human health is published in the journal Nutrition Review. Adiponectin is a potent hormone secreted by white adipose tissue that regulates insulin function and reduces inflammation in your circulatory system. As central abdominal fat increases, adiponectin levels go down, increasing the risk for obesity, diabetes and heart disease. Researchers found that omega-3 fats from diet or supplementation, combined with dietary fiber and exercise increased adiponectin levels up to 60%, dramatically lowering the risk from inflammatory disease and metabolic syndrome.

An extensive body of research continues to mount showing the importance of omega-3 fats as a cornerstone for disease prevention and ideal health. Stress is a part of everyday life that directly impacts disease development and progression on the cellular level. Research confirms that a healthy diet favoring omega-3 fat sources or distilled fish oil supplements (1.2 to 1.4 grams EPA/DHA per day) can negate the effect of stressors that cause inflammation, metabolic dysfunction and cardiovascular disease.

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