Archive for the ‘Stroke’ Category

h1

Cacao From Dark Chocolate Lowers Risk of Stroke and Heart Disease

February 13, 2012
Dark Chocolate is Shown to Lower Stroke Risk in Women

Dark Chocolate is Shown to Lower Stroke Risk in Women

Everybody likes chocolate, a fact supported by the annual increase in consumption documented by chocolate manufacturers around the globe. This may be good news for many chocolate consumers, but caution is advised to carefully monitor the quantity consumed and the cocoa content of the product purchased. We now have documented evidence to explain how dark chocolate consumption lowers stroke risk in women and slashes heart disease risk in adults.

Researchers publishing the Journal of the American College of Cardiology found high chocolate consumption correlates with a lower risk of stroke in women. Further proof of vascular benefits is documented in the British Medical Journal as scientists explain that chocolate consumption lowers heart disease risk by more than a third.

High Levels of Chocolate Consumption Dramatically Lower Heart Disease and Stroke Risks

Dark Chocolate has Antioxidant and Anti-Inflammatory Properties to Improve Heart Health

Dark Chocolate has Antioxidant and Anti-Inflammatory Properties to Improve Heart Health

A number of recent studies have shown that eating chocolate has a positive influence on human health due to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. This includes reducing blood pressure and improving insulin sensitivity, a primary factor in diabetes development and progression in millions of at-risk children and adults. The World Health Organization predicts that nearly 24 million people will die from heart disease by the year 2030, yet proper diet and lifestyle could significantly lower the mortality rate.

In an effort to confirm past research efforts that suggest a connection between chocolate consumption and lowered risk of heart disease and stroke, Dr. Oscar Franco and colleagues from the University of Cambridge in England analyzed the results of seven studies involving over 100,000 participants with and without existing heart disease. Researchers compared the group with the highest chocolate consumption against those with the lowest, taking into account differences in study design and quality of reporting.

Choose Dark Chocolate with a High Cocoa Content for Optimal Protection

Choose Dark Chocolate with a Minimum Cocoa Content of 75%

Choose Dark Chocolate with a Minimum Cocoa Content of 75%

Researchers performing a meta-analysis of all studies examined found a significant correlation between higher levels of chocolate consumption and the risk of cardiovascular events. They determined that the “highest levels of chocolate consumption were associated with a 37% reduction in cardiovascular disease and a 29% reduction in stroke compared with lowest levels.” Although the final analysis did not distinguish between dark and milk chocolate consumption, nutritional experts recommend choosing dark chocolate with minimal added sugar and at least 75% cocoa content.

There are many documented lifestyle changes that have been shown to dramatically lower the risk of heart disease and stroke including vitamin D optimization, fish oil supplementation and potent antioxidants such as resveratrol. Chocolate eaten in small amounts several times a week can now be added to the list as research confirms the powerful human health benefits of cocoa.

h1

Vitamin B12 Prevents Brain Shrinkage During Aging to Prevent Memory Loss

December 26, 2011
Vitamin B12 Enriched Foods or Supplements Help Preserve Memory

Vitamin B12 Enriched Foods or Supplements Help Preserve Memory

Many people are aware that vitamin B12 status declines during aging, as millions of seniors fall prey to a decline in this critical nutrient. Vitamin B12 circulating in the blood declines in the elderly due to absorption problems in the digestive tract leading to poor uptake by body tissues, especially the brain.

Researchers publishing in the journal Neurology have established a definitive link between poor vitamin B12 levels and brain shrinkage, a hallmark of cognitive decline and Alzheimer`s dementia. Supplementation with the biologically active form of the B vitamin may help prevent shrinkage and preserve learning capabilities and memory functions as we age.

Vitamin B12 Deficiencies Linked to Shrinking Brain Volume and Cognitive Decline Among Elderly

Vitamin B12 Prevents Brain Shrinkage During Aging

Vitamin B12 Prevents Brain Shrinkage During Aging

The study involved 121 participants from the Chicago Health and Aging Project who underwent magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans over a period of four and a half years. Additionally, each member of the study had blood drawn to measure levels of vitamin B12 and B12-related markers that can indicate a B12 deficiency. The same subjects took tests measuring their memory and other cognitive skills.

MRI scans were analyzed to measure total brain volume and look for other signs of brain damage. The tests included seven measures of episodic memory, two measures of visual spatial ability and perceptual organization, two measures of perceptual speed, two measures of semantic memory, and three measures of working memory. Stored blood samples were analyzed for vitamin B12 and homocysteine, a byproduct of metabolism associated with dementia, cognitive decline and coronary artery disease.

Vitamin B12 Levels Improve Cognitive Abilities and Can Help Prevent Stroke

Vitamin B12 is Shown to Lower Incidence of Stroke and Maintain Normal Cognition

Vitamin B12 is Shown to Lower Incidence of Stroke and Maintain Normal Cognition

Researchers determined that having high levels of four of five markers for vitamin B12 deficiency was associated with having lower scores on the cognitive tests and smaller total brain volume. Indicators of vitamin B12 insufficiency contributed to poor global cognitive test scores and a decrease in brain volume revealed by MRI findings compared to those with better B12 status. Higher levels of the vitamin B12 markers were linked to decreased total brain volume. Elevated homocysteine levels were indicative of greater white matter volume and elevated risk of cerebrovascular events.

Lead researcher, Dr. Christine Tangney concluded “Our findings suggest that … vitamin B12 deficiency, may affect cognition by reducing total brain volume whereas the effect of homocysteine on cognition may be mediated through increased white matter hyperintensity volume and cerebral infarcts.” Vitamin B12 deficiency among the elderly is a significant cause for concern and may very well be a key contributor to the explosion of Alzheimer`s disease cases over the past 50 years. Nutritionists recommend supplementing with the bioactive form of B12 known as methylcobalamin (1 to 5 mg per day taken sublingually) to regulate circulating levels of this critical brain nutrient.

h1

Omega-3 Fatty Acids Lower Mortality Risk Up to Eighty Percent

December 19, 2011
Omega-3 Fats Shown to Extend Natural Lifespan up to 80%

Omega-3 Fats Shown to Extend Natural Lifespan up to 80%

Many people make the potentially fatal presumption that aging, chronic diseases and premature aging are natural events that come with advancing years. A plethora of current research studies confirm that nothing could be farther from the truth. In addition to super-nutrients such as resveratrol, curcumin and vitamin D optimization, researchers publishing in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition and Clinical Cardiology provide documented evidence that beneficial Omega-3 fatty acids from dietary sources and supplementation slash the overall risk of an early death.

The long-chain fats DHA and EPA elicit a profound effect on the heart and brain to ameliorate chronic diseases that bring an early demise to millions of unsuspecting individuals each year. Health-minded individuals today are used to hearing about the myriad of benefits associated with eating fish and supplementing with Omega-3 fats.

Omega-3 Fat Supplementation Slashes Risk of All-Cause Mortality in Half

Heart Attack Risk Lowered in Those With Prior Heart Disease by 85%

Heart Attack Risk Lowered in Those With Prior Heart Disease by 85%

A wealth of peer-reviewed studies provide solid evidence that the DHA and EPA fatty acids help to prevent heart disease and sudden death from a heart attack, lower depression incidence and reduce stroke and dementia risks as well. New research shows that optimal Omega-3 blood levels lower the risk of dying from all causes by 85% in high risk patients who had suffered a prior heart attack.

Intrigued by the result of this research, scientists wanted to understand if mortality was affected in individuals with no evident heart disease. A group of men aged 64 to 76 years were supplemented with Omega-3 fats (2.4 grams per day) for a period of 3 years. During that time, the participants showed a 47% reduction in risk of dying from any cause compared to a placebo group. Women experienced a 44% lower risk of death in a similar study.

Omega-3 Fats Lower Systemic Inflammation and Balance Omega-6 Ratios

Omega-3 Enriched Foods and Supplements Balance Fat Ratios and Reduce Inflammation

Omega-3 Enriched Foods and Supplements Balance Fat Ratios and Reduce Inflammation

Researchers from the American Heart Association journal Stroke commented on the ground-breaking conclusions of multiple Omega-3 studies, “Evidence from prospective secondary prevention studies suggests that EPA+DHA supplementation ranging from 0.5 to 1.8 g/d (either as fatty fish or supplements) significantly reduces subsequent cardiac and all-cause mortality.” Omega-3 enriched foods and supplements help to improve the critical balance with Omega-6 fats to lower systemic inflammation. This provides the primary risk-reduction mechanism associated with the long-chain fat.

In addition to fatty fish (salmon, snapper, scallops and shrimp), non-meat food sources of Omega-3’s include walnuts, flaxseeds, chia seeds, raw tofu and cooked soybeans. The body does not efficiently process EPA and DHA fats from vegetarian sources, though strong evidence exists that these food sources still provide exceptional health benefits. To be certain you achieve optimal Omega-3 blood saturation levels as referenced in these studies, nutrition experts recommend supplementing with 2.4 grams per day of combined EPA and DHA (read package labels to ensure proper dose). When supplementing, check that the fish oil (krill oil is also an excellent option) is molecularly distilled to avoid contamination.

h1

Apples and Pears Shown to Cut Stroke Risk by Half

December 7, 2011
White Fleshed Fruit Consumption Can Lower Stroke Risk by More Than 50%

White Fleshed Fruit Consumption Can Lower Stroke Risk by More Than 50%

Stroke is the third leading cause of death in America, affecting nearly one million people and taking the lives of 150,000 each year. Researchers publishing in the American Heart Association journal Stroke have found that increased consumption of white fleshy vegetables and fruits such as apples and pears leads to a dramatic decline in both incidence and death from a stroke.

This study is the first to differentiate between different colors in fruits and vegetables and the risk for developing a specific disease or illness. Beneficial phytochemicals such as carotenoids and flavonoids found in the white flesh and skin of apples and pears can dramatically lower your risk of suffering the devastating physical damage caused by a stroke.

Apples and Pears Can Cut Stroke Risk by More Than Fifty Percent

Carotenoids in Apples and Pears Lowers Stroke Risk

Carotenoids in Apples and Pears Lowers Stroke Risk

Nutrition scientists have long known that the brightly colored skin and flesh of fruits and vegetables confer the health benefits normally associated with eating these foods. To further examine this link, researchers examined the relationship between fruit and vegetable color group consumption and contrasted with 10-year stroke incidence in a cohort of 20,069 adults, with an average age of 41. Participants were disease free at the outset of the study and were asked to complete a 178-item food frequency questionnaire detailing foods consumed over the past year.

Fruit and vegetable consumption was broken into four distinct groups, based on pigment color: Green, including dark leafy vegetables, orange/yellow, mostly citrus fruits, red/purple, mostly red vegetables and white, of which 55 percent were apples and pears. Follow up proceeded for a period of ten years during which time 233 strokes were confirmed. Green, orange/yellow and red/purple varieties of fruits and vegetables were found to have no correlation to stroke incidence.

Fruits and Vegetables of All Colors Needed to Lower Disease Risk

Choose Fruits and Vegetables from all Color Groups to Improve Health Profile

Choose Fruits and Vegetables from all Color Groups to Improve Health Profile

White fleshed fruits and vegetables demonstrated a 52% lower incidence of stroke over the ten-year period when those consuming the highest amounts were compared to the group with the lowest intake. The researchers found that each 25 gram per day increase in white fruits and vegetable consumption was associated with a 9 percent lower risk of stroke (the average apple is 120 grams).

The lead study author from Wageningen University in the Netherlands concluded “To prevent stroke, it may be useful to consume considerable amounts of white fruits and vegetables… For example, eating one apple a day is an easy way to increase white fruits and vegetable intake.” Apples and pears are high in a nutrient known as quercetin and fiber that may convey part of the stroke risk reduction. It`s critical to eat a diet packed with fruits and vegetables of all colors to take advantage of the unique disease-fighting characteristics to be uncovered for a multitude of different carotenoids and flavonoids in future research studies.

h1

Cocoa and Dark Chocolate Lower Risks from Heart Attack and Stroke

November 14, 2011
Cocoa Polyphenols Are a Potent Antioxidant to Help Prevent Vascular Disease

Cocoa Polyphenols Are a Potent Antioxidant to Help Prevent Vascular Disease

Researchers from the University of Cambridge in England have finally published solid evidence to demonstrate the consumption of chocolate is associated with improved heart and vascular health. Writing in the prestigious BMJ (British Medical Journal), Dr. Oscar Franco and his team determined several factors including diet, exercise, body weight control and lifestyle changes could help reduce the risk of heart disease, a condition expected to claim the lives of nearly 24 million people worldwide by the year 2030.

The study authors found that the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of cocoa from chocolate consumption could reduce heart disease risk by one-third and could also reduce the risk of sudden death from a heart attack and stroke incidence.

Cocoa from Dark Chocolate Improves Cardiac Risk Markers

Dark Chocolate Consumption Can Lower Heart Attack Risk by 37%

Dark Chocolate Consumption Can Lower Heart Attack Risk by 37%

The study included an analysis of seven detailed research bodies that included more than 114,000 participants. All studies independently pointed to the conclusion that different levels of chocolate consumption were associated with a substantial reduction in the risk of cardio-metabolic disorders. Researchers found that the flavonoids passed to chocolate from the cocoa bean have a positive impact on health and were found to regulate insulin sensitivity and maintain blood pressure in the normal range.

Researchers ranked chocolate consumption among participants in the seven studies from highest to lowest to determine the effect of the cocoa flavanols on human health risk factors. Five of the seven studies showed that eating the highest amount of chocolate significantly reduced the number of cardiac events. In particular they found those who ate the most chocolate had a 37% lower risk of having a cardiovascular incident compared to those who ate the least.

Chocolate Consumption Lowers Risk of Stroke by Nearly Thirty Percent

Stroke Incidence Reduced by 29% With Chocolate Consumption

Stroke Incidence Reduced by 29% With Chocolate Consumption

When assessing other risk factors, the study authors found that the highest chocolate consumers had a 29% lower incidence of stroke compared to the lowest chocolate eaters. Interestingly the researchers found that high levels of chocolate consumption specifically lowered the risk of a cardiac or stroke event but did not impact heart failure, another very serious form of heart disease and death. The studies examined did not differentiate between milk and dark chocolate, and included chocolate desserts, biscuits, chocolate bars and drinks. Prior research has indicated maximum benefit from eating dark, bitter chocolate with a high cocoa content.

The authors did provide a word of caution regarding excess consumption of chocolate particularly because commercially available chocolate is very caloric and eating too much of it could in itself lead to weight gain, risk of diabetes and heart disease. They concluded, “Based on observational evidence, levels of chocolate consumption seem to be associated with a substantial reduction in the risk of cardio-metabolic disorders.” Individuals looking to take advantage of the health benefits of chocolate may want to use a cacao bean extract supplement (25 to 50 mg per day) to reap the cardiovascular and stroke risk reduction benefits.

h1

Stroke Risk Nearly Cut in Half with Olive Oil Consumption

September 11, 2011
Daily Olive Oil Consumption Linked to Lower Stroke Risk in Seniors

Daily Olive Oil Consumption Linked to Lower Stroke Risk in Seniors

Critical research released in the industry publication journal Neurology from the American Academy of Neurology provides evidence that regular consumption of olive oil can help lower the risk of stroke. The study examined individuals over the age of 65 that are most vulnerable to the devastating effects of a stroke.

Scientists suggest that olive oil taken as part of a healthy diet can lower the life-altering risks associated with a stroke by 41% in the elderly. Based on this body of work, researchers “suggest that a new set of dietary recommendations should be issued to prevent stroke in people 65 and older.”

Extra Virgin, Cold Pressed Olive Oil Consumed Daily Dramatically Lowers Stroke Risk

EVOO Lowered Stroke Risk by 41% to 73%

EVOO Lowered Stroke Risk by 41% to 73%

To conduct the study, researchers examined the medical records of 7,625 aging adults 65 or older from three cities in France. Participants were in generally good health and had no prior history of stroke. Olive oil consumption was determined by use of dietary questionnaire and usage was broken down into three groups: none, moderate and intense based on regular consumption habits. It is significant to note that virtually all olive oil consumed was extra virgin and cold pressed. This type of minimally processed oil has been found to lower the risk of heart disease in prior studies.

Participants were followed for a period of five years and 148 strokes occurred during that time span. After considering dietary, lifestyle and medical history researchers found that those with the highest intake of extra virgin olive oil were 41% less likely to suffer a stroke compared with those with the lowest consumption of the monounsaturated oil. In a secondary arm of this study where plasma fatty acid measurements were available, individuals with the highest oleic acid (olive oil fraction) were found to experience a 73% lower risk of stroke.

Olive Oil Found to Improve Blood Lipid Profile, Lowers Blood Pressure

Olive Oil Consumption Improves Oxidized LDL Cholesterol and Lipid Profile

Olive Oil Consumption Improves Oxidized LDL Cholesterol and Lipid Profile

Researchers noted that olive oil consumption is associated with lowered risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, lipid abnormalities and obesity. They stopped short of suggesting which particular elements of olive oil provide the stroke-protective mechanism. Extra virgin olive oil is known to be a rich source of natural polyphenols from the olive fruit that alters the oxidized, sticky nature of LDL cholesterol that is implicated with plaque build-up in the arteries.

The study author from the University of Bordeaux in France, Dr. Cécilia Samieri commented “Stroke is so common in older people and olive oil would be an inexpensive and easy way to help prevent it.” The study did not specify the amount of olive oil used by those in the `intense` group that experienced the highest degree of protection from stroke. Nutritionists recommend that most people should add 1 to 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil five days a week to reap the powerful health benefits of this monounsaturated oil.

h1

Fish Oil Component DHA Lowers Heart Disease and Stroke Risk

July 1, 2011
DHA From Fish Oil Lowers Heart Attack and Stroke Risk

DHA From Fish Oil Lowers Heart Attack and Stroke Risk

As the population of American baby boomers continues to swell, age related afflictions including diabetes, cardiovascular disease and complications such as blindness are growing at a similar pace. The number of people aged 65 or older will double over the next 20 years creating an epidemic of chronic conditions that perpetuate with age.

According to the result of a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, a diet supplemented with the Omega-3 fatty acid DHA (Docosahexaenoic acid) can significantly lower the risk of sudden cardiac death, heart disease and visual degeneration leading to blindness.

Omega-3 Fats Provide Critical Protection Against Heart Attack

DHA Boosts Energy Production in Heart Muscle Cells

DHA Boosts Energy Production in Heart Muscle Cells

Many scientific studies have proven the importance of Omega-3 fish oils in the prevention of cardiac disorders and specifically lowering the risk of sudden death from a heart attack. Research conducted by the Division of Cardiology and Department of Medicine at the University of Maryland found that the DHA fraction of fish oil dramatically alters the mitochondria in the heart muscle increasing healthy heart energy production. Researchers found that DHA activates the gene PPAR to help prevent the increasing incidence of heart failure and risk from a deadly heart attack.

Another key component in the progression of cardiovascular disease is systemic inflammation that leads to unstable plaque known to rupture and cause a heart attack. Further evidence of the importance of DHA in lowering heart diseases risk is published in the journal Nature Chemical Biology. Researchers found that DHA influences the action of immune system macrophages. Working at the genetic level, DHA is shown to control the release of cellular antioxidants that inhibit the damage caused by excessive and chronic inflammation to the coronary arteries.

DHA Fat Dramatically Lowers Risk of a Fatal Stroke

DHA Stabilizes Plaque and Lowers Stroke Risk

DHA Stabilizes Plaque and Lowers Stroke Risk

DHA is an important tool in the prevention of stroke. Many of the mechanisms that increase incidence of a heart attack also contribute to stroke risk. DHA becomes incorporated into the cell wall structure where it stabilizes existing plaque, making it less likely to break off and cause a stroke. DHA has been shown to help blood flow easier, lower the risk for clotting and reduce blood pressure. High levels of DHA can prevent hardening and thickening of the arteries that result in vascular decay.

The journal Science Translational Medicine reports the result of research that demonstrates how DHA regulated genes that can prevent blindness. DHA is highly concentrated in the retina and can control the abnormal growth of blood vessels in the eye that cause visual degradation. By halting unnecessary growth, DHA regulates vessel formation so that healthy blood vessels form and undesirable ones do not.

Fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel, herring and trout are ideal sources of Omega-3 fats including the DHA fraction. Due to the ever-increasing problem of mercury contamination in fish, supplementation is well advised. Nutrition experts recommend a molecularly distilled, dosage-controlled supplement that supplies 250 to 500 mg of DHA (not EPA and DHA combined, read labels carefully) daily to dramatically lower the risks from heart disease, heart attack, stroke and blindness.