Nutrition and HEART

Artichokes May Reduce Cholesterol: A 12-week clinical trial of the effects of Cynarol, a concentrate made from the flower buds of the artichoke, exhibited a reduction of serum cholesterol in patients with secondary hyperlipemia. 

Vitamins C and E Protect Arteries: Beta-carotene works synergistically with vitamins C and E to elicit a protective antioxidant effect. Carotene repairs the alpha-tocopherol radical which is produced when alpha-tocopherol scavenges an oxy-radical, while ascorbic acid enhances the decay rate of carotene radical cautions that are formed during the regeneration of alpha-tocopherol.

Antioxidants Fight Heart Disease: Antioxidant supplementation may be effective in preventing cardiovascular disease. In one study, researchers found that taking at least 400 International Units (IUs) per day of natural vitamin E reduced heart attacks by 77 percent.

Antioxidant Vitamins Reduce Free Radical Injury: Free radical injury occurring after heart bypass surgery or treatment for a heart attack during the critical period of reperfusion, when blood flow is restored to the muscle, may be minimized with antioxidant vitamins. Using a new non-invasive, quantitative test, investigators can now develop scientific pre-operative therapies with antioxidant vitamins or drugs to see if these mitigate the process.

Coronary Disease Linked to LDL: Coronary artery disease (CAD) may be related not only to absolute levels of lipids, but also to low density lipoprotein (LDL) oxidation. However, although two studies proved LDL to be linked to atherosclerosis, they did not prove that taking antioxidants would help prevent CAD.

Folic Acid Reduces Heart Attack Risk: High blood levels of homocysteine, an amino acid, can increase the risk of heart disease as much as smoking or high cholesterol. Researchers found that, of the 1,500 male and female subjects studied, those with homocysteine levels in the top 20-percent of the study group doubled their risk for heart disease. However, people who supplement their diets with folic acid and other B vitamins can reduce their risk by 60 percent. Researchers indicate that 650 mcg per day of folic acid supplementation has been shown to lower serum homocysteine levels. However, less than 12 percent of Americans get more than 400 mcg per day of folate from their ducts.

Vitamin B May Fight Heart Disease: A diet rich in folic acid and vitamin B6 may substantially reduce women's risk of heart disease. A study of 70,000 female nurses revealed a 50-percent drop in the risk of heart disease among women who consumed high amounts of folic acid and B6, which are both believed to interfere with the action of homocysteine, a chemical that worsens atherosclerosis or hardening of the arteries.

Fish Diet Can Reduce Risk of Heart Attacks in Males: Eating fish regularly can cut the risk of heart attacks in men by 42 percent. Results of a 30-year study of 1,822 males showed that those who consumed 35 g or more of fish per day had a 42-percent lower rate of death from a heart attack, compared to those who ate no fish at all.

L-Arginine May Stop Blood Clots: The dietary supplement L-arginine may keep blood cells from sticking to the inside of artery walls and forming clots that could lead to heart attack and stroke. After two weeks of L-arginine treatment, blood tests of 14 people with normal cholesterol and 23 patients whose cholesterol levels were greater than 240 revealed a significantly reduced rate of platelet clumping among those who received L-arginine.

Tomato Juice Serves as Antioxidant: A year-long study confirms the bioavailability and in vivo antioxidant properties of dietary lycopene in tomato juice. Researchers found that as blood lycopene levels go up, the levels of the oxidized compounds go down, and once absorbed, lycopene acts as an antioxidant, lowering the risk of chronic diseases including cancer.

B Group, Antioxidant Vitamins Hinder Coronary Disease: Supplementation of B group vitamins and antioxidant vitamins can reduce plasma homocysteine levels and prevent LDL oxidation, which can both cause coronary disease. In an eight-week study of 101 men, those receiving folic acid and B group vitamins were reported to have a 29-percent reduction in homocysteine. The men who received antioxidant vitamins (vitamins C, E and beta carotene) showed a significant increase in the measured resistance of LDL cholesterol to oxidation.

Vitamin C May Benefit Smokers: Vitamin C directed into a smoker's artery appears to help the blood vessels relax and widen. The findings suggest that vitamin C's ability to scavenge free radicals improves the endothelium's capacity to work.

Purple Grape Juice Reduces Risk of Heart Attacks: Purple grape juice may be more effective than aspirin in reducing the risk of heart attacks, reported the University of Wisconsin Medical School. The study found that consuming 8 to 10 ounces per day of the purple grape juice has a potent effect on platelets, making them less likely to form clots that lead to heart attacks.

Link Between Calcium and Cardiovascular Risk: Inadequate calcium consumption during pregnancy may be a cause of cardiovascular risk throughout the life cycle. An increase in calcium consumption by pregnant women reduced their risk of high blood pressure by 70 percent. The decreased instance of blood pressure was found in all of the pregnant women regardless of age or number of pregnancies.


Antioxidants Low in Arthritis Patients: People with rheumatoid arthritis have lower blood levels of antioxidants such as vitamin A, E, and beta-carotene in the years before the disorder is diagnosed. Although it is not clear if the lower levels of antioxidants are the cause or the effect of the disease, it is possible that antioxidants in the blood are mopping up free radicals, which can be byproducts of inflammation related to the disorders.

Vitamin C Reduces Cataract Risk: Taking vitamin C supplements for more than 10 years cuts the risk of cataracts. A study found that long-term vitamin C supplementation reduces the risk of early lens opacity-the first sign of cataracts-by 77 percent, and lowers the risk of moderate lens opacity by 83 percent. Researchers believe that vitamin C helps to saturate eye tissue.

Calcium and Vitamin D Supplementation Prevents Bone Fractures: Men and women over the age of 65 can lower their risk of bone loss and bone fractures by taking supplemental calcium and vitamin D. In addition, supplements may be effective in maintaining the skeleton over the long term. Supplements proved beneficial to bone density in the hip, spine and total body in the first year, and further improved bone density of the total body during the second and third years of a study of elderly men and women.


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