Worried About Clogged Arteries? Drink This.

Worried About Clogged Arteries? Drink This. | pomegranate-juice | Natural Medicine

Millions take toxic cholesterol and blood pressure lowering drugs that may do nothing to reduce heart disease specific mortality. Pomegranate juice, on the other hand, actually reverses underlying pathologies of the cardiovascular system that lead to bypass surgeries and heart attacks. 

One of the most amazing clinical studies ever performed has been hidden away behind a pay wall for over a decade. When I first stumbled upon this clinical pearl two years ago, in the form of the publicly indexed abstract on pubmed.gov, my jaw nearly dropped. I’ve finally acquired the full version of the study and am now excited to report on its implications in greater depth to help raise awareness about the power of pomegranate to heal the body, and I believe, save millions lives from premature death from heart disease.

The most eye-opening line in the abstract reveals why our original report on the study, How To Clean Your Arteries With One Simple Fruit, received over 500,000 social media shares:

“Pomegranate juice consumption resulted in a significant IMT [intima media thickness] reduction, by up to 30%, after 1 year.”

We shouldn’t be that surprised at how great an interest there is among the masses in safe, delicious, and affordable drug alternatives that have the power to unclog arteries? Certainly the drugs aren’t working, with the most popular class — cholesterol-lowering statins — being linked to over 300 adverse health effects. But sometimes the technical language of medicine gets confusing: what does this pomegranate-induced reduction in the intima media thickness (IMT) of the arteries mean?

Reducing The Intima Media Thickness: Reversing Atherosclerosis

The intima media is the middle portion of the arteries that become inflamed and fill up with plaque comprised of oxidized fats, immune cells, and their debris, in the condition known colloquially as “blocked arteries.” As the intima media grows thicker, less space is available for the blood contents to move through the opening (lumen) of the arteries. When the arteries eventually close or are blocked, catastrophic injury or death may follow. Therefore, anything that can safely reduce, or better, reverse intima media thickening is the holy grail as far as obtaining a root cause resolution of atherosclerosis, and by implication would profoundly reduce deaths linked to cardiovascular mortality.

Worried About Clogged Arteries? Drink This. | plaque-clogged-arteries | Natural Medicine

Indeed, in a world where the #1 cause of death is cardiovascular disease, and where we preemptively medicate millions more with drugs that only reduce surrogate markers for cardiovascular disease risk – i.e. lipoproteins carrying cholesterol – without showing any convincing evidence that it is reducing cardiovascular disease or all-cause mortality, how could something as simple and powerful as pomegranate be overlooked? In fact, if a simple daily dietary intervention is capable of regressing and/or reversing the underlying disease process in millions of fatal cardiac cases, it would seem highly unethical not to use it.

 

Here, we wish to bring some of the finer details of this clinical trial to light, to further substantiate the value of botanical and food-based interventions not only in preventing but treating major chronic disease processes like cardiovascular disease, the developed world’s most deadly disease.

The Pomegranate “Artery Cleaning” Clinical Trial

Worried About Clogged Arteries? Drink This. | pomegranate-juice-study-418x300 | Natural Medicine

Published in Clinical Nutrition in 2014 and titled, “Pomegranate juice consumption for 3 years by patients with carotid artery stenosis reduces common carotid intima-media thickness, blood pressure and LDL oxidation,” Israeli researchers discovered pomegranate, administered in juice form over the course of a year, reversed plaque accumulation in the carotid arteries of patients with severe, though symptomless, carotid artery stenosis (defined as 70–90% blockage in the internal carotid arteries).

The study consisted of nineteen patients, 5 women and 14 men, aged 65-75, non-smokers. They were randomized to receive either pomegranate juice or placebo. Ten patients were in the pomegranate juice treatment group and 9 patients that did not consume pomegranate juice were in the control group. Both groups were matched with similar blood lipid and glucose concentrations, blood pressure, and with similar medication regimens which consisted of blood-pressure lowering (e.g. ACE inhibitors, β-blockers, or calcium channel blockers) and lipid lowering drugs (e.g. statins).

Worried About Clogged Arteries? Drink This. | pomegranate1 | Natural Medicine

The ten patients in the treatment group group received 1.69 ounces (50 ml) of pomegranate juice per day (about the volume of a shot glass), which contained .036 milligrams of total polyphenols (primarily tannins and anthocyanins), for a period of 1 year, and five out of them agreed to continue for up to 3 years.

The remarkable results were reported as follows:

“The mean intima media thickness the left and right common carotid arteries in severe carotid artery stenosis patients that consumed pomegranate juice for up to 1 year was reduced after 3, 6, 9 and 12 months of pomegranate juice consumption by 13%, 22%, 26% and 35%, respectively, in comparison to baseline values.”

You can only imagine what would happen if a pharmaceutical drug was shown to reverse plaque build up in the carotid arteries by 13% in just 3 months! This drug would be lauded the life-saving miracle drug, and not only would be promoted and sold successfully as a multi-billion dollar blockbuster, but discussion would inevitably follow as to why it should be mandated.

While these results are impressive, if not altogether groundbreaking for the field of cardiology, they may be even better than revealed in the stated therapeutic outcomes above.  When one factors in that the carotid artery stenosis increased 9% within 1 year in the control group, the pomegranate intervention group may have seen even better results than indicated by the measured regression in intima media thickness alone.  That is, if we assume that the pomegranate group had received no treatment, the thickening of their carotid arteries would have continued to progress like the control group at a rate of 9% a year, i.e. 18% within 2 years, 27% within 3 years. This could be interpreted to mean that after 3 years of pomegranate treatment, for instance, the thickening of the arteries would have been reduced over 60% beyond what would have occurred had the natural progression of the disease been allowed to continue unabated.

3 Ways How Pomegranate Heals The Cardiovascular System

The researchers identified three likely mechanisms of action behind pomegranate’s observed anti-atherosclerotic activity:

  • Antioxidant properties: Subjects receiving pomegranate saw significant reductions in oxidative stress, including decreases in autoantibodies formed against ox-LDL, a form of oxidized low density lipoprotein associated with the pathological process of atherosclerosis. Decreases in oxidative stress were measurable by an increase in the blood serum enzyme paraoxonase 1 (PON1) of up to 91% after 3 years; PON1 is an enzyme whose heightened activity is associated with lower oxidative stress. All of this is highly relevant to the question of pomegranate’s anti-atherosclerotic activity because of something called the lipid peroxidation hypothesis of atherosclerosis, which assumes that it is the quality of the blood lipids (i.e. whether they are oxidized/damaged or not), and not their quantity alone that determine their cardiotoxicity/atherogenicity. Essentially, pomegranate prevents the heart disease promoting effects of oxidative stress.
  • Blood Pressure Lowering Properties: The intervention resulted in significant improvement in blood pressure: the patient’s systolic blood pressure was reduced 7%, 11% ,10%, 10% and 12% after 1, 3, 6, 9, and 12 months of pomegranate consumption, respectively, compared to values obtained before treatment. Pomegranate’s ability to reduce systolic blood pressure indicates it has a healing effect on the endothelium, or the inner lining of the artery which fails to relax fully in heart disease; a condition known as endothelial dysfunction.
  • Plaque Lesion Stabilization: Because two of the ten patients on PJ (after 3 and 12 months) experienced clinical deterioration, carotid surgery was performed and the lesions were analyzed to determine the difference in their composition to those who did not receive pomegranate. The researchers noticed four distinct positive differences in the composition of the pomegranate-treated lesions:

1.     Reduced Cholesterol Content: “The cholesterol content in carotid lesions from the two patients that consumed PJ was lower by 58% and 20%, respectively, in comparison to lesions obtained from CAS patients that did not consume PJ (Fig. 3A).”

2.     Reduced Lipid Peroxides: “[T]he lipid peroxides content in lesions obtained from the patients after PJ consumption for 3 or 12 months was significantly reduced by 61% or 44%, respectively, as compared to lesions from patients that did not consume PJ (Fig. 3B).

3.     Increased Reduced Glutathione Content: “A substantial increase in the lesion reduced glutathione (GSH) content, (GSH is a major cellular antioxidant) by 2.5-fold, was observed after PJ consumption for 3 or 12 months, (Fig. 3C).

4.     Reduced LDL Oxidation: “LDL oxidation by lesions derived from the patients after PJ consumption for 3 or 12 months, was significantly (Po0.01) decreased by 43% or 32%, respectively, in comparison to LDL oxidation rates obtained by lesions from CAS patients that did not consume PJ (Fig. 3D).”

Essentially these results reveal that not only does pomegranate reduce the lesion size in the carotid arteries, but “the lesion itself may be considered less atherogenic after PJ consumption, as its cholesterol and oxidized lipid content decreased, and since its ability to oxidize LDL was significantly reduced.”

This finding is quite revolutionary, as presently, the dangers of carotid artery stenosis are understood primarily through the lesion size and not by assessing for the quality of that lesion. This dovetails with the concept that the sheer quantity of lipoproteins (i.e. “cholesterol”) in the blood can not accurately reveal whether those lipoproteins are actually harmful (atherogenic); rather, if lipoproteins are oxidized (e.g. ox-LDL) they can be harmful (or representative of a more systemic bodily imbalance), whereas non-oxidized low density lipoprotein may be considered entirely benign, if not indispensable for cardiovascular and body wide health. Indeed, in this study the researchers found the pomegranate group had increased levels of triglycerides and very low density lipoprotein, again, underscoring that the anti-atherosclerotic properties likely have more to do with the improved quality of the physiological milieu within which all our lipoproteins operate than the number of them, in and of itself.

Finally, it should be pointed out that all the patients in this study were undergoing conventional, drug-based care for cardiovascular disease, e.g. cholesterol- and blood pressure-lowering agents. Not only did the pomegranate treatment not appear to interfere with their drugs, making it a suitable complementary/adjunct therapy for those on pharmaceuticals, but it should be pointed out that the control group’s condition got progressively worse (e.g. the mean IMT increased 9% within 1 year), speaking to just how ineffective drugs are, or how they may even contribute to the acceleration of the disease process itself.

Pomegranate’s 100+ Health Benefits

Believe it or not, pomegranate has many other ways in which it can help to heal the cardiovascular system, as well as other organ systems. Our research project has identified over 100 distinct health benefits of pomegranate: View the Pomegranate Research Database. Learn more by reading some of our other articles on the topic:

© May 24, 2017  GreenMedInfo LLC. This work is reproduced and distributed with the permission of GreenMedInfo LLC. Want to learn more from GreenMedInfo? Sign up for the newsletter here http://www.greenmedinfo.com/greenmed/newsletter.


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Why Eating Sesame Seed Paste (Tahini) Could Save Your Life

Why Eating Sesame Seed Paste (Tahini) Could Save Your Life | sesame_tahini_saves_the_heart | Natural Medicine

We don’t think of sesame seed paste as a ‘life saver,’ but new research shows it is capable of reducing blood markers of cardiovascular disease risk by 39% within only six weeks.

Sadly, in the Western world, when the average Joe thinks of protecting himself from heart disease, aspirin and statin drugs are often as high on the list – if not higher – than exercise and eating better. Through decades of intense marketing and miseducation millions have been made to think of the #1 killer as an inevitable force; one against which we fling pills and various pharmaceutical potions to ‘minimize risk,’ never to strike to the core of the problem and resolve it permanently.

This is one reason why natural medicine continues to gain popularity, as it is founded in more than a palliative approach to disease, and does not require the ingestion of patented chemicals (i.e. pharmaceuticals) whose side effects are often worse and far more plentiful than their claimed therapeutic ones. Instead of simply managing and/or suppressing symptoms, the goal is to invoke bodily self-healing, which is to say remove the interference that keeps it from doing so. And often, this is simply a matter of modifying the diet – adding something medicinal here, removing something not so healthy there.

One of the most promising studies to come through the biomedical pipeline of late was a gem published this month in the journal Archives of Iranian Medicine, and which looked at a traditional, sesame-based food-medicine known as Ardeh (aka tahini) for its ability to decrease cardiovascular risk factors in type 2 diabetics – a group whose risk of cardiac mortality is greatly enhanced due to unhealthy ratios and quantities of blood lipids associated with chronically elevated blood sugar, glycation and insulin resistance.

Titled, “Ardeh (Sesamum indicum) Could Improve Serum Triglycerides and Atherogenic Lipid Parameters in Type 2 Diabetic Patients: A Randomized Clinical Trial“,[i] the study consisted of 41 patients with type 2 diabetes, who were randomly assigned to one of the two groups: group A (Ardeh 28 g/d, n = 21) and group B (control, n = 20).  The patients in group A were given 28 grams (two tablespoons) of Ardeh with their breakfast, while group B patients continued with their regular breakfast, both for six months (the energy content of both groups was kept within the same range).

Both groups were evaluated at baseline and six weeks later for blood pressure, serum levels of total cholesterol (TC), triglycerides (TG), LDL-C, HDL-C, and the so-called atherogenic index (i.e. heart disease promoting index) of plasma (AIP; log TG/HDL-C), TC/HDL-C ratio, and LDL/HDL-C ratio .

Remarkably, after the six week test period, significant positive changes were reported:

“After six weeks, there were significant decreases in serum TG (15.3 mg/dL) and AIP (39 %) in group A. Moreover, slight decreases in serum TC, LDL-C, and other atherogenic lipid parameters and a mild increase in HDL-C also were observed during Ardeh supplementation. Anthropometric measures and blood pressure were unchanged during the study period in both groups.” [emphasis added]

Based on these promising observations the researchers concluded: “Ardeh could have favorable effects in decreasing CVD risk factors in type 2 diabetics.” Keep in mind that they found a 39% decrease in the so-called atherogenic index of plasma (AIP), which is no small effect for a relatively small dietary change. It should be noted that the brand of tahini used in this study (Oghab Halva Company) had no additional additives or oil. It was ground sesame seed, plain and simple. Were this a drug trial, results like these would be broadcast the world over as the next life-saving (multi-billion dollar selling) blockbuster drug. For a more detailed explanation of the results, read the entire study at the link here.

This is not the first human clinical study to find a beneficial effect of sesame on cardiovascular health or diabetes. Here are few others:

Sesame is truly a super star among medicinal foods.  In fact, recently, we reported on a study that found that eating 40 grams of sesame seeds, or the equivalent of two tablespoons of tahini, was superior to Tylenol in reducing pain in those suffering from knee arthritis. You can also take  a look at the over 40 health benefits of sesame seed and/or its components on our sesame seed health benefits research page to learn more about this remarkable healing food.

Let’s face it. At this point, with human clinical research from respected, peer-reviewed journals revealing that simple dietary changes – yes, as simple as eating some sesame paste (tahini) daily — can have huge impacts on risk factors for the most deadly and common diseases known in modern times, the time has come to reevaluate what exactly it is that is going on under the name of medicine today. Drugs don’t cure disease any more than bullets cure war. Foods, on the other hand, can be curative, and may just help us to put our ‘war against heart disease’ – like are failed ‘war on cancer’ —  to rest once and for all.

Finally, for a quick tahini recipe, take a look at this About.com how to, and consider super-charging the heart-friendly properties of this food with the addition of garlic, whose life-saving properties we have expanded on in another article.


[i] Parvin Mirmiran, Zahra Bahadoran, Mahdieh Golzarand, Asadolah Rajab, Fereidoun Azizi. Ardeh (Sesamum indicum) Could Improve Serum Triglycerides and Atherogenic Lipid Parameters in Type 2 Diabetic Patients: A Randomized Clinical Trial.  Eur J Prev Cardiol. 2013 Apr;20(2):202-8. doi: 10.1177/2047487312437625. Epub 2012 Jan 25.

[ii] Kalliopi Karatzi, Kimon Stamatelopoulos, Maritta Lykka, Pigi Mantzouratou, Sofia Skalidi, Nikolaos Zakopoulos, Christos Papamichael, Labros S Sidossis. Sesame oil consumption exerts a beneficial effect on endothelial function in hypertensive men. Eur J Prev Cardiol. 2012 Jan 25. Epub 2012 Jan 25. PMID: 22345690

[iii] Devarajan Sankar, Amanat Ali, Ganapathy Sambandam, Ramakrishna Rao. Sesame oil exhibits synergistic effect with anti-diabetic medication in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus. Clin Nutr. 2011 Jun ;30(3):351-8. Epub 2010 Dec 16. PMID: 21163558

[iv] D Sankar, M Ramakrishna Rao, G Sambandam, K V Pugalendi. A pilot study of open label sesame oil in hypertensive diabetics. J Med Food. 2006 Fall;9(3):408-12. PMID: 17004907

[v] D Sankar, M Ramakrishna Rao, G Sambandam, K V Pugalendi. Effect of sesame oil on diuretics or Beta-blockers in the modulation of blood pressure, anthropometry, lipid profile, and redox status. Yale J Biol Med. 2006 Mar;79(1):19-26. PMID: 17876372

© April 20, 2017 GreenMedInfo LLC. This work is reproduced and distributed with the permission of GreenMedInfo LLC. Want to learn more from GreenMedInfo? Sign up for the newsletter here http://www.greenmedinfo.com/greenmed/newsletter.


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Hawthorn Berry Benefits: The Ultimate Heart Supporting Herb

Hawthorn Berry Benefits: The Ultimate Heart Supporting Herb | hawthorn-berry | Natural Medicine Special Interests

In the United States, someone is affected by cardiovascular disease every 42 seconds.[1] If you or a loved one are experiencing heart-related health problems, then you should be aware of natural herbs that support heart health. Among these beneficial herbs, hawthorn berry is the most used and effective. For centuries, it has been cherished for its culinary and therapeutic value.[2] While its popularity has waned in the United States, the herb is popular across Europe as a way to promote normal heart health. Research confirms the heart-related benefits of hawthorn berry include reduced chest pain, normal blood pressure, normal cholesterol levels, and healthy arteries.

Hawthorn Berry Quick Facts
Common Species Crataegus laevigata, Crataegus monogyna, Crataegus oxyacantha
Other Names English Hawthorn, Haw, Hawthorn Tops, Mayhaw, and Whitethorn Herb
Family Rosaceae
Origin Temperate climates in Europe, Asia, and North America
Health Benefits Heart Health, Digestive Support, and Skin Protection
Common Uses Herbal Medicine, Candies, Preserves, and Landscaping

How Hawthorn Berry Works

The main parts of the hawthorn tree—the berries, leaves, seeds, and flowers—have therapeutic value. Each is packed with beneficial flavonoids, oligomeric proanthocyanidins (OPCs), saponins, phenolic acids, and other phytonutrients that encourage good health and stimulate internal healing mechanisms.

Promotes a Healthy Heart

The flavonoids and OPCs in hawthorn berry are specialized nutrition to support a healthy heart. They are potent antioxidant agents that help reduce free radicals, promote circulation, and support normal health of the arteries.[3] These heart-related benefits are the main reason hawthorn has such a long history of use.

Heart failure, which exists in two forms—diastolic and systolic—routinely results in injury or death. Diastolic is when the heart can’t fill with blood correctly; systolic is when the heart can’t pump blood efficiently. In a study involving over 800 patients with chronic heart failure, hawthorn berry provided significant benefit.[4]

Supports Normal Blood Pressure

Twenty-nine percent of adults in the United States suffer from high blood pressure, and all signs suggest that number will continue to grow.[5] High blood pressure can damage blood vessels and, left unchecked, it may even lead to heart attack or stroke. Several studies have found that hawthorn may promote balanced blood pressure.[6]

Encourages Balanced Cholesterol

There is good cholesterol (HDL) and bad cholesterol (LDL). The accumulation of bad cholesterol can lead to serious health complications. High cholesterol may double your risk of heart disease.[7] Studies suggest that hawthorn berry supports normal cholesterol levels. One animal study found that extracts of the plant given to rabbits with high cholesterol helped reduce cholesterol levels.[8] In another study involving mice, hawthorn berry reduced LDL levels.[9]

Antioxidant Activity of Hawthorn

This herb’s primary antioxidant activity comes from two compounds—flavonoids and OPCs. They help support a healthy heart, and they can support your health in other ways, too.[10] Antioxidants protect against free radicals. Unchecked, free radicals damage cells, cause aging, and negatively affect well-being.

Other Benefits of Hawthorn Berry

Hawthorn berry does more than support heart health. It has a long history of use in folk medicine and Ayurveda to support overall health in many capacities, including digestive health and skin health. In one study, hawthorn berry demonstrated gastro-protective benefits in mice.[11] In another study, hawthorn supported the development of healthy skin cells.[12]

Hawthorn Berry Side Effects and Precautions

Aside from a few caveats, hawthorn berry is generally safe to consume. In most studies, few if any side effects were reported. However, possible side effects include headache, nausea, and irregular heartbeat.[13] As a general precaution, women who are pregnant or nursing and children should not take hawthorn berry. Additionally, if you take any form of medication or have any heart concerns, consult your trusted health care practitioner before taking hawthorn berry.

Available Forms of Hawthorn

As a source of plant-based nutrition to support good health, hawthorn extract provides the best value. It’s available as a powder, capsule, or liquid. Hawthorn berry usually refers to the herbal extract as a product of the whole plant, not just the berries. Some researchers exclusively use the plant’s flowers and leaves because of their higher flavonoid concentration.

Beyond its therapeutic value, hawthorn berries are enjoyed around the world in the form of candies, jams, jellies, and even wine. The tender, spring leaves are edible and make a wonderful salad garnish. Berry size, color, and name vary from region to region. Small, tart, red berries called mayhaw are found in the United States. Native to many southeastern states, mayhaw has a rich tradition of culinary use. Mayhaw jelly is considered a delicacy, and the syrup from the berries is used to make sauce, pie filling, and desserts. While the plant was once easy to find in the wild, it’s quickly disappearing due to deforestation and disease.

Natural Ways to Promote a Healthy Heart

While hawthorn berry provides specialized nutrition for supporting a healthy heart, lifestyle is also important. Eating heart-healthy food, regular exercise, and managing stress are all effective, long-term strategies for promoting a healthy heart.

Have you used hawthorn berry to support your heart health? Have you tried any jam, jelly, syrup, or other product that contains hawthorn berries? Tell us about your experiences in the comment section below.

 

References (13)
  1. Mozaffarian D, Benjamin EJ, et al; on behalf of the American Heart Association Statistics Committee and Stroke Statistics Subcommittee. Heart disease and stroke statistics—2016 update: a report from the American Heart Association
  2. Roberts, Margaret. Edible & Medicinal Flowers. Google Books. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 Jan. 2017.
  3. Tabassum, Nahida, and Feroz Ahmad. Role of Natural Herbs in the Treatment of Hypertension. Pharmacognosy Reviews 5.9 (2011): 30–40. PMC. Web. 27 Jan. 2017.
  4. Pittler MH, Guo R, Ernst E. Hawthorn extract for treating chronic heart failure. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2008;(1):CD005312.
  5. High Blood Pressure Facts. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention., 30 Nov. 2016. Web. 27 Jan. 2017.
  6. Hempel B, Kroll M, Schneider B. Efficacy and safety of a herbal drug containing hawthorn berries and D-camphor in hypotension and orthostatic circulatory disorders/results of a retrospective epidemiologic cohort study. Arzneimittelforschung. 2005;55(8):443-50.
  7. High Cholesterol Facts. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 17 Mar. 2015. Web. 27 Jan. 2017.
  8. Zhang Z, Ho WK, Huang Y, James AE, Lam LW, Chen ZY. Hawthorn fruit is hypolipidemic in rabbits fed a high cholesterol diet. J Nutr. 2002;132(1):5-10.
  9. Xu H, Xu HE, Ryan D. A study of the comparative effects of hawthorn fruit compound and simvastatin on lowering blood lipid levels. Am J Chin Med. 2009;37(5):903-8.
  10. Zhang Y, Zhang L, Geng Y, Geng Y. Hawthorn fruit attenuates atherosclerosis by improving the hypolipidemic and antioxidant activities in apolipoprotein e-deficient mice. J Atheroscler Thromb. 2014;21(2):119-28.
  11. Tadić VM, Dobrić S, Marković GM, et al. Anti-inflammatory, gastroprotective, free-radical-scavenging, and antimicrobial activities of hawthorn berries ethanol extract. J Agric Food Chem. 2008;56(17):7700-9.
  12. Mustapha N, Mokdad-bzéouich I, Maatouk M, Ghedira K, Hennebelle T, Chekir-ghedira L. Antitumoral, antioxidant, and antimelanogenesis potencies of Hawthorn, a potential natural agent in the treatment of melanoma. Melanoma Res. 2016;26(3):211-22.
  13. Daniele C, Mazzanti G, Pittler MH, et al. Adverse-event profile of Crataegus spp.: a systematic review. Drug Saf. 2006;29(6):523-35.

 

 

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Evidence That Flaxseed Is A Heart Disease Reversing Food

Evidence That Flaxseed Is A Heart Disease Reversing Food | wheat-and-grain-bread | Natural Medicine

Flaxseeds contain unique heart friendly properties, which the scientific research is only now beginning to reveal in greater clarity. Should we wait around for randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blinded trials and the FDA’s explicit drug approval, or take out our coffee grinders and start incorporating the meal into our diet right now? Thankfully, its a choice you still get to make for yourself.

The biomedical literature freely available to view on the National Library of Medicine’s bibliographic citation database MEDLINE reveals a growing number of foods, nutrients and plant compounds with cardiovascular disease reversing properties, with 129 of these characterized on our research project alone [see Clogged Arteries].

Of course, the vast majority of these studies are preclinical, non-human in nature, as only so much precious capital flows into research on natural substances, which by their very nature do not grant patents (and therefore offer little to no return on investment), nor easily reveal their secrets through the optic of pharmacology. This does not mean, however, that we must wait around for future randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled, multicenter trials to take some of this data to heart, letting it guide us into making simple dietary and lifestyle changes that could in fact prevent or regress disease at the same moment that it is most certainly nourishing us.

All the more reason why we should be encouraged by new research into the fabulous flaxseed’s ability to reverse cardiovascular disease progression in a new animal study, especially considering that 30 billion dollars is pumped every year into the statin class of cholesterol-lowering drugs, which have been linked to over 300 adverse health effects.

If the science is now showing that a simple food could outperform a highly toxic patented chemical class of drugs, perhaps we are getting closer to the realization of Thomas A. Edison’s famous prediction:

“The doctor of the future will give no medication, but will interest his patients in the care of the human frame, diet and in the cause and prevention of disease. “

Flaxseed’s Potential Cardiovascular Disease Reversing Properties

A promising study published in the American Journal of Physiology and Circulation Research titled, “The Effects of Dietary Flaxseed on Atherosclerotic Plaque Regression,” looked at whether flaxseed in the diet of rabbits is capable of regressing atherosclerotic plaque, the primary pathological process associated with gradual constriction or sudden blockage in the arteries leading to cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. [i]

According to the study, “Dietary flaxseed can retard the progression of atherosclerotic plaques. However, it remains unclear whether these anti-atherogenic effects extend to plaque regression.”

Rabbits were divided into either a regular diet (Group I) or a 1% cholesterol-supplemented diet (Group II), with the latter group showing signs of steady plaque growth, as well as lowered response to stress hormone (norepinephrine) induced vessel contraction and impaired relaxation response to acetylcholine, which are indications of endothelial dysfunction and atherosclerotic plaque progression.

Another group (Group IV) was given a 10% dietary flaxseed-supplemented diet, which resulted in “a significant ≈40% reduction in plaque formation (P = 0.033),” leading the researchers to conclude: “Dietary flaxseed is a valuable strategy to accelerate the regression of atherosclerotic plaques.”

Evidence That Flaxseed Is A Heart Disease Reversing Food | Endo_dysfunction_Athero | Natural Medicine This is not the first report of flaxseed’s seemingly miraculous ability to regress the pathological process that leads to the #1 cause of death in the developed world.

Back in 2004, the journal Atherosclerosis published a study in hamsters revealed that flaxseed might provide an ideal solution for aging women, who following the failure of their ovarian reserve in the mid-40’s to late 50’s, begin to develop adverse changes in their blood lipids and increased atherosclerotic lesions.

What the researchers found by using an animal model was that dietary flaxseed consumption was as effective estrogen (estradiol) for preventing some of the adverse blood lipid changes associated with the ‘change of life,’ and the furthermore, flaxseed was capable of preventing fatty streak area and the incidence of lesions that were also induced by hormone deficiency. [ii]

This finding is consistent with previously reported research that indicates that flaxseed has significant estrogen-like activity, however, without the well-known cancer risks associated with the use of estradiol (E2). [See: Confirmed: Flaxseed Contains ‘Estrogens’ That Regress Cancer.]

How Does Flaxseed’s Cardiovascular Benefits Work?

Like any complex food, flaxseed has multiple modes of action.  The three primary beneficial compounds are:

  • Omega-3: Known as alpha-linoleic acid, this dietary fatty acid, which is relatively rare in the Western diet, is essential to human metabolism (meaning, we can’t produce it ourselves), and has been the subject of thousands of studies, many of which indicate its value in reducing risk factors for heart disease.
  • Soluble Fiber: Flaxseed is a rich source of soluble fiber, one of the benefits of which is to that it binds to bile acids (which include oxidized cholesterol and other fat-soluble waste products like toxic hormone metabolites, and other bile constituents) and help to pull them out of the body.
  • Lignan: Lignans are a class of plant compounds with both estrogen-like and antioxidant properties. The major lignan found in flaxseed is known as secoisolariciresinol diglucoside, is metabolized into enterodial and enterolactone within the human body, which can affect a wide range of bodily tissues, including the reproductive and the cardiovascular systems.

What Are Some of the Other Benefits of Flaxseed?

Flaxseed is a true medicinal marvel. GreenMedInfo.com has identified research indicating it has potential value in preventing or treating over 50 health conditions. [See Flaxseed Benefits research]

Here are some highlights:

  • Flaxseed Improves Skin Quality: A 2010 study found that supplementation of flaxseed oil diminishes skin sensitivity and improves skin barrier function and condition.[iii]
  • Flaxseed Protects Against Radiation: A 2009 study found that dietary flaxseed prevents radiation-induced oxidative lung damage, inflammation and fibrosis in a mouse model of thoracic radiation injury.[iv]
  • Flaxseed Helps the Swollen Prostate: A 2007 study found that dietary flaxseed improves lower urinary tract symptoms in men with benign prostatic hyperplasia as well as drug therapy.[v] A 2004 study found that flaxseed supplementation in combination with a low-fat diet reduced the proliferation of prostate cells and PSA in men.[vi] There are also 3 studies on GreenMedInfo.com indicating flaxseed has direct anti-prostate cancer properties.[vii]

How Much Flaxseed Should You Take?

While there is no hard and fast “right amount” for everyone, it makes sense to incorporate a tablespoon of ground flaxseed a day in a culinary application, such as oatmeal or a smoothie, if you are looking to attain a ‘medicinal’ dose.  It helps to remember that regardless of flaxseed’s evidence-based therapeutic properties, it is actually an excellent food, and should be incorporated into the diet in a way that actually provides some enjoyment (vitamin P[leasure] is of course as important as the nutritional composition of the food].

I personally try to consume a tablespoon of ground flaxseed daily. Grinding it fresh is ideal. This will also release the nutrient-dense interior of the seed for easy digestion, increasing the surface area by several orders of magnitude vs. consuming the seed whole.

Remember that you must consume enough liquid with the flax meal or it may constipate (this seed suck up quite a bit of water and produces a soothing mucilaginous gel as a result). On the other hand, when used properly with water, it is a traditional ‘cure’ for constipation.

For additional research on flaxseed’s nutritional composition, you can visit the NutritionData.com page on flaxseed here: http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/nut-and-seed-products/3163/2

Finally, for a discussion of other foods that may regress plaque buildup in the arteries, read our recent article on the topic, 7 Ways to Prevent and Even Reverse Heart Disease with Nutrition, or, view our research page on the topic: http://www.greenmedinfo.com/guide/health-guide-heart-health


[i] Andrew A Francis, Justin F Deniset, Jose A Austria, Renee K Lavallee, Graham G Maddaford, Thomas E Hedley, Elena Dibrov, Grant N Pierce. The Effects of Dietary Flaxseed on Atherosclerotic Plaque Regression. Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol. 2013 Apr 12. Epub 2013 Apr 12. PMID: 23585134

[ii] Edralin A Lucas, Stanley A Lightfoot, Lisa J Hammond, Latha Devareddy, Dania A Khalil, Bruce P Daggy, Brenda J Smith, Neil Westcott, Veronica Mocanu, Do Yu Soung, Bahram H Arjmandi. Flaxseed reduces plasma cholesterol and atherosclerotic lesion formation in ovariectomized Golden Syrian hamsters. Atherosclerosis. 2004 Apr ;173(2):223-9. PMID: 15064095

[iii] K Neukam, S De Spirt, W Stahl, M Bejot, J-M Maurette, H Tronnier, U Heinrich. Supplementation of flaxseed oil diminishes skin sensitivity and improves skin barrier function and condition. Skin Pharmacol Physiol. 2010 Nov 18;24(2):67-74. Epub 2010 Nov 18. PMID: 21088453

[iv] James C Lee, Ryan Krochak, Aaron Blouin, Stathis Kanterakis, Shampa Chatterjee, Evguenia Arguiri, Anil Vachani, Charalambos C Solomides, Keith A Cengel, Melpo Christofidou-Solomidou. Dietary flaxseed prevents radiation-induced oxidative lung damage, inflammation and fibrosis in a mouse model of thoracic radiation injury. Cancer Biol Ther. 2009 Jan;8(1):47-53. Epub 2009 Jan 1. PMID: 18981722

[v] Wei Zhang, Xiaobing Wang, Yi Liu, Haimei Tian, Brent Flickinger, Mark W Empie, Sam Z Sun. Effects of dietary flaxseed lignan extract on symptoms of benign prostatic hyperplasia. J Ren Nutr. 2007 Jan;17(1):23-9. PMID: 18358071

[vi] Wendy Demark-Wahnefried, Cary N Robertson, Philip J Walther, Thomas J Polascik, David F Paulson, Robin T Vollmer. Pilot study to explore effects of low-fat, flaxseed-supplemented diet on proliferation of benign prostatic epithelium and prostate-specific antigen. Urology. 2004 May;63(5):900-4. PMID: 15134976

[vii] GreenMedInfo.com, Flaxseed and Prostate Cancer

 

©  March 11, 2017 GreenMedInfo LLC. This work is reproduced and distributed with the permission of GreenMedInfo LLC. Want to learn more from GreenMedInfo? Sign up for the newsletter here http://www.greenmedinfo.com/greenmed/newsletter.

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Are Statin Drugs Killing The Health Benefits Of Omega-3 Fat?

Are Statin Drugs Killing The Health Benefits Of Omega-3 Fat? | pills-omega-3-fish-oil | Big Pharma General Health

There is a growing awareness that the unintended, adverse health effects of cholesterol-lowering statin drugs far outweigh their purported benefits. But now new research indicates that these drugs may even interfere with the heart-protective effects of omega-3 fatty acids in those who are taking them.

A study published in the journal BMC Medicine is shedding much needed light on why the widely publicized fish oil study in the Journal of the American Medical Association, which diverged from earlier randomized controlled trials (RCTs) demonstrating the health benefits of omega-3 fatty acids, showed no evidence of cardiovascular disease risk reduction associated with omega-3 intake.

In the study, researchers at the Joseph Fourier University in Grenoble, France proposed that more recent RCTs on fish oil and heart health that have reported negative findings, like the JAMA study, can be explained by two hidden confounding variables:

  1. Today, with both increased awareness of the health benefits and increased consumption of omega-3 fats, the vast majority of participants in these newer controlled trials are no longer as omega-3 fat deficient and therefore may not show as great (if any) measurable beneficial effect when given additional supplemented omega-3.
  2. The vast majority of contemporary RCT study participants are also on statin drugs, which suppress the beneficial properties of omega-3 fatty acids within the body, making negative findings more likely.[i]

The second confounding variable, that statins suppress omega-3 fatty acid benefits, is the most groundbreaking, as very few doctors or patients are aware of this possibility.  On the other hand, statins exert such a broad range of adverse health effects in the body, including major deficiencies of zinc, copper, selenium, coq10, vitamin E, and possibly vitamin D, as well, that we shouldn’t be all that surprised.[ii]

In support of their hypothesis they cite research indicating that statin drugs favor the metabolism of omega-6 fatty acids, which in turn inhibit omega-3 fatty acids; essentially omega-6 and omega-3 compete with one another for the same metabolic enzymes, indicating that the ratio in the diet is more important than absolute values.[iii] Also, omega-6 fats, contrary to omega-3’s, increase insulin resistance, increasing the risk of diabetes. This may explain the well-known diabetogenic properties of statin drugs.[iv]

An over preponderance of omega-6 fats have also been linked to inflammatory health conditions and cancer,[v] which may be due to the role they play in the excessive formation of arachidonic acid, a substrate for inflammation-associated enzymes COX2 and LOX, as well as contributing to the downstream formation of many inflammatory hormones in the body, e.g. PGE2, thromboxane, leukotriene, etc.

Since most of prescribed cholesterol-lowering drugs on the market increase the blood concentration of arachidonic, it is quite possible that statin-induced dysregulation of omega-3/omega-6 production, their ratio and metabolism, may contribute to a whole host of adverse health effects. Indeed, the biomedical literature signals over 300 health problems caused by this chemical class of drugs.[vi]

The French researchers also cite post-hoc statin drug research demonstrating that when separating statin users and non-users, omega-3 mediated cardioprotection was observed only in non-statin users, but not statin users.  Also, in recent randomized controlled testing omega-3 supplementation was found to reduce the risk of arrhythmias only in patients not taking a statin.

Discussion

Millions of asymptomatic patients are now taking statin drugs as a primary preventive strategy against cardiovascular disease, despite the well-known myotoxicity,[vii] neurotoxicity,[viii] and yes, cardiotoxicity of this class of drugs.[ix] Omega-3 fatty acids, on the other hand, are increasingly being shunned as ineffective, despite their profound safety, low cost and the broad range of experimentally confirmed therapeutic properties associated with their consumption, and which now number in the hundreds. You can view 250 such health benefits on our database: Omega-3 Health Benefits.

If the French researchers’ hypothesis is correct, statin-induced adverse changes in essential fatty acid metabolism may be contaminating clinical trials that attempt to demonstrate the value of omega-3 fats and fish oil for human health. Given the near universal prevalence of statin drug use among today’s studied populations, and the other mentioned variable of increasing background rates of omega-3 fat consumption, it is unlikely that future studies on omega-3 (or fish oil) intake and cardiovascular disease will differ from the latest negative JAMA study.

For additional research on natural substances and interventions which have been studied to be of value to cardiovascular health, visit our health section on the topic: Health Guide: Heart Health


Resources

 

©  December 15, 2016 GreenMedInfo LLC. This work is reproduced and distributed with the permission of GreenMedInfo LLC. Want to learn more from GreenMedInfo? Sign up for the newsletter here http://www.greenmedinfo.com/greenmed/newsletter.

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Research: Garlic Supplement Slows Cardiovascular Disease Progression

garlic-cardiovascular-disease

Given that cardiovascular disease is the #1 cause of death within industrialized societies, anything that can slow the underlying pathological process in its decades-long, mostly subclinical march towards heart attack, embolism or stroke, is worth considering as a prophylactic — especially if it is as safe, accessible and affordable drug alternative.

Indeed, a study published in the International Journal Cardiology indicates that aged garlic extract, in combination with vitamin B12, folic acid, vitamin B6 and arginine, is capable of favorably altering the ratio of brown to white adipose (fat) tissue surrounding the heart muscle, reducing homocysteine (a blood vessel damaging amino acid) and slowing the progression of coronary artery calcification in human subjects.[i]

The study involved sixty subjects, randomized to receive either a daily placebo capsule or a supplement containing 250 mg of aged garlic-extract, 100 μg vitamin-B12, 300μg folic-acid, 12.5mg vitamin-B6  and 100 mg of l-arginine. From baseline to 12 months, the researchers found a strong correlation between the increase in the white fat tissue surrounding the heart muscle, also known as white epicardial adipose tissue (wEAT), and the level of coronary artery calcification. They found that at 1 year, the risks of coronary artery calcium progression and increased wEAT and homocysteine were significantly lower in the supplement group when compared to the placebo group.  Researchers also found an increase in brown epicardial adipose tissue (wEAT) and improved vascular reactivity (an indication of lessened vascular dysfunction) in subjects who received the supplement.

There are two types of fat found in mammals, brown and white. Brown fat’s primary role is to generate heat in animals, which is why it is abundant in newborns and hibernating animals. White fat, on the other hand, is primarily a way of accumulating energy for storage, and does not have the high density of iron-containing mitochondria which enables it to generate heat and which makes it brown.  The study found a higher ratio of brown to white fat around the heart muscle “[C]orrelated strongly with increases in vascular function measured by temperature-rebound and predicted a lack of CAC [coronary artery calcification] progression and plaque stabilization in response to AGE-S [supplement].”

Garlic is actually already well-established to have therapeutic properties in calcification disorders of the cardiovascular system.

Here is a review on the literature on this topic

  • Decalcifiation of hydroxylapatite calcium crystals: A 2003 study found that it was possible to dissolve the type of calcium hydroxypatite crystals found in cardiovascular pathologies with organic solutions of hawthorn, onion and garlic.[ii]
  • Inhibits nanoplaque formation: A 2004 study found that garlic was able to inhibit lipoprotein associated arteriosclerotic nanoplaque formation.[iii]
  • Retards progression of subclinical atherosclerosis: A 2004 study found found that aged garlic (in combination with B vitamins and arginine) inhibited the progression of subclinical plaque in human subjects.[iv]
  • Inhibits coronary artery calcification in patients on statin therapy: A 2004 study found a 3-fold reduced progression in coronary calcification in those taking an aged garlic supplement versus a placebo.[v]

Other heart-friendly features of garlic include

  • Anti-platelet (blood thinning) properties.[vi] [vii]
  • Anti-inflammatory.[viii]
  • Improving endothelial function.[ix]

For additional Heart Disease research on the GreenMedInfo.com database visit the links below


© November 17, 2016 GreenMedInfo LLC. This work is reproduced and distributed with the permission of GreenMedInfo LLC. Want to learn more from GreenMedInfo? Sign up for the newsletter here http://www.greenmedinfo.com/greenmed/newsletter.

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Curry Dilates Arteries With One Serving

Clove, coriander, cumin, garlic, ginger, onion, red pepper, turmeric, curry, spices, food, cooking

Did you know that a single culinary serving of spices in the form of curry can dilate your arteries, preventing the cardiovascular harms associated with eating common foods?

While spices are thought of mainly as culinary agents for the aesthetical enhancement of the flavor of food, they are also powerful medicinal agents, and in certain respects may actually mitigate the harms of things we like to eat that may not be as good for us as their pleasurable tastes and textures would have us believe.

nutrition-journalA study published in Nutrition Journal titled, “A single consumption of curry improved postprandial endothelial function in healthy male subjects: a randomized, controlled crossover trial,” brought home exactly this point. Moreover, it reveals that certain culinary formulas, sometimes handed down through countless generations, may have indispensable value for our health. Interestingly, we find this concept echoed in the word recipe itself, whose first recorded use in Mid 16-century French literally means “medical prescription.”

A curry is essentially a blend of various spices used as a sauce in dishes, and in the case of this study’s tested formula, a traditional Japanese combination was used containing the following 8 herbs:  Clove, coriander, cumin, garlic, ginger, onion, red pepper, turmeric. [Note: click the hyperlinks of the preceding 8 herbs to view the extensive database of healing properties we have amassed on each one]  Interesting, Japanese curry was actually introduced to Japan by the British during the Meiji period (1868–1912) when India was still under colonial rule, making it a “Western” influence there, even though it ultimately originated in the Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asia.

In the study, researchers tested 14 healthy male subjects with an average age of 45 years, who were given either a single serving of curry meal or spice-free control meal (180 g of curry or control and 200 g of cooked rice; approximately 500 kcal in total). Researchers then tested what happened to the blood vessels of subjects before and consuming either meal.

food, dinner, curry, meal, healthy, rice,

A variety of Indian curries. Image Source: Wikicommons.

Based on post-meal measurements of the ability of blood to pass through the blood vessels (postprandial flow-mediated vasodilation (FMD) and other parameters, clearly the consumption of curry increased the blood flow through the blood vessels (increased FMD), whereas the consumption of the curry-free control meal resulted in a decrease in blood flow (decreased FMD). More specifically, the results were reported as follows:

The consumption of the control meal decreased FMD from 5.8 ± 2.4% to 5.1 ± 2.3% (P = 0.039). On the other hand, the consumption of the curry meal increased FMD from 5.2 ± 2.5% to 6.6 ± 2.0% (P = 0.001), and the postprandial FMD after the curry meal was higher than that after the control meal (P = 0.002). Presence of spices in the curry did not alter significantly the systemic and forearm hemodynamics, or any biochemical parameters including oxidative stress markers measured.”

The researchers concluded that curry prevented the negative effects of the meal upon post-meal “endothelial function,” that is, it prevented the inner lining (endothelium) of the blood vessels from contracting and inhibiting the normal flow of blood throughout the cardiovascular system. They surmised that the antioxidant activity of the spices likely are responsible for the observed positive outcomes, possibly through blunting the post-meal increases in blood sugar and/or oxidative stress. They summarized their findings:

Curry consumption ameliorates postprandial endothelial dysfunction and may be beneficial for preventing cardiovascular events. Lifestyle-related diseases such as atherosclerosis and diabetes mellitus have become serious health problems in the modern world. Curry may be helpful in the fight against those lifestyle-related diseases.”

The reason why this finding is highly relevant to concerns about cardiovascular function is because atherosclerosis — the so-called “hardening of the arteries” — takes decades to develop within the system, often completely without symptoms, and one of the characteristic predisposing features of this pathological process is endothelial dysfunction, often starting with the inability of the blood vessels to fully relax when confronted with any number of stressors – dietary incompatibilities (e.g. wheat) and deficiencies (e.g. magnesium), environmental (e.g. smoking), infectious (e.g. periodontal pathogens), and psychological (e.g. stress) — and resultant damage incurred by them. You can see a more extensive list of nutritional approaches to keeping your arteries healthy here.

Imagine what would happen if we could address endothelial dysfunction decades before it progresses into atherosclerosis?  Since heart disease is the #1 killer, worldwide, adding certain medicinal spices to the diet could perhaps help to neutralize the cardiotoxic and highly lethal disease vector which is the standard Western diet. We’ve reported, previously, on how something so simple as adding fresh avocado to a traditional American hamburger completely ameliorates the artery-contracting properties of this typical meal. It is amazing when you consider all of the edible things now studied which are capable of ameliorating endothelial dysfunction. You can peruse the Endothelial Dysfunction page on GreenMedInfo.com’s healing substances database and find over 90 substances that may help with this goal.

Take a look at the 1700 studies on turmeric’s health benefits on our database.

Consider, also, that some of the spices in curry, such as turmeric, and which features almost universally in all the different cultural variations, have themselves been studied individually to have powerful cardiovascular benefits. Turmeric extract, for instance, was found to confer health benefits to the cardiovascular system as powerful as exercise. Garlic has been found to clear the arteries of plaque and to have blood-pressure lowering properties in hypertensive patients about as potent as pharmaceutical drugs.  You can learn more by looking at the over 1,000 studies we have indexed on the therapeutic potential of dozens of culinary herbs and spices here.

The beauty, however, is that culinary combinations of herbs often require lower doses than are typically used in the context of traditional herbal medicine. In fact, recent research on the spice rosemary known by poets and herbalists for centuries to be “for remembrance,” shows that lower culinary doses are much more effective than larger ‘pharmacologic’ doses for boosting cognition. Less can be more, and with the possibility of synergistic combinations, even lower amounts are needed to obtain a beneficial effect, especially when the purpose is to prevent disease, rather than just treat it after the fact with an aggressive ’emergency care’ model typical of allopathic approaches. Also, for those who do not like “spicy food,” consider drinking spices like turmeric by preparing beverage called “Turmeric Milk.” Check out this DIY recipe here.

Also, consider that the quality of the spices you consume may make all the difference to your health. It is a underreported fact that many of the spices available on the shelf in the U.S. today are irradiated with massive doses of gamma radiation, in a process euphemistically called “cold-pasteurization.” Read my article on the topic, “The Invisible Nuclear Threat Within Non-Organic Food,” to learn more. Suffice it to say, unless it is certified organic, or wild-harvested, it may actually be harmful to your health.

Finally, another useful culinary hack you can employ to reduce white rice’s potential toxicity is to cook it with coconut. It will significantly reduce both the caloric content and blood-sugar elevating properties of the dish if you do so. Learn more by reading: Coconut Oil May Reduce White Rice Calories 50-60%.

© October 22, 2016 GreenMedInfo LLC. This work is reproduced and distributed with the permission of GreenMedInfo LLC. Want to learn more from GreenMedInfo? Sign up for the newsletter here http://www.greenmedinfo.com/greenmed/newsletter.

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7 Simple Ways To Unclog Your Arteries Naturally

heart health

We all want to live a long life, but did you know eating these simple foods has been proven scientifically to prevent and in some cases reverse the #1 cause of death in the modern world?

Statistically, atherosclerosis (the progressive clogging of the arteries) is the #1 killer on the planet.  A complex process, involving autoimmunity, infection, dietary incompatibilities, and many known and unknown factors, it is – despite conventional medical opinion – entirely preventable, and in some cases reversible.

Here is the peer-reviewed, published research proving the fact:

  • B Vitamins – yes, something as simple as adding a source of B-complex to your regimen can prevent the juggernaut of heart disease from taking your life prematurely. A doubled-blind, randomized study, published in 2005, in the journal Atherosclerosis found that a simple intervention using 2.5 mg folic acid, 25 mg Vitamin B6, and 0.5mg Vitamin B12 for 1 year, resulted in significant reductions in arterial thickness (as measured by intima media thickeness).[1] Even niacin[2][3]or folic acid[4][5] alone has been show to have this effect in patients. [Note: Always opt for natural sources of the B-group vitamins, including probiotic supplementation (which produce the entire complement for you), or a whole food extract, versus synthetic or semi-synthetic vitamins which, sadly, predominate on the market today].
  • Garlic – as we have documented extensively previously, garlic can save your life. It has been found to regress plaque buildup in the arteries, among many other potentially life-saving health benefits.[6]
  • Pomegranate – this super healing fruit has been found to regress plaque buildup in the arteries,[7][8] as well as being demonstrated to provide dozens of validated health benefits, including replacing the function of the mammalian ovary!
  • Fermented CabbageKimchi, a Korean recipe, which includes fermented cabbage, hot pepper, and various other ingredients, including fermented fish, appears to stall the atherosclerotic process in the animal model.[9] Additionally, strains of good bacteria in kimchi have been found capable of degrading toxic chemicals that can additional bodily harm.
  • L-Arginine: This amino acid is capable of preventing arterial thickening – up to 24% reduction! — in the animal model.[10][11]We have done an extensive literature review on arginine supplementation and have found that in over 30 studies demonstrating this fact addition to 150 known health benefits, it is capable of addressing the underlying dysfunction associated with cardiovascular disease: endothelial dysfunction, with no less than 20 studies proving this fact.
  • Turmeric (curcumin): the primary polyphenol in the Indian spice turmeric known as curcumin has been found to be an excellent cardioprotective, with over 30 studies demonstrating this fact. One study found that curcumin prevented damage to the arteries associated with blockage (neointima formation).[12]
  • Sesame Seed: probably one of the most underappreciated super foods on the planet, sesame seed, which we have shown is as effective as Tylenol for arthritic pain, may be an excellent cardioprotective substance, ideally suited for preventing the progression of atherosclerosis. One animal study found it was capable of preventing atherosclerosis lesion formation.[13]

This is a small sample of evidence-based natural interventions for cardiovascular disease prevention and/or regression. We have a much larger set of studies on over 200 natural substances capable of reducing the risk of heart attack and related heart disease related conditions.

Remember, heart disease is not a natural process, that we must accept as inevitable based on family history of an outdated gene-based model of human disease risk. Our daily decisions, especially regarding what we decide we are going to eat or do not eat, are first and foremost. We can use food as medicine, sloughing off the pharmaceutical industry meme that we need statins to stave off the ‘inevitable.’ Take back control of your health with nutrition, and realize that food is the only medicine that will both nourish us and heal our bodies in a way that will produce lasting health.

REFERENCES


[1] Uwe Till, Peter Röhl, Almut Jentsch, Heiko Till, Andreas Müller, Klaus Bellstedt, Dietmar Plonné, Horst S Fink, Rüdiger Vollandt, Ulrich Sliwka, Falko H Herrmann, Henning Petermann, Reiner Riezler. Decrease of carotid intima-media thickness in patients at risk to cerebral ischemia after supplementation with folic acid, Vitamins B6 and B12. Atherosclerosis. 2005 Jul;181(1):131-5. Epub 2005 Feb 16. PMID: 15939064

[2] Allen J Taylor, Hyun J Lee, Lance E Sullenberger. The effect of 24 months of combination statin and extended-release niacin on carotid intima-media thickness: ARBITER 3. Curr Med Res Opin. 2006 Nov;22(11):2243-50 PMID: 17076985

[3] M Thoenes, A Oguchi, S Nagamia, C S Vaccari, R Hammoud, G E Umpierrez, B V Khan. The effects of extended-release niacin on carotid intimal media thickness, endothelial function and inflammatory markers in patients with the metabolic syndrome. Int J Clin Pract. 2007 Nov;61(11):1942-8. PMID: 17935553

[4] George Ntaios, Christos Savopoulos, Dimitrios Karamitsos, Ippoliti Economou, Evangelos Destanis, Ioannis Chryssogonidis, Ifigenia Pidonia, Pantelis Zebekakis, Christos Polatides, Michael Sion, Dimitrios Grekas, Apostolos Hatzitolios. The effect of folic acid supplementation on carotid intima-media thickness in patients with cardiovascular risk: a randomized, placebo-controlled trial. Int J Cardiol. 2009 Feb 6. PMID: 19201496

[5] T P Smith, C P Cruz, A T Brown, J F Eidt, M M Moursi. Folate supplementation inhibits intimal hyperplasia induced by a high-homocysteine diet in a rat carotid endarterectomy model. J Vasc Surg. 2001 Sep;34(3):474-81. PMID: 11533600

[6] G Siegel, A Walter, S Engel, A Walper, F Michel. [Pleiotropic effects of garlic]. Wien Med Wochenschr. 1999;149(8-10):217-24. PMID: 10483684

[7] Michael Aviram, Mira Rosenblat, Diana Gaitini, Samy Nitecki, Aaron Hoffman, Leslie Dornfeld, Nina Volkova, Dita Presser, Judith Attias, Harley Liker, Tony Hayek. Pomegranate juice consumption for 3 years by patients with carotid artery stenosis reduces common carotid intima-media thickness, blood pressure and LDL oxidation. Clin Nutr. 2004 Jun;23(3):423-33. PMID: 15158307

Article Published Date : Jun 01, 2004

[8] Michael H Davidson, Kevin C Maki, Mary R Dicklin, Steven B Feinstein, Marysue Witchger, Marjorie Bell, Darren K McGuire, Jean-Claude Provost, Harley Liker, Michael Aviram. Effects of consumption of pomegranate juice on carotid intima-media thickness in men and women at moderate risk for coronary heart disease. Am J Cardiol. 2009 Oct 1;104(7):936-42. PMID: 19766760

[9] Hyun Ju Kim, Jin Su Lee, Hae Young Chung, Su Hee Song, Hongsuk Suh, Jung Sook Noh, Yeong Ok Song. 3-(4′-hydroxyl-3′,5′-dimethoxyphenyl)propionic acid, an active principle of kimchi, inhibits development of atherosclerosis in rabbits. J Agric Food Chem. 2007 Dec 12;55(25):10486-92. Epub 2007 Nov 16. PMID: 18004805

[10] M G Davies, H Dalen, J H Kim, L Barber, E Svendsen, P O Hagen. Control of accelerated vein graft atheroma with the nitric oxide precursor: L-arginine. J Surg Res. 1995 Jul;59(1):35-42. PMID: 7630134

[11] Mehdi Nematbakhsh, Shaghayegh Haghjooyjavanmard, Farzaneh Mahmoodi, Ali Reza Monajemi. The prevention of endothelial dysfunction through endothelial cell apoptosis inhibition in a hypercholesterolemic rabbit model: the effect of L-arginine supplementation. Lipids Health Dis. 2008;7:27. Epub 2008 Aug 2. PMID: 18673573

[12] Xiaoping Yang, D Paul Thomas, Xiaochun Zhang, Bruce W Culver, Brenda M Alexander, William J Murdoch, Mysore N A Rao, David A Tulis, Jun Ren, Nair Sreejayan. Curcumin inhibits platelet-derived growth factor-stimulated vascular smooth muscle cell function and injury-induced neointima formation. Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol. 2006 Jan;26(1):85-90. Epub 2005 Oct 20. PMID: 16239599

[13] Shylesh Bhaskaran, Nalini Santanam, Meera Penumetcha, Sampath Parthasarathy. Inhibition of atherosclerosis in low-density lipoprotein receptor-negative mice by sesame oil. J Med Food. 2006 Winter;9(4) PMID: 17201634

© October 7, 2016 GreenMedInfo LLC. This work is reproduced and distributed with the permission of GreenMedInfo LLC. Want to learn more from GreenMedInfo? Sign up for the newsletter here http://www.greenmedinfo.com/greenmed/newsletter.

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Turmeric: Better Than Aspirin For Heart Disease Prevention?

turmeric_dilates_arteries_greenmedinfo-png

In a day and age where people identify heart disease prevention strategies with consuming what are essentally toxic chemicals like aspirin and statin drugs, it is refreshing to see clinical research being done on the powerfully cardioprotective properties of time-tested and much safer spices.

A compelling new study published in the Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism has found that a daily dose of a novel form of turmeric extract (curcumin) significantly improved the functional state of the blood vessels of healthy adults within two months.

The randomized, controlled, double-blind parallel prospective study involved fifty-nine healthy adults who were assigned to either a placebo, 50 mg (50 mg), or 200 mg (200 mg) curcumin, for 8 weeks.

The study provided background on what is believed to be a primary underlying cause of cardiovascular disease, namely, the inability of the inner lining of blood vessels (endothelium) to dilate fully as a consequence of mostly symptomless damage that can start early in life:

“Cardiovascular diseases (CVD) are often asymptomatic and can begin as early as childhood [1]. A putative mechanism leading to CVD is damage to the vascular endothelium, a monolayer of cells which releases antiatherosclerotic molecules, most notably including nitric oxide [2]. Endothelial function can be measured as a decreased flow-mediated dilation (FMD) response, using occlusion of the brachial artery and the subsequent dilation response as an indicator of vascular function [1, 3]. Lifestyle behaviours which enhance antioxidative status and preserve nitric oxide bioavailability may protect against endothelial dysfunction [4–6].”

The 200 mg curcumin intervention resulted in what was determined to be a “clinically substantial” 3.0% increase in flow-mediated dilation (FMD), a measure of healthy blood vessel function. Even the much lower, 50 mg dose of curcumin resulted in a 1.7% increase in FMD, though it was determined to be of lower clinical relevance, i.e. “not clinically decisive.”

The authors summarized their findings:

“In apparently healthy adults, 8 weeks of 200 mg oral curcumin supplementation resulted in a clinically meaningful improvement in endothelial function as measured by FMD. Oral curcumin supplementation may present a simple lifestyle strategy for decreasing the risk of cardiovascular diseases.”

Clearly, addressing and ameliorating an underlying cause of cardiovascular disease, such as the inability of the arteries to dilate fully (endothelial dysfunction), makes far greater sense than simply thinning the blood with aspirin or Warfarin to help it pass through narrower and increasingly clogged arterial space. In the latter approach, the underlying disease continues forward unabated, but now with the additional risks associated with the use of semi- or fully synthetic drugs whose side effects are often deadlier than the condition they treat. To learn more about the dangers of aspirin and other “blood-thinners” like anticoagulant drugs click on the hyperlinks for those terms.

While noteworthy, this is not the first study to demonstrate the value of turmeric extract (curcumin) in producing healthier blood vessel functioning. In a previous report on the role of a turmeric-based spice combination (“curry”), titled “Curry Dilates Arteries With One Serving,” a single serving of curry was shown to dilate the arteries (increase FMD).  You can also view over 40 studies from the GreenMedInfo turmeric database on its cardioprotective properties.

Nor is turmeric extract the only food-based approach to addressing and even reversing cardiovascular disease. For instance, we have reported on avocado’s ability to neutralize the artery constricting properties of a single, hamburger meal. Also, pomegranate’s ability to reverse plaque build up in the arteries is also well documented and highly compelling. The point is that simple dietary interventions using time-tested, culinary spices, can have powerful impacts on disease risk, health and well-bing.

There is also a vast body of published literature in existence, a good portion of which can now be found on the GreenMedInfo.com database, that turmeric has literally hundreds of health benefits.

Finally, you can view the following related database sections on Greenmedinfo.com to better asceratain what supplements and foods have been found to have cardiovascular disease protective and reversing properties:

 

© September 27, 2016 GreenMedInfo LLC. This work is reproduced and distributed with the permission of GreenMedInfo LLC. Want to learn more from GreenMedInfo? Sign up for the newsletter here http://www.greenmedinfo.com/greenmed/newsletter.

The post Turmeric: Better Than Aspirin For Heart Disease Prevention? appeared first on The Sleuth Journal.


Source: Alternative news journal

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Research: Pomegranate May Reverse Blocked Arteries

pomegranate

While technically a berry, pomegranate “fruit” may be nature’s answer to turning the tide against the #1 cause of death in the industrialized world: heart disease. Let’s start with what it tells us simply through experiencing it…

Pomegranate has a remarkable astringency, giving your mouth and gums that dry, puckering mouth feel. This cleansing sensation is technically caused, as with all astringents, by shrinking and disinfecting your mucous membranes.

Anyone who drinks pomegranate juice, or is lucky enough to eat one fresh, can understand why it is so effective at cleansing the circulatory system. Nature certainly planted enough poetic visual clues there for us: its juice looks like blood, and it does resemble a multi-chambered heart, at least when you consider its appearance in comparison to most other fruits.

But sometimes the obvious (in appearance and effect) is not compelling enough – certainly not for the hyper-rational, “evidence-based” folks in positions of medical and regulatory power today – so we have science to lend additional support and credibility, and perhaps even keep some of us from being fined or going to jail for stating the obvious, e.g. “This juice may be beneficial to your health.”

Indeed, your mouth and your arteries are lined with the same cell type: epithelial cells. Together, they make up the epithelium, one of four basic tissue types within animals, along with connective tissue, muscle tissue and nervous tissue, and which comprises the interior walls of the entire circulatory system. So, when you feel that amazing cleansing effect in your mouth, this is in fact akin to what your circulatory system – and the epithelium/endothelium lining the inside of your veins and arteries – “feels” as well.  How do we know this for sure?

Carotid-Artery-Stenosis1

A remarkable study, published in the journal Clinical Nutrition, took 10 patients with atherosclerosis and measured their carotid arteries before and after one year of supplementing their diet with pomegranate juice. After one year, the plaque clogging their carotid arteries was reduced by up to 30%, while the control group’s blockages increased by 9% – effectively reversing the disease process by up to 39% within one year.  Additional “side benefits” included a 130% increase in their antioxidant status, with LDL susceptibility to oxidation (it is far more important to maintain the quality of the LDL, i.e. keep it from getting damaged, than to nit-pick about the “right number”) being reduced 59%. Finally, systolic blood pressure was reduced 21% within the first year. Wow, right?  But it only gets better….

Pomegranate actually has been studied to possess therapeutic properties in over 80 diseases or disease symptoms. You can view the entire spectrum of studies on our (“our” meaning yours too, as we are open access) Pomegranate Research Page.

Here are some additional highlights for cardiovascular health

  • High Blood Pressure (Hypertension): One of the identified mechanisms behind pomegranate’s blood-pressuring lowering properties is its ability to inhibit Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme, at least in the diabetic rat model. [1] But obviously, reversing the plaque build-up in the arteries is one way to disburden the heart, as well.  Another is its ability to increase nitric oxide production in the artery (eNOS), which results in improving its ability to dilate – effectively, reversing endothelial dysfunction.[2]
  • Fighting Infection: While it is commonly overlooked, cardiovascular disease, and more particularly atherosclerosis, is connected to infection. Dentists know this, which is why they often prescribe antibiotics following dental work which releases bacteria into systemic circulation. Plaque in the arteries can also harbor viral pathogens. Pomegranate happens to have potent antiviral and antibacterial properties relevant to cardiovascular disease initiation and progression. It has been studied to combat the following infectious organisms:
  1. Avian Influenza
  2. Candida
  3. Escherichia Coli
  4. Hepatitis B
  5. HIV
  6. Influenza A
  7. Poxviruses
  8. Salmonella
  9. SARS
  10. Staphylococcus auerus
  11. Vaccinia virus
  12. Vibrio (Cholera) virus

      [for first-hand citations visit our pomegranate page]

  • Reduces Oxidative Stress: Pomegranate has potent antioxidant properties, which reduces the likelihood that LDL will oxidize, becoming the atherogenic/cardiotoxic form known as ox-LDL, which can injure the lining of the arteries and deposit there as plaque. These antioxidant properties have also been identified to have potential anti-platelet implications, potentially reducing the risk for an obstructive clot.[3]

Pomegranate was upheld as a sacred fruit in many cultural traditions the world over. Whether Christian, Arab, Jew, Buddhist, or Hindu, pomegranate was perceived as a symbol and source of fertility and/or regeneration.

It is interesting to me that it is not religion, or any other cultural institution or artifact (except perhaps music), but a FRUIT, which binds us so closely together in the near-universal appreciation for what God/Nature provides as both a source of nourishment and a medicine of quite possibly unparalleled therapeutic properties for heart health.

For additional research on Unclogging Your Arteries, visit our research page on the topic which includes 129 substances of interest.


[1] Effect of pomegranate juice on Angiotensin II-induced hypertension in diabetic Wistar rats. Phytother Res. 2009 Dec 17. PMID: 20020514

[2] Effects of a pomegranate fruit extract rich in punicalagin on oxidation-sensitive genes and eNOS activity at sites of perturbed shear stress and atherogenesis. Cardiovasc Res. 2007 Jan 15;73(2):414-23. Epub 2006 Sep 1. PMID: 17014835

[3] Pomegranate juice consumption reduces oxidative stress, atherogenic modifications to LDL, and platelet aggregation: studies in humans and in atherosclerotic apolipoprotein E-deficient mice. Am J Clin Nutr. 2000 May ;71(5):1062-76. PMID: 10799367

© June 13, 2016 GreenMedInfo LLC. This work is reproduced and distributed with the permission of GreenMedInfo LLC. Want to learn more from GreenMedInfo? Sign up for the newsletter here http://www.greenmedinfo.com/greenmed/newsletter.

The post Research: Pomegranate May Reverse Blocked Arteries appeared first on The Sleuth Journal.


Source: Alternative news journal

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