~ October 2005 - Getting to the Heart of the Matter
Contents . . .
- Why Our Arteries Clog As We Age
By John Colman
Doctors have overlooked the underlying factor that causes vascular aging and atherosclerosis. The result is that millions of Americans suffer needless heart attacks and strokes each year. Here we reveal what aging humans can do to maintain healthy arteries.
The aging process damages blood vessels, even when conventional risk factors such as cholesterol and blood pressure are within normal ranges.
Despite aggressive intervention with diet, exercise, supplements, and drugs, pathological changes still occur in the arterial wall that predispose aging adults to vascular diseases. The encouraging news is that a non-prescription method has been developed to address the underlying reason why arteries become occluded as people reach the later stages of their lives.
For the past 35 years, the standard way to treat coronary athero-sclerosis has been to bypass the blocked arteries. Recuperation from coronary bypass surgery can take months, and some patients are afflicted with lifetime impairments such as memory loss, chronic inflammation, and depression.
The scientific literature reveals that atherosclerosis is associated with high blood levels of homocysteine, C-reactive protein, insulin, iron, low-density lipoprotein (LDL), and triglycerides, along with low levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) and testosterone. Optimizing blood levels of these substances can dramatically reduce heart attack and stroke risk.
Prescribing a "statin" drug is what today's doctors typically do to prevent and treat coronary atherosclerosis. Cholesterol and LDL, however, are only partial players in the atherosclerosis process.
Mainstream cardiologists fail to appreciate that coronary atherosclerosis is a sign of systemic arterial dysfunction requiring aggressive therapy to correct. Health-conscious adults have grown impatient with doctors who do not translate research findings into improved therapies. More than ever before, people are taking responsibility for the health of their arteries by correcting as many of the known risk factors as possible.
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References . . .
ATP - Peak ATP with GlycoCarn - Boosts Circulating ATP Levels
- Johns Hopkins Authors Issue Guidelines for Raising HDL
An article by Johns Hopkins cardiologist Roger Blumenthal, MD, and nurse practitioner Dominique Ashen, PhD, CRNP, published in the September 22 2005 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine offers guidelines on how to raise high-density lipoprotein, or HDL cholesterol the "good" form of cholesterol that is protective against atherosclerosis.
Most guidelines for cardiovascular disease prevention have strongly focused on lowering low-density lipoprotein, or LDL cholesterol, which is associated with arterial plaque formation when elevated. It is estimated that over 54 million people in the United States have less than desirable HDL levels (less than 40 milligrams per deciliter of blood for men and 50 milligrams per deciliter for women).
Dr Blumenthal, who is director of the Ciccarone Preventive Cardiology Center at The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, explained that current guidelines from the U.S. National Institutes of Health emphasize LDL reduction but fail to consider the alternative of raising HDL as the primary or secondary goal, even though each milligram per deciliter increase in HDL reduces the chances of dying from a heart attack risk 3 percent. He announced, "We have reached a turning point in the prevention of coronary heart disease from an emphasis during the last 15 years on lowering LDL cholesterol levels to an emphasis in the next decade on raising levels of HDL cholesterol."
Following a review of the 50 most significant articles evaluating methods to raise HDL, the authors recommend such lifestyle modifications as regular exercise, smoking cessation, weight control, mild to moderate alcohol intake (for those without liver dysfunction or a history of alcoholism), and diets rich in omega-3 fatty acids with reduced high glycemic carbohydrates.
Of therapeutic agents that can be administered to raise HDL levels, the B vitamin niacin offers the greatest benefits, with HDL increases of 20 to 35 percent associated with its use. While fibrate drugs produce a 10 to 25 percent increase, statin drugs are the least effective, as they have only shown an ability to raise HDL by 2 to 15 percent. However, when statins are combined with niacin, their effectiveness is boosted.
Dr Ashen, who is the lead author of the report, summarized, "The guidelines should help physicians and nurses to manage their patients' blood lipid levels, including HDL cholesterol, with drug therapies currently available, and should help prepare them to manage future therapies, expected to be developed within the next five years, that focus on raising HDL-cholesterol levels."
Cardiovascular Support Supplements
Super GLA/DHA - Balanced Fatty Acids for the Heart - Without adequate levels of the friendly fats, dangerous saturated fats will replace essential fatty acids within cell membranes, reducing membrane fluidity and efficiency, and thereby starting a process of premature aging and disease development. By taking the right proportions of essential fatty acids, we can maximize the production of beneficial prostaglandins while minimizing production of harmful ones (such as prostaglandin E2).
Herbal Cardiovascular Formula - Designed to remove abnormal deposits of lipids, cellular debris and calcium deposits. Contains ginger, gugulipid, curcumin and bromelain. Bromelain reduces edema and breaks down fibrinogen. Curcumin has been demonstrated to reduce cholesterol uptake. Curcumin is a powerful anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory. Inhibits platelet clumping and is a strong anti-viral.
Nattokinase - Nattokinase is a natural enzyme that helps prevent blood clots, heart attacks and strokes, without the negative side effects associated with medications typically given to address the same conditions.
Life Extension Mix with Extra Niacin - A comprehensive multivitamin formula containing 92 unique vegetable, fruit and herbal extracts along with high levels of amino acids, vitamins, minerals an special antioxidants. Includes 862 mg Niacin (vitamin B3) per serving.
- Are Fish Oil Capsules Safer Than Fish?
By Debra Fulghum Bruce, PhD
Today, high levels of contaminants such as mercury, PCBs, and dioxins in our environment and waters make eating certain fish regularly a potentially risky dietary choice. This does not mean that fish meals should be avoided. Published studies clearly show health benefits for those who eat fish. The problem is that some people are overdoing it and eating too much of the wrong kinds of fish. Fortunately, the wealth of health benefits associated with fish consumption can be safely and readily obtained from premium fish oil supplements. Rigorous testing standards and unparalleled attention to quality help create safe, effective fish oil products for you and your family.
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References . . .
Super EPA/DHA with Sesame Lignans & Olive Fruit Extract - Only Life Extension's Super EPA/DHA contains the "healthy trio" of concentrated nutrients from fish oil, sesame seed oil and extra virgin olive oil.
Total EFA - Plant and Fish Source - Total EFA contains high amounts of omega 3, but from both plant and fish omega acids. Blended, but with a high amount of EFA, this formula contains flax, borage seed and fish oils, but with a predominance of EPA. We get more than enough omega 6 and 9 fatty acids in our typical diet and, while balanced, Total EFA contains a large proportion of omega 3s.
- Protocol: Atherosclerosis (Coronary Artery Disease)
Atherosclerosis is a factor in several conditions including coronary heart disease (CHD), myocardial infarction (MI), angina pectoris, cerebral vascular disease (CVD), thrombotic stroke, transient ischemic attacks (TIAs), insufficient blood supply to lower limbs and feet (claudication), organ damage, and vascular complications of diabetes (NIH 2003).
Because symptoms can be few or minor in the early stages, atherosclerosis is referred to as "the silent killer" because it can progress undetected for years, particularly in individuals who are at high risk for heart disease.
Elevated blood pressure is associated with many factors (obesity, lack of exercise, increased blood sugar, and cholesterol levels), but high blood pressure can also be an indication of atherosclerosis. Increases in blood pressure generally occur gradually, concurrent with signs of advancing atherosclerotic disease. A study of 18,682 healthy American males (age 40-84 years; follow-up of 11.7 years) confirmed that blood pressure readings of 140/90 or higher were a risk factor for cardiovascular disease (including stroke and cardiovascular death).
Hypertension is a major cardiovascular risk factor and borderline, isolated, systolic hypertension deserves special attention as a cardiac risk factor. Systolic hypertension has greater prognostic significance than diastolic hypertension. It is now recognized that the effective treatment of systolic hypertension proportionally reduces cardiac risk (O'Donnell et al. 1997; Izzo 2000).
Precisely what causes atherosclerosis is not known, but several theories have been proposed. Scientists think atherosclerosis begins with damage to the endothelium (the inner layer of an artery). Possible causes of damage to the arterial wall are free-radical reactions; elevated levels of oxidized serum cholesterol, triglycerides, fibrinogen, homocysteine, insulin, high blood pressure, obesity; chronic inflammation, lifestyle factors (physical inactivity and tobacco smoking); and diabetes (AHA 2002b).
Niacin (nicotinic acid) is a B vitamin that has been used in high doses (1.0–4.5 grams per day) as a treatment for hyperlipidemia, a condition characterized by elevated blood levels of cholesterol and/or fats as triglycerides (TGs). High concentrations of TGs are associated with increased risk of CHD. Niacin reduces cholesterol and TG levels, and increases the concentration of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) associated with reduced risk of CHD (Crouse 1996). Niacin is usually effective at modulating blood lipids, but side effects sometimes dampen enthusiasm for therapy.
Although side effects are dose-related, few studies have determined an optimal dose of nicotinic acid that alters lipid levels with the fewest side effects. Martin-Jadraque et al. (1996) demonstrated that low-dose nicotinic acid treatment significantly lowered TGs, raised HDL concentrations by approximately 22%, and favorably altered the ratio of total cholesterol to HDL in all subjects. Improvement in blood lipid levels was observed in 75% of subjects who tolerated low-dose nicotinic acid therapy. Although the changes induced by lower doses were less than higher doses, the lower dose was better tolerated. Nicotinic acid may also be useful in combination drug therapy for prevention of CHD if higher doses cannot be tolerated. Use of a lower dose should still be beneficial in for producing a moderate rise in HDL levels.
Long-term treatment with nicotinic acid (4 g/day for 6 weeks) not only corrects serum lipoprotein abnormalities, but also reduces the fibrinogen concentration in plasma and stimulates fibrinolysis (Johansson et al. 1997).
Epidemiologic evidence (Framingham Heart Study) indicates that a low level of HDL is an independent predictor of CHD. Other findings related to low HDL revealed that (1) it is an independent predictor of the number and severity of atherosclerotic coronary arteries, (2) it predicts total mortality in coronary artery disease patients when total cholesterol is in a desirable range.
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To see a list of all supplements, please check our Index or use our Search feature.
- Featured Product: Peak ATP with GlycoCarn - The endothelium is the thin barrier that separates circulating blood from the smooth muscle interior of the artery. Healthy endothelial cells help to maintain a normal cardiovascular system. Aging, poor lifestyle habits and nutrition can lead to endothelial problems which can lead to fatigue, atherosclerosis, blood pressure problems and other vascular disorders.
Propionyl-L-Carnitine (PLC) plays an important role in protecting the function and health of endothelial cells. PLC passes across the mitochondrial membrane to supply carnitine directly to the energy-producing organelles of all cells. Carnitine is essential for mitochondrial fatty acid transport and energy production. This is important because endothelial cells burn fatty acids for 70 percent of their energy.
Adenosine triphosphate (ATP) is a critical component of the cellular energy cycle. When administered orally to rabbits, ATP increased blood flow, reduced vascular resistance, and increased arterial oxygen pressure. In baboons, ATP infusions increased cerebral blood flow by nearly 50 percent and boosted oxygen consumption in the brain.
Peak ATP™ is a patented brand of ATP that has been tested in human and animal studies. Peak ATP™ is readily absorbed and boosts circulating ATP levels. Red blood cells release ATP to produce endothelial vasodilation, or widening of the arteries. Ensuring adequate red blood cell pools of ATP to help regulate vascular tone is critical to maintaining circulatory health.
For the first time, Americans have access to proprionyl-L-carnitine and Peak ATP™, two nutrients that are critical for optimal endothelial function and structural integrity.
Serving Size: 1 enteric-coated capsule
Servings Per Container: 60
Amount Per Serving
Other ingredients: vegetable cellulose, rice powder, silica and magnesium stearate.
- GlycoCarn™ Glycine (Propionyl-L-Carnitine Hydrochloride) - 500mg
- PEAK ATP™ (Adenosine 5'-Triphosphate Disodium) - 100mg
Enteric coating consists of methacrylic acid copolymer, myvacet, triacetin and polysorbate 80.
PEAK ATP™ is a trademark of Technical Sourcing International, Inc. and is protected by U.S. Patent Nos. 5,227,371 and 5,049,372 and other patents pending. GlycoCarn™ is a trademark of Sigma-tau HealthScience, Inc. and is protected by U.S. patent No. 6,703,042 B1.
Dosage and Use: Take one capsule twice daily on an empty stomach.
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