Your Road to Wellness

Blood Pressure

Do normal LDL cholesterol levels protect us from cardiovascular disease?

Posted by on 10:48 am Blood Pressure, Body fat, Cardiovascular Disease, Cholesterol, Diseases, Eating, Fat, General Health, HDL, HDL Level, Health, Health Risk, Heart disease | 0 comments

The correct term for LDL is Low-Density Lipoprotein and it is also called the “bad cholesterol” because LDL tends to create plaque in the arteries and atherosclerosis.

There are however different opinions about the risk of cholesterol and LDL.

I think you will find the following research data interesting.

What most laboratories are reporting as normal for LDL cholesterol are values below 99 mg/dl and it used to be even higher than that.

Let’s take a closer look at that. What do so-called “normal” people die from?

They die from cardiovascular disease in western societies. Knowing that, do you really want to be normal?

The normal low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol range is 50 to 70 mg/dl for native hunter-gatherers, healthy human babies, free-living primates, and other wild mammals (all of whom do not develop atherosclerosis (O’Keefe JH Jr, et.al., 2004).

The same researchers stated that no major safety concerns have surfaced in studies that lowered LDL to this range of 50 to 70 mg/dl.

There is a consistent relative risk reduction in major vascular events in patient populations starting as low as an average of 63 mg/dL and achieving levels as low as a median of 21 mg/dL, with no observed offsetting adverse effects (Sabatine MS, et.al., 2018).

The only factor required to cause atherosclerosis is cholesterol (Benjamin MM, Roberts W, 2013).

Other factors like genetics (1 in 500), cigarette smoking, diabetes, overweight, inactivity and stress will not by themselves form plaque. They will, however, contribute to and increase the risk of cardiovascular disease if cholesterol and LDL are elevated. This is according to what Benjamin MM and Roberts W reported at the at the 39th Annual Williamsburg Conference on Heart Disease.

What can you do to keep cholesterol and LDL low?

A low glycemic index, high nutrient, plant based diet will do that for most people.  Statin drugs will also do it, but it is preferable to use food.

References

Benjamin MM, Roberts WC.Facts and principles learned at the 39th Annual Williamsburg Conference on Heart Disease.Proc (Bayl Univ Med Cent). 2013 Apr;26(2):124-36

O’Keefe JH Jr, Cordain L, Harris WH, Moe RM, Vogel R.Optimal low-density lipoprotein is 50 to 70 mg/dl: lower is better and physiologically normal.J Am Coll Cardiol. 2004 Jun 2;43(11):2142-6.

Sabatine MS, Wiviott SD, Im K, Murphy SA, Giugliano RP.Efficacy and Safety of Further Lowering of Low-Density Lipoprotein Cholesterol in Patients Starting With Very Low Levels: A Meta-analysis. JAMA Cardiol. 2018 Sep 1;3(9):823-828.

 

 

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What damage can high blood sugar and oxidative stress cause?

Posted by on 10:33 am Blood Pressure, Bloodsugar, Energy, General Health, Glucose, Health, Stress, Supplements, Wellness | 0 comments

It is common knowledge that having high blood sugar levels is damaging to our health, but in what way is it harmful to us?  

Having high blood glucose levels causes oxidation of glucose and a reaction causing glycation of proteins.  These reactions cause tissue damage and create a lot of free radicals. This also decreases the activity of superoxide dismutase–which is the body’s own antioxidant enzymes.  This decrease in antioxidant activity again will increase the oxidative stress in a seemingly endless cycle.

This oxidation and glycation reaction chain has shown to alter the mitochondria–which are the energy-producing entities of the cell–and has shown to be involved in a variety of diseases (Edeas, et. al., 2009).  The damaged mitochondria will produce less ATP (energy) than a normal mitochondria. Additionally, the damaged mitochondria cannot use glucose or lipids in a normal way. This means that a person with high blood sugar is unable to produce as much energy as they should.  

So what can be done to offset the production of these advanced glycation-end products?  The researchers of this study show that curcumin could suppress the advanced glycation-end products and also stimulate the synthesis of glutathione (Stefanska, 2012).

It is also important to eat food with a high nutrient content and low glycemic index, but you can take curcumin to help reduce damage from higher glucose levels. Just be sure that the curcumin you take is well absorbed since regular curcumin is not.  

Taking S-Acetyl Glutathione is also an excellent way to get protection from the negative effects of elevated blood glucose, it works really well.   Taking regular glutathione is not effective since it is oxidised in the stomach and not very bioavailable. Don’t waste your money.

References

Edeas, M, et al. “Maillard Reaction, Mitochondria and Oxidative Stress: Potential Role of Antioxidants.” Pathologie Biologie, Academic Press, 23 Dec. 2009, www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0369811409001898.

Stefanska, B. “Curcumin Ameliorates Hepatic Fibrosis in Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus – Insights into Its Mechanisms of Action.” Addiction & Health, British Journal of Pharmacology , Aug. 2012, europepmc.org/articles/PMC3448887.

 

 

 

Curcumin is a good antioxidant but it is especially effective in helping to reduce inflammation. For these reasons, curcumin provides many health benefits.

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Glutathione helps your cells reduce free radical damage and also helps lower inflammation.

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Decrease blood pressure and cardiovascular risk by affecting this nerve

Posted by on 6:35 pm Blood Pressure, Cardiovascular Disease, General Health, Health Risk, Risk of death, Stay healthy, Stress | 0 comments

You don’t need any equipment or take any pills to decrease blood pressure and cardiovascular risk.

When a broad range of indicators of vagal function were tested, the researchers of the following study showed that decreased vagal function is associated with an increased risk for cardiovascular disease and mortality (Thayer JF, Lane RD, 2007).

The vagus nerve–which is the 10th cranial nerve–is involved in numerous functions and has a big impact on how we feel and function.

How can we affect the vagus nerve?

You can activate the vagus nerve by breathing at a rate of 6 breaths per minute.

Slow and deep breathing with equal duration of inhalation and exhalation for 5 minutes was found to significantly decrease systolic blood pressure (Bhavanani AB, Sanjay Z, 2011).

It does not take much time to see the benefits from implementing this type of breathing, you notice a difference in the way you feel within some few minutes.

This is diaphragmatic breathing where you see your abdomen rising when you breathe in and lowering as you breathe out.

With some practice you will automatically breathe this way most of the the time, which will make you more relaxed.

References

Bhavanani AB, Sanjay Z, Madanmohan.Immediate effect of sukha pranayama on cardiovascular variables in patients of hypertension.Int J Yoga Therap. 2011;(21):73-6.

Thayer JF, Lane RD.The role of vagal function in the risk for cardiovascular disease and mortality.Biol Psychol. 2007 Feb;74(2):224-42.

 

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Feel more relaxed, improve your focus and be more stress resistant by controlling your breathing.

Posted by on 8:43 am Blood Pressure, Breathing, General Health, Happiness, Health, Pain, Research, Stress | 0 comments

The way you breathe has a strong effect on how you feel and function. Research has shown that the amount of times you breath and also how you breathe is important.

The following study included 47 healthy college students which implemented different breathing patterns (Lin IM, et., al., 2014). Anxiety and relaxation levels were measured as well as heart rate variability (HRV).

The reason HRV was measured is because research has shown a relationship between low HRV and worsening of depression or anxiety. A low HRV has even been associated with an increased risk of death and cardiovascular disease. People who have a high HRV may have greater cardiovascular fitness and be more resilient to stress.

In this study the researchers showed that breathing at a rate of 5.5 breaths per minute and with an equal time used to breathe in and out resulted in a higher HRV and an increased feeling of relaxation. The other breathing patterns were not as effective.

A breathing frequency of 6 breaths per minute has been the frequency found to be most effective in most of the studies.

Using your diaphragm when breathing is also important. Implementing that with slow breathing increased sustained attention and lowered cortisol levels–cortisol is a stress hormone– in another study (Ma X, et.al., 2017).

When you use your diaphragm in breathing, you will see your abdomen raising when you breathe in.

This type of breathing has even shown to improve sleep when practiced before bed time (Tsai HJ,et.al., 2015).

 

References

Lin IM, Tai LY, Fan SY,Breathing at a rate of 5.5 breaths per minute with equal inhalation-to-exhalation ratio increases heart rate variability, Int J Psychophysiol. 2014 Mar;91(3):206-11.

Ma X, Yue ZQ, Gong ZQ, Zhang H, Duan NY, Shi YT, Wei GX, Li YF, The Effect of Diaphragmatic Breathing on Attention, Negative Affect and Stress in Healthy Adults,Front Psychol. 2017 Jun 6;8:874. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2017.00874.

Tsai HJ1, Kuo TB, Lee GS, Yang CC,Efficacy of paced breathing for insomnia: enhances vagal activity and improves sleep qualityPsychophysiology. 2015 Mar;52(3):388-96. doi: 10.1111/psyp.12333.

 

 

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3 Important Benefits of Flax Seeds

Posted by on 12:26 pm Anti-Aging, Anti-aging, Antioxidents, Blood Pressure, Bloodsugar, Body fat, Bone density, bone loss, Diabetes, Flaxseeds, General Health, General Health, Glucose, Green tea, Happiness, HDL, HDL Level, Health, Health Risk | 0 comments

 

One of the impressive health benefits of flax seeds is the ability to decrease blood pressure (Rodriguez-Leyva D, et.al., 2013).

In a double-blinded, placebo-controlled study, 30 g of flax seeds daily for 6 months reduced the systolic blood pressure of 10 mm Hg and the diastolic blood pressure with 7 mm Hg.

 This is as good as some blood pressure medications, and instead of side-effects, you get even additional benefits.

13 g of flax seeds daily has shown to decrease blood glucose and insulin and improve insulin sensitivity in obese individuals with pre-diabetes (Hutchins AM, et.al., 2013).

Flax seeds can also lower cholesterol. 

In just 7 days a drink made of flax seeds lowered total cholesterol by 12% and LDL cholesterol (the bad cholesterol) 15% (Kristensen M, et.al., 2012).

Even if many people are not aware of these health benefits, it’s been known for a long time that flax seeds can reduce total cholesterol, LDL and decrease the blood glucose after a meal (Cunnane SC, et.al., 1993).

 

It is very important to keep the blood glucose in a good range even after a meal, it is not enough to only have good fasting blood glucose.

I recommend grinding 2 tablespoons of flax seeds in a coffee grinder and put them in a glass with water, stir it and drink it thick. You can of course also sprinkle it on food, like a salad if you prefer.

 

References

Cunnane, S. C., Ganguli, S., Menard, C., Liede, A. C., Hamadeh, M. J., Chen, Z. Y., … & Jenkins, D. J. (1993). High α-linolenic acid flaxseed (Linum usitatissimum): some nutritional properties in humansBritish Journal of Nutrition69(2), 443-453.

Hutchins, A. M., Brown, B. D., Cunnane, S. C., Domitrovich, S. G., Adams, E. R., & Bobowiec, C. E. (2013). Daily flaxseed consumption improves glycemic control in obese men and women with pre-diabetes: a randomized study. Nutrition research33(5), 367-375.

Kristensen, M., Jensen, M. G., Aarestrup, J., Petersen, K. E., Søndergaard, L., Mikkelsen, M. S., & Astrup, A. (2012). Flaxseed dietary fibers lower cholesterol and increase fecal fat excretion, but the magnitude of the effect depends on food typeNutrition & Metabolism9(1), 8.

Rodriguez-Leyva, D., Weighell, W., Edel, A. L., LaVallee, R., Dibrov, E., Pinneker, R., … & Pierce, G. N. (2013). Potent Antihypertensive Action of Dietary Flaxseed in Hypertensive PatientsNovelty and Significance. Hypertension62(6), 1081-1089.

1 Healthy Source Of Fat You Should Not Miss

Posted by on 10:00 am Blood Pressure, Diabetes, Diet, Eating, Fat, General Health, Nut consumption | 0 comments

 

Nuts are a very healthy source of fat for several reasons, and it is easy to add to your diet.

 

While all nuts provide health benefits, some offer more benefits than others.  

 

Pistachios are the best ones.

Research has documented that pistachios provide cardiovascular benefits by reducing LDL cholesterol, the so-called bad cholesterol and increase HDL cholesterol, the good cholesterol (Kasliwal RR, et.al.,2015). This was achieved with a daily consumption of 40 g of pistachios daily for 3 months, which also improved brachial artery flow-mediated vasodilation and carotid-femoral and brachial-ankle pulse wave velocity. These are measurements of the function of the inner lining of the blood vessels and arterial stiffness. In addition to all of this, the blood glucose levels also improved.healthy source of fat: pistachios

 

Even if you have diabetes, nuts can help you.  

25 g of pistachio nuts twice daily decreased fasting blood glucose, systolic blood pressure, and CRP, an inflammatory marker (Parham M, et.al., 2014). Not bad for snacking on some nuts twice a day.  

 

Another nut which is also among the best is walnuts.  

Walnuts measured the highest amounts of polyphenols when 9 types of nuts were compared (Vinson JA, Cai Y, 2012). Polyphenols are antioxidants that would inhibit oxidative processes leading to atherosclerosis.  

 

A high-fat meal has shown to decrease endothelial function, but if you add 40 g of walnuts to the meal, it will improve flow-mediated dilation (Cortes B, et.al., 2006). Walnuts will also decrease oxidized LDL cholesterol and inflammation. Oxidized LDL is the most dangerous LDL.

diabetes tacker: healthy source of fat

Do you have high cholesterol?

Even in people with high cholesterol, walnuts have shown to improve endothelial function and reduce total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol (Ros E, et.al., 2004).

 

You can even help to improve your brain function by eating walnuts. The polyphenol in walnuts has not only been found to reduce the oxidant and inflammatory exposure of brain cells but has also been found to improve interneuronal signaling (Poulose SM, et.al., 2014).

 

 


References:

Kasliwal RR, Bansal M, Mehrotra R, Yeptho KP, Trehan N. Effect of pistachio nut consumption on endothelial function and arterial stiffness. Nutrition. 2015 May;31(5):678-85. doi: 10.1016/j.nut.2014.10.019. Epub 2014 Nov 7. PMID: 25837212

Parham M, Heidari S, Khorramirad A, Hozoori M, Hosseinzadeh F, Bakhtyari L, Vafaeimanesh J. Effects of pistachio nut supplementation on blood glucose in patients with type 2 diabetes: a randomized crossover trial. Rev Diabet Stud. 2014 Summer;11(2):190-6. doi: 10.1900/RDS.2014.11.190. Epub 2014 Aug 10. PMID: 25396407

Vinson JA, Cai Y. Nuts, especially walnuts, have both antioxidant quantity and efficacy and exhibit significant potential health benefits. Food Funct. 2012 Feb;3(2):134-40. doi: 10.1039/c2fo10152a. Epub 2011 Dec 21. PMID: 22187094

Cortés B, Núñez I, Cofán M, Gilabert R, Pérez-Heras A, Casals E, Deulofeu R, Ros E. Acute effects of high-fat meals enriched with walnuts or olive oil on postprandial endothelial function. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2006 Oct 17;48(8):1666-71. Epub 2006 Sep 26. PMID: 17045905

Ros E, Núñez I, Pérez-Heras A, Serra M, Gilabert R, Casals E, Deulofeu R. A walnut diet improves endothelial function in hypercholesterolemic subjects: a randomized crossover trial.. Circulation. 2004 Apr 6;109(13):1609-14. Epub 2004 Mar 22. PMID: 15037535

Poulose SM, Miller MG, Shukitt-Hale B. Role of walnuts in maintaining brain health with age. J Nutr. 2014 Apr;144(4 Suppl):561S-566S. doi: 10.3945/jn.113.184838. Epub 2014 Feb 5. Review. PMID: 24500933


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