Your Road to Wellness

Cardiovascular Disease

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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Do you know about this important cardiovascular risk factor?

Posted by on 12:09 am Cardiovascular Disease, General Health, Supplements | 0 comments

This post is about a cardiovascular risk factor you may not have heard about, even though it may be one of the most important ones.

Research has indicated that oxidation of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) is a key factor in atherosclerosis.

This means that free radicals and the resulting inflammatory process are driving factors creating plaque in the vascular system.

The following study included 636 patients with suspected coronary artery disease, with an average follow-up period of 4.7 years (Blankenburg S, et.al., 2003).

The researchers found that the level of glutathione peroxidase 1 activity was significantly lower among those who died from cardiac causes or had a nonfatal myocardial infarction than among those who did not.

Glutathione is the major antioxidant that the body produces. Glutathione is also involved in liver detoxification and regulates immune function. It’s a very important substance.

It did not used to be any effective way to supply glutathione because the most common form, reduced glutathione, is oxidized in the stomach and does not provide benefits unless it is given with an IV.

However, now we have a very bioavailable form S-Acetyl Glutathione which gets into the cells where it is needed.

As we get older, we benefit from glutathione supplementation since the body produces less as we get older, and we use more, especially under certain circumstances.

Reference

Blankenberg S, Rupprecht HJ, Bickel C, Torzewski M, Hafner G, Tiret L, Smieja M, Cambien F, Meyer J, Lackner KJ; Glutathione peroxidase 1 activity and cardiovascular events in patients with coronary artery disease. N Engl J Med. 2003 Oct 23;349(17):1605-13.

 

 

 

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Reasons for eating a plant based diet

Posted by on 10:45 am Cardiovascular Disease, Diet, Eating, Fat, General Health, Health Risk, Vegetables, Wellness | 0 comments

There are many reasons why eating a plant based diet makes sense.  This research included 131, 342 participants. Of this, 85 013 were women (64.7%) and 46 329 were men (35.3%) (Song M, et.al., 2016).

The researchers found that high animal protein intake was positively associated with cardiovascular mortality, and high plant protein intake was inversely associated with all-cause and cardiovascular mortality.  Processed red meat was the most harmful form of animal protein these researchers found.

The type of fat we eat is also important because we react differently depending on the source.  We know that it is important to have a healthy endothelial function because the endothelium is the inner layer of the blood vessels.

 

We also know the importance of having low inflammation since that’s a risk factor for all chronic diseases and especially cardiovascular disease.   This study indicated that exchanging saturated fat from butterfat for a plant-based fat consisting of polyunsaturated fatty acids in a mixed meal may decrease inflammation after the meal when measured with the inflammatory markers IL-6 and TNF-alpha (Masson CJ, Mensink RP, 2011).  Soluble vascular cell adhesion molecule-1, a protein related to the endothelium and a marker of atherosclerosis, was also decreased after the meal containing the plant-based fat.

 

References

Song M1, Fung TT2, Hu FB3, Willett WC3, Longo VD4, Chan AT5, Giovannucci EL.  Association of Animal and Plant Protein Intake With All-Cause and Cause-Specific Mortality.  JAMA Intern Med. 2016 Oct 1;176(10):1453-1463. doi: 10.1001/jamainternmed.2016.4182.

Masson CJ, Mensink RP. Exchanging saturated fatty acids for (n-6) polyunsaturated fatty acids in a mixed meal may decrease postprandial lipemia and markers of inflammation and endothelial activity in overweight men. J Nutr. 2011 May;141(5):816-21. doi: 10.3945/jn.110.136432. Epub 2011 Mar 23.

 

 

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This function is involved in a variety conditions from viral diseases to heart disease, stroke and diabetes

Posted by on 7:25 am Cardiovascular Disease, Diet, Diseases, Eating, General Health, Green tea, Health, Nut consumption, Stay healthy, The Learn to Eat Plan, Vegetables, Wellness | 0 comments

Vascular endothelial cells line the entire circulatory system, from the heart to the smallest capillaries.  

The endothelium is the inner layer of the blood vessels and is extremely important.

When the endothelium is functioning normally, it helps to regulate blood clotting, assists the body’s immune response, controls the volume of fluid and the amount of electrolytes and other substances that pass from the blood into the tissues, and produces dilation or constriction of the blood vessels.

The endothelium is directly involved in peripheral vascular disease, stroke, heart disease, diabetes, insulin resistance,  chronic kidney failure, tumor growth, metastasis, venous thrombosis, and severe viral infectious diseases (Rajendran P, et.al., 2013).

Free radicals can disrupt the balance of NO (Nitric Oxide), damage the endothelium, and leave it overly permeable, allowing toxins to pass into body tissues (Rubanyi GM, Vanhoutte PM. et.al., 1986).

How can you keep the endothelium healthy?

A high nutrient, low glycemic index plant based diet will go a long way.  In addition to that you can eat some blueberries.

In this double blind crossover study the researchers gave the participants blueberry flavonoids and measured flow-mediated dilation (Rodriguez-Mateos A, et.al., 2013).

They found a significant increase in flow-mediated dilation at 1-2 and 6 h after consumption of the blueberry polyphenols.

The researchers concluded that blueberry intake acutely improves vascular function in healthy men.

You can also drink green tea.

Low-mediated dilation significantly improved after drinking green tea, and has a beneficial effect on endothelial function (Alexopoulos N, et.al., 2008).

References

Alexopoulos N1, Vlachopoulos C, Aznaouridis K, Baou K, Vasiliadou C, Pietri P, Xaplanteris P, Stefanadi E, Stefanadis C.The acute effect of green tea consumption on endothelial function in healthy individuals. Eur J Cardiovasc Prev Rehabil. 2008 Jun;15(3):300-5.

Rajendran P, Rengarajan T, Thangavel J, Nishigaki Y, Sakthisekaran D, Sethi G, Nishigaki I.The vascular endothelium and human diseases. Int J Biol Sci. 2013 Nov 9;9(10):1057-69.

Rodriguez-Mateos A1, Rendeiro C, Bergillos-Meca T, Tabatabaee S, George TW, Heiss C, Spencer JP.Intake and time dependence of blueberry flavonoid-induced improvements in vascular function: a randomized, controlled, double-blind, crossover intervention study with mechanistic insights into biological activityAm J Clin Nutr. 2013 Nov;98(5):1179-91.

Rubanyi GM, Vanhoutte PM. Superoxide anions and hyperoxia inactivate endothelium-derived relaxing factor.Am J Physiol. 1986 May;250(5 Pt 2):H822-7.

 

 

 

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Not only what we eat but how the food is prepared can either help us or hurt us

Posted by on 7:44 am Cardiovascular Disease, Diet, Eating, General Health, Health Risk, Stay healthy, Wellness | 0 comments

 

Advanced glycation end products are compounds that can be found in food and they also can be formed when the food is cooked.

Glycation takes place when sugar reacts with fat and protein, and can also be formed when the blood glucose is high.  

These products accumulate intracellularly and extracellularly in all tissues and body fluids and can cross-link with other proteins and affect their normal functions (Chen JH, et.al., 2018). Glycation end products can interact with specific cell surface receptors and alter intracellular signaling, gene expression, the production of reactive oxygen species and activate several inflammatory pathways.

High levels of these products in the diet as well as in tissues and the circulation are pathogenic to a wide range of diseases.

When glycation end products accumulate in bones and joints, they can contribute to osteoporosis and osteoarthritis and also affect mobility.

Since glycation end products contributes to increased oxidative stress and inflammation, they  also contribute to cardiovascular disease and diabetes (Uribarri J, et.al., 2010).

It’s important to avoid glycation as much as possible, and the these researchers also tested a lot of common foods and the way the preparation of these food affected the accumulation of glycation.

They found that dry cooking at high temperature like frying, grilling and baking was producing the most glycation.

They also documented that animal source protein was higher in these products and the more fat they contained the worse it was.

Plant based foods were the lowest in glycation end products and did not accumulate much of these products when cooked.

The best way was to boil or steam the food, that was less damaging. Marinating food in lemon or vinegar to lower the the ph was also found to reduce glycation.

What else can you do to reduce the damage of glycation?

You can use curcumine which helps reduce free radical damage and inflammation (Yamagishi SI, et.al., 2017).

If you are going to use curcumine, be sure is is in a better absorbed form since regular curcumin is not well absorbed.

References

Chen JH, Lin X, Bu C, Zhang X.Role of advanced glycation end products in mobility and considerations in possible dietary and nutritional intervention strategies. Nutr Metab (Lond). 2018 Oct 10;15:72.

Uribarri J, Woodruff S, Goodman S, Cai W, Chen X, Pyzik R, Yong A, Striker GE, Vlassara H. Advanced glycation end products in foods and a practical guide to their reduction in the dietJ Am Diet Assoc. 2010 Jun;110(6):911-16.e12.

Yamagishi SI, Matsui T, Ishibashi Y, Isami F, Abe Y, Sakaguchi T, Higashimoto Y.Yamagishi SI,Phytochemicals Against Advanced Glycation End Products (AGEs) and the Receptor System. Curr Pharm Des. 2017;23(8):1135-1141

 

 

 

Learn to Eat Program

Based on the most effective scientific strategies, this program was created to help
you reduce inflammation and feel great.

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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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