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Your Road to Wellness

Diseases

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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A lesser-known benefit of a plant based diet

Posted by on 4:37 am Diet, Diseases, Eating, General Health, Health, Health Risk, Insulin resistance, Insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome, Stay healthy, The Learn to Eat Plan, Vegetables, Wellness | 0 comments

You may not have heard about Trimethylamine oxide (TMAO), but this metabolite is created by the bacterial flora in the gut in response to certain food components.  This is the process.

TMAO originates from a precursor, trimethylamine (TMA) that is a metabolite of mainly choline and carnitine from ingested foods and may be involved in insulin resistance (Oellgaard J, et.al., 2017).  Why is TMAO important?

TMAO may not only increase the risk for insulin resistance, but also TMAO appears to be of particular importance as a risk factor and potentially a causative agent of various pathologies, mostly cardiovascular disease and other associated conditions (Al-Rubaye H, et.al., 2018).

Dietary l-carnitine is converted into the atherosclerosis- and thrombosis-promoting metabolite TMAO via gut microbiota-dependent transformations.
TMAO transformation is induced by omnivorous dietary patterns and chronic l-carnitine exposure (Koeth RA, et.al., 2019 ).


A big difference in the TMAO levels can seen when comparing people eating animal-based protein to vegans (who eat plant-based protein). Eating a plant-based diet results in a different gut bacterial flora and will not produce much TMAO.

References

Trimethylamine N-oxide (TMAO) as a New Potential Therapeutic Target for Insulin Resistance and Cancer.
Oellgaard J, Winther SA, Hansen TS, Rossing P, von Scholten BJ.
Curr Pharm Des. 2017;23(25):3699-3712. doi: 10.2174/1381612823666170622095324. Review.
PMID:28641532

The Role of Microbiota in Cardiovascular Risk: Focus on Trimethylamine Oxide.
Al-Rubaye H, Perfetti G, Kaski JC.
Curr Probl Cardiol. 2018 Jul 7. pii: S0146-2806(18)30079-3. doi: 10.1016/j.cpcardiol.2018.06.005. [Epub ahead of print] Review.
PMID:30482503

l-Carnitine in omnivorous diets induces an atherogenic gut microbial pathway in humans.
Koeth RA, Lam-Galvez BR, Kirsop J, Wang Z, Levison BS, Gu X, Copeland MF, Bartlett D, Cody DB, Dai HJ, Culley MK, Li XS, Fu X, Wu Y, Li L, DiDonato JA, Tang WHW, Garcia-Garcia JC, Hazen SL. J Clin Invest. 2019 Jan 2;129(1):373-387. doi: 10.1172/JCI94601. Epub 2018 Dec 10.  PMID:30530985

 

 

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

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Oxidative stress is involved in cognitive impairment and Alzheimer’s Disease

Posted by on 8:28 am Alzheimer’s, Anti-Aging, Cognition, Diseases, General Health, Health Risk, Research, Stress, Wellness | 0 comments

Increased oxidative stress has been documented in the frontal cortex in individuals with Alzheimer’s disease and in patients with mild cognitive impairment (Ansari, MA 2010).  One of the emerging causative factors associated with Alzheimer’s pathology is oxidative stress. This AD-related increase in oxidative stress has been attributed to decreased levels of the brain antioxidant, glutathione (Saharan and Mandal, 2014). 

The body uses antioxidants to limit the damage done by oxidative stress and glutathione is the body’s most effective self-made antioxidant.  Glutathione is a part of the body’s natural defense against free radical damage.

The following study used proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy to measure glutathione levels in both healthy individuals and patients with alzheimer’s disease (Mandal PK et. al, 2015).

The researchers found a reduction of glutathione in both the hippocampus and frontal cortex–which are two different areas of the brain–in Alzheimer’s patients.  It is interesting to note that glutathione reduction in those regions correlated with a decline in cognitive function.  The researchers concluded that the study provides compelling evidence that the glutathione levels in specific brain regions are relevant markers for mild cognitive impairment and Alzheimer’s disease.  

So how can we ensure that our glutathione levels remain at healthy levels?  One way is to add it into our daily routine via supplementation.  It is now possible to supply glutathione in a bioavailable form–which gets it into the cells where it is needed–and that is by using S-Acetyl Glutathione (Cacciatore et. al., 2010).

The body is making less glutathione as we get older, that happens to everybody, but some are making less than others.

References

Ansari, A, and S W Scheff. “Oxidative Stress in the Progression of Alzheimer Disease in the Frontal Cortex.OUP Academic, Journal of Neuropathology and Experimental Neurology , 1 Feb. 2010, academic.oup.com/jnen/article/69/2/155/2917186.

Cacciatore I1, Cornacchia C, Pinnen F, Mollica A, Di Stefano A. “Prodrug approach for increasing cellular glutathione levels.” Molecules, 3 Mar. 2010, https://www.mdpi.com/1420-3049/15/3/1242

Mandal PK, Saharan S., Tripathi M., and Murari G. “Brain glutathione levels–a novel biomarker for mild cognitive impairment and Alzheimer’s disease.” Biol Psychiatry, 15 Nov. 2015,  https://www.sciencedirect.com/ science/article/pii/S0006322315003121

Saharan S., Mandal P.K., “The emerging role of glutathione in Alzheimer’s disease.” J Alzheimers Dis. 23 April 2014. https://content.iospress.com/articles/journal-of-alzheimers-disease/jad132483

 

 

 

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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.

 

 

 

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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Does milk help prevent fractures?

Posted by on 9:28 am Anti-aging, Bone density, bone loss, Diet, Diseases, Eating, General Health, The Learn to Eat Plan | 0 comments

Milk is by most people believed to help support bone formation and reduce the risk for fractures, but is that true?

The following research investigated milk intake and the risk of mortality and fractures in women and men (Michaelsson K, et.al., 2014).

This study was done in Sweden and included 61,433 women and 45,339 men. The average follow up for the women was 20.1 year and for the men 11.2 years.

High milk intake was associated with higher mortality for both women and men, and with a higher fracture

incidence in women.

It’s common to recommend milk for teenagers to promote increased bone mass.

To determine whether milk consumption during teenage years influences the risk of hip fracture in older adults, the researchers of this study included both women and men and did 22 years of follow-up (Feskanich D, et.al., 2014).

After controlling for known risk factors and current milk consumption, each additional glass of milk per day during teenage years was associated with a significant 9% higher risk of hip fracture in men.

It was concluded that greater milk consumption during teenage years was not associated with a lower risk of hip fracture in older adults.

These studies were population studies using food frequency questionnaires which is not as accurate as double blinded research comparing 2 groups.

However, when the research includes large population groups and both show the same results, it’s worthwhile to pay attention to the results.

References

Michaëlsson K, Wolk A, Langenskiöld S, Basu S, Warensjö Lemming E, Melhus H, Byberg L. Milk intake and risk of mortality and fractures in women and men: cohort studies.BMJ. 2014 Oct 28;349:g6015.

Feskanich D, Bischoff-Ferrari HA, Frazier AL, Willett WC. Milk consumption during teenage years and risk of hip fractures in older adults. JAMA Pediatr. 2014 Jan;168(1):54-60.

 

 

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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Your blood glucose level affects the health of your blood vessels.

Posted by on 9:49 am Bloodsugar, Diet, Diseases, Eating, General Health, Glucose, The Learn to Eat Plan, Wellness | 0 comments

Everybody agrees that to be able to function well and live a long life, we need good blood circulation. This necessitates a healthy vascular system.

Your vascular system is especially important for your heart, brain, and the rest of your body because the blood delivers nutrients and oxygen. Without a supply of nutrients, the tissue will degenerate. So what can you do to keep your vascular system healthy?

Books can be written on that topic, but here is a simple strategy you can implement that can make a big difference.

First, since most of us eat several meals daily and the after effect of a meal can have a pronounced effect on your blood vessels, think about how the meal will affect your blood glucose level.

The reason you should be concerned with this is that high glucose levels after a meal and insulin resistance cause damage to the endothelium–the inner layer of the blood vessel wall (Shi Y, Vanhoutte PM, 2017).

Endothelial dysfunction is characterized by decreased release of nitric oxide, increased oxidative stress, increased production of inflammatory factors, and impaired endothelial repair.

This is one of the reasons you can end up with atherosclerosis and reduced blood circulation.

Since one of the reasons for endothelial function can be that the blood glucose level after a meal is too high, many are now recommending low carbohydrate meals. This is done as an attempt to lower the blood glucose.

This, however, may not be the the best strategy.

Research to date suggests that diets that are low in carbohydrates may negatively impact vascular endothelial function (Jovanovski E, et.al., 2015).

It appears that it is more favourable to maintain the carbohydrate intake and instead use low glycemic index foods. This generates more benefits for the vascular system.

An easy way to do that is to add some beans or lentils to the meal and reduce the amount of a higher glycemic index item.

References

Shi Y, Vanhoutte PM.Macro- and microvascular endothelial dysfunction in diabetes.J Diabetes. 2017 May;9(5):434-449.

Jovanovski E, Zurbau A, Vuksan V, Carbohydrates and endothelial function: is a low-carbohydrate diet or a low-glycemic index diet favourable for vascular health?Clin Nutr Res. 2015 Apr;4(2):69-75.

 

 

 

Learn to Eat Program

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

Read more…