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Can your bacterial flora clog up your arteries?

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As more and more research is being conducted on the bacterial flora of the intestines, the more we realize how important it is to have an abundant and diverse bacterial population of the healthy kind. The researchers of the following study found that patients with symptomatic atherosclerosis had more of certain gut bacteria than healthy controls (Karlsson FH, et.al., 2012).

The bacterial flora is associated with our inflammatory status, that’s what these researchers suggested, and we know that inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract creates inflammation other places in the body and is a risk factor for atherosclerosis.

Your bacterial flora can for that reason clog up your arteries if you have the wrong type of bacteria.

When bacteria in atherosclerotic plaques were examined, specific types were identified, and some types correlated with total cholesterol and fibrinogen levels (Ziganshina EE, et.al., 2016). Periodontal disease has also been associated with atherosclerosis.

Bacterial DNA was detected in atherosclerotic plaque, and the amount of DNA correlated with the number of leukocytes (a type of white blood cell), found in the atherosclerotic plaque (Koren O, et.al., 2011). Leukocytes are involved in the inflammatory response.

Several types of bacteria in the mouth and the gut correlated with blood cholesterol levels. How can you increase the number of friendly bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract?

These bacteria feed on a variety of plant fiber. When you eat a plant-based diet with a variety of vegetables, legumes, nuts and seeds, your healthy flora will increase, and these bacteria reduce inflammation.

References

Karlsson FH, Fåk F, Nookaew I, Tremaroli V, Fagerberg B, Petranovic D, Bäckhed F, Nielsen J. Symptomatic atherosclerosis is associated with an altered gut metagenome. Nat Commun. 2012;3:1245.

Koren O, Spor A, Felin J, Fåk F, Stombaugh J, Tremaroli V, Behre CJ, Knight R, Fagerberg B, Ley RE, Bäckhed F. Human oral, gut, and plaque microbiota in patients with atherosclerosis. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2011 Mar 15;108 Suppl 1:4592-8.

Ziganshina EE, Sharifullina DM, Lozhkin AP, Khayrullin RN, Ignatyev IM, Ziganshin AM. Bacterial Communities Associated with Atherosclerotic Plaques from Russian Individuals with Atherosclerosis. PLoS One. 2016 Oct 13;11(10):e0164836.

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Magnesium is Even More Important than We Used to Think

Posted by on Brain, Cardiovascular Disease, Eating, Gastrointestinal Health, General Health, General Health, Health, magnesium, Vitamin D | 0 comments

Research is documenting how functions, organs, and nutrients are all interconnected. We cannot look at anything as separate entities anymore if we are going to get an accurate impression of what happens physiologically from the input of nutrient intake as well as exercise. The GI tract is one example where researchers have documented communication between the GI tract and the brain. We know the brain also communicates with the GI tract.

Intestinal absorption and subsequent metabolism of a nutrient, to a certain extent, is dependent on the availability of other nutrients.

The following research is showing us how the intake and the impact of magnesium are affecting vitamin D levels.

Image result for magnesium

Magnesium assists in the activation of vitamin D because all of the enzymes that metabolize vitamin D seem to require magnesium (Uwitonze AM, Razzaque MS, 2018).

Deficiency in either of these nutrients is reported to be associated with skeletal deformities, cardiovascular diseases, and the metabolic syndrome.

The next study indicates the same thing. The researchers found that higher intake of magnesium resulted in higher blood levels of 25 hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D), which is the most reliable way to measure vitamin D status (Deng X, et.al., 2013).

They also found associations of serum 25(OH)D with mortality, particularly due to cardiovascular disease and colorectal cancer, and they were modified by magnesium intake. Magnesium has shown to reduce calcification of the arteries (Hruby A, et.al., 2014).

This means that if you must take a very high amount of vitamin D to keep your vitamin D level in a good range, you most likely need magnesium. If you take enough magnesium in a well-absorbed form, you should not need to take high amounts of vitamin D to keep it at a good level. What we also learn from research like this, is how important it is to take magnesium or any of the other common minerals in a formula that combines these minerals, since they affect each other. Amino acid chelates are the best form to take minerals because they are better absorbed and better tolerated. They don’t cause gastrointestinal irritation.

 

 

References
Deng X, Song Y, Manson JE, Signorello LB, Zhang SM, Shrubsole MJ, Ness RM, Seidner DL, Dai Q. Magnesium, vitamin D status and mortality: results from US National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 2001 to 2006 and NHANES III. BMC Med. 2013 Aug 27;11:187.

Hruby A1, O’Donnell CJ2, Jacques PF1, Meigs JB3, Hoffmann U4, McKeown NM5. Magnesium intake is inversely associated with coronary artery calcification: the Framingham Heart Study. JACC Cardiovasc Imaging. 2014 Jan;7(1):59-69.

Uwitonze AM, Razzaque MS. Role of Magnesium in Vitamin D Activation and Function. J Am Osteopath Assoc. 2018 Mar 1;118(3):181-189.

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Your Blood Glucose Level after You Eat can Affect Your Risk for Cardiovascular Disease.

Posted by on Bloodsugar, Cardiovascular Disease, Diabetes, Eating, General Health, Glucose, Health, Heart disease | 0 comments

Your blood glucose level after you eat can affect your risk for cardiovascular disease. Several studies show a correlation between blood glucose levels and what happens to your arteries. The most common ways to evaluate the blood glucose metabolism is to measure fasting blood glucose and Hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c). Hemoglobin A1c is usually used to monitor long-term glucose control, 2-3 months.

Image result for blood glucoseMore and more research is, however, documenting the importance of also knowing what the blood glucose level is after a meal, and that is not checked routinely.

In the following study, the participants were divided into 4 groups based on coronary angiography (Sasso FC, et.al., 2004). One group had no significant stenosis (calcification), the other groups had documented disease in 1 and up to 3 vessels. Several tests were performed to evaluate the glucose metabolism, including the glucose and insulin levels after eating.

For patients with a so-called normal glucose tolerance, it was interesting that the most important test correlating with cardiovascular risk was the glucose level after eating, and the next was Hemoglobin A1c.

In patients with coronary artery disease the researchers showed that even with normal Hemoglobin A1c levels, the participants with an abnormal glucose tolerance test (glucose after a meal) had greater progression of coronary artery lesions (Wang H, et.al., 2014).

It was not even a difference in risk between patients with an impaired glucose tolerance and patients who had type 2 diabetes. This shows that you don’t have to have progressed to having diabetes to have an increased risk for cardiovascular disease. Researchers have found that there is a linear relationship between the risk of cardiovascular death and the 2-hour glucose tolerance test (Leiter LA, et.al., 2005).

Image result for cardiovascular disease and glucose level

The 2 -hour glucose tolerance test measures the blood glucose level 2 hours after a test drink has been ingested.

These researchers found increased mortality at an oral 2-hour glucose tolerance test of approximately 90 mg/dl which is well below the level of what type 2 diabetes patients have.

Research is showing us that what we used to think of as normal and good test results are not good enough. That’s probably why we see a lot of people dying from a cardiovascular disease with laboratory values in the normal range.

References
Leiter LA, Ceriello A, Davidson JA, Hanefeld M, Monnier L, Owens DR, Tajima N, Tuomilehto J ; International Prandial Glucose Regulation Study Group. Clin Ther. 2005;27 Suppl B:S42-56.

Sasso FC, Carbonara O, Nasti R, Campana B, Marfella R, Torella M, Nappi G, Torella R, Cozzolino D, Glucose metabolism and coronary heart disease in patients with normal glucose tolerance. JAMA. 2004 Apr 21;291(15):1857-63.

Wang H, Tang Z, Li X, Hu B, Feng B. Angiographic evaluation of the effects of glucose metabolic status on progression of coronary artery lesions in patients with coronary artery disease. J Diabetes. 2014 Nov;6(6):541-6.

 

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Decrease Inflammation after a Meal by Including These 2 Ingredients

Posted by on Eating, General Health, Health, Inflammation | 0 comments

Inflammation and oxidative stress are usually connected, and both can affect your blood vessels in a negative way. Both are known to cause damage to the endothelium, the inner lining of the blood vessels.

Depending on what kind of food the meal includes, both inflammation and oxidative stress can increase. To evaluate if adding processed tomato products would make a difference, the participants of this study consumed high fat meals known to induce oxidative stress on 2 separate occasions (Burton-Freeman B, et.al., 2012).

Image result for beans and tomato pictureOne time a processed tomato product was added, and the other time a non-tomato product was used.

Several tests were performed before and after, and it was found that the tomato product significantly
reduced the high fat meal induced LDL oxidation and the rise in IL-6, an inflammatory marker. 

Beans is another food that has shown to modify cardiovascular risk.

Image result for black bean pasta tomato

When meals containing either black beans, fiber matched meals or antioxidant capacity matched meals were compared this was the result (Reverri EJ, et.al., 2015).

Insulin was lower after the black bean meal and a trend for decreasing oxidized LDL was found for both the the beans and the antioxidant matched meal.

Oxidized LDL is the most harmful form of LDL cholesterol.

If you like pasta, you can make the meal healthier by adding beans to a sauce which includes
processed tomatoes.

By taking a well absorbed form of curcumine you can further decrease inflammation (Sahebkar A, 2014).

 

References

Burton-Freeman B, Talbot J, Park E, Krishnankutty S, Edirisinghe I. Protective activity of processed tomato products on postprandial oxidation and inflammation: a clinical trial in healthy weight men and women. Mol Nutr Food Res. 2012 Apr;56(4):622-31.

Reverri EJ, Randolph JM, Steinberg FM, Kappagoda CT, Edirisinghe I, Burton-Freeman BM. Black Beans, Fiber, and Antioxidant Capacity Pilot Study: Examination of Whole Foods vs. Functional Components on Postprandial Metabolic, Oxidative Stress, and Inflammation in Adults with Metabolic Syndrome. Nutrients. 2015 Jul 27;7(8):6139-54.

Sahebkar A1. Are curcuminoids effective C-reactive protein-lowering agents in clinical practice? Evidence from a meta-analysis. Phytother Res. 2014 May;28(5):633-42.

Image result for reduce inflammation photo

 

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This was found to be the most important risk factor for atherosclerosis.

Posted by on Cardiovascular Disease, Eating, Eating, General Health, Health | 0 comments

If you want to function well and stay healthy, you need a vascular system that can provide good blood supply to all tissue in your body, especially your brain and heart.

The reason is that the blood provides nutrients and oxygen to the whole body. Without that, all tissue will degenerate.

You can imagine what that would mean to your brain and heart.

As we get older the more likely it is that the blood vessels will start to collect deposits and get narrower, that’s called atherosclerosis.

There are several blood tests used to determine the risk for cardiovascular disease.

 

What you really want to know is the health of your arteries.

The following research is very interesting. It included 4184 participants without what’s considered to be conventional cardiovascular risk factors (Fernandez-Friera L, et.al., 2017). The status of their vascular system was evaluated by ultrasound detected carotid, iliofemoral and abdominal aortic plaques and coronary artery calcification. The researchers also included a lot of different blood tests as well as lifestyle evaluation.

 

Plaque or coronary artery calcification was present in 49.7% of the participants.

The real value of this study is the identification of the most relevant risk factor which was found to be LDL cholesterol.

The results indicate that atherosclerosis in both men and women develops above an LDL cholesterol threshold of approximately 50 to 60 mg/dl. This is much lower than what was thought necessary for a healthy cardiovascular system.

This means that if you want to have arteries free of deposits, you need to implement a diet and lifestyle that has shown to do that.

This is not impossible and does not have to be that difficult.

 

What you eat is the most important factor.

When people eating a high protein, low carbohydrate diet for one year were compared with a group eating a plant-based diet also for a year, this was the results.

All the participants were evaluated at the beginning and at the end of the study using myocardial
perfusion imaging, echocardiography and several blood tests (Fleming RM, 2000).

The group eating the plant-based diet improved their cardiovascular function and had less plaque in their arteries a year later when measured.

The group eating a high protein, low carbohydrate diet had more plaque than when they started a year ago, and risk factors for cardiovascular disease like fibrinogen a clotting factor, Lp(a) and CRP an inflammatory marker were all worse.

 

References

Fernández-Friera L1, Fuster V2, López-Melgar B3, Oliva B4, García-Ruiz JM5, Mendiguren J6, Bueno H7, Pocock S8, Ibáñez B9, Fernández-Ortiz A10, Sanz J11. Normal LDL-Cholesterol Levels Are Associated With Subclinical Atherosclerosis in the Absence of Risk Factors. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2017 Dec 19;70(24):2979- 2991. doi: 10.1016/j.jacc.2017.10.024.

Fleming RM1. The effect of high-protein diets on coronary blood flow. Angiology. 2000 Oct;51(10):817-26.

 

 

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Osteoarthritis in women associated with deposits in Arteries

Posted by on Asthma, Calories, Eating, Energy, Exercise, General Health, General Health, Health Risk, Heart disease, Muscles, Nervous System, Research, Wellness, Women, Womens health | 0 comments

Research sometimes find interesting connections we usually don’t think about.

A study including 3278 women found an association between plaque in the carotid artery and osteoarthritis in the knee and hands in women (Hoeven TA, et.al., 2013).

We know that inflammation is involved in osteoarthritis, even if it is less severe than in rheumatoid arthritis.

We also know that inflammation increases the risk for cardiovascular disease. Inflammation is an important factor in depositing cholesterol and fat into the inner lining of the vascular wall.

 

Another interesting connection found lower magnesium levels in rheumatoid arthritis patients compared to controls (Chavan VU, et.al., 2015).

Lower magnesium levels were also correlated with higher cholesterol and LDL, the so called bad cholesterol, and higher magnesium levels with better HDL cholesterol, the good cholesterol. This was in cases of rheumatoid arthritis.

 

Magnesium has also been found to be inversely associated with osteoarthritis documented on x-rays and joint space narrowing (Zeng C, et.al., 2015).

Glucosamine sulfate another nutritional substance has been used to treat osteoarthritis for many years.

When osteoarthritic chondrocytes (cartilage cells) and glucosamine sulfate were tested in different ways in a culture, it was found that glucosamine sulfate reduced the synthesis of proinflammatory mediators (Largo R, et.al., 2003).

Taking magnesium and glucosamine sulfate could according to this possibly benefit both your cardiovascular system and your joints.

The best form of magnesium is an amino acid chelate like magnesium glycinate.

The most common form of magnesium is magnesium oxide, but that is a gastrointestinal irritant and can give you diarrhea when taken in higher amounts.

 

REFERENCE

Chavan, V. U., Ramavataram, D. V. S. S., Patel, P. A., & Rupani, M. P. (2015). Evaluation of serum magnesium, lipid profile and various biochemical parameters as risk factors of cardiovascular diseases in patients with rheumatoid arthritis. Journal of clinical and diagnostic research: JCDR, 9(4), BC01.

Hoeven, T. A., Kavousi, M., Clockaerts, S., Kerkhof, H. J., van Meurs, J. B., Franco, O., … & Bierma-Zeinstra, S. (2012). Association of atherosclerosis with presence and progression of osteoarthritis: the Rotterdam Study. Annals of the rheumatic diseases, annrheumdis-2011.

Largo R, Alvarez-Soria MA, Díez-Ortego I, Calvo E, Sánchez-Pernaute O, Egido J, Herrero-Beaumont G. Glucosamine inhibits IL-1beta-induced NFkappaB activation in human osteoarthritic chondrocytes.Osteoarthritis Cartilage. 2003 Apr;11(4):290-8.

Zeng C, Li H, Wei J, Yang T, Deng ZH, Yang Y, Zhang Y, Yang TB, Lei GH. Association between Dietary Magnesium Intake and Radiographic Knee Osteoarthritis. PLoS One. 2015 May 26;10(5):e0127666.

 

 

 

 

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