Monday, February 27, 2012

Omega-3 Fats Improve Insulin Resistance to Improve Heart Health

Compelling evidence now exists to demonstrate that heart disease is largely caused by the proliferation of increased levels of small, dense LDL cholesterol particles that have become oxidized in the blood and abnormalities relating to insulin resistance. Both factors combine to deal a potentially deadly punch to the vascular system, leading to metabolic stress, diabetes and increased risk for a heart attack.

Published studies appearing in the journals Nutrition Review and Biological Psychology detail the impact of nutritional intervention with the long-chain omega-3 fats EPA and DHA to improve insulin signaling and lower heart disease risk. A balanced diet including fatty fish, nuts, seeds and olive oil or fish oil supplementation are shown to significantly improve biological markers associated with diabetes and cardiovascular pathogenesis.

Omega-3 Fats Lower Risk for Heart Disease in Women by 38 Percent
Many people discount the effect of mental stress on physical health and cardiovascular disease in particular. Overt demands on the nervous system that result from unresolved stress result in excessive demands on the circulatory system, reduced blood flow to cells and increased levels of damaging inflammation. Combined with a diet favoring poor balance of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids, the stage is set for a dangerous deterioration of the cardiovascular system.

Researchers examined 3277 Danish men and women over a period of 23 years to determine the effect of long-chain omega-3 fats on cardiac health. Scientists found that 471 cases of ischemic heart disease (IHD) occurred during the study period. A detailed analysis of the results showed that those participants with the highest intake of EPA and DHA omega-3 fats (1.4 total grams of EPA/DHA per day) experienced the highest risk reduction for IHD. The study authors noted that omega-3 fat intake “was especially clear for women, who had a statistically significant 38 percent risk reduction for heart disease. Men also showed a benefiting trend of 26 percent risk reduction.”

Omega-3 Fat Supplementation Regulates Insulin Function to Lower Inflammatory Disease Risks
Further evidence demonstrating the importance of omega-3 fats for optimal human health is published in the journal Nutrition Review. Adiponectin is a potent hormone secreted by white adipose tissue that regulates insulin function and reduces inflammation in your circulatory system. As central abdominal fat increases, adiponectin levels go down, increasing the risk for obesity, diabetes and heart disease. Researchers found that omega-3 fats from diet or supplementation, combined with dietary fiber and exercise increased adiponectin levels up to 60%, dramatically lowering the risk from inflammatory disease and metabolic syndrome.

An extensive body of research continues to mount showing the importance of omega-3 fats as a cornerstone for disease prevention and ideal health. Stress is a part of everyday life that directly impacts disease development and progression on the cellular level. Research confirms that a healthy diet favoring omega-3 fat sources or distilled fish oil supplements (1.2 to 1.4 grams EPA/DHA per day) can negate the effect of stressors that cause inflammation, metabolic dysfunction and cardiovascular disease.

Monday, February 20, 2012

B Vitamins and Omega-3 Fats Slow Alzheimer’s Disease Progression

Proper nutritional status attained by consuming a healthy diet teaming with natural vitamins and minerals along with optimization of omega fat lipid ratios can help to prevent cognitive decline associated with Alzheimer’s disease (AD) pathology. Researchers studying the effects of nutrition at Oxford University in England found that daily supplementation with folic acid and vitamins B6 and B12 lowered levels of homocysteine, a known risk factor leading to decline in cognition and memory.

Further evidence published in the journal Molecular Nutrition & Food Research explains that a disproportionate ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids plays a crucial role in the development of AD in later life. Cellular nutritional saturation from diet and appropriate supplementation with B vitamins and omega-3 fats may provide the cornerstone to prevent this most feared memory-robbing disease.

B Vitamin Supplementation Shown to Lower Homocysteine by 30% and Slow Brain Atrophy
Reporting in the International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, scientists examined the proposed link between elevated homocysteine levels and cognitive decline. Homocysteine has already been shown to dramatically increase the risk of heart disease and heart attack in prior studies. Researchers examined 266 people over the age of 70 with established mild cognitive impairment, and broke them into two groups. One group was supplemented with folic acid, vitamin B6 and B12, vitamin cofactors that lower homocysteine levels, while the second group received a placebo.

Brain wasting or atrophy is a common sign of cognitive impairment and is closely associated with Alzheimer’s dementia. The rate of brain atrophy is increased by higher concentrations of homocysteine in the blood and brain tissue. Researchers examining the results of this study found that the group supplemented with B vitamins for a period of two years experienced a 30% reduction in homocysteine levels. They found dramatic improvements in mental tests including global cognition and episodic memory (69% improvement in word recall memory) compared to the control group.

Omega-6 to Omega-3 Fat Ratio in Diet Creates an Imbalance in the Brain
The standard American diet (SAD) includes large quantities of oxidized omega-6 fats from fried and processed foods when compared to omega-3 fat consumption (from fish, nuts and seeds). The ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids ranges from 20:1 to as high as 50:1 (ideal range is no more than 4:1), creating a perpetual degree of inflammation throughout the body. Researchers have determined that this imbalance creates a disturbance in brain chemistry affecting neurotransmitter balance and electrical firing in the brain that sets the stage for amyloid tangles and cognitive decline.

Reestablishing omega fat homeostasis by balancing toward a 1:1 intake ratio and correcting B vitamin nutritional deficiencies provide deep insight toward understanding and controlling risk factors for the development of many forms of dementia including Alzheimer’s disease. Most middle aged adults will want to include a high potency B vitamin supplement (preferably formulated from natural food sources) and include omega-3 fats from diet or fish oil consumption to lower dementia risk factors.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Omega-3 Fats from Fish Oil Reduces Signs and Symptoms of Osteoarthritis

Humans have been consuming omega-3 fats from natural fish, nut and seed sources for countless generations. Our core genetic structure depends on a regular supply of the long chain omega-3 fats EPA and DHA to form cell wall structures and perform millions of metabolic functions that we normally associate with vibrant health.

Imbalance of omega-3 to omega-6 fats cause a surge in inflammatory cytokines that can lead to the painful and debilitating condition known as osteoarthritis. New research published in the journal Osteoarthritis and Cartilage has shown for the first time that omega-3 fats supplied by fish oil could "substantially and significantly" reduce the signs and symptoms of osteoarthritis as we age.

Omega-3 Fat Supplementation Slashes Osteoarthritis Disease Progression in Half
Researchers from the University of Bristol in England tested the effect of omega-3 fats on a breed of guinea pigs that are genetically predisposed to develop arthritis. Guinea pigs were chosen for this study as they develop osteoarthritis in a similar manner to humans. Anecdotal reports over the years provide support for the beneficial effect of fish consumption on joint health. Dr. John Tarlton from the Matrix Biology Research Group and his team set out to confirm the impact of omega-3 fatty acids, either sourced from fish oil or flax oil, to prevent or slow down the progression of osteoarthritis.

The team fed one group of guinea pigs a diet including full-spectrum omega-3 fats (EPA and DHA) and compared the results to a second control group of non-supplemented animals. Typical degradation of collagen in cartilage and the loss of molecules that give it shock-absorbing properties were both reduced in the omega-3 supplemented group. Researchers noted that omega-3 fats reduced disease by 50 per cent compared to the control group.

Omega-3 Fats Found More Effective Treating Arthritis than Dangerous Medications
Upon examination of the results, Dr. Tarlton explained “there was strong evidence that omega-3 influences the biochemistry of the disease, and therefore not only helps prevent disease, but also slows its progression, potentially controlling established osteoarthritis.” This is a critical finding, as most people suffering from arthritis are prescribed a plethora of ineffective pain medications that dramatically increase the risk of developing cardiovascular disease or suffering a heart attack.

At the present time there is no known cure or effective treatment from those experiencing the debilitating effects of osteoarthritis, and omega fat imbalance from a poor diet causes excessive joint inflammation and needless suffering. Researchers performing this study concluded “Most diets in the developed world are lacking in omega-3, with modern diets having up to 30 times too much omega-6 and too little omega-3. Taking omega-3 will help redress this imbalance and may positively contribute to a range of other health problems such as heart disease.” Most health-minded individuals will want to supplement with a molecularly distilled form of fish oil (minimum 1200 mg EPA/DHA content) each day to combat inflammation and osteoarthritis.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Chocolate Shown to Lower Risk of Stroke and Heart Disease by One-Third

Everybody likes chocolate, a fact supported by the annual increase in consumption documented by chocolate manufacturers around the globe. This may be good news for many chocolate consumers, but caution is advised to carefully monitor the quantity consumed and the cocoa content of the product purchased. We now have documented evidence to explain how dark chocolate consumption lowers stroke risk in women and slashes heart disease risk in adults.

Researchers publishing the Journal of the American College of Cardiology found high chocolate consumption correlates with a lower risk of stroke in women. Further proof of vascular benefits is documented in the British Medical Journal as scientists explain that chocolate consumption lowers heart disease risk by more than a third.

High Levels of Chocolate Consumption Dramatically Lower Heart Disease and Stroke Risks
A number of recent studies have shown that eating chocolate has a positive influence on human health due to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. This includes reducing blood pressure and improving insulin sensitivity, a primary factor in diabetes development and progression in millions of at-risk children and adults. The World Health Organization predicts that nearly 24 million people will die from heart disease by the year 2030, yet proper diet and lifestyle could significantly lower the mortality rate.

In an effort to confirm past research efforts that suggest a connection between chocolate consumption and lowered risk of heart disease and stroke, Dr. Oscar Franco and colleagues from the University of Cambridge in England analyzed the results of seven studies involving over 100,000 participants with and without existing heart disease. Researchers compared the group with the highest chocolate consumption against those with the lowest, taking into account differences in study design and quality of reporting.

Choose Dark Chocolate with a High Cocoa Content for Optimal Protection
Researchers performing a meta-analysis of all studies examined found a significant correlation between higher levels of chocolate consumption and the risk of cardiovascular events. They determined that the "highest levels of chocolate consumption were associated with a 37% reduction in cardiovascular disease and a 29% reduction in stroke compared with lowest levels." Although the final analysis did not distinguish between dark and milk chocolate consumption, nutritional experts recommend choosing dark chocolate with minimal added sugar and at least 75% cocoa content.

There are many documented lifestyle changes that have been shown to dramatically lower the risk of heart disease and stroke including vitamin D optimization, fish oil supplementation and potent antioxidants such as resveratrol. Chocolate eaten in small amounts several times a week can now be added to the list as research confirms the powerful human health benefits of cocoa.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Green Vegetables Alter Gene Expression to Lower Chronic Disease Risk

The Chinese have known for countless generations that the food we eat directly controls our health. Ancient Greeks postulated that food should be considered a medicine, as powerful as any healing method or concoction available during that time period. Until quite recently, western intelligence was dismally unaware that the quality of our diet is immediately reflected in the chronic diseases we manifest and quality of life as well.

An international team of scientists, led by researchers at McMaster and McGill universities have published a new body of research in the journal PLoS Medicine to demonstrate the potent effect of a diet filled with fresh greens and fruits on our genetic expression. Scientists confirm that eating the proper diet holds the key to cardiovascular health for millions of at-risk individuals.

Genetic Predisposition to Heart Disease Blunted by Plenty of Vegetables and Fruits
Heart disease is the leading cause of death in western civilizations, so the news of an inexpensive and natural lifestyle change to prevent heart disease should make international headlines. Most otherwise enlightened people will never hear about the result of this research and continue to eat a nutritionally defunct diet that promotes cardiovascular disease and an early death. Simple changes in macronutrient consumption are now shown to pay significant benefits to human health with no side effects other than increased lifespan.

Researchers conducting one of the largest gene-diet interaction studies on cardiovascular disease analyzed a cohort of more than 27,000 individuals across multiple ethnicities. Dr. Jamie Engert, joint principal investigator of the study from McGill University explained "We know that 9p21 genetic variants increase the risk of heart disease for those that carry it", echoing the result of a past discovery showing that the gene is a strong marker for heart disease and can actually be modified by generous amounts of fruit and raw vegetables from dietary sources.

Vegetables Stimulate Chemical Messengers to Alter Genetic Expression to Lower Chronic Disease Risk
After an analysis of the effect of diet on the risk of cardiovascular disease, researchers determined that individuals with the high risk genotype who consumed a prudent diet, composed mainly of raw vegetables, fruits and berries, had a similar risk of heart attack to those with the low risk genotype. Lead author of the study Dr. Ron Do noted "Our research suggests there may be an important interplay between genes and diet in cardiovascular disease.”

Forward-thinking practitioners have known for more than a quarter century that diet and heart disease are closely linked, although the focus was inadvertently placed on dietary fat avoidance. Researchers have confirmed that many fats eaten in their natural, cold-pressed form are essential for vibrant health.

Evidence continues to mount confirming the profound health benefits of vegetables and fruits eaten at the peak of freshness. The authors of this important work conclude "The risk of MI (myocardial infarction) and CVD (cardiovascular disease) conferred by Chromosome 9p21 SNPs appears to be modified by a prudent diet high in raw vegetables and fruits." Be sure to include ten or more servings of greens each day to dramatically cut heart disease risk.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Green Vegetables Stimulate the Innate Immune Response to Guard against Disease

We all know that our immune system is the first line of defense against a wide array of potentially deadly pathogens, bacteria and viruses. Yet many people take this crucial defense barrier for granted and do little to ensure that they are adequately protected against a multitude of microscopic invaders.

Researchers publishing the result of a research body performed at the University of Cambridge in the journal Cell demonstrate that compounds found in green vegetables, from bok choy to broccoli are the source of a chemical signal that is important to activate a fully functioning immune system. Help protect yourself and your family from maladies ranging from the common cold, influenza to autoimmune diseases and certain cancers by including healthy portions of green vegetables in your daily diet.

Include Ten or More Fresh Vegetable Servings Daily to Boost Immune Health
Prior research indicated the breakdown of cruciferous vegetables can yield a compound that can be converted into a molecule that triggers the aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR) on cell wall surfaces. Further reports found AhR’s can be regulated by dietary ingredients found primarily in vegetables including broccoli, kale, spinach and many varieties of leafy greens. This action ensures that immune cells in the gut and the skin known as intra-epithelial lymphocytes (IELs) function properly.

Researchers fed otherwise healthy mice a vegetable-poor diet for several weeks were amazed to find that 70 to 80 percent of these protective IEL cells disappeared during this short period. Dr. Marc Veldhoen, lead study author noted that, “protective IELs exist as a network beneath the barrier of epithelial cells covering inner and outer body surfaces, where they are important as a first line of defense and in wound repair.” It was determined the number of IEL cells can be regulated by dietary ingredients found primarily in cruciferous vegetables.

A Diet High in Sugar and Processed Carbohydrates Lowers System Immune Response
Poor dietary intake consisting mostly of hydrogenated and oxidized fats, sugar and processed foods directly alters the surface receptors of cells lining the digestive tract, responsible for more than 80 percent of our immune response. Researchers commented “individuals fed a synthetic diet lacking this key compound experience a significant reduction in AhR activity and lose IELs. With reduced numbers of these key immune cells, individuals showed lower levels of antimicrobial proteins, heightened immune activation and greater susceptibility to injury.”

Dr. Veldhoen concluded "it's already a good idea to eat your greens… the results offer a molecular basis for the importance of cruciferous vegetable-derived phyto-nutrients as part of a healthy diet.” The current recommendation to eat 3 to 5 servings of vegetables and fruit each day is anemic and insufficient in the light of this important study. Health-minded people will want to include fresh, raw greens at the core of their diet and include 10 or more generous servings each day to boost immune health.