Monday, March 25, 2013

Carnosine Protects Against Vascular Injury and Extends Lifespan

Most allopathic medical practitioners would argue that the process of aging is nothing more than a normal process whereby cells deteriorate at a predetermined rate controlled by genetically determined commands and heredity. Standing in stark opposition is a rapidly growing body of research and documented evidence to indicate that aging is a product of many varied lifestyle choices including physical activity, smoking and most importantly, the type of diet we regularly consume.

In addition to being a potent cellular antioxidant, carnosine exhibits a number of other unique capabilities that help limit glycation (the abnormal linking of proteins with glucose or lipids) to prevent injury to tissues and organ structures. These actions improve cardiovascular performance to protect against stroke, heart disease, dementia and increased susceptibility to cancer. Researchers publishing in the journal, Cellular Physiology and Biochemistry demonstrates that carnosine from supplements can help protect against a first stroke, and can significantly lower the damage caused by stroke.

Carnosine Binds with Zinc in the Brain to Prevent Abnormal Accumulation and Amyloid Tangles
Researchers have demonstrated that carnosine is particularly effective in providing multi-targeted protection to the heart and blood vessels through age-inducing processes such as oxidation, glycation, protein cross-linking, mitochondrial dysfunction, telomere shortening and heavy metal accumulation in tissues. Carnosine protects against ischemia or loss of blood flow to the heart muscle, preventing the devastating effect of reduced blood flow that leads to a heart attack.

A study team from the University of Glasgow in Scotland has released the result of their study in the journal Biochemistry to explain the importance of carnosine in the development and progression of cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s disease in aging adults. They noticed that dementia patients displayed lower levels of carnosine in their brains and spinal fluid than those of other older adults, and found that the condition results from multiple factors, virtually all of which have some connection to carnosine and its function in the brain.

Supplement Daily with Carnosine to Help Prevent Dementia, Heart Disease, Stroke and Diabetes
The researchers demonstrated that those parts of the brain that are first affected in early Alzheimer’s disease are the same in which carnosine is normally found in the highest concentrations. As carnosine levels fall with age, those brain areas become the most vulnerable to Alzheimer’s-related damage. Carnosine is known to bind with zinc in the brain, ushering them away from delicate tissues and preventing abnormal accumulation. Supplementation in known to increase blood levels and cellular saturation to halt protein cross-linking and the characteristic neurofibrillary tangles so frequently associated with the disease.

A growing number of forward-thinking scientists refer to carnosine as an “anti-aging dipeptide”, capable of defending against cardiovascular disease, stroke, diabetes, cognitive decline and dementia. Carnosine is readily available from high protein animal dietary sources including milk, eggs, cheese, beef, poultry and pork. Most health-minded individuals avoid these food sources for health and ethical reasons, and will want to supplement (500 to 1,000 mg per day) to shield against vascular disease and abnormal cellular aging.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Rutin Flavonoids Reduce Blood Clot Risk to Help Prevent Stroke and Heart Attack

The risk of thrombosis, commonly known as a blood clot, can represent a significant threat to overall health and quality of life. Clots that form and become unstable can break away, blocking blood flow to the brain or the heart muscle. The result can be a fatal heart attack, stroke or debilitating paralysis leading to diminished capacity that frequently signals a shortened life expectancy.

Rutin Can Prevent Blood Clots by Inhibiting Platelet Aggregation
There are a number of natural compounds that help to improve the structure of the vascular system including vitamin C and the amino acids lysine and proline. Researchers publishing in The Journal of Clinical Investigation describe the effect of a compound called rutin, commonly found in fruits and vegetables and sold over the counter as a dietary supplement that has been shown to inhibit the formation of blood clots in an animal model of thrombosis.

The lead study author, Dr. Robert Flaumenhaft, an investigator in the Division of Hemostasis and Thrombosis at BIDMC and Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School commented “It's not always fully appreciated that the majority of Americans will die as the result of a blood clot in either their heart or their brain…. approximately half of all morbidity and mortality in the United States can be attributed to heart attack or stroke.” Any natural compound that is shown to prevent blood clot formation can significantly lower vascular-related mortality.

Eat Rutin or Supplement with Quercetin to Prevent Thrombus Formation
To conduct the study, researchers focused on a protein called disulfide isomerase (PDI) which is found in all cells. Past studies have shown that PDI is rapidly secreted from both platelets and endothelial cells during thrombosis when a clot forms in a blood vessel, and that inhibition of PDI could block thrombosis and prevent a fatal stroke or heart attack. The scientists therefore developed a wide-scale search for a natural agent capable of inhibiting the PDI protein and prevent vascular thrombosis.

Researchers identified quercetin-3-rutinoside (rutin), a bioflavonoid that is naturally found in many fruits, vegetables and teas including onions, apples and citrus fruits. The scientists noted that “Rutin proved to be the most potently anti-thrombotic compound that we ever tested”, as the flavonoid was shown to inhibit both platelet accumulation and fibrin generation during thrombus formation. Three to five daily servings of rutin from dietary sources or supplementing with 500 mg per day is shown to reduce platelet stickiness leading to blood clots and risk of early death from stroke and heart attack.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Vitamin D Protects Against Colds, Flu and Viral Infections

Vitamin D is an essential cofactor in the prevention of a host of conditions ranging from cancer to diabetes, dementia and cardiovascular disease. The sunshine vitamin is a critical part of our evolution as it has been circulating in our ancestral blood for countless generations due to plentiful sun exposure. It has only been the past half-century that we have lathered ourselves with sunscreen and hidden in buildings away from the vitamin D producing effects of the sun, following the sage advice of doctors and other misinformed medical professionals.

Vitamin D Levels Diminish with Age, Increasing Risk for Colds and Influenza
Vitamin D is rapidly emerging as one of the most researched natural compounds demonstrated to promote human health. More evidence in support of the prohormone is provided by researchers in Spain publishing the result of their work in the Journal of Leukocyte Biology. Scientists have found that insufficient levels of vitamin D are related to a deficiency in our innate immune defenses that protect us from infections, neoplasias or autoimmune diseases, and can effectively shield us from the common cold and influenza during winter months.

To perform the analysis and gather data for this study, researchers compared the changes in the blood levels of vitamin D among three groups of healthy subjects: youth (aged 20 to 30), middle-aged (aged 31 to 59), and elderly (aged 60 to 86). The scientists found decreased levels of vitamin D with aging, likely due to decreased exposure to the sun and a decline in the native ability of skin receptors to produce precursor levels of vitamin D, commonly found among individuals above the age of 40.

Supplement Daily with Vitamin D to Raise Circulating Blood Levels
The research team found that the level of circulating vitamin D in the blood affected the toll-like receptor (TLR) expression measured on white blood cell lymphocytes and monocytes. Specifically, they found that the TRL most affected by a vitamin D insufficiency is TLR7, which regulates the immune response against viruses. In many geographic regions, limited sun exposure during darker winter months is closely associated with vitamin D deficiency and increased risk for colds and influenza outbreaks.

The lead study author, Dr. John Wherry concluded “This study shows that sunlight, or more precisely the lack of vitamin D could have a role in the seasonally higher rates of infection… since vitamin D supplements are inexpensive and generally safe, this is a really exciting discovery.” It is best not to rely on sun exposure or dietary sources to obtain vitamin D. Most health-minded adults will want to supplement with an oil-based form of Vitamin D3 (experts recommend starting with 5000 IU per day), and test twice a year using the 25(OH)D blood test to confirm optimal levels above 50 ng/mL to achieve optimal protection against colds, flu and many viral infection strains.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Resveratrol Provides Anti-Aging Benefits and Helps Prevent Heart Disease

Resveratrol has been a popular buzz word around the alternative health community for more than a decade, touted for its anti-aging properties and potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory actions at the cellular level. Found in high concentrations most commonly in the skin of red grapes and in many red wines, resveratrol is thought to mimic the positive health benefits associated with calorie restriction by up-regulating longevity genes known as SIRT’s.

Scientists from the Harvard Medical School have published the result of their work in the journal, Cell Biology that demonstrates how resveratrol provides metabolic benefits as a result of directly influencing the expression of genes that affect longevity. This research confirms conclusively for the first time that the metabolic benefits of the red wine ingredient disappear in mice that lack the famed longevity gene SIRT1.

Resveratrol Directly Influences Genetic Expression to Increase Lifespan
Resveratrol, commonly referred to as a ‘dirty molecule’, has gained notoriety for its unique ability to influence or alter the genetic expression of the SIRT family of longevity genes. Researchers have discovered that the naturally occurring ingredient has other effects; it influences dozens of other proteins critical to essential metabolic functions, and some evidence had pointed to the importance of another well-known gene (called AMPK) for resveratrol's cellular benefits.

Researchers using a mouse model determined that resveratrol did not affect a group of mice that were genetically bred to ‘knock-out’ the SIRT gene (mice are commonly used for this type of study as they exhibit similar metabolic traits with humans). This confirmed that the grape-derived compound directly alters longevity expression in a dose dependent manner. Higher concentrations of resveratrol were found to increase the degree of genetic influence exhibited by resveratrol supplementation.

Resveratrol Lowers Systemic Inflammation to Reduce Heart Disease Risk
Further evidence documenting the importance of resveratrol to human health is provided by researchers publishing in the American Journal of Cardiology. Scientists found that cardiac patients supplemented for a period of one year with the red nutrient lowered multiple markers of inflammation (including CRP, C-reactive protein) by 26 percent, as well as reduced clotting factors associated with stroke. The researchers for this study used low doses of resveratrol (8 mg for the first six months and 16 mg for the next six months) to achieve these results.

A vocal group of naysayers constantly degrade the ever-growing evidence to support the importance of resveratrol to human wellbeing. There is little left to dispute, as researchers are regularly demonstrating that small amounts of resveratrol taken from diet or supplementation can benefit overall wellness and cardiovascular diseases by lowering levels of inflammation, providing antioxidant support and directly altering genetic expression to extend our healthy lifespan.