Pomegranate: a heart-healthy fruit

Consuming pomegranate juice regularly improves heart health(NaturalNews) Pomegranate juice is rich in antioxidants such as polyphenols, tannins, and anthocyanins. The health benefits of pomegranate juice have been compared to that of red wine, purple grape juice, and black tea. The only potential downside of fresh pomegranate juice is that it is very high in natural sugar.

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Ingredients

American food is in a state of crisis. Obesity and diabetes are on the rise, food costs are skyrocketing, family farms are in decline and our agricultural environment is in jeopardy. Ingredients (2009) explores a thriving local food movement as our world becomes a more flavorless, disconnected and dangerous place to eat. Discovering better flavor and nutrition, Ingredients is a journey that reveals the people behind the movement to bring good food back to the table and health back to our communities.

Learn more at www.ingredientsfilm.com

Cardiovascular Disease

A Unified Theory of The Cause & Treatment

The  two-time unshared Nobel Prize recipient Linus Pauling  (1901 – 1994) and the German medical doctor Matthias Rath (born 1955) presented in 1989 a new theory of cardiovascular disease.

Heart disease is a manifestation of chronic scurvy, and atherosclerotic plaque is a mechanism evolved to repair or patch blood vessels and arteries damaged by chronic vitamin C deficiency.   Plaque deposits found in human aortas are made up of a blood lipid called lipoprotein(a).

The solution on this problem is simple. Vitamin C and and lysine in combination in high dosages neutralize lipoprotein(a). This treatment can prevent and cure cardiovascular and heart disease. This is a lecture by Linus Pauling from 1993.  It is commented by Patrick Holford. To watch the complete video you need to install the free Veoh Player.

 

 

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Rath M, Pauling L. Solution to the Puzzle of Human Cardiovascular Disease: Its Primary Cause is Ascorbate defiency, leading to the deposition of lipoprotein(a) and fibrinogen / fibrin in the vascular wall. J Orthomol Med 1991; 6 (3 & 4): 125-34.

Rath M, Pauling L. A unified theory of human cardiovascular disease leading the way to abolition of this disease as a cause for human mortality. J Orthomol Med 1992; 7 (1): 5-12.

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Societal Control of Sugar Essential to Ease Public Health Burden

Robert H. Lustig, MD, and a team of the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) researchers argue that sugar should be controlled like alcohol and tobacco to protect public health. In a new report, they maintain that sugar is fueling a global obesity pandemic, contributing to 35 million deaths annually worldwide from non-communicable diseases like diabetes, heart disease and cancer. 

 

 

Non-communicable diseases now pose a greater health burden worldwide than infectious diseases, according to the United Nations. In the United States, 75 percent of health care dollars are spent treating these diseases and their associated disabilities.

Robert Lustig, MD

In the Feb. 2 issue of NatureRobert Lustig, MD, Laura Schmidt, PhD, MSW, MPH, and Claire Brindis, DPH, colleagues at UCSF, argue that sugar’s potential for abuse, coupled with its toxicity and pervasiveness in the Western diet, make it a primary culprit of this worldwide health crisis.

This partnership of scientists trained in endocrinology, sociology and public health took a new look at the accumulating scientific evidence on sugar. Such interdisciplinary liaisons underscore the power of academic health sciences institutions like UCSF.

Sugar, they argue, is far from just “empty calories” that make people fat. At the levels consumed by most Americans, sugar changes metabolism, raises blood pressure, critically alters the signaling of hormones and causes significant damage to the liver – the least understood of sugar’s damages. These health hazards largely mirror the effects of drinking too much alcohol, which they point out in their commentary is the distillation of sugar.

Worldwide consumption of sugar has tripled during the past 50 years and is viewed as a key cause of the obesity epidemic. But obesity, Lustig, Schmidt and Brindis argue, may just be a marker for the damage caused by the toxic effects of too much sugar. This would help explain why 40 percent of people with metabolic syndrome — the key metabolic changes that lead to diabetes, heart disease and cancer — are not clinically obese.

“As long as the public thinks that sugar is just ‘empty calories,’ we have no chance in solving this,” said Lustig, a professor of pediatrics, in the division of endocrinology at the UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital and director of the Weight Assessment for Teen and Child Health (WATCH) Program at UCSF.

“There are good calories and bad calories, just as there are good fats and bad fats, good amino acids and bad amino acids, good carbohydrates and bad carbohydrates,” Lustig said. “But sugar is toxic beyond its calories.”

Limiting the consumption of sugar has challenges beyond educating people about its potential toxicity. “We recognize that there are cultural and celebratory aspects of sugar,” said Brindis, director of UCSF’s Philip R. Lee Institute for Health Policy Studies (IHPS). “Changing these patterns is very complicated.”

According to Brindis, effective interventions can’t rely solely on individual change, but instead on environmental and community-wide solutions, similar to what has occurred with alcohol and tobacco, that increase the likelihood of success.

Laura Schmidt, PhD, MSW, MPH

The authors argue for society to shift away from high sugar consumption, the public must be better informed about the emerging science on sugar.

“There is an enormous gap between what we know from science and what we practice in reality,” said Schmidt, professor of health policy at UCSF’s IHPS and co-chair of UCSF’s Clinical and Translational Science Institute’s (CTSI) Community Engagement and Health Policy Program, which focuses on bridging academic research, health policy, and community practice to improve public health. In order to move the health needle, this issue needs to be recognized as a fundamental concern at the global level,” she said.

The paper was made possible with funding from UCSF’s CTSI, UCSF’s National Institutes of Health-funded program that helps accelerate clinical and translational research through interdisciplinary, interprofessional and transdisciplinary work.

Claire Brindis, DPH

Many of the interventions that have reduced alcohol and tobacco consumption can be models for addressing the sugar problem, such as levying special sales taxes, controlling access, and tightening licensing requirements on vending machines and snack bars that sell high sugar products in schools and workplaces.

“We’re not talking prohibition,” Schmidt said. “We’re not advocating a major imposition of the government into people’s lives. We’re talking about gentle ways to make sugar consumption slightly less convenient, thereby moving people away from the concentrated dose. What we want is to actually increase people’s choices by making foods that aren’t loaded with sugar comparatively easier and cheaper to get.”

UCSF is a leading university dedicated to promoting health worldwide through advanced biomedical research, graduate-level education in the life sciences and health professions, and excellence in patient care. For more information, please visit http://www.ucsf.edu.

Photos by Susan Merrell

 

Reference 

Lustig RH, Schmidt LA, Brindis CD. Public health: The toxic truth about sugar. Nature 2012; 482 (7383): 27-9.

 

Omega-3 Fatty Acids May Help to Reduce the Physical Harm Caused by Smoking

New study presented at the World Congress of Cardiology organized by the World Heart Federation 

Omega-3 fatty acids may help to reduce the physical harm caused by smoking, according to a new study presented yesterday (20 April 2012) at the World Congress of Cardiology in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

The study, carried out in Greece, assessed the effect of four-week oral treatment with 2 g/day of omega-3 fatty acids on the arterial wall properties of cigarette smokers. The results showed that short-term treatment with omega-3 fatty acids improves arterial stiffness and moderates the acute smoking-induced impairment of vascular elastic properties in smokers.

“These findings suggest that omega-3 fatty acids inhibit the detrimental effects of smoking on arterial function, which is an independent prognostic marker of cardiovascular risk,” said Dr. Gerasimos Siasos, University of Athens Medical School, 1st Department of Cardiology, “Hippokration” Hospital. “The cardioprotective effects of omega-3 fatty acids appear to be due to a synergism between multiple, intricate mechanisms involving anti-inflammatory and anti-atherosclerotic effects. Furthermore, AHA recommends that people without documented history of coronary heart disease should consume a variety of fish (preferably oily – rich in omega-3 fatty acids) at least twice per week.”

The World Heart Federation strongly encourages all smokers to quit,” said Dr Kathryn Taubert, Chief Science Officer at the World Heart Federation. “The only way to protect your body from the harmful effects of tobacco is to stop smoking. We encourage all people, both smokers and non-smokers, to eat healthy diets, which includes foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids.”

 

Is Sugar Toxic?

If you are what you eat, then what does it mean that the average American consumes 130 pounds of sugar a year? Dr. Sanjay Gupta reports on new research showing that beyond weight gain, sugar can take a serious toll on your health, worsening conditions ranging from heart disease to cancer. Some physicians go so far as to call sugar a toxin (CBS News, 2012).

 

Two Vitamin C Tablets Every Day Could Save 200,000 American Lives Every Year

Ascorbate Supplementation Reduces Heart Failure

New research has reported that risk of heart failure decreases with increasing blood levels of vitamin C [1]. Persons with the lowest plasma levels of ascorbate had the highest risk of heart failure, and persons with the highest levels of vitamin C had the lowest risk of heart failure.

According to the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) there are about 600,000 deaths from heart disease each year. [2] This is an enormous number. The definition of heart failure used by the study authors was on the basis of drugs prescribed, which would include all forms of heart disease that cause death. This agrees well with the CDC definition.

Specifically, the study found that each 20 micromole/liter (μmol/L) increase in plasma vitamin C was associated with a 9% reduction in death from heart failure. That works out to 54,000 fewer deaths from heart failure for each increase in 20 μmol/L plasma vitamin C. If everyone took high enough doses of vitamin C to reach the highest quartile (80 μmol/L), that would work out to approximately 216,000 fewer deaths per year. Just from taking vitamin C.

What is Heart Failure?

The heart muscle fails for many reasons. As we get older, it weakens and may not get enough nutrients to keep it healthy. A severe heart attack, that does not kill the patient but has caused significant damage to the heart muscle, may leave the heart in a very weakened state. Long standing or acute high blood pressure can put a massive strain on the heart and cause it to fail. An abnormal beating of the heart such as a very fast heart rate, an irregular beat or a lot of missed beats will result in a less effective pumping and eventual failure. Anemia will make the heart pump harder and faster in an attempt to deliver enough oxygen to the organs. The valves in the heart which direct blood flow are made up of an important fibrous strengthening tissue called collagen. Weakness or tearing of these valves can cause the blood to flow backwards, making the heart pump very inefficiently and eventually causing it to fail. When the heart muscle begins to fail, there is a buildup of carbon dioxide and waste products, resulting in weakening of the kidneys and liver. Eventually, fluid builds up in all the organs and the person presents with severe fatigue, shortness of breath (from fluid in the lungs) and swelling of the ankles.

Viruses and other microorganisms can attack the heart and weaken the heart muscle cells permanently by causing viral myocarditis. As the heart muscle cells get older they may require more energy to work and a greater level of protection from free radical damage. Nutrients such as magnesium, orotic acid, coenzyme Q10, acetyl L-Carnitine, and others may be required. Toxins, chemotherapeutic drugs, alcohol and deficiencies of some nutrients such as selenium may cause the heart to increase the size of its cells to compensate for the weakness. An enlargement of the heart muscle is called cardiomyopathy. These hearts are much more likely to fail.

Medical treatment of cardiac failure uses drugs that open the arteries, reduce blood pressure, and force the excessive fluid out of the body (diuretics). Drugs known as ACE Inhibitors improve quality of life and survival. Diet, fluid and salt restriction, and tolerable exercise are essential. For the most severe cases, a heart transplant may be required. However, many of these treatments have significant side effects. For example, treatment with diuretics to remove excess fluid will tend to lower the plasma vitamin C level and exacerbate the causes of cardiac failure.

How Much Vitamin C is Needed?

It takes less vitamin C than you may have thought. To achieve a plasma level of 80 μmol/L, and thereby reduce deaths by 216,000 per year, requires a daily dosage of about 500 mg of vitamin C. This is only one or two tablets per day, costing less than ten cents.

3,000 to 8,000 mg/day, in continued divided doses, can achieve a plasma level twice as high (160 μmol/L). This much C could save an additional 216,000 lives as it is an additional 80 μmol/L, assuming the relationship holds.

We can go still higher, and without intravenous administration. 1,000 mg of oral vitamin C per hour for 12 hours (12,000 mg/day) will result in a plasma level of about 240 μmol/L. A single 5,000 milligram dose might take you to a peak of 240 μmol/L, but only for about 2-4 hours after the intake. That is why the dosage needs to be spread out: better absorption, gradual excretion, higher plasma levels . . . and better results.

Conclusion

Optimizing vitamin C intake optimizes the health of a person taking it. This includes persons with potentially life-threatening disorders. It is a simple, cheap, effective, and safe therapy. Vitamin C is no longer a “controversial” therapy. It is an ignored therapy. It is time for the medical profession to fully awaken to what this recent study confirms: higher vitamin C intakes mean less heart failure. That means that higher vitamin C intakes mean fewer deaths. 200,000 per year fewer.

With just two vitamin C tablets per day.

(Orthomolecular Medicine News Service, November 22, 2011)

 

Read More

Low Vitamin C Levels May Raise Heart Failure Patients’ Risk

 

References

1. Pfister R, Sharp SJ, Luben R, Wareham NJ, Khaw KT. Plasma vitamin C predicts incident heart failure in men and women in European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition-Norfolk prospective study. Am Heart J 2011; 162: 246-253.

2. http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/lcod.htm

 

Low Vitamin C Levels May Raise Heart Failure Patients’ Risk

Low levels of vitamin C were associated with higher levels of high sensitivity C-Reactive protein (hsCRP) and shorter intervals without major cardiac issues or death for heart failure patients, in research presented at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2011.

Compared to those with high vitamin C intake from food, heart failure patients in the study who had low vitamin C intake were 2.4 times more likely to have higher levels of hsCRP, a marker for inflammation and a risk factor for heart disease.

The study is the first to demonstrate that low vitamin C intake is associated with worse outcomes for heart failure patients.

Study participants with low vitamin C intake and hsCRP over 3 milligrams per liter (mg/L) were also nearly twice as likely to die from cardiovascular disease within one year of follow-up.

“We found that adequate intake of vitamin C was associated with longer survival in patients with heart failure,” said Eun Kyeung Song, Ph.D., R.N., lead author of the study and assistant professor at the Department of Nursing, College of Medicine, in the University of Ulsan in Korea.

The average age among the 212 patients in the study was 61, and about one-third were women. Approximately 45 percent of the participants had moderate to severe heart failure.

Participants completed a four-day food diary verified by a registered dietitian and a software program calculated their vitamin C intake. Bloods tests measured hsCRP.

Researchers divided participants into one group with levels over 3 mg/L of hsCRP and another with lower levels. Patients were followed for one year to determine the length of time to their first visit to the emergency department due to cardiac problems or death.

Researchers found that 82 patients (39 percent) had inadequate vitamin C intake, according to criteria set by the Institute of Medicine. These criteria allowed the researchers to estimate the likelihood that the patient’s diet was habitually deficient in vitamin C based on a four day food diary. After a year follow-up, 61 patients (29 percent) had cardiac events, which included an emergency department visit or hospitalization due to cardiac problems, or cardiac death.

The researchers found that 98 patients (46 percent) had hsCRP over 3 mg/L, according to Song.

Inflammatory pathways in heart failure patients may be why vitamin C deficiency contributed to poor health outcomes, the data suggests.

“Increased levels of high-sensitivity C-reactive protein means a worsening of heart failure,” Song said. “An adequate level of vitamin C is associated with lower levels of high-sensitivity C-reactive protein. This results in a longer cardiac event-free survival in patients.”

The use of diuretics may also play a role because vitamin C is water soluble and diuretics increase the amount of water excreted from the kidneys, said Terry Lennie, Ph.D., R.N., study author and associate dean of Ph.D. studies in the College of Nursing at the University of Kentucky in Lexington, Kentucky.

“Diet is the best source of vitamin C,” Lennie said. “Eating the recommended five servings of fruits and vegetables a day provides an adequate amount.”

More randomized controlled trials and longitudinal prospective studies are needed to determine the impact of other micronutrients on survival or rehospitalization, Song said.

 

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Two Vitamin C Tablets Every Day Could Save 200,000 American Lives Every Year

 

Your Heart Loves Vitamin C 

Dr. Benjamin Weeks explains in this video from 2008 how vitamin C impacts the heath of the cardiovascular system.

 

Role of Mercury Toxicity in Hypertension, Cardiovascular Disease, and Stroke

Dr. Mark C. Houston is Associate Clinical Professor of Medicine at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine and Director of the Hypertension Institute at Saint Thomas Hospital in Nashville, TN. He has written an important review article on the cardiovascular consequences of mercury exposure in humans. The article discusses how mercury toxicity in humans is related to hypertension, generalized atherosclerosis, coronary heart disease (CHD), myocardial infarction (MI), cardiac arrhythmias, heart rate variability, sudden death, cerebrovascular accidents (CVA), carotid artery disease, renal dysfunction, and total mortality.

 

Mark C. Houston

Role of Mercury Toxicity in Hypertension, Cardiovascular Disease, and Stroke
J Clin Hypertens (Greenwich) 2011; 13 (8): 621-7

 

ABSTRACT

Mercury has a high affinity for sulfhydryl groups, inactivating numerous enzymatic reactions, amino acids, and sulfur-containing antioxidants (N-acetyl-L-cysteine, alpha-lipoic acid, L-glutathione), with subsequent decreased oxidant defense and increased oxidative stress. Mercury binds to metallothionein and substitute for zinc, copper, and other trace metals, reducing the effectiveness of metalloenzymes. Mercury induces mitochondrial dysfunction with reduction in adenosine triphosphate, depletion of glutathione, and increased lipid peroxidation. Increased oxidative stress and reduced oxidative defense are common. Selenium and fish containing omega-3 fatty acids antagonize mercury toxicity. The overall vascular effects of mercury include increased oxidative stress and inflammation, reduced oxidative defense, thrombosis, vascular smooth muscle dysfunction, endothelial dysfunction, dyslipidemia, and immune and mitochondrial dysfunction. The clinical consequences of mercury toxicity include hypertension, coronary heart disease, myocardial infarction, cardiac arrhythmias, reduced heart rate variability, increased carotid intima-media thickness and carotid artery obstruction, cerebrovascular accident, generalized atherosclerosis, and renal dysfunction, insufficiency, and proteinuria. Pathological, biochemical, and functional medicine correlations are significant and logical. Mercury diminishes the protective effect of fish and omega-3 fatty acids. Mercury inactivates catecholaminei-0-methyl transferase, which increases serum and urinary epinephrine, norepinephrine, and dopamine. This effect will increase blood pressure and may be a clinical clue to mercury-induced heavy metal toxicity. Mercury toxicity should be evaluated in any patient with hypertension, coronary heart disease, cerebral vascular disease, cerebrovascular accident, or other vascular disease. Specific testing for acute and chronic toxicity and total body burden using hair, toenail, urine, and serum should be performed.

 

Study Shows Soy Protein Reduced Progression Of Clogged Arteries In Women Within 5 Years Of Menopause

This large scale, first-of-a-kind study will be published in the November issue of Stroke

A new study published in the November 2011 issue of Stroke reveals some promising data on the positive effects of soy protein reducing the progression of clogged arteries in women who were within five years of menopause. This study was the largest and longest randomized controlled human study conducted to-date that directly investigated the efficacy of isolated soy protein consumption on the progression of atherosclerosis (lipid deposition in the artery walls).

“These results are consistent with what we have learned through research conducted over the past decade,” said Howard N. Hodis, MD, USC Keck School of Medicine and lead author of the study. “The literature demonstrates that there is a ‘window of opportunity’ of a potential beneficial effect on coronary heart disease for products that bind to the estrogen receptor including hormone-replacement therapy, soybean isoflavones or selective estrogen receptor modulators (SERMs) when initiated in women within 5-6 years of menopause.”

The progression rate of carotid artery intima-media thickness (CIMT) trended to be 16 percent lower on average in the isoflavone-containing soy protein group compared with the placebo group. However, in women who had experienced menopause within the past five years, isolated soy protein consumption was associated with a significant 68 percent reduction in CIMT progression compared to those consuming the placebo.

Excellent compliance was observed for this study as determined by package and bar count (86.5 percent for placebo and 91.0 percent for isolated soy protein). Compliance was confirmed by plasma and urine isoflavone measurements.

“The high compliance suggests that the clinical study products provided by Solae were very palatable and were not associated with any significant adverse effects as confirmed by the data,” said Elaine Krul, PhD, nutrition discovery lead, Solae.

Subjects in this study were ‘healthy’ with no previous signs of cardiovascular disease which may explain the lack of significant reduction in plasma lipids that is seen in persons with higher plasma lipid levels.

“This study also showed a significant increase in HDL (“the good”) cholesterol in participants consuming isolated soy protein,” said Krul. “The results of this study reinforce that soy protein can provide health benefits for the healthy aging market segment.”

 

Reference

Hodis HN, Mack WJ, Kono N, Azen SP, Shoupe D, Hwang-Levine J et al; for the Women’s Isoflavone Soy Health Research Group. Isoflavone Soy Protein Supplementation and Atherosclerosis Progression in Healthy Postmenopausal Women: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Stroke 2011 Sep 8. [Epub ahead of print]