Health and Disease, Uncategorized, Vitamins and Supplements

K2 a MUST to Prevent Cardiac Problems

heart2

Without Vitamin K2, Vitamin D May Actually Encourage Heart Disease

 

Vitamin K2 is thought to reduce coronary calcification, thereby decreasing your risk of cardiovascular disease. However, studies have reported inconsistent results — possibly because of the different effects of vitamin K1 (phylloquinone) and vitamin K2 (menaquinone or MK). Few studies have included both.

 

At least one study, however, has investigated the association of intake of phylloquinone and menaquinone with coronary calcification. The intake of both forms of the vitamin was estimated using a food-frequency questionnaire. It was found that K2 had an effect on coronary calcification, but K1 did not.

 

According to the study:

 

“This study shows that high dietary menaquinone [Ks] intake, but probably not phylloquinone [K1], is associated with reduced coronary calcification. Adequate menaquinone intakes could therefore be important to prevent cardiovascular disease.”

 

 

Vitamin K is an extremely important vitamin to have in your diet; it may very well be the next vitamin D in terms of the numerous health benefits it may provide. But, according to Dr. Cees Vermeer, one of the world’s top researchers in the field of vitamin K, nearly everyone is deficient in vitamin K — just like most are deficient in vitamin D.

 

Most people get enough vitamin K from their diets to maintain adequate blood clotting, but NOT enough to offer protection against health problems like arterial calcification and cardiovascular disease. Yet, as the study above showed, adequate amounts of the right type of vitamin K may offer immense benefits to your heart health, including reducing coronary calcification and thereby decreasing your risk of heart disease.

 

Which Type of Vitamin K May be Best for Your Heart?

Vitamin K comes in two forms — K1 or K2 — and it is important to understand the differences between them.

 

Vitamin K1 (phylloquinone): Found in green vegetables, K1 goes directly to your liver and helps you maintain a healthy blood clotting system. (This is the kind of vitamin K that infants are often given at birth to help prevent a serious bleeding disorder.) It is also vitamin K1 that keeps your own blood vessels from calcifying, and helps your bones retain calcium and develop the right crystalline structure.

Vitamin K2 (menaquinone, MK): Bacteria produce this type of vitamin K. It is present in high quantities in your gut, but unfortunately is not absorbed from there and passes out in your stool. K2 goes straight to vessel walls, bones, and tissues other than your liver. It is present in fermented foods, particularly cheese and the Japanese food natto, which is by far the richest source of K2.

Vitamin K3, or menadione, is a third form that is synthetic and manmade, which I do not recommend. Each type of vitamin K has different roles in your body, and emerging research is showing that vitamin K2, not K1, may be especially important. For instance, research published in Atherosclerosis found that high dietary intake of vitamin K2 is associated with reduced coronary calcification (hardening of the arteries), a result that should also lessen your risk of heart disease.

 

What made this study unique was that it compared dietary intakes of both vitamin K1 and K2, and only K2 showed a benefit. Vitamin K1 was NOT associated with reduced coronary calcification. This is consistent with separate research also showing superior health benefits from vitamin K2, including:

 

The Rotterdam Study, the first study demonstrating the beneficial effect of vitamin K2, showed that people who consume 45 mcg of K2 daily live seven years longer than people getting 12 mcg per day.

The Prospect Study, in which 16,000 people were followed for 10 years. Researchers found that each additional 10 mcg of K2 in the diet results in 9 percent fewer cardiac events, whereas vitamin K1 did not offer a significant heart benefit.

Why Might Vitamin K2 be so Beneficial for Your Heart?

Vitamin K engages in a delicate dance with vitamin D; whereas vitamin D provides improved bone development by helping you absorb calcium, there is new evidence that vitamin K2 directs the calcium to your skeleton, while preventing it from being deposited where you don’t want it — i.e., your organs, joint spaces, and arteries. A large part of arterial plaque consists of calcium deposits (atherosclerosis), hence the term “hardening of the arteries.”

 

Vitamin K2 activates a protein hormone called osteocalcin, produced by osteoblasts, which is needed to bind calcium into the matrix of your bone. Osteocalcin also appears to help prevent calcium from depositing into your arteries. In other words, without the help of vitamin K2, the calcium that your vitamin D so effectively lets in might be working AGAINST you — by building up your coronary arteries rather than your bones.

 

This is why if you take calcium and vitamin D but are deficient in vitamin K, you could be worse off than if you were not taking those supplements at all, as demonstrated by a recent meta-analysis linking calcium supplements to heart attacks.

 

This meta-analysis looked at studies involving people taking calcium in isolation, without complementary nutrients like magnesium, vitamin D and vitamin K, which help keep your body in balance. In the absence of those other important cofactors, calcium CAN have adverse effects, such as building up in coronary arteries and causing heart attacks, which is really what this analysis detected. So if you are going to take calcium, you need to be sure you have balanced it out with vitamin D and vitamin K.

 

Vitamin K2 Helps Produce Heart-Protective Protein MGP

Another route by which vitamin K offers heart-protective benefits is through the Matrix GLA Protein (or MGP), the protein responsible for protecting your blood vessels from calcification. When your body’s soft tissues are damaged, they respond with an inflammatory process that can result in the deposition of calcium into the damaged tissue. When this occurs in your blood vessels, you have the underlying mechanism of coronary artery disease — the buildup of plaque — that can lead you down the path to a heart attack.

 

Vitamin K and vitamin D again work together to increase MGP, which, in healthy arteries, congregates around the elastic fibers of your tunica media (arterial lining), guarding them against calcium crystal formation.

 

According to Professor Cees Vermeer:

 

“The only mechanism for arteries to protect themselves from calcification is via the vitamin K-dependent protein MGP. MPG is the most powerful inhibitor of soft tissue calcification presently known, but non-supplemented healthy adults are insufficient in vitamin K to a level that 30 percent of their MGP is synthesized in an inactive form. So, protection against cardiovascular calcification is only 70 percent in the young, healthy population, and this figure decreases at increasing age.”

 

Four More Reasons to Make Sure Your Diet Includes Vitamin K2

Vitamin K not only helps to prevent hardening of your arteries, which is a common factor in coronary artery disease and heart failure, it also offers several other important benefits to your health.

 

Fight Cancer …

 

Vitamin K has been found beneficial in the fight against non-Hodgkin lymphoma, liver, colon, stomach, prostate, nasopharynx, and oral cancers, and some studies have even suggested vitamin K may be used therapeutically in the treatment of patients with lung cancer, liver cancer, and leukemia.     Improve Bone Density …

 

Vitamin K is one of the most important nutritional interventions for improving bone density. It serves as the biological “glue” that helps plug the calcium into your bone matrix.

 

Studies have shown vitamin K to be equivalent to Fosamax-type osteoporosis drugs, with far fewer side effects.

Stave off Varicose Veins …

 

Inadequate levels of vitamin K may reduce the activity of the matrix GLA protein (MGP), which in turn has been identified as a key player in the development of varicosis, or varicose veins.               Lower Your Risk of Diabetes …

 

People with the highest intakes of vitamin K from their diet had a 20 percent lower risk of diabetes compared with those with the lowest intakes, according to the latest research from University Medical Center Utrecht in the Netherlands. Past studies have also shown vitamin K to help reduce the progression of insulin resistance.

How Much Vitamin K2 do You Need?

How many people have adequate vitamin K2? Just about zero, according to Dr. Vermeer and other experts in the field. But at this time there is really no commercial test that can give you an accurate measure of your levels. Vitamin K measurements in blood plasma can be done accurately, but the results are really not helpful because they mainly reflect “what you ate yesterday,” according to Dr. Vermeer.

 

Dr. Vermeer and his team have developed and patented a very promising laboratory test to assess vitamin K levels indirectly by measuring circulating MGP. Their studies have indicated this to be a very reliable method to assess the risk for arterial calcification — hence cardiac risk. They are hoping to have this test available to the public within one to two years for a reasonable price, and several labs are already interested. They are also working on developing a home test that would be available at your neighborhood drug store.

 

In the meantime, since nearly 100 percent of people don’t get sufficient amounts of vitamin K2 from their diet to reap its health benefits, you can assume you need to bump up your vitamin K2 levels by modifying your diet or taking a high-quality supplement.

 

As for dietary sources, eating lots of green vegetables, especially kale, spinach, collard greens, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts, will increase your vitamin K1 levels naturally. For vitamin K2, cheese and especially cheese curd is an excellent source. The starter ferment for both regular cheese and curd cheese contains bacteria — lactococci and proprionic acids bacteria — which both produce K2.

 

You can also obtain all the K2 you’ll need (about 200 micrograms) by eating 15 grams of natto daily, which is half an ounce. It’s a small amount and very inexpensive, but many Westerners do not enjoy the taste and texture.

 

If you don’t care for the taste of natto, the next best thing is a high-quality K2 supplement. Remember you must always take your vitamin K supplement with fat since it is fat-soluble and won’t be absorbed without it.

 

Although the exact dosing is yet to be determined, Dr. Vermeer recommends between 45 mcg and 185 mcg daily for adults. You must use caution on the higher doses if you take anticoagulants, but if you are generally healthy and not on these types of medications, I suggest 150 mcg daily.

 

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7 Ways to Stop Heart Attack and High Blood Pressure

heart

 

7 Ways to Stop Heart Attacks and High Blood Pressure

 

 

“A good head and a good heart are always a formidable combination,” said a man who had both — Nelson Mandela. Well, here’s the knowledge you need (a good head) to make sure your cardiovascular system (a good heart) stays healthy for decades more!

 

Unfortunately, ever more folks have high levels of lousy LDL cholesterol (more than 71 million North American adults), are overweight or obese (67 percent of adults), and have hypertension (33 percent of folks 20+). Almost 105 million have prediabetes or diabetes.

 

These are huge risk factors for heart disease. But you can defuse your potential heart problems. Here are our 7 Steps to Heart Health. They’ll also improve your love life and brain function and reduce cancer risks.

 

  1. Don’t smoke and avoid secondhand smoke; people who do have 20 percent to 40 percent fewer heart events over two years.

 

  1. Do whatever it takes to get your blood pressure to 115/75.

 

  1. Keep your waist measurement to less than half your height.

 

  1. Manage stress with meditation.

 

  1. Adopt good heart/brain nutrition: Avoid saturated and trans fats, all added sugars and sugar syrups, and any grain that isn’t 100 percent whole.

 

  1. Get active: Your heart will love 10,000 steps daily; 30 minutes of resistance exercise weekly; 20 minutes of cardio three times a week.

 

  1. Consider a supplement regimen: a statin and 200 mg CoQ10 daily, along with two baby aspirins with half a glass of warm water before and after (ask your doc); plus 1,000 IU of vitamin D-3 and 420 mg of purified omega-7 a day.

 

Please call us with your concerns about your personal healtcare.

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Health and Disease, Uncategorized

Long Term Health Risks of Hysterectomy

hysterectomy

Hysterectomy Linked to Long-Term Health Risks

 

Women who have hysterectomies, even with ovarian conservation, have a significantly increased risk of several cardiovascular diseases and metabolic conditions, says a Mayo Clinic study.

“This is the best data to date that shows women undergoing hysterectomy have a risk of long-term disease — even when both ovaries are conserved,” says study author Shannon Laughlin-Tommaso, M.D.

“While women are increasingly aware that removing their ovaries poses health risks, this study suggests hysterectomy alone has risks, especially for women who undergo hysterectomy prior to age 35.”

Researchers studied the medical records of 2,094 female residents of Minnesota’s Olmsted County who had undergone a hysterectomy for a benign condition between 1980 and 2002. All were aged 18 years or older and all had ovarian conservation.

Each woman was age-matched to a woman who lived in the same county who had not had a hysterectomy or any ovarian removal. Cardiovascular and metabolic conditions were determined in all women prior to surgery, and researchers looked for new onset of disease following hysterectomy.

Researchers found that women who had a hysterectomy without any ovary removal had a 14 percent increased risk in lipid abnormalities, a 13 percent increased risk of high blood pressure, an 18 percent increased risk of obesity and a 33 percent increased risk of coronary artery disease. Furthermore, women under the age of 35 had a 4.6-fold increased risk of congestive heart failure and a 2.5-fold increased risk of coronary artery disease.

“Hysterectomy is the second most common gynecologic surgery, and most are done for benign reasons, because most physicians believe that this surgery has minimal long-term risks,” says Dr. Laughlin-Tommaso. “With the results of this study, we encourage people to consider nonsurgical alternative therapies for fibroids, endometriosis and prolapse, which are leading causes of hysterectomy.”

The study is published in Menopause.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 60,000 hysterectomies are performed each year in the United States, and about 20 million American women have undergone the procedure.

 

In addition to an increased risk of heart attack and stroke in women who have their uterus and ovaries removed in their early forties and younger, hysterectomy has also been linked to depression, urinary conditions such as incontinence, and sexual function problems.

 

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Foods, Uncategorized

Eat Dark Chocolate and Olive Oil Together!

choc

Those with a high cardiovascular risk profile should eat dark chocolate with olive oil, new study finds

 

In recent years, the medical community has put a lot of effort into educating people about reducing their cholesterol levels in order to protect their heart health. Of course, those who do have elevated cholesterol levels are often prescribed statin drugs like Lipitor, Zocor and others to lower these levels. In fact, these are among the most prescribed drugs of all time.

 

Nonetheless, these toxic drugs carry serious side effects, including muscle pain and weakness, increased liver enzymes, asthma complications, and birth defects in pregnant women, to name just a few.

 

This doesn’t mean, though, that there isn’t a healthy solution to reducing cholesterol levels naturally. In addition to maintaining a healthy weight and exercising regularly, a recent study has unlocked another key to taking care of your heart: eating dark chocolate and extra virgin olive oil together.

 

The study, undertaken by researchers from the University of Pisa in Italy, who presented the results at the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) Congress in August, concluded that dark chocolate enriched with extra virgin olive oil can lead to improved heart health and a better cardiovascular risk profile.

 

“A healthy diet is known to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease,” said Dr. Rossella Di Stefano, a cardiologist at the University of Pisa, and the lead author of the study. “Fruits and vegetables exert their protective effects through plant polyphenols, which are found in cocoa, olive oil, and apples. Research has found that the Italian Panaia red apple has very high levels of polyphenols and antioxidants.”

 

The researchers set out to determine whether a combination of either dark chocolate and olive oil or dark chocolate and Panaia red apple might halt the progress of atherosclerosis (a build-up of plaque on the artery walls, causing obstructed blood flow, and potentially a life-threatening blood clot) in otherwise healthy people with cardiovascular risk factors.

 

The ESC explained in a press release:

 

The randomised crossover study included 26 volunteers (14 men, 12 women) with at least three cardiovascular risk factors (smoking, dyslipidaemia, hypertension, or family history of cardiovascular disease) who received 40 grams of dark chocolate daily for 28 days. For 14 consecutive days it contained 10% extra virgin olive oil and for 14 consecutive days it contained 2.5% Panaia red apple. The two types of chocolate were given in random order.

 

Progression of atherosclerosis was assessed by metabolic changes (levels of carnitine and hippurate), lipid profile, blood pressure and levels of circulating endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs). EPCs are critical for vascular repair and maintenance of endothelial function.

 

The researchers took urine and blood samples at the beginning of the study and again at the end. The urine samples were analyzed for endogenous metabolites using proton nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, and circulating EPC levels were evaluated with flow cytometry. Body mass index (BMI), blood pressure levels, smoking status, lipid profile and glycaemia, were also carefully monitored for all participants.

 

The results were quite astounding. At the end of the 28-day study, the researchers found that EPC levels were significantly increased after consumption of the olive oil-enriched chocolate. Carnitine and hippurate levels were considerably decreased – which is a good thing – both in comparison to baseline figures and to the apple-enriched chocolate.

 

Most encouragingly, consumption of the olive oil-enhanced chocolate resulted in significant increases in high-density lipoprotein (good cholesterol) and sizable reductions in blood pressure levels. (Related: Olive oil antioxidant naturally kills all cancer cells tested within an hour.)

 

So, if like millions of others you’ve been advised to take steps to decrease your cholesterol levels, you now have a fantastic excuse to increase your consumption of delicious dark chocolate. Just make sure you take some pure virgin olive oil with it! Perhaps melt that chocolate in a little olive oil and pour over fresh strawberries? Yum

 

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Health and Disease, Uncategorized

Heart Attacks in Men

heartattackmen

 Heart Attacks in Men

 

Pain, discomfort, and pressure in the chest are the most common symptoms of heart attack in men. These can include a sensation of fullness or squeezing in the chest. These symptoms are sometimes accompanied by pain in one or both arms, the jaw, back, stomach, or neck. While women are more likely than men to experience symptoms other than the characteristic chest pain and pressure, men can also experience other types of symptoms or mistake a heart attack for another condition, such as gastroesophageal reflux. Other signs and symptoms of heart attack include

shortness of breath,

nausea,

vomiting,

fatigue,

lightheadedness,

fainting,

dizziness,

pressure in the upper back, and

a feeling of breaking out in a cold sweat.

Causes of heart attacks in men

 

Heart attacks are caused when there is an inadequate supply of oxygen-carrying blood to the muscle of the heart. A heart attack is medically known as a myocardial infarction. Blockage of a coronary artery by a blood clot and/or atherosclerotic plaque (from coronary artery disease) is the most common cause for the interruption in blood flow to the heart muscle.

 

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Health and Disease, Uncategorized

Surviving Heart Attack Often Means Leaving Job Behind

heartattack

Surviving Heart Attack Often Means Leaving Job Behind

 

Recovering from a heart attack can be a long, painful process, and now a new study finds that almost one-quarter of those patients who returned to work ultimately left their jobs over the following year.

 

The findings suggest that “even though patients return to work after a heart attack, they may still require individual adjustments at their workplaces in order to stay employed,” said study author Dr. Laerke Smedegaard Petersen. She is a graduate student at Copenhagen University Hospital in Denmark.

 

An estimated 676,000 people in the United States survive heart attacks each year, according to the American Heart Association. Many survivors are of working age: The average age of heart attack is 65 for men and 72 for women, the association says.

 

The new study examined the medical and work records of over 22,000 patients in Denmark who were employed before suffering heart attacks between 1997 and 2012.

 

Of those, 91 percent returned to work within a year. But within a year of going back to work, 24 percent of the patients had left their jobs. That’s three times the normal rate of leaving a job, the researchers reported. It’s not clear, however, whether the heart attack survivors quit their jobs, or were fired or laid off.

 

Patients aged 30 to 39 and 60 to 65, and those who had heart failure, diabetes or depression, were especially likely to leave their jobs. Workers with higher incomes and more education were more likely to stay on the job, the findings showed.

 

Petersen said the percentage of heart attack patients who return to work and then leave their jobs may be even higher in the United States.

 

“In Denmark, all citizens have equal access to health care and all patients receive treatment free of charge,” she explained.

One U.S. expert said the findings are sobering.

 

“The study is an important reminder that recovery is often measured in months and years, not just weeks,” said Dr. Harlan Krumholz, director of the Center for Outcomes Research and Evaluation at Yale-New Haven Hospital in Connecticut.

 

“To understand the impact of a heart attack requires that we fully understand people’s roles and function. We should study how best to help people fully resume their prior activities and have the choice as to whether they want to continue working,” Krumholz explained.

 

Karina Davidson, executive director of Columbia University’s Center for Behavioral Cardiovascular Health, said fatigue and an inability to perform manual labor are some of the reasons why heart attack survivors leave their jobs.

 

“Patients after a heart attack do indeed have a long road to recovery, and cardiac rehabilitation, strong family support and follow-up with their medical care are important components to ensure the best recovery possible,” she said. “Returning to work full-time will be realistic for some patients, but not for all.”

 

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Rx to Wellness, Uncategorized

Risk of Stroke with Nexium, Prilosec and other Heart Burn Drugs Seen in Study

nexium

 

Risk of Stroke with Nexium, Prilosec, Other Heart Burn Drugs Seen in New Study

 

The findings of new research raise additional concerns about the potential side effects of Nexium, Prilosec and other heart burn drugs, suggesting that certain users of the popular medications may face an increased risk of stroke.

 

According to preliminary findings of a study presented this week at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2016, researchers from the Danish Heart Foundation indicate that the overall stroke risk with Nexium, Prilosec and other proton pump inhibitors (PPI) increased 21%, especially among users of higher doses, which is a strong indicator that the drugs are likely causing the strokes.

 

Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) are a class of heartburn medications used by millions of Americans, including blockbuster brands like Nexium, Prilosec, Prevacid, Protonix, Dexilant, AcipHex and others, many of which have over-the-counter versions available without a prescription.

 

Although most users assume the drugs carry few serious side effects, often continuing to use Nexium or other PPIs for years, without any attempt to discontinue the drugs, the medications have been linked to a number of possible health risks in recent years, including heart attacks, dementia, kidney disease and kidney failure. However, some experts suggest that the link between Nexium and strokes may be most worrying, if confirmed.

 

“At one time, PPIs were thought to be safe, without major side effects,” Dr. Thomas Sehested, the study’s lead author, said in an American Heart Association press release. “This study further questions the cardiovascular safety of these drugs.”

 

The study, which has not yet been completed or peer-reviewed, looked at the records of nearly 250,000 Danish patients, with an average age of 57, who underwent an endoscopy procedure to seek out causes of stomach problems. Nearly 9,500 of those patients suffered an ischemic stroke during the six year follow up period of the study. The researchers looked to see which of those patients were taking either Nexium, Prilosec, Protonix, or Prevacid.

 

Researchers found that the overall stroke risk with Nexium, Prilosec, Protonix and Prevacid increased by 21% for patients taking the drugs. The risk increased at higher doses for some, with high doses of Prevacid increasing the risk of stroke to 30%, and high doses of Protonix carrying the most risk of stroke with a 94% increased risk.

 

The study also looked at another class of heartburn drugs, known as H2 blockers, which includes Pepcid and Zantac. However, no increased risk of stroke was seen with those other drugs.

 

The researchers said their findings should inspire doctors to be more cautious in prescribing PPIs, and suggested that they should carefully consider if a PPI prescription is necessary and for how long to keep the patient on the drugs.

 

Other Nexium, Prilosec, Prevacid, and Protonix Health Risks

 

Over the past year, a growing number of Nexium lawsuits, Prilosec lawsuits ,Prevacid lawsuits, Protonix lawsuits, Dexilant lawsuits and other claims have been brought against the makers of proton pump inhibitors, alleging that users and the medical community were not adequately warned about the risk of serious and potentially life-threatening injuries.

 

The litigation has emerged over the past year, after a series of independent studies suggested there is a link between Nexium and kidney risks, including acute interstitial nephritis, acute kidney injury, chronic kidney disease and end-stage kidney failure. This has raised questions in recent months about whether the drugs may be overused.

 

Earlier this year, a study published in the medical journal JAMA Internal Medicine also found an increased risk of chronic kidney disease with the heartburn medications, indicating that users of Nexium, Prilosec and other PPI may be 50% more likely when compared to non-users.

 

In 2014, a study published by researchers from the University of Findlay College of Pharmacy noted that not only was overuse and abuse of heartburn drugs widespread, but many who take the drugs do so for longer than four years. The study noted that this increases the risk of any side effects associated with the drugs, but it also has a large economic impact as well.

 

Plaintiffs claim that drug makers placed their desire for profits before consumer’s safety by withholding important safety information, alleging that if warnings had been provided about the risk of acute interstitial nephritis, kidney injury, kidney disease and kidney failure, many individuals may have been able to avoid these severe and potentially life-threatening injuries.

 

Given the large number of users throughout the United States, it is expected that thousands of cases may be filed in the coming months as heartburn drug injury lawyers continue to review and file cases.

We here at Health and Wellness Associates have mentioned this many times over the past few years.  Luckily, we have helped many of you get off these drugs safely.  If you are on any of these medications and you wish help in getting off them, please call us, or write to us, and we will be happy to get back with you.

 

Please share with family and loved ones.

 

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Lifestyle, Uncategorized

How One Drink A Day Can Affect Your Heart

bottlesofbooze

How Drinking Alcohol Every Day Affects Your Health

 

Having one drink each day could put your heart at risk for abnormalities for the rest of your life.

 

 

Having an occasional happy hour drink or celebratory toast doesn’t typically increase your risk of disease. In fact, having a glass of wine throughout the week has been found to improve your heart health. But if having a drink turn into an everyday habit, a team of researchers at the American Heart Association warn it could drastically increase your risk of irregular heartbeats and blood flow.

For the study, published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, researchers recruited 5,220 American participants of the average age of 56. For six years, each participant underwent electrocardiograms (EKG), which is a way to measure the electrical activity of the heart in order to reveal any abnormalities. In addition, researchers surveyed participants to find out how much alcohol they consumed on a regular basis. Those who drank habitually every day – even if it was just one drink – were at the highest risk for atrial fibrillation, a heart condition that causes irregular beats and failure to pump blood properly.

 

“Our study provides the first human evidence of why daily, long-term alcohol consumption may lead to the development of this very common heart rhythm disturbance,” said the study’s senior author Dr. Gregory Marcus, an associate professor of medicine at the University of California at San Francisco, in a statement. “We were somewhat surprised that a relatively small amount of alcohol was associated with a larger left atrium and subsequent atrial fibrillation.”

 

For every one drink a person had each day, not only did it increase their risk of developing atrial fibrillation by 5 percent, it also meant they were up to 75 percent more likely to have a larger heart chamber (left atrium). Living with these heart abnormalities greatly increases the risk of other conditions, such as high blood pressure, stroke, and abnormal heartbeats. Ultimately, this doubles a person’s risk of succumbing to a heart-related death. While alcohol’s effect on the heart is still not completely clear, researchers plan to continue exploring the link in order to reduce the risk of heart abnormalities.

 

“It’s not one size fits all when it comes to the effects of alcohol and heart health,” Marcus said. “Our hope is that by understanding the mechanistic relationship between alcohol and atrial fibrillation we might learn something inherent to atrial fibrillation in general that could help identify new ways of understanding and treating the disease.”

 

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Health and Disease, Lifestyle, Uncategorized

Cut Your Risk of Heart Attack and Stroke in Half!

juicedrinking

Cut Your Risk of Heart Attack and Stroke in Half

 

This is heart healthy month!

 

Research reveals you can cut your risk of heart attacks and strokes in half within one week, just by lowering your risk of blood clots!  If you have already had one heart attack or stroke, then you know that you are 75% greater chance of having another.

A few simple steps will give you almost immediate protection!

 

Ginger Helps Thin Your Blood

Adding ½ tsp of this flavorful spice to your daily diet can lower your risk of forming an unnecessary clot in as little as seven days.   To make iced lemon ginger tea, bring 4 cups of water to a boil in a saucepan, turn off the heat.  Add 3 tbs, lemon juice and ¼ cup grated ginger root.  Steep 20 minutes, strain into a pitcher.  Add honey or other sweetener (not white sugar) to taste.

 

Smiling stamps out harmful stress

The more often you smile, the less likely you are to ever develop clots. In fact, simply putting on a more upbeat expression on a regular basis helped many people cut their clots risk by 27%. Smiling calms your central nervous system, reducing your output of cortisol, a stress hormone that makes blood cells more likely to clump.  Do you have more weight and inches around the middle of your abdomen than other places, then you have a lot of cortisol in your body?

 

Oatmeal offers hours of protection

Having one cup and only one cup of steel oats for breakfast could lower your risk of a blood clot for up to four hours.  Oatmeal is rich in compounds that stop blood cells from clumping together and sticking to artery walls.   One cup of steel oats, one or two eggs, and a bowl of berries works well together.

 

Beet Juice Lowers Blood Pressure

Keeping your blood pressure under control helps protect artery walls from the damage that can lead to clots.  Drinking 4 ounces of beet juice daily can lower your blood pressure 10 points for 24 hours. Find beet juice in most health food stores, and not powder form.  If the taste is too strong, mix it with another juice or a can or diet Canada Dry Ginger Ale.   It is the only drink that contains citrate that cleans out your liver.  Has to be their diet, and has to be Canada Dry.

 

Citrus zest keeps blood vessels young.

Zest, the colorful outer skin of citrus fruits.  It is natures number on source of hesperidin, a plant compound that could cut your risk of a stroke, or heart attack triggering clot as much as 29%.  Similar to L-arginine, but after 90 days L-arginine will actually hurt your blood vessels then help them.

 

Contact us for your Personalized Health Care Plan

Everyone is different!

 

Health and Wellness Associates

P Carrothers

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Foods, Health and Disease, Uncategorized

Can a Handful of Walnuts Keep the Doctor away

walnuts

Can a Handful of Walnuts Keep the Doctor Away?

 

One of the basic tenets of optimal health is to eat real food. Nuts certainly fit into this category and, as a bonus, are a convenient, ready-to-eat snack that you can carry in a purse or backpack or stash in a desk drawer at work.

Two of my favorite nuts are macadamias and pecans, in large part because they’re high in healthy fats but relatively low in carbohydrates and protein, which most Americans consume in excess.

However, you really can’t go wrong when eating a variety of nuts, assuming you eat them in moderation. Walnuts are another top choice that have been making headlines due to their numerous beneficial effects on health.

Daily Walnuts May Improve Overall Diet Quality

Researchers from the Yale University Prevention Research Center and colleagues had more than 100 study participants add two ounces of walnuts to their diets daily.1

The participants ate the walnuts for six months then removed the daily walnuts for another six months. Half of each group also received counseling about healthy nutrition, including how to offset the additional calories consumed by eating walnuts.

Several interesting results were found from this one simple dietary change.

For starters, the participants, who were at increased risk of developing diabetes  because they were either overweight or had elevated blood sugar or blood pressure levels, had improvements in blood vessel wall (epithelial) function, and lower levels of LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol.

Improvements were also seen in other heart variables, such as blood pressure and body fat, but similar improvements were also seen in the group excluding almonds, which means the walnuts may not have been responsible for the heart benefits.

What was remarkable, however, was a significant boost in diet quality among the participants eating walnuts. And despite the added walnuts, none of the participants gained weight. David L. Katz, founding director of the Yale University Prevention Research Center, told Forbes:2

“Our primary outcome was diet quality, and that differed significantly between walnuts-added and walnuts-excluded … The implication of that is that (a) walnuts displace less nutritious foods when added to the daily diet; and (b) the net effect is a significant improvement in overall diet quality.

… The take-away here is: eat walnuts routinely, improve your overall diet quality – and apparently, without risk of weight gain … That is because though high in calories, walnuts are very satiating. That high ratio of satiety-to-calories makes them helpful in appetite control.”

Eating Walnuts May Lower Your Risk of Heart-Related Death

Walnuts contain the amino-acid l-arginine, which offers multiple vascular benefits to people with heart disease, or those who have increased risk for heart disease due to multiple cardiac risk factors.

Walnuts also contain the plant-based omega-3 fat alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), which is anti-inflammatory. Research shows that people who eat a diet high in ALA are less likely to have a fatal heart attack and have a nearly 50 percent lower risk of sudden cardiac death.3

Eating just four walnuts a day has been shown to significantly raise blood levels of heart-healthy ALA,4 and walnut consumption supports healthy cholesterol levels.

Separate research showed that eating just one ounce of walnuts a day may decrease cardiovascular risk,5 and among those at high cardiovascular risk, increased frequency of nut consumption significantly lowers the risk of death.6

Previous research by Katz and colleagues also revealed that eating about two ounces of walnuts daily improved endothelial function in overweight adults with visceral fat without leading to weight gain.7 Endothelial dysfunction (affecting the inner lining of blood vessels) is associated with cardiovascular events.

Walnuts Have the Highest Level of Antioxidants of All Nuts

Antioxidants are crucial to your health, as they are believed to help control how fast you age by reducing  free radicals, which are at the heart of age-related deterioration.

Walnuts contain several unique and powerful antioxidants that are available in only a few commonly eaten foods. This includes the quinone juglone, the tannin tellimagrandin, and the flavonol morin.8

Walnuts contain antioxidants that are so powerful at free-radical scavenging that researchers called them “remarkable,”9 and research has shown that walnut polyphenols may help prevent chemically-induced liver damage.10

One study also found that consuming high-antioxidant foods like walnuts “can decrease the enhanced vulnerability to oxidative stress that occurs in aging,” “increase health span,” and also “enhance cognitive and motor function in aging.”11

In another study, researchers found that nuts, especially walnuts, have potent antioxidant powers. Walnut polyphenols had the best efficacy among the nuts tested and also the highest lipoprotein-bound antioxidant activity.

The researchers concluded:12

“Nuts are high in polyphenol antioxidants which by binding to lipoproteins would inhibit oxidative processes that lead to atherosclerosis in vivo. In human supplementation studies nuts have been shown to improve the lipid profile, increase endothelial function and reduce inflammation, all without causing weight gain.”

Lead researcher Professor Joseph Vinson, Ph.D., Department of Chemistry at The University of Scranton, continued, “A handful of walnuts has almost twice the antioxidant content as an equivalent amount of any other commonly consumed nut.”13

The outermost layer of a shelled walnut – the whitish, flaky (or sometimes waxy) part – has a bitter flavor, but resist the urge to remove it. It’s thought that up to 90 percent of the antioxidants in walnuts are found in the skin, making it one of the healthiest parts to consume.14

Walnuts May Fight Chronic Diseases Like Diabetes and Cancer

When you add real foods to your diet, you’re adding in a multitude of beneficial compounds, from healthy fats to antioxidants. As such, you’ll find they tend to benefit your health in multiple ways as well. This is certainly the case with walnuts. In addition to potentially boosting your heart health, the beneficial dietary fat in walnuts has been shown to benefit metabolic parameters in people with type 2 diabetes.

Overweight adults with type 2 diabetes who ate one-quarter cup of walnuts daily had significant reductions in fasting insulin levels compared to those who did not, and the benefit was achieved in the first three months.15

Walnuts may even help reduce not only the risk of prostate cancer, but breast cancer as well. In one study, mice that ate the human equivalent of 2.4 ounces of whole walnuts for 18 weeks had significantly smaller and slower-growing prostate tumors compared to the control group that consumed the same amount of fat but from other sources.

Overall, the whole walnuts diet reduced prostate cancer growth by 30 to 40 percent. According to another study on mice, the human equivalent of just two handfuls of walnuts a day cut breast cancer risk in half and slowed tumor growth by 50 percent as well.16

Walnuts may even impact male fertility. Among men who consume a Western-style diet, adding 75 grams (a bit over one-half cup) of walnuts daily significantly improved sperm quality, including vitality, motility, and morphology.17

Weight Gain Typically Not an Issue

Several of the studies already featured noted that participants added walnuts to their diets daily but didn’t gain any weight as a result. Taking this a step further, walnuts may even help you to lose weight as long as you don’t overeat them.

In one review of 31 trials, those whose diets included extra nuts or nuts substituted for other foods lost about 1.4 extra pounds and half an inch from their waists.18 Eating walnuts is also associated with increased satiety after just three days.19Research presented at the 6th International Congress on Vegetarian Nutrition also highlighted nuts’ role in helping to reduce your risk of obesity. As reported in the Epoch Times:20

“[Purdue University’s Professor of Foods and Nutrition Dr. Richard] Mattes claims that nuts can actually suppress both the appetite and the brain’s desire for food, which can lead people to overeat even when they’re full.

Plus they’re energy-packed, which can impact the way your body adjusts your intake of calories throughout the day. Mattes suggested that a 100-calorie serving of nuts in the morning could decrease your calorie consumption by as much as 75 calories later in the day. This could be due to the filling nature of nuts, but more research is needed on this particular point.”

Raw and Organic Nuts Are Best

You can’t really go wrong when choosing nuts to eat, as long as you pay attention to quality (and by nuts I’m referring to tree nuts, not peanuts, which are technically legumes that I don’t recommend eating). Walnuts are highly perishable and their healthful fats easily damaged.

If you’re purchasing shelled walnuts in bulk, avoid those that appear shriveled or smell rancid, or that you cannot verify are fresh. Walnuts should be stored in an airtight container in your refrigerator or freezer, whether they are shelled or un-shelled.

Phytic acid, which is found in the coatings of nuts and seeds, is an “anti-nutrient” responsible for leeching vital nutrients from your body. Soaking nuts will help to get rid of the phytic acid and enzyme inhibitors, which can interfere with the function of your own digestive and metabolic enzymes, in the nuts.

To make them more palatable you can use a dehydrator to improve the texture. Enzyme inhibitors in nuts (and seeds) help protect the nut as it grows, helping to decrease enzyme activity and prevent premature sprouting.

When nuts are soaked, the germination process begins, allowing the enzyme inhibitors to be deactivated, and increasing the nutrition of the nut significantly, as well as making them much easier to digest. One exception is with macadamia nuts (and other white nuts), which have only negligible amounts of enzyme inhibitors, so soaking is not as necessary. If you prefer to eat nuts and seeds roasted, do so yourself so you can control the roasting temperature and time.

Walnuts Should Be Eaten in Moderation

Most Americans consume three to five times more protein than they need, along with excessive starchy carbs and not enough healthy fats. Excess dietary protein can lead to elevated blood sugar, weight gain, kidney stress, leaching of bone minerals, and stimulation of cancer cells, and it’s easy to overdo it if you eat a few handfuls of high-protein nuts. A more ideal protein intake is likely around one-half gram of protein per pound of lean body mass, which for most is 40 to 70 grams a day.

This is why my favorite nuts are those that are lowest in protein and highest in fat, including macadamia nuts,  pecans, and Brazil nuts. The following list shows the nutrition facts in grams per one ounce for your most common tree nuts (one ounce of nuts equates to just over 28 grams, or about a small handful):21 If you’re a fan of walnuts, you can see they fall into the mid-range as far as protein and carbs are concerned. So feel free to eat them, even daily if you like, but do so in moderation.

Tree Nut
Numbers are grams per ounce
Fat Protein Carbohydrates
Macadamias 22 2 4
Pecans 20 3 4
Pine nuts 20 4 4
Brazil nuts 19 4 3
Walnuts 18 4 4
Hazelnuts 17 3 5
Cashews 13 4 9
Almonds 14 6 6
Pistachios 13 6 8

 

 

 

Please feel free to share with family and friends, and as always check with your healthcare provider or make an appointment with us to see if this is best for your personal needs.

 

Health and Wellness Associates

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