|Amino Acid / Protein|| Lysine
| ||Linus Pauling discovered that supplemental L-lysine reduces the binding of lipoprotein-a, also known as Lp(a), in its binding to the walls of arteries. By preventing this action, plaque buildup is discouraged since plaque is made up primarily of Lp(a). The naturally occurring amino acids lysine and proline assist Lp(a) in its deposition and binding to stressed or injured vascular wall sites. However, when there is an extra quantity of lysine and proline in the blood stream, the Lp(a) attachment sites get blocked by these amino acids creating a "Teflon-like" layer around the lipoprotein particles. This prevents the Lp(a) from binding to artery walls, as well as helps detach Lp(a) plaque from preexisting sites in the vascular wall. This supplemental use of these amino acids can prevent plaque build-up and initiate the reversal of plaque deposits. The amount will vary between individuals. Seriously ill heart patients require 5-6 grams (5,000 to 6,000mg) of lysine daily. This strategy may be useful for treating type 2 plaque.|
| ||See the link between Heart Attack Risk and Fish consumption.|
Fish Oil / Krill
| ||In a study involving analysis of blood samples from subjects who had been taking fish oil daily for six years and subjects who had not been taking fish oil, researchers conclude that the ratio between EPA and arachidonic acid (AA) may be a new index used to predict the risk of sudden cardiac death. In this study, blood samples collected from both groups of subjects were analyzed for levels of various fatty acids. Of the six different indices calculated, the one which looked at the ratio between EPA and AA was found to show the largest difference between the groups, ranging from as low as 5 in the non-fish oil group to 118 in the fish oil group. 70% of subjects in the fish oil group were found to have an index of 50 or greater. The researchers propose that subjects with an EPA/AA index below 50 should increase their intake of omega-3 fatty acids in order to reduce their risk of sudden cardiac death. [Ups J Med Sci, 2006; 111(2): 169-77]|
Grape Seed Extract / Resveratrol
| ||Resveratrol may help guard against age-related decline in heart health, according to a 2008 study on middle-aged mice. Researchers examined more than 1,000 genes in the heart, all of which change in function as we age. But in mice fed low doses of resveratrol, that age-related change was thwarted by 92%.|
Given these findings, the study's authors suggest that regular intake of resveratrol may serve as "a robust intervention in the retardation of cardiac aging." Of course, it's important to remember that research done on animals does not confirm equal efficacy in humans.
More research still has to be conducted to prove that resveratrol is the main factor in the reduction of heart disease seen in the French paradox.
| ||Researchers investigated whether daily consumption of pomegranate juice for three months would affect myocardial perfusion in 45 patients who had coronary heart disease (CHD) and myocardial ischemia in a randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind study. |
Patients were randomly assigned into one of two groups: a pomegranate juice group (240 ml/day), or a placebo group that drank a beverage of similar caloric content, amount, flavor, and color. Participants underwent electrocardiographic-gated myocardial perfusion single-photon emission computed tomographic technetium-99m tetrofosmin scintigraphy at rest and during stress at baseline and three months.
According to the study findings, blood flow to the heart improved by 17% in the pomegranate group and declined by 18% in the placebo group. The mean number of angina episodes decreased by 50% in the pomegranate-juice group and increased by 38% in the placebo group. Researchers pointed out that the benefits were realized without any negative effects on lipids, blood glucose, hemoglobin A1c, body weight or blood pressure. [Am J Cardiol, September 15, 2005;96(6):810-4.]
Green / Oolong / BlackTea (Camellia sinensis)
| ||In a large 10-year study in the Netherlands, men who consumed the amount of antioxidants called "catechins" found in three cups of black tea were 50% less likely to die of ischemic heart disease, caused by narrowed clogged arteries, than were men who consumed only the catechins in half a cup of tea. In another recent test, Joseph Vita, M.D., of the Boston University School of Medicine, had heart patients drink either plain water or four cups of black tea daily. In a month, impaired blood vessel functioning (a risk factor for heart attack and strokes) improved about 50% in the tea drinkers.|
| ||With respect to heart disease, stephania is known to be an effective cardioprotective agent with calcium-channel-blocking activity. Although binding and functional similarities exist, stephania differs structurally from other well-known calcium-channel blockers such as nifedipine (Procardia), amlodipine (Norvasc), and verapamil (Calan). Because of these structural differences, stephania is thought to be a potentially new class of calcium-channel blocker that also has more diverse activity than the widely prescribed calcium-channel blockers currently available.|
| ||The risk of a heart attack jumps nearly five-fold during the first hour after smoking marijuana, posing a particular threat to middle-aged users of the drug, according to a study in 2001. Starting in the third hour after smoking marijuana, no significant risk rise was documented.|
| ||In spite of testimonies to the contrary, several studies have indicated that chelation therapy may not be of any benefit in reducing the symptoms of heart disease. [JAMA, 2002;287: pp.481-486.]|
Artificial Sweetener Avoidance
| ||While artificially sweetened soft drinks lack calories and thus may be a seemingly attractive alternative to sugar-sweetened beverages, the long-term health consequences of drinking diet soft drinks remains unclear. Hannah Gardener, from the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine (Florida, USA), and colleagues examined the relationship between both diet and regular soft drink consumption and risk of stroke, myocardial infarction (or heart attack), and vascular death. Data were analyzed from 2,564 participants enrolled in the Northern Manhattan Study. |
The team found that those subjects who drank diet soft drinks daily were 43% more likely to have suffered a vascular event, as compared to those who drank none, after adjusting for confounding factors. People who drank between one diet soft drink a month and six a week, and those who chose regular soft drinks, were not found to be at increased risks for vascular events. The study authors conclude that: “Daily diet soft drink consumption was associated with several vascular risk factors and with an increased risk for vascular events.”
[Gardener H, Rundek T, Markert M, Wright CB, Elkind MS, Sacco RL. “Diet Soft Drink Consumption is Associated with an Increased Risk of Vascular Events in the Northern Manhattan Study.” J Gen Intern Med., January 27, 2012.]
Hydrogenated Fats / Trans Fatty Acids Avoidance
| ||Eating trans fatty acids leads to a greater risk of coronary heart disease. According to the Dutch research, trans fat in the diet can cause even more health problems than saturated fats. Using a "cross over" design in which healthy subjects ate a diet containing trans fat or saturated fat for 4 weeks and then switched to the opposite diet for 4 weeks, several cardiovascular events were affected. When the subjects ate the trans diet their blood vessels dilated 29% less efficiently.|
Nut and Seed Consumption
| ||Incorporating macadamia nuts into a heart healthy diet can reduce cardiovascular disease risks according to Penn State researchers.|
"We looked at macadamia nuts because they are not currently included in the health claim for tree nuts, while other tree nuts are recommended as part of a healthy diet," says Dr. Amy E. Griel, recent Ph.D. recipient in nutritional sciences. "Macadamia nuts have higher levels of monounsaturated fats, like those found in olive oil compared with other tree nuts."
The researchers used a controlled feeding study to compare a heart-healthy diet with 1.5 ounces - a small handful - of macadamia nuts to a standard American diet. The participants had slightly elevated cholesterol levels, normal blood pressure and were not taking lipid lowering drugs. Researchers randomly assigned participants to either the macadamia nut diet or the standard American diet and provided all meals for the participants for five weeks. The participants then switched diets and continued eating only food provided by the researchers for another five weeks.
The Healthy Heart diet with macadamia nuts did reduce total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol and triglyceride levels compared with the standard American diet.
"We observed a reduction in LDL similar to that seen with other tree nuts like walnuts and almonds," says Griel. [Researchers from the nutritional sciences department on this study included Griel; Deborah M. Bagshaw, Clinical Coordinator Amy M. Cifelli, research dietitian; Yumei Cao, graduate student and Penny M. Kris-Etherton, distinguished professor. May 2007]
Increased Fruit/Vegetable Consumption
| ||A diet high in fruits appears protective against heart disease. The total number of deaths from cardiovascular disease was found to be significantly lower among men with high fruit consumption in one study. A large study of male healthcare professionals found that those men eating mostly a “prudent” diet (high in fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, fish, and poultry) had a 30% lower risk of heart attacks compared to men who ate the fewest foods in the “prudent” category. A parallel study of female healthcare professionals showed a 15% reduction in cardiovascular risk when they ate a diet high in fruits and vegetables compared to the effect of a low fruit and vegetable diet.|
Consuming at least 3 servings per day of fruit and vegetables was associated with reduced risk of ischemic heart disease and cardiovascular disease in a study of over 9,000 adults, free of cardiovascular disease at the beginning of a 19 year long study.[Am J Clin Nutr 2002;76(1): pp.93-99]
Increased Fish Consumption
| ||A large-scale study in Japan drawing from 24 populations in 16 countries revealed a strong, inverse association between levels of taurine excretion and ischemic heart disease. [Hypertens Res 2001 Jul;24(4): pp.453-7] Fish are high in taurine.|
Bean / Legume Consumption
| ||9,600 Americans were studied over the course of 19 years to learn how a diet rich in beans, peas and other legumes may affect heart health. It was found that men and women who ate legumes at least 4 times a week had a 22% lower risk of coronary heart disease. Those who ate legumes most frequently also had lower blood pressure and total cholesterol, and were less likely to be diagnosed with high blood pressure or diabetes. Legumes are rich in soluble fiber, contain low levels of sodium and high levels of potassium, calcium and magnesium, and are high in folate. Each of these characteristics is associated with lowered heart disease risk. [Archives of Internal Medicine, Nov. 26, 2001]|
High/Increased Fiber Diet
| ||A high-fiber diet, particularly one that is high in water-soluble fiber (such as fruit), is associated with decreased risk of both fatal and nonfatal heart attacks, probably because presence of such fiber is known to lower cholesterol. Making positive dietary changes immediately following a heart attack is likely to decrease one’s chance of having a second heart attack. In one study, individuals began eating more vegetables and fruits, and substituted fish, nuts, and legumes for meat and eggs 24 to 48 hours after a heart attack. Six weeks later, the diet group had significantly fewer fatal and nonfatal heart attacks than a similar group that did not make these dietary changes. This trend continued for an additional six weeks.|
In a study of nearly 1,000 heart patients in Milan, Italy, those with the highest intake of cereal fiber (which is mostly insoluble
fiber) actually increased their heart attack risk by more than 10%. This was attributed to the fact that the sources of
this type of fiber appeared to be refined grains that can cause a spike in blood sugar levels. Most people don't eat enough water-soluble fiber to produce the positive results shown in the Milan study. Unrefined foods containing water soluble fiber include:
- Fruits like oranges, peaches, apples, and grapes
- Vegetables, including carrots, squash, and corn
- Nuts and seeds, especially psyllium seeds
- Legumes like peanuts, lentils, peas, and kidney, black, and pinto beans
- Oats and barley
| ||Coffee, including decaf, contains significant amounts of Vitamin K which is an important factor for blood coagulation. People at high risk for blood clots, strokes, and heart attacks should avoid coffee and decaf for this reason.|
Low Fat Diet
| ||During the past eighty years, dietary cholesterol intake has increased only about 1%, indicating that it has little to do with heart disease, which has escalated during that same time. However, during that same period the percentage of dietary vegetable oils in the form of margarine, shortening and refined oils increased about 400% while the consumption of sugar and processed foods increased about 60%.|
Although politically incorrect, many studies have shown no benefit to reducing cholesterol and saturated fat consumption. The few studies that indicate a correlation between fat reduction and a decrease in coronary heart disease mortality also document a concurrent increase in deaths from cancer, brain hemorrhage, suicide and violent death. [JAMA, September 24, 1982, 248: p.1465]
In a study of 485 survivors of myocardial infarction compared with 508 controls, for every 1% increase in energy from total saturated fat, there was a 1.12 increased risk of myocardial infarction, with lauric plus myristic and stearic acid being at higher risk than palmitic acid. [Eur J Clin Nut 2003;57: p.1447]
Grain-free / Low Starch Diet
| ||In a study of nearly 1,000 heart patients in Milan, Italy, those with the highest intake of cereal fiber (which is mostly insoluble|
fiber) actually increased their heart attack risk by more than 10%. This was attributed to the fact that the source of
this type of fiber appeared to be refined grains which can cause a spike in blood sugar levels. Water soluble NOT water insoluble fiber produces multiple benefits.
Dairy Products Avoidance
| ||Consumption of one to two servings of cheese per day compared with zero servings was associated with an increased risk of myocardial infarction, while there was no risk for low-fat milk consumption. [Eur J Clin Nut 2003;57: p.1447]|
| ||The use of monounsaturated oils such as olive oil may be more protective than a low fat diet. Use olive oil or coconut oil exclusively when frying. Avoid the use of hydrogenated fats (they contain trans-fatty acids) which may be worse than saturated fats in contributing to heart disease.|
| ||First it was an apple, now it is an aspirin a day that may keep the doctor away. Aspirin has become standard for heart attack prevention, but research published in the online open access journal BMC Medicine suggests that this may really be a man's drug.|
Scientists have long puzzled over why the protective effects of aspirin vary so widely between clinical trials. Some trials show no difference between aspirin and placebo, whilst others report that aspirin reduces the risk of a heart attack by more than 50%.
This latest study, from The James Hogg iCAPTURE Centre for Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Research, highlights the influence of gender on aspirin's protective powers. Investigators examined the results of 23 previously published clinical trials for the effect for aspirin in heart attack prevention, involving more than 113,000 patients. The authors then analysed how much the ratio of men to women in these trials affected the trials' outcomes.
"Trials that recruited predominantly men demonstrated the largest risk reduction in non-fatal heart attacks," says Dr Don Sin, one of the study's authors. "The trials that contained predominately women failed to demonstrate a significant risk reduction in these non-fatal events. We found that a lot of the variability in these trials seems to be due to the gender ratios, supporting the theory that women may be less responsive to aspirin than men for heart protection." 
Conventional Drugs / Information
| ||There are many reasons to believe that dipyridamole at 300mg a day will be far more effective in the prevention of heart attacks and strokes than aspirin. Moreover, dipyridamole has none of the harmful side effects of aspirin.|
In patients at sufficient cardiovascular risk for myocardial infarction, the benefits for using aspirin do outweight the risks. [Cardiovascular Reviews and Reports, April 2004]
| ||Policosanol has other actions against heart disease in addition to lowering cholesterol. Like statin drugs, policosanol helps stop the formation of arterial lesions. One of policosanol’s important actions is to inhibit the oxidation of LDL, which is the major contributor to arterial damage. Oxidized LDL promotes the destruction of blood vessels by creating a chronic inflammatory response.|
| ||A sedentary lifestyle of physical inactivity is almost as great a risk factor for heart disease as smoking because of diminished circulation and weight gain.|
Men who reported running had a 42% risk reduction compared with men who did not run. This was followed by weight training for at least 30 minutes per week, which was found to decrease the risk by 23%. Men who reported rowing for an hour or more each week or brisk walking for at least 30 minutes per day, were both found to have an 18% risk reduction.
Exercise intensity also played a role. Men who exercised at a high level of intensity decreased their risk of CHD by 17%, while those who exercised at a moderate level had a 6% lower risk, as compared with men who exercised at a low level. [Jama October 23, 2002;288: pp.1994-2000]
From a purely statistical standpoint, you can probably get a pretty good indication of not only your risk of developing heart disease, but also your life expectancy in general, from one simple test. How physically fit are you? An accurate answer to that question is possibly a better predictor of life expectancy than any test or risk factor we have.
In a study out of Stanford University, 6,213 men, who were referred for exercise treadmill stress tests (known in medicine as gaited exercise treadmills-GXT), were followed for an average of 6 years after their tests were conducted. Of those who were studied, 3,679 (59%) had abnormal treadmill results, indicating blockage of the coronary arteries. The remaining 41% of the men had normal treadmills.
Over the course of the 6-year follow-up period, 1,256 (20%, or 1 out of every 5) men died. After adjusting for age, the peak exercise capacity (as measured during the GXT) proved to be the single best predictor of death between both groups. n other words, their life expectancy was not related to the presence of heart disease in and of itself but to their overall level of fitness. This was found to be even more important than the fact that some of the individuals were discovered to have blockage of their coronary arteries and to have coronary artery disease.
The standard for measuring exercise capacity during a GXT is referred to as Multiples of Resting Energy Requirements (METs). For example, it takes only one MET to carry on a conversation or to sit or stand in a relaxed position. It takes two METs to be able to dress and undress, wash your hands and face or play billiards. Using a bedside commode requires three METs, as well as washing a car and playing croquet. Horseshoes, volleyball, sailing, fishing, and music require four METs. Add another for badminton, table tennis, raking leaves, and swimming. A sixth MET is needed to be able to skate or walk at a rate of 4 miles per hour. The seventh is needed to split wood, hike, ski, and play competitive volleyball. For each single MET increase in exercise capacity, there is a 12% improvement in survival rate. [NEJM, 2002. 346(11): pp. 793-801]
Your overall fitness level may be the single best predictor of longevity.
| ||A landmark study in 1986 of 242 men aged 50-79 and based on 12 years of research stated that a small supplementation of DHEA corresponded to a 48% reduction in death from heart disease and a 36% reduction in death from any cause, other than accidents. Indirect evidence does suggest that DHEA supplements might reduce the risk of heart disease, especially in men, but this is far from proven.|
Test for Cardiac Risk Factors
| ||Measuring levels of several inflammatory markers rather than a single marker can substantially improve assessment of cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk, according to a study published in the November 2005 issue of the American Heart Journal by University of Pittsburgh researchers and others.|
Currently, medical guidelines recommend measuring a particular inflammatory marker, called C-reactive protein, along with cholesterol levels, for assessing CVD risk. In this study, researchers from the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center's Cardiovascular Institute and the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health (GSPH) analyzed blood samples taken from 580 women age 31 to 85 looking for multiple inflammatory markers. The investigators also performed coronary angiographies to detect any blockage of blood vessels in the heart and then followed the women for an average of almost five years. Of interest to the researchers was whether the women experienced any heart attacks (both nonfatal and fatal), strokes, or episodes of congestive heart failure.
Women with significantly elevated levels of at least two of three markers (interleukin-6, serum amyloid A, and C-reactive protein) had a more than four-times greater risk of dying compared to women who had no elevated markers. According to the lead author, Kevin E. Kip, Ph.D., assistant professor of epidemiology, GSPH, this was a higher conferred risk than any single marker alone, all of which were roughly equally predictive.
2012 - A simple test that spots abnormal cells coming from the lining of blood vessels can predict a heart attack a week or two beforehand.
“The ability to diagnose an imminent heart attack has long been considered the holy grail of cardiovascular medicine,” study researcher Eric Topol from the Scripps Research Institute says in a release.
Sometimes people pass the stress test, only to have a heart attack in the next few days. To help flag these patients, Topol and colleagues developed a blood test with the help of 44 healthy volunteers and 50 patients who had gone to emergency rooms with heart attacks in San Diego.
First, they isolated and counted ‘circulating endothelial cells’ (CECs) coming from the inner lining of blood vessels.
Then using fluorescent images, they revealed that CECs from heart attack patients look very different from those in healthy people: abnormally large, misshapen, and contain more than one nucleus.
CEC levels in heart attack patients are over 400% higher than in healthy people. “These are sick cells that have been subjected to profound inflammation,” Topol explains.
The team hopes to have this test developed for commercial use within the next 2 years. AP reports:
Topol said his team soon will begin needed studies to learn how early those cells might appear before a heart attack, and if spotting them could allow use of clot-preventing drugs to ward off damage. Some San Diego emergency rooms will study an experimental blood test with chest-pain sufferers whose standard exams found no evidence of a heart attack.
In the future, patients at risk could have a nanosensor implanted in a vein to detect the abnormal cells and then send an alert to their phone. [Science Translational Medicine, March 21, 2012]
| ||One study showed a 30% to 35% reduction in ischemic heart disease risk in women with a high intake of supplemental calcium. Dietary calcium achieved no significant change in heart attack risk, the researchers noted.|
2012. A study of approximately 24,000 people between the ages of 35 and 64 found participants who took regular calcium supplements were 86% more likely to have a heart attack than those who didn't take supplements. Those who took only calcium supplements were twice as likely to suffer a heart attack as those who didn't take any vitamin supplements. [Heart Journal, May 23, 2012]
Essential Fatty Acids
| ||Many studies have shown that higher omega-3 fatty acid intake, through fish consumption or through supplementation, can cut the rate of sudden cardiac death by nearly one-half, in both apparently healthy patients and those who have suffered a previous heart attack.|
To better understand this protective effect, Danish researchers examined the dietary patterns and individual fatty acid status of nearly 300 patients with ischemic heart disease, comparing them with specific parameters of cardiac function. They found that the patients who ate more fish had higher levels of omega-3 polyunsaturated fats in their blood cell membranes and in their fat cells. A higher level of two specific fatty acids, docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) - especially within the cell membrane - was associated with higher heart rate variability in the patients. An increased heart rate variability indicates healthier pulse regulation, and appears to significantly reduce the risk of arrhythmia and cardiac death.
Anti-inflammatory agents such as the omega-3 oils are especially useful when inflammation is present. [Circulation 2001;104(19): pp.2269-2272]
Too little Omega-3 and too much Omega-6 oil may be a contributing factor in the development of heart disease. It is a fact that MI deaths have increased in direct proportion to the increase in polyunsaturated fats (the omega 6 type, linoleic acid) in our diet.
There is now a home test for Omega-3 fatty acids. The omega-3 assay can be used as a marker for both heart disease risk and cellular aging. A kit can be ordered and a small sample of blood taken by finger prick. The sample is sent to a lab and the results sent to you. The test is rather expensive, well over $100. Your doctor may also work with you if preferred to do this lab test.
| ||In Europe, researchers have found a statistically significant association between high dietary lycopene and a 48% lower risk of heart disease. [Am J Epidemiol 1997;146: pp.618-26]|
In another study, using data from the ongoing Women's Health Study, researchers at the Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH) and Harvard Medical School followed more than 28,000 middle-aged and elderly women for nearly five years, collecting blood samples to measure plasma lycopene levels. At the beginning of the trial, none of the women had any form of heart disease. When the testing period was completed, 483 women were diagnosed with cardiovascular disease (CVD).
The compiled data showed that when the subjects were divided into quartiles - ranging from those with the lowest lycopene
level to those with the highest - the women in the upper three quartiles had a 50 percent reduction in the risk of CVD compared with women in the lowest quartile.
In their conclusion, the researchers note that even though the study clearly shows that lycopene concentrations are associated with a lower risk of CVD in women, further trials are needed with other groups, such as younger people or men, for instance. Nevertheless, this impressive result expands on a 2002 study conducted by BWH in which the results also strongly suggested that lycopene intake may offer significant protection against heart disease in women.
| ||In one double-blind trial, either 120mg of CoQ10 or placebo was given to people who had recently survived a heart attack. After 28 days, the CoQ10 group had experienced significantly fewer repeat heart attacks, fewer deaths from heart disease, and less chest pain than the placebo group.[Cardiovasc Drugs Ther 1998;12: pp.347–53] |
In another double-blind study of people suffering a heart attack, supplementation with 60 mg of coenzyme Q10 twice a day for one year significantly reduced the incidence of recurrent cardiac events (fatal or non-fatal heart attack). [Mol Cell Biochem 2003;246: pp.75–82] Treatment was begun within 72 hours of the onset of the heart attack.
CoQ10 used with selenium (see below) has also been reported to increase the rate of heart attack survival. [Mol Aspects Med 1994;15 Suppl:s143–7]
Oxygen / Oxidative Therapies
Ozone / Oxidative Therapy
| ||If infection is present, selected antibiotic therapies such as UV blood irradiation or oxidative therapies (H2O2/ozone) can reduce the risk associated with certain infections.|
| ||Aside from CPR and dialing 911, there may be additional measures one can take when a heart attack occurs. Without help, a person whose heart stops beating properly and who begins to feel faint has only about 10 seconds left before losing consciousness.|
These victims can help themselves by coughing repeatedly and vigorously. A deep breath should be taken before each cough, and the cough must be deep and prolonged, as when producing sputum from deep inside the chest. A breath and a cough must be repeated about every two seconds, non-stop until help arrives or until the heart is felt to be beating normally again. Deep breaths get oxygen into the lungs and coughing movements squeeze the heart and keep the blood circulating. Some claim that biting or stimulating the tips of the little fingers (heart meridian) can provide needed stimulation at this critical time, and improve the prospects of recovery.
| ||People who live in a chronically stressed-out condition are more likely to take up smoking, frequently overeat, and be far less likely to exercise. All of these stress-related behaviors have a direct effect on the development of coronary artery disease.|
It is also known that the surge in adrenaline caused by severe emotional stress causes the blood to clot more readily (a major factor in heart attacks) and that the stress of performing difficult arithmetic problems can constrict the coronary arteries in such a way that blood flow to the heart muscle is reduced. Stress increases homocysteine levels, a known risk factor for coronary artery disease.
| ||Using laughter-provoking movies to gauge the effect of emotions on cardiovascular health, researchers at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore have shown for the first time that laughter is linked to healthy function of blood vessels. Laughter appears to cause the tissue that forms the inner lining of blood vessels, the endothelium, to dilate or expand in order to increase blood flow.|
When the same group of study volunteers was shown a movie that produced mental stress, their blood vessel lining developed a potentially unhealthy response called vasoconstriction, reducing blood flow. That finding confirms previous studies, which suggested there was a link between mental stress and the narrowing of blood vessels. [Scientific Session of the American College of Cardiology on March 7, 2005, in Orlando, Florida.]
Vitamin B Complex
| ||105 male and female subjects with coronary artery disease who received folic acid (1mg/day), vitamin B12 (400mcg/day) and vitamin B6 (10mg/day) experienced a significant reduction in reblockage after angioplasty over those who did not take the vitamins. Homocysteine levels were reduced during the trial. [N Engl J Med November 29, 2001;345: pp.1593-1601]|
| ||One potential link between vitamin K and heart disease is calcification of arteries. In vitro and in vivo evidence suggest that interruption of vitamin K biological function results in abnormal arterial calcification. Specifically, interference with MGP (matrix Gla protein) function induced by vitamin K deficiency appears to be an important factor in calcification. In mice, knockout of the MGP gene results in 50% fetal death, and in live births there is marked calcification of the arterial tree as well as bone loss (osteopenia). Human data are limited primarily to case reports of individuals exposed to warfarin in utero. However, one recent study in postmenopausal women suggested that lower vitamin K status is associated with increased carotid artery calcification.|
Further, it has been demonstrated that with every increase of 10 micrograms in the amount of vitamin K2 consumed daily, the risk of developing coronary heart disease (CHD) drops by 9%. This somewhat stunning statistic was noted as a result of a study from the Netherlands evaluating the dietary vitamin K intakes of 16,057 post-menopausal women and their association with the incidence of CHD.
“Of the subtypes of vitamin K2, it appeared that particularly MK-7, MK-8 and MK-9 affected the risk of CHD,” said the researchers. “A stronger effect of the longer subtypes could be due to a slower hepatic clearance of these subtypes, making them longer available for carboxylation reactions.” [Nutrition, Metabolism and Cardiovascular Diseases
Published online 28 January 2009]
Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid)
| ||Supplemental vitamin C can help heal injured arteries when used with L-lysine and proline for plaque prevention and possibly removal. A typical prescription would be 3-6gm vitamin C, 3-6gm lysine and 0.5-2gm proline. Furthermore, vitamin C deficiency (as indicated by low plasma ascorbate concentration) is a known risk factor for coronary heart disease.|
One year of supplementation with vitamin C (500mg bid) and vitamin E (400 IU bid) retarded the early progression of
transplant-associated coronary arteriosclerosis in a study of 40 patients up to 2 years after cardiac transplantation. [Lancet 2002;359(9312): pp.1108-13]
Vitamin C treatment has a possible role in benefiting patients with coronary heart disease by countering the adverse effects of a high-fat meal. Researchers found that postprandial serum triglyceride concentration increased significantly at 2-5 hours after a high-fat meal in all groups. The postprandial flow-mediated dilatation was significantly aggravated in people not taking vitamin C (both with and without heart disease), but this parameter in patients and subjects taking vitamin C showed no significant change. [Clin Cardiol 2002;25: pp.219-224]
Also see the link between Heart Attack and Vitamin E regarding a study which showed no benefit.
Vitamin Folic Acid
| ||A study found that people with a dietary intake of at least 300mcg per day of folic acid reduced their risk of stroke and heart disease by 20% and 13%, respectively, compared with those who consumed less than 136mcg of folic acid per day.|
[Stroke 2002;33: pp.1183-9]
Folic acid (1mg per day), along with vitamin B6 (10mg per day), and vitamin B12 (400mcg per day) reduced the incidence of restenosis and major adverse events in a study of over 500 patients who underwent successful angioplasty. [JAMA 2002;288(8): pp.973-979]