Arm Yourself against Disease with these Anti-Cancer Foods

cruciferousMost of us know the “War on Cancer” is a bad joke that churns revenue for the cancer industry while per capita cancer rates continue to surge. Based on the premise that food should be our first medicine, the cruciferous family of vegetables is the food choice for resisting cancer.

Cruciferous vegetables Continue reading

Training in Muscle Power Improves the Functional Capacity and Quality of Life of Elderly People

Twelve weeks of training geared towards improving muscular power in older people are highly effective for improving their functional capacity and quality of life, as shown by the studies carried out by the “Biomechanics and Physiology of Movement” research group at the Public University of Navarre led by Professor Mikel Izquierdo-Redin.

The results of these pieces of research, conducted in collaboration with the University of Trás-os-Montes e Alto Douro (Portugal) and the Federal University of Rio Grande del Sur (Brazil), have been published in two articles in the scientific journal Experimental Gerontology: “Effects of high-speed power training on functional capacity and muscle performance in older women” and “Strength prior to endurance intra-session exercise sequence optimizes Continue reading

Risk of Heart Disease Increased by Use of Antidepressants

Depression is a known side effect of cholesterol- lowering statin drugs. Last year, we reported on two separate studies, which both suggested that statin drugs might affect intelligence, cause depression and even raise the risk of suicide. Now researchers are speculating that antidepressants may act synergistically with depressive symptoms to increase the risk of heart disease.

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Previously, we told you how certain antidepressants (called tricyclic antidepressants) are linked to a 35 per cent increased risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD).  Continue reading

Tomatoes, The New Super food

Eating more tomatoes and tomato products can make people healthier and decrease the risk of conditions such as cancer, osteoporosis and cardiovascular disease, according to a review article the American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine, (published by SAGE).

Of all the non-starchy vegetables, Americans eat more tomatoes and tomato products than any others. Researchers Britt Burton-Freeman, PhD, MS, and Kristin Reimers, PhD, RD of the National Center for Food Safety & Technology, Illinois Institute of Technology and ConAgra Foods, Inc., looked at the current research to discover the role tomato products play in health and disease risk reduction.

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A Day Nap Helps Blood Pressure Management

A daytime sleep could have cardiovascular benefits according to new research by Ryan Brindle and Sarah Conklin, PhD, from Allegheny College in Pennsylvania in the US. Their study, looking at the effect of a daytime nap on cardiovascular recovery following a stress test, found that those participants who slept for at least 45 minutes during the day had lower average blood pressure after psychological stress than those who did not sleep. The work is published in Springer’s journal International Journal of Behavioral Medicine.

Long work schedules, shift work, increased anxiety and a greater use of the internet and television late at night – all characteristics of our modern society – have had an impact on nocturnal sleep. We no longer sleep as long as we used to: The average sleep duration is now almost 2 hours shorter per night than it was 50 years ago. And this could be impacting our long-term health. For example, sleeping less has been linked to an increased risk of hypertension and cardiovascular problems generally.

Brindle and Conklin’s experiment examined how daytime sleep might influence cardiovascular recovery after a mental stress test in the laboratory. They split 85 healthy university students into two groups: One group was allotted a 60-minute interval during the day when they had the opportunity to sleep; the other group did not sleep during the day. The researchers also asked the students to complete questionnaires assessing sleep quality and complete a cardiovascular reactivity task, involving a complex mental subtracting exercise. Brindle and Conklin measured the students’ blood pressure and pulse rates at regular intervals throughout the experiment.

They found that daytime sleep seemed to have a restorative effect with students in the sleep condition reporting lower scores of sleepiness than those who did not sleep. Although blood pressure and pulse rates rose in both groups between baseline and the stress phase, during the recovery phase, those who had napped had significantly lower average blood pressure readings than those who had not slept. These results show that sleeping between 45 and 60 minutes during the day appears to facilitate blood pressure recovery after a mental stress task in the laboratory.

Brindle and Conklin conclude: “Our findings suggest that daytime sleep may offer cardiovascular benefit by accelerating cardiovascular recovery following mental stressors. Further research is needed to explore the mechanism by which daytime sleep is linked with cardiovascular health and to evaluate daytime sleep as a recuperative and protective practice, especially for individuals with known cardiovascular disease risk and those with suboptimal sleep quality.”

6 Surprising Ways to Heart Longevity

February is Heart Health month, and by now, you’ve read all about the heart-healthy benefits of good fats, whole grains, and stress reduction — but did you know that you can protect your heart by flossing your teeth or topping your toast with marmalade? Read on to find out more surprising ways to keep your heart pumping strong!

Take this advice to heart, but if you have heart issues, don’t stop taking your medications; always consult with your physician any time you begin a new health regime.

1. Floss Your Teeth, Save Your Heart

Your dentist has been telling you for years about the importance of flossing. It turns out that flossing not only protects your teeth and gums, but also potentially your heart. For a long time, observational studies have found that people with periodontal disease have significantly higher odds of developing cardiovascular disease. While experts are not sure exactly why taking care of your teeth is linked with better heart health, they speculate that bacteria from your mouth may stick to the fatty plaques in your bloodstream, directly contributing to blockages. Another theory is that these oral bacteria travel through your body, triggering inflammation that causes the blood cells to swell, then narrowing an artery. While more studies are needed to confirm the connection, it’s never a bad idea to floss once a day!

2. A Nap a Day Keeps Heart Disease Away

One of the best ways to lower stress on your heart is to take a nap during the middle of the day. Chinese medicine has long observed that, in the body’s circadian rhythms, noontime is the peak hour for the heart. Therefore, Chinese doctors advise calming activities and rest at this time of day to maintain the health of the cardiovascular system. Researchers have found that men who napped at least thirty minutes a day were 30 percent less likely to develop heart disease than those who didn’t nap. A siesta is a sign of wisdom, not laziness!

3. Pets: Heartwarming and Heart Protecting

Getting a pet is a great boon to heart health. A study reported in the Medical Journal of Australia found that, in general, pet owners have lower blood pressure, triglycerides, and cholesterol levels than people who do not own pets. Having a cat companion could cut your heart attack risk by nearly one third! According to a study by the Minnesota Stroke Institute, which followed over 4,000 cat owners during a 10-year period, being a feline owner can significantly decrease the chance of dying from heart disease. Another study, published in the American Journal of Cardiology, found that male dog owners were significantly less likely to die within one year after a heart attack than those who did not own a dog. Man’s best friend helps your heart in yet another way — all those daily walks add up to real cardiovascular benefits.

4. Peel Away Cholesterol with Orange Rind

Plaque in your arteries narrows the artery over time, impairing blood flow and dramatically increasing your risk for heart disease. Here’s a simple way to keep your arteries healthy: grate a little orange peel into your food regularly. In Chinese medicine, orange peel has been traditionally used to improve digestion of fatty and rich foods, and it is often found in traditional Chinese dishes with red meat. It turns out that orange peel may actually lower cholesterol better than some current medications, and without the side effects. Studies show that compounds called polymethosylated flavones (PMFs), found in pigments of orange and tangerines, reduce bad cholesterol (LDL) without altering the level of good cholesterol (HDL). Who would guess that orange-peel laden marmalade would also be good for lowering LDL cholesterol?

5. Celery: Just Juice It

High blood pressure is often the root cause of stroke, heart disease, and kidney failure. A time-tested Chinese remedy for this condition is fresh celery juice, which can be made with a blender or a juicer. Drinking one to two large glasses a day can help prevent high blood pressure or restore it to normal in those who already have high blood pressure. Studies have found that celery stalks are packed with more than a dozen anti-inflammatory agents, including apigenin, a cox2-inhibiting compound similar to some anti-inflammatory drugs.

6. Heart Health with Hawthorn Berries

Widely used since the seventeenth century by European herbalists, the hawthorn berry was traditionally considered a digestive aid for heavy meats and rich foods, as well as a potent activator of the circulatory system. Today it is used to cleanse the blood of plaque and other toxins. Recent European studies of this bioflavanoid-rich plant have confirmed its cardiovascular benefits, including lowering blood pressure during exertion, strengthening the heart muscle, and improving blood flow to the heart and throughout the body. Additionally, hawthorn has also been shown to lower cholesterol and balance blood sugar. You can make hawthorn berry tea or take it in supplement form. Available in powder, capsules, and liquid extracts, a typical dosage is up to 500 mg daily.

Bonus Tip: If you want to take your heart health one step further, you can try taking tonic herbs that support a robust and open cardiovascular system, such as Super Clarity.

You can find many more ways to protect your heart and live to 100 in Secrets of Longevity: Hundreds of Ways to Live to Be 100, which is now available on Kindle. If you are interested in a lifestyle program, designed to transform your health and lengthen your years, check out my new book Secrets of Longevity 8-Week Program.

May you live long, live strong, and live happy!

Courtesy of Dr. Mao

Can You Really Extend Your Life Span with this Antioxidant?

In 2003, research showed that resveratrol, a powerful polyphenol and anti-fungal chemical, was able to increase the lifespan of yeast cells. The results ignited flames of hope for an anti-aging pill. According to the findings, resveratrol could activate a gene called sirtuin1, which is also activated during calorie restriction in various species.

Since then studies in nematode worms, fruit flies, fish, and mice have linked resveratrol to longer lives. Other studies with only resveratrol have reported anti-cancer effects, anti-inflammatory effects, cardiovascular benefits, anti-diabetes potential, energy endurance enhancement, and protection against Alzheimer’s.

Resveratrol is found in grapes and red wine, and has particularly been associated with the so-called ‘French Paradox’ — the low incidence of heart disease and obesity among the French, despite their relatively high-calorie diet and levels of wine consumption.

Study Shows That You Can Be Both Fit And Fat


If you work out 5 days a week, eat super healthy and never lose weight, you’ve probably concluded that you just have to work with what you have. Well, what you have is perfect! Erase the preconceived notions in your mind that you have to be skinny to be healthy. Researchers have found that there is such a thing as being “fat and fit.” Wondering if you fall into that category?

The prestigious Harvard School of Public Health tested fitness levels of over 100,000 people. The results were not totally shocking, except for a few notable circumstances. First of all, many people who are heavy are unfit but so are people that are skinny, despite the fact that less skinny people are unfit. While these all hold up to the classic standards, it has been proven that you can be heavy and be extremely fit.

How is this person classified? A person that is heavy but fit is someone who has a great cardiovascular and metabolic system, works out, eats right, and has healthy organs but just can’t lose that weight. Fat fit people tend to hold their weight in places that don’t affect them as much like their buttocks, thighs, and hips.

Bottom line: go to your doctor and see what he says. If he says you are in good health, don’t focus on losing weight. Focus on staying healthy. Keep doing good things for yourself and your body. If you lose weight, that’s awesome. If you don’t, don’t get down on yourself. You are probably healthier than your skinny friend eating that Big Mac.

Introducing – L-Carnitine

L-carnitine is a non-essential amino acid that is made by the kidney and the liver and is derived from the amino acids methionine and lysine. Carnitine plays an important role in transporting long-chained fatty acid across the mitochondrial membranes in cell in order to produce energy. Recent research has determined that carnitine may play a role in lowering cholesterol and triglyceride levels, as well as improving cardiac performance.

What is L-carnitine used for?
L-carnitine has been used as a supplementative treatment in patients who have high cholesterol levels. Previous research has also indicated its use in cardiovascular disease, infertility, enhancement of athletic performance, and weight loss.

Where is L-carnitine normally found?
There is enough arginine made by your body, so supplementation is not generally required. It is also found in a variety of meat and dairy products.

How much do I take to lower my cholesterol levels?
There is currently no RDI established for L-carnitine, however, doses tend to average between 500 and 2000 mg a day.

How do I know if I am deficient in carnitine?
Arginine deficiency is rare, since your body makes the arginine it needs. Symptoms of a carnitine deficiency include muscle weakness, stiffness, or soreness, impaired glucose control, high cholesterol and dark reddish-brown urine. These symptoms could be the symptoms of antoher disorder, so you should consult your health care practitioner if you experience any of these symptoms.

Who should not take carnitine?
· Individuals who are taking valproic acid or zidovudine, since these drugs can deplete carnitine from the body. · Individuals with liver disease should consult their health care practitioner or pharmacist before taking L-carnitine. · If you have an underlying condition, or on other medications, be sure to consult with a pharmacist or your health care practitioner before you begin to take arginine.

Imaging Techniques Can Identify Plaques Likely to Cause Heart Attacks

NEW YORK –  Imaging techniques can help identify the types of vulnerable plaque that are most likely to cause adverse cardiac events before they occur, say researchers.

This finding comes from a clinical trial called Providing Regional Observations to Study Predictors of Events in the Coronary Tree (PROSPECT), which is the first prospective natural history study of atherosclerosis using multi-modality imaging to characterize the coronary tree.

A presentation on the study was made at the 21st annual Transcatheter Cardiovascular Therapeutics (TCT) scientific symposium, sponsored by the Cardiovascular Research Foundation (CRF).

“As a result of the PROSPECT trial, we are closer to being able to predict-and therefore prevent – sudden, unexpected adverse cardiac events,” said principal investigator Dr. Gregg W. Stone, immediate past chairman of CRF, professor of medicine at Columbia University Hospital and Director of Cardiovascular Research and Education at the Center for Interventional Vascular Therapy at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center.

During the multi-centre trial, 700 patients with acute coronary syndromes (ACS) were studied using three-vessel multimodality intra-coronary imaging-angiography, intravascular ultrasound (IVUS), and virtual histology.

The purpose was to quantify the clinical event rate due to atherosclerotic progression, and to identify those lesions that place patients at risk for unexpected adverse cardiovascular events-sudden death, cardiac arrest, heart attacks and unstable or progressive angina.

The study revealed that most untreated plaques that cause unexpected heart attacks are not mild lesions, as previously thought, but actually have a large plaque burden and a small lumen area. These are characteristics that were invisible to the coronary angiogram but easily identifiable by IVUS.

Only about half of new cardiac events due to non-culprit lesions exemplified the classic notion of vulnerable plaque (rapid lesion progression of non flow limiting lesions), while half were attributable to unrecognized and untreated severe disease with minimal change over time.

Perhaps most importantly, for the first time it was demonstrated that characterization of the underlying plaque composition (with virtual histology) was able to significantly improve the ability to predict future adverse events beyond other more standard imaging techniques.

“These results mean that using a combination of imaging modalities, including IVUS to identify lesions with a large plaque burden and/or small lumen area, and virtual histology to identify a large necrotic core without a visible cap (a thin cap fibroatheroma) identifies the lesions that are at especially high risk of causing future adverse cardiovascular events,” Dr. Stone said.

Introducing – CoQ10

Other Names: Coenzyme Q10, Co Q10, Ubiquinone, Vitamin Q

CoQ10 is a naturally-occuring compound found in every cell in the body. CoQ10’s alternate name, ubiquinone, comes from the word ubiquitous, which means “found everywhere.”

CoQ10 plays a key role in producing energy in the mitochondria, the part of a cell responsible for the production of energy in the form of ATP.

Why People Use CoQ10

  • Heart failure
  • Cardiomyopathy
  • Heart Attack Prevention and Recovery
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Diabetes
  • Gum Disease
  • Kidney Failure
  • Migraine
  • Counteract Prescription Drug Effects
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Weight loss

What is the Evidence For CoQ10?

  • Heart failure
    People with heart failure have been found to have lower levels of CoQ10 in heart muscle cells. Double-blind research suggests that CoQ10 may reduce symptoms related to heart failure, such as shortness of breath, difficulty sleeping, and swelling. CoQ10 is thought to increase energy production in the heart muscle, increasing the strength of the pumping action. Recent human studies, however, haven’t supported this.

In one study, 641 people with congestive heart failure were randomized to receive either CoQ10 (2 mg per kg body weight) or a placebo plus standard treatment. People who took the CoQ10 had a significant reduction in symptom severity and fewer hospitalizations.

In another study, 32 patients with end-stage heart failure awaiting heart transplantation received either 60 mg of CoQ10 or a placebo for 3 months. Patients who took the CoQ10 experienced a significant improvement in functional status, clinical symptoms, and quality of life, however there were no changes in echocardiogram (heart ultrasound) or in objective markers.

A study randomized 55 patients with congestive heart failure to receive either 200 mg per day of CoQ10 or a placebo in addition to standard treatment. Although serum levels of CoQ10 increased in patients receiving CoQ10, CoQ10 didn’t affect ejection fraction, peak oxygen consumption, or exercise duration.

A longer-term study investigated the use of 100 mg of CoQ10 or a placebo in addition to standard treatment in 79 patients with stable chronic congestive heart failure. The results indicated that CoQ10 only slightly improved maximal exercise capacity and quality of life compared with the placebo.

  • Cardiomyopathy

Several small trials have found CoQ10 may be helpful for certain types of cardiomyopathy.

  • Parkinson’s disease

Lower levels of CoQ10 have also been observed in people with Parkinson’s disease. Preliminary research has found that increasing CoQ10 may increase levels of the neurotransmitter dopamine, which is thought to be lowered in people with Parkinson’s disease. It has also been suggested that CoQ10 might protect brain cells from damage by free radicals.

A small, randomized controlled trial examined the use of 360 mg CoQ10 or a placebo in 28 treated and stable Parkinson’s disease patients. After 4 weeks, CoQ10 provided a mild but significant significant mild improvement in early Parkinson‘s symptoms and significantly improved performance in visual function.

A larger 16 month trial funded by the National Institutes of Health explored the use of CoQ10 (300, 600 or 1200 mg/day) or a placebo in 80 patients with early stage Parkinson’s disease. The results suggested that CoQ10, especially at the 1200 mg per day dose, had a significant reduction in disability compared to those who took a placebo.

  • CoQ10 and Statin Drugs

Some research suggests that statin drugs, or HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors, a class of drugs used to lower cholesterol, may interfere with the body’s production of CoQ10. However, research on the use of CoQ10 supplements in people taking statins is still inconclusive, and it is not routinely recommended in combination with statin therapy.

  • Diabetes
    In a 12-week randomized controlled trial, 74 people with type 2 diabetes were randomized to receive either 100 mg CoQ10 twice daily, 200 mg per day of fenofibrate (a lipid regulating drug), both or neither for 12 weeks. CoQ10 supplementation significantly improved blood pressure and glycemic control. However, two studies found that CoQ10 supplementation failed to find any effect on glycemic control.
  • Gum disease
    A small study looked at the topical application of CoQ10 to the periodontal pocket. Ten male periodontitis patients with 30 periodontal pockets were selected. During the first 3 weeks, the patients applied topical CoQ10. There was significant improvement in symptoms.

Dosage

A typical CoQ10 dosage is 30 to 90 mg per day, taken in divided doses, but the recommended amount can be as high as 200 mg per day.

CoQ10 is fat-soluble, so it is better absorbed when taken with a meal that contains oil or fat.

The clinical effect is not immediate and may take up to eight weeks.

Safety

Consult your doctor before trying CoQ10, especially if you have heart disease, kidney failure, or cancer.

Side effects of CoQ10 may include diarrhea and rash.

CoQ10 is used in combination with standard treatment, not to replace it.

CoQ10 may lower blood sugar levels, so people with diabetes should not use CoQ10 unless under a doctor’s supervision. CoQ10 may also lower blood pressure.

The safety of Co q10 in pregnant or nursing women or children has not been established.

PLEASE SEE THE POST ON “POLICOSANOL” FOR LOWERING CHOLESTEROL

 

Eating Walnuts Cuts Cholesterol

BOSTON – Eating a diet high in walnuts may decrease cholesterol and fight inflammation, two major risk factors for cardiovascular disease, according to a study conducted by researchers from Harvard University and published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

“Consumption of nuts has been associated with a decreased risk of cardiovascular disease events and death,” the researchers wrote. “Walnuts in particular have a unique profile: they are rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids, which may improve blood lipids and other cardiovascular disease risk factors.”

Walnuts are also considered good dietary sources of fiber, magnesium, B vitamins, vitamin E and other antioxidants.

Researchers analyzed the results of 13 different studies conducted on a total of 365 participants who had obtained between 10 and 24 percent of their calories from walnuts for four to 24 weeks. They found that participants on a high-walnut diet underwent significant decreases in total and LDL (“bad”) cholesterol.

“When compared with control diets, diets supplemented with walnuts resulted in a significantly greater decrease in total cholesterol and in LDL-cholesterol concentrations,” the researchers wrote.

The researchers also found other indicators that even though a high-walnut diet is high in fat, it seems to lower the risk of cardiovascular disease rather than raising it.

“Other results reported in the trials indicated that walnuts provided significant benefits for certain antioxidant capacity and inflammatory markers and had no adverse effects on body weight,” the researchers wrote.

The researchers called for “larger and longer-term trials” to further understand the heart benefits of nut-rich diets.

Prior studies have linked diets high in nuts and berries to a reduced risk of metabolic syndrome, a cluster of symptoms related to cardiovascular disease. Other nuts previously linked to improved cardiovascular health include macadamia nuts and almonds.

Diets high in walnuts may also reduce the risk of breast cancer, studies show.

Here’s Why Wine is Good for Health

DAVIS – In new study, a researcher has reviewed the health benefits linked with light to moderate consumption of wine.

Author Clare M. Hasler, from the University of California-Davis, provides a historical perspective of the health benefits of alcohol consumption.

She revealed that the first noticeable bump in red wine sales came as a result of the French paradox in the early 1990s.

Hasler also covers recent studies on the link between alcohol consumption and health benefits.

She says that wine has the potential to protect against cardiovascular disease, and reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes.

It can also improvement of cognitive function, and has also been linked with increased bone mineral density.

“Although there is no consensus on whether red wine is more beneficial, it is my opinion that the high concentration of antioxidant polyphenolics in red and the potential anti-inflammatory properties of resveratrol support the choice of red wine as the alcoholic beverage of choice in moderation,” said Hasler.

The study has been published in Food Technology magazine.

Resynchronization Cuts Down Risk of Heart Failures

CHICAGO A therapy called cardiac ‘resynchronization’ reduced risk of heart failures by 41 percent, says an international study.

“This shows, for the first time, that the onset of heart failure symptoms and hospitalization for heart failure can be delayed with pacing therapy,” said David Wilber, director of the Cardiovascular Institute at Loyola University (Chicago) Stritch School of Medicine.

Cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT) is an innovative new therapy that can relieve congestive heart failure (CHF) symptoms, by improving the coordination of its contractions.

It is done with the help of electrical impulses delivered by a device implanted in the upper chest, that help synchronize contractions of the left ventricle, the heart’s main pumping chamber.

The study included 1,820 patients from 110 centers in the US, Canada and Europe. All patients in the trial had been diagnosed with early stage, mild heart failure (Class 1 and Class 2 on the New York Heart Association classification system), according to a Loyola release.

For instance, Loyola heart failure patient Rosemary Jakubowski of Elmwood Park said before she received cardiac resynchronization, she had experienced significant fatigue. “I always had that dragging feeling,” she said.

Since receiving resynchronization, Jakubowski has been taking kickboxing and swim aerobics classes, without fatigue. “I’m 100 percent better — complete satisfaction,” she said. “It’s like I’m a new person.”

The Food and Drug Administration has approved cardiac resynchronization for patients with Class 3 (moderate) and Class 4 (severe) heart failure. Such patients experience marked limitations in physical activity or are unable to do any physical activity at all without discomfort.

“With this study, we have shown that certain patients with early-stage, mild heart failure also can benefit from cardiac resynchronization,” Wilber said.

These findings were published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Bike Rides for Women Over 50 Can Cut 16 Years off Age

LOS ANGELES-  Post-menopausal women can turn back the time clock by 16 years with just 12 weeks’ of sweat on an exercise bike, a new study claims.

The research claimed that over-50s who make regular visits to the gym, go for a long bike ride or enjoy a swim can regain the fitness they had in their thirties.

Tests on older women revealed that a one-hour cycling session five days a week improved their blood pressure and heart rate, reports The Sun.

In an extra bonus, their ability to burn fat also rocketed 10 per cent.

Professor George Brooks, of the University of California, said: “The women in our study had the cardiovascular and metabolic capabilities of women 16 years younger.

“The results are very encouraging for exercise without weight loss.”