One in three Americans has at least one type of cardiovascular disease (CVD) an umbrella term for a range of diseases that affect the heart and blood vessels. Every 37 seconds, an American dies as a result of CVD.
This issue of Science & Health Today looks at the latest research into the most powerful of today’s heart-healthy nutrients. Take control of your future now — and avoid becoming another statistic.
If all forms of major CVD were eliminated, people’s life expectancy would rise almost seven years. While there are several risk factors for heart disease, five key factors account for a bulk of CVD cases.
1. Smoking. Cigarette smokers have a two- to three-fold greater risk of dying from heart disease.
2. High total blood cholesterol levels. A 10 percent decrease in total cholesterol levels can result in a 30 percent reduction in heart disease.
3. High blood pressure. About 69 percent of people who have a first heart attack have high blood pressure. High blood pressure reduces overall life expectancy by about five years.
4. Diabetes. In 2005, more than 15 million people had diagnosed diabetes. At least 65 percent of people with diabetes die from heart disease or stroke.
5. Obesity/Overweight. About 66 percent of adults are overweight. Obesity is a major risk factor for heart disease and can raise cholesterol and blood pressure. It can also induce diabetes.
Opening Arteries With Omega-3
Omega-3 fatty acids — found in salmon, tuna, walnuts, flaxseed, and canola and soybean oils — may help prevent blood clots from forming, as well as reduce the inflammation of artery walls. In addition, omega-3 fats also may reduce the risk of abnormal heart rhythms and have been shown to reduce triglyceride levels.
Studies indicate that omega-3 fatty acid supplements can reduce heart attacks and strokes, and can slow the progression of atherosclerosis, or plaque-filled arteries, in heart patients.
People with existing heart disease may not be able to get enough omega-3 through diet alone. That’s where supplements come in. Supplements also can help people with high triglycerides who need even larger doses of omega-3 to be effective.
Phytosterols Fight Cholesterol
Phytosterols, also known as plant sterols, occur naturally in small amounts in many plants, including soybeans, nuts and some vegetable oils.
Like soluble fiber, plant sterols help block the absorption of cholesterol in the digestive tract. Studies show a daily intake of about 2 grams of plant sterols reduces LDL, the “bad” cholesterol, by about 5 to 15 percent — often within weeks. Studies also show consuming this same amount of plant sterols can reduce total cholesterol levels by 8 to 17 percent. And lowering cholesterol significantly reduces your risk of heart disease.
Each daily serving of Reliv’s CardioSentials® includes 1.5 grams of phytosterols, which fulfills the American Heart Association’s daily recommendation of 1 to 2 grams per day to promote heart health.
Harnessing the Power of Antioxidants
Potent antioxidants, including anthocyanins and CoQ10, play an important part in maintaining a healthy heart. Antioxidants neutralize free radicals, cell-damaging compounds which are blamed for the aging process as well as the development of heart disease and cancer.
Anthocyanins are flavonoids, a type of antioxidant that gives the rich, deep color to many fruits. Several studies have shown that anthocyanins have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial and anti-carcinogenic properties.
Research shows anthocyanins help reduce the risk of heart disease by inhibiting cholesterol absorption and by helping to prevent atherosclerosis — the clogging of the arteries with plaque that leads to heart attacks and strokes.
OptiBerry®, an essential component in Reliv’s CardioSentials®, is a patented blend of berry extracts loaded with the antioxidant power of anthocyanins.
Co-enzyme Q10, or CoQ10, is another powerful antioxidant that plays a vital role in the heart’s ability to pump effectively. It’s found naturally in the energy-producing center of cells. Found in the highest concentrations in the heart, CoQ10 is known to boost energy and the immune system while it fights free radicals. Epidemiologic evidence in humans shows a gradual decline in CoQ10 levels after the age of 20.
Research also shows that CoQ10 supplements may help or prevent a host of problems, including heart disease, congestive heart failure, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes.
Statins prescribed to lower cholesterol inhibit the body’s ability to produce CoQ10, which can lead to deficiencies of this nutrient. Supplementing with CoQ10 can counter this effect.
Heart Healthy Choices
The Centers for Disease Control report that the probability of a child born today eventually dying from cardiovascular disease (CVD) is close to 50 percent. Such a staggering statistics even more troubling considering that the major risk factors for CVD are almost entirely controllable. In fact, the body’s unique chemistry is specifically designed to counteract the very factors that lead to CVD. Unfortunately, the average diet lacks the nutrients necessary for the body to perform these life-saving biochemical processes.
Poor diet, however, does not have to be a death sentence. Numerous scientific studies and repeated clinical trials show that targeted nutritional supplementation is a safe, effective way to manage, avoid and even reverse the effects of CVD.
Among those studies is a clinical trial of Reliv’s CardioSentials® conducted by Dr. Joe Vinson of the University of Scranton. The trial showed that CardioSentials is safe and effective in reducing total cholesterol, LDL (bad) cholesterol and triglycerides among people with high cholesterol. What’s more, CardioSentials is clinically shown to increase HDL (good) cholesterol and reduce blood glucose levels.
Heart disease is no longer just a concern of the middle-aged and elderly. Risk factors are appearing earlier as our youth become more overweight and more sedentary. The time to begin a proactive nutritional heart health program is now — for young and not-so-young alike.
To Your Health,
Dr. Carl W. Hastings, Reliv Vice Chairman and Chief Scientific Officer
Sources are available on PDF form.