We know, based on multiple studies, that your diet can either work for or against you when it comes to heart disease risk. Heart-healthy foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains and fish should be staples of our daily diet. Unfortunately, that’s not the case for far too many people. Face the Heart Facts
●The World Health Organization says heart disease and stroke kill 17.5 million people a year and predicts by 2020, this duo will become the leading cause of both death and disability worldwide.
●Heart disease is the number one killer of women and men in the United States.
●Each year, more than a million Americans have heart attacks, and about a half million people die from heart disease.
●About one in three adults in the United States has high blood pressure, a known risk factor for heart disease and stroke.
●Hardened arteries are considered a major risk factor for coronary heart disease. Recent studies have shown that soy protein helps improve the elasticity of blood vessels, which may decrease your risk of a heart attack.
●47 million people have metabolic syndrome, which is a combination of symptoms that includes impaired glucose tolerance, high cholesterol and triglycerides, high blood pressure and abdominal obesity.
●Metabolic syndrome often leads to heart disease and diabetes.
Addressing Heart Disease Risk Factors
Two major heart disease risk factors are high cholesterol and high blood pressure. Being overweight or having diabetes also ratchets up your heart disease risk.
High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure is called “the silent killer” because it usually has no symptoms, which means you can have it without knowing it. It can lead to heart disease, heart failure, stroke, kidney failure and other health problems.
According to a study published in the journal Nutrition, Pycnogenol®, an extract of French maritime pine bark, can lower blood pressure in diabetes patients, which reduces their risk of heart attacks. Researchers found that 58.3 percent of patients taking Pycnogenol achieved a stable systolic blood pressure (the top number), compared to only 20.8 percent of those in the placebo group.
In addition, a study published in the May 2008 Journal of Nutrition Research showed Pycnogenol simultaneously lowered blood glucose, LDL cholesterol and blood pressure.
Pycnogenol can be found in several Reliv products including Reliv Now®, GlucAffect® and Relìvables™ Healthy Snack Bars.
The higher your blood cholesterol level, the greater your risk for developing heart disease or having a heart attack.
Numerous studies have found that the Vitamin B complex — which includes B3, B6 and B12, folic acid and biotin — is effective at lowering cholesterol, and as a result, lowers the risk of heart disease. The B vitamins reduce levels of homocysteine, a compound in the blood that irritates blood vessel walls.
This irritation increases inflammation that can be an underlying cause of heart disease. Soy is another way to lower your LDL (bad) cholesterol and increase your HDL (good) cholesterol. Soy also includes dietary fiber, high-quality protein, iron, essential fatty acids and other important nutrients that benefit your heart. Soybeans naturally include phytosterols, which help block the absorption of cholesterol in the digestive tract to reduce cholesterol.
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. B vitamins and soy can be found in multiple Relìv products.
Metabolic Syndrome and Your Heart
Metabolic syndrome is a constellation of three of more of the following factors: high cholesterol, high blood pressure, elevated fasting glucose, elevated triglycerides and abdominal fat. Having metabolic syndrome puts you at higher risk of heart disease and diabetes, which often go hand in hand.
People with metabolic syndrome have twice the risk of developing clogged arteries, which raise the risk of having a heart attack or stroke. Metabolic syndrome also puts people at higher risk for heart failure, a condition in which the heart progressively weakens and can’t pump blood well enough for the body’s needs.
Reliv’s GlucAffect® contains powerful ingredients that work together to create a clinically proven formula that helps lower blood sugar levels as well as cholesterol, blood pressure and excess weight — all contributors to heart disease.
A study published in the May 2008 Journal of Nutrition Research, showed Pycnogenol®, a core ingredient of GlucAffect, simultaneously lowered blood glucose, LDL cholesterol and blood pressure. GlucAffect also contains omega-3, which not only improves insulin sensitivity and reduces blood sugar, but also promotes cardiovascular health and maintains optimum blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
Our Hearts Are At Risk
After seeing friends and family suffer the consequences of skipping key heart-healthy nutrients, I developed CardioSentials ®. CardioSentials works on multiple levels to support total heart health. It has been clinically shown to reduce total cholesterol, LDL (bad) cholesterol and triglycerides, and increases HDL (good) cholesterol. The unique formula includes potent antioxidants, CoQ10, phytosterols, and other heart-protecting, synergistic nutrients that address a range of factors to reduce the risk of heart disease.
Relìv also addresses the risk factors of heart disease through the proven combination of Reliv Now® and FibRestore®. A multi-center, randomized, double-blind, placebocontrolled study found that these products both reduced total cholesterol and LDL while offering a range of other health benefits. GlucAffect®, meanwhile, was clinically shown to reduce blood glucose levels, cholesterol and excess weight, all factors that contribute to heart disease.
This issue of Science & Health Today looks more closely at the risk factors for heart disease and some of the nutrients that can make a significant positive impact on our heart health.
Remember, knowledge is power — use it in good health.
To Your Health,
Dr. Carl W. Hastings, Reliv Vice Chairman and Chief Scientific Officer