|Where Recommendations are Based on Scientific Evidence|
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If you don’t want to read the scientific explanations documenting why the recommendations are effective, click here on summary which lists an easy way to implement the information.
Cardiovascular disease (heart disease)While causes of cardiovascular disease can be multifactorial, systemic inflammation is emerging as a very important factor. C-reactive protein (CRP) a marker of systemic inflammation has emerged as an independent predictor of cardiovascular disease (Koenig W, et al. 2008).
The traditional risk factors for cardiovascular disease like cholesterol, triglycerides, LDL (the bad cholesterol) and HDL (the good cholesterol) are still useful markers especially when seen in connection with markers for systemic inflammation like highly sensitive C-reactive protein (hs-CRP).It is interesting that research has linked low glycemic index foods to lower triglycerides and higher HDL level, which would lower cardiovascular risk (Pelkman CL. 2001).
According to research, there is abundant clinical evidence that many biomarkers of inflammation is elevated years ahead of the first myocardial infarction (heart attack) or thrombotic stroke (stroke caused by a blood clot) (Ridker PM, Silvertown JD. 2008). These same biomarkers are highly predictive of recurrent myocardial infarction, recurrent stroke, diabetes and cardiovascular death.
High levels of highly sensitive C-reactive protein (hs-CRP), one of the markers of systemic inflammation, has been documented to be associated with a two fold to three fold increase in the prevalence of myocardial infarction, stroke and peripheral vascular disease (de Ferranti SD, Rifai N. 2007). It has been documented that women with greater hs-CRP has abdominal obesity, higher triglyceride levels, lower HDL (the good cholesterol) and lower insulin sensitivity (more insulin resistance) compared with women with lower hs-CRP levels (Piche ME, et al. 2005).
Just a simple thing as a waist measurement can provide insight into your cardiovascular risk.
A large study including 44,702 women aged 40 to 65 year showed that a waist circumference of 38 inches (96.5 cm) or more was associated with a 3.06 higher risk for cardiovascular disease (Rexrode KM, et al. 1998). The same study also showed a 2-fold higher risk of cardiovascular disease with a waist circumference of 30 inches (76.2 cm) or more.
Lifestyle changes including healthier nutritional habits and more physical activity are the cornerstone of therapy for high risk abdominal obese patients (Despres JP. 2007).
Causes of systemic inflammation
Anything that consistently activates the immune system can cause systemic inflammation.
Some of the reasons are chronic bacterial or viral infection, chronic allergies, and gastrointestinal dysfunction caused by food allergies, food sensitivities, pathogens or anti-inflammatory drugs.
Overweight and obesity also increases systemic inflammation (Lee YH, Pratley RE, 2005, Romano M, et al. 2003, Rexrode KM, et al. 2003, Pannacciulli N, et al. 2001, Visser M, et al. 1999).
A major trigger of inflammation for many people is insulin resistance. Insulin resistance triggers inflammatory cytokines and has shown to increase C-reactive protein (CRP), one of the inflammatory markers (Clifton PM. 2003, Lee WY, et al. 2004, Wannamethee SG, et al. 2005).
Eating high glycemic index foods, such as foods that elevate the blood sugar high, and not getting enough physical activity make the tissue less sensitive to insulin. The insulin is then not able to transfer the blood sugar into the cells as efficiently as it used to. This is called insulin resistance. There are different degrees of insulin resistance and it develops gradually. Severe insulin resistance leads to type 2 diabetes.
Researchers at Harvard Medical School concluded after an investigative study that dietary glycemic load is significantly and positively associated with plasma highly sensitive C-reactive protein (hs-CRP) in healthy middle-age women (Liu S, et al. 2002).
RecommendationsBoth experimental and epidemiological studies have demonstrated the beneficial effects of the traditional Mediterranean diet on the incidence and the progression of atherosclerosis.
An interesting study explained some of the reasons such a dietary regime is producing results (Llorente-Cortes V, et al. 2009). The researchers analyzed the expression of genes involved in inflammation and found that the Mediterranean diet prevented an increase in cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2), receptor-related protein (LRP1) and reduced chemoattractant protein (MCP-!). These are key factors involved in vascular inflammation, foam cell formation and thrombosis. Research has also shown reduction of the inflammatory markers hs-CRP, IL-6, IL-7 and IL-8 as well as decreased insulin resistance (Esposito K, et al. 2004).
For easy implementation of these dietary factors read the book “The Food Connection.” Explanations with research references and easy to make recipes are included in the book, click here.
Flax seeds have shown to both reduce fasting blood sugar and cholesterol, especially the LDL (the bad cholesterol) (Thakur G, et al. 2009). It is recommended to take 2 tablespoons of flax seeds and grind them up in a coffee grinder. You can mix them in a glass of water and drink it down before you eat breakfast and you can also do the same thing before dinner. You can also sprinkle the ground up seeds on food if you prefer. Start taking it once daily to be sure you don’t have an allergic reaction to it, and then increase it to twice daily.
Both the dietary recommendations and the flax seeds will increase your fiber intake. It may take some few days to get used to that, but your gastrointestinal tract will adjust to it.
It is not recommended to buy already ground up seeds, since flax seeds oxidize very quickly when the shell has been broken.
Research has documented that omega 3 fatty acids provide cardiovascular benefits and are cardioprotective (Lee JH, et al. 2009, Wang C, et al. 2006). Numerous studies have shown that omega 3 fatty acids reduce inflammation. As an example, there is evidence of the inhibition of the inflammatory cytokines IL-1 (Interleukin-1), IL-2 (Interleukins-2) and TNF-alpha (Tumor necrosis factor-alpha) (Kang JX, Weylandt KH. 2008, Adam O. 2003, Rennie KL, et al. 2003).
For easy implementation, click here.
Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10 ubiquinone) is a coenzyme essential for the production of ATP and energy in the mitochondria of the cell. It is also an antioxidant. CoQ10 has shown to inhibit LDL (the bad cholesterol) oxidation and progression of atherosclerosis (Kumar A, et al. 2009). CoQ10 also has the ability to enhance the function of the endothelium by counteracting nitric oxide oxidation (Tiano L, et al. 2007).
For easy implementation, click here.
An association has been found between high levels of plasma homocysteine (an amino acid) and more advanced arterial stiffness, smaller LDL particle size and higher levels of oxidized LDL and cytokines (Yun K, et al. 2009).
Folic acid andvitamin B12 has shown to reduce homocysteine levels (Clarke R, Armitage J, 2000). It has also been documented that 400 micrograms of folic acid or 5-methyltetrahydrofolate (a metabolite of folic acid) significantly reduced homocysteine and improved arterial function in patients with peripheral arterial disease (Khandanpour N, et al. 2009).
It is recommended to take a B-complex which includes both folic acid and the metabolite since not everybody metabolizes folic acid properly.
For easy implementation, click here.
Cardiovascular disease (heart disease)
Follow the dietary recommendations in the book “The Food Connection.”
Be strict for 4 weeks for best results.
Flax seeds – It is recommended to take 2 tablespoons of flax seeds and grind them up in a coffee grinder. You can mix them in a glass of water and drink it down before you eat breakfast and you can also do the same thing before dinner. You can also sprinkle the ground up seeds on food if you prefer. Start taking it once daily to be sure you don’t have an allergic reaction to it, and then increase it to twice daily.
Better Fish Oil – Take 1 capsule 3 times daily.
CoQ10 Extra Absorb – Take 1 capsule twice daily.
Vitamin B Complex– Take 1 tablet daily.
Take all supplements with food.
Esposito K, Marfella R, Ciotola M, Di Palo C, Giugliano F, Giugliano G, D'Armiento M, D'Andrea F, Giugliano D. Effect of a mediterranean-style diet on endothelial dysfunction and markers of vascular inflammation in the metabolic syndrome: a randomized trial. JAMA. 2004 Sep 22;292(12):1440-6.
Khandanpour N, Armon MP, Jennings B, Finglas PM, Willis G, Clark A, Meyer FJ. Randomized clinical trial of folate supplementation in patients with peripheral arterial disease. Br J Surg. 2009 Sep;96(9):990-8.
Koenig W, Khuseyinova N, Baumert J, Meisinger C. Prospective study of high-sensitivity C-reactive protein as a determinant of mortality: results from the MONICA/KORA Augsburg Cohort Study, 1984-1998. Clin Chem. 2008 Feb;54(2):335-42. Epub 2007 Dec 21.
Lee WY, Park JS, Noh SY, Rhee EJ, Sung KC, Kim BS, Kang JH, Kim SW, Lee MH, Park JR. C-reactive protein concentrations are related to insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome as defined by the ATP III report. Int J Cardiol. 2004 Oct;97(1):101-6
Liu S, Manson JE, et al. Relation between a diet with a high glycemic load and plasma co ncentrations of high-sensitivity C-reactive protein in middle-aged women. Am J Clin Nutr. 2002 Mar;75(3):492-8.
Llorente-Cortés V, Estruch R, Mena MP, Ros E, González MA, Fitó M, Lamuela-Raventós RM, Badimon L. Effect of Mediterranean diet on the expression of pro-atherogenic genes in a population at high cardiovascular risk. Atherosclerosis. 2009 Aug 8.
Pannacciulli N, Cantatore FP, Minenna A, Bellacicco M, Giorgino R, De Pergola G. Urinary albumin excretion is independently associated with C-reactive protein levels in overweight and obese nondiabetic premenopausal women. J Intern Med. 2001 Dec;250(6):502-7.
Piché ME, Lemieux S, Weisnagel SJ, Corneau L, Nadeau A, Bergeron J. Relation of high-sensitivity C-reactive protein, interleukin-6, tumor necrosis factor-alpha, and fibrinogen to abdominal adipose tissue, blood pressure, and cholesterol and triglyceride levels in healthy postmenopausal women. Am J Cardiol. 2005 Jul 1;96(1):92-7.
Romano M, Guagnano MT, Pacini G, Vigneri S, Falco A, Marinopiccoli M, Manigrasso MR, Basili S, Davì G. Association of inflammation markers with impaired insulin sensitivity and coagulative activation in obese healthy women. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2003 Nov;88(11):5321-6.
Tiano L, Belardinelli R, Carnevali P, Principi F, Seddaiu G, Littarru GP. Effect of coenzyme Q10 administration on endothelial function and extracellular superoxide dismutase in patients with ischaemic heart disease: a double-blind, randomized controlled study. Eur Heart J. 2007 Sep;28(18):2249-55. Epub 2007 Jul 19.
Wang C, Harris WS, Chung M, Lichtenstein AH, Balk EM, Kupelnick B, Jordan HS, Lau J. n-3 Fatty acids from fish or fish-oil supplements, but not alpha-linolenic acid, benefit cardiovascular disease outcomes in primary- and secondary-prevention studies: a systematic review. Am J Clin Nutr. 2006 Jul;84(1):5-17.
Wannamethee SG, Lowe GD, Shaper AG, Rumley A, Lennon L, Whincup PH. The metabolic syndrome and insulin resistance: relationship to haemostatic and inflammatory markers in older non-diabetic men. Atherosclerosis. 2005 Jul;181(1):101-8.
Yun J, Kim JY, Kim OY, Jang Y, Chae JS, Kwak JH, Lim HH, Park HY, Lee SH, Lee JH. Associations of plasma homocysteine level with brachial-ankle pulse wave velocity, LDL atherogenicity, and inflammation profile in healthy men. Nutr Metab Cardiovasc Dis. 2009 Oct 22.
The information on this website is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your physician or other healthcare professional. The information and products on this website are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.