March 12, 2011

102 Heart Health #2 [22 February 2011]

Last week we looked at some ways to improve our heart health: eating more fruits and vegetables, managing our blood lipids & insulin levels, avoiding excess weight, and managing stress.

Here are a few more ideas to keep our hearts in good health.
• Exercise – I mentioned exercise last week as a way to improve blood lipids, but its benefits go far beyond that. Most studies show that inactive people are generally twice as likely to develop heart disease as active people.
• Vitamin D – a study of women over age 65 found a 31% reduction in heart disease for those taking vitamin D. One possible mechanism for this is that vitamin D reduces insulin resistance.
• Vitamin E – two 2002 studies in the New Engl J Med showed reductions in heart disease with vitamin E supplementation (of at least 100 IU per day for 2 or more years) of 41% for women and 37% for men
• Magnesium – many studies have shown that low magnesium levels increase the risk of death from heart disease.
• Homocysteine – high blood levels of this amino acid is an indication for high risk of heart disease, possibly by promoting blood clots. Homocysteine levels are reduced by the vitamins folic acid, B6 and B12.
• Lutein – best known for its role in preventing age related vision loss, has also been found to prevent hardening of the arteries.
• Nattokinase – an enzyme derived from fermenting soybeans, has proven to be more effective than aspirin in dissolving blood clots and “thinning the blood” and has great potential for prevention of heart disease.
• L-Arginine – an amino acid required for your blood vessel lining to produce nitric oxide which improves blood flow and reduces blood pressure.
• Fructose – lowers your ability to produce nitric oxide, another reason to avoid sugar, especially high fructose corn syrup.

This article is intended for educational purposes only; for medical advice consult your licensed health practitioner.

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