The Secret to Clean Arteries

The Secret to Clean ArteriesParaoxonase-1, better known as PON-1, is the secret to clean arteries. This enzyme plays a critical role in protecting arteries from plaque build-up by enhancing the removal of cholesterol from the walls of arteries. PON-1 is attached to high-density lipoproteins (HDL).

PON-1 does more than just cleanse arterial walls of plaque, it also protects against lipid oxidation. Oxidized fats and cholesterol are more prone to stick to artery walls, creating unstable plaques. Unstable plaques rupture, causing rapid occlusion of blood flow to vital organs such as the heart and brain.

PON-1 helps to stabilize plaques by inhibiting chronic inflammation and platelet activation—factors that can all lead to plaque rupture.

As humans age, PON-1 levels markedly decline, thereby reducing the ability of HDL to protect against heart attack and stroke. This phenomenon helps explain the onset of accelerated atherosclerosis; where within a period of only a few years, an aging person’s healthy arteries rapidly occlude with plaque.

The age-related reduction in PON-1 may also explain studies showing that statin drugs lose their benefit in certain aging populations, since the effects of statins are no longer sufficient to protect against the multiple factors involved in the development of atherosclerosis in the elderly.1-3

How to Boost PON-1 Activity

1. Pomegranate

The most recent research indicates that pomegranate and its extracts can significantly elevate levels of PON-1 activity in the body. Pomegranate does this through a number of distinct biomolecular pathways that include combating inflammation and LDL adhesion and favorably modulating gene expression.

Pomegranate extracts reduce oxidation and inflammation largely through their effect on PON-1 activity, intervening at each step in the development of atherosclerosis.4

2. Resveratrol

Strong evidence has recently emerged for several compounds with known cardio-protective effects that may also favorably increase your PON-1 levels.

Moderate consumption of wine, beer, and spirits is associated with an increase in PON-1 activity. Red wine polyphenols increase PON-1 activity and reduce LDL oxidation.

Resveratrol is the best-known of the red wine polyphenols. It exerts powerful control over the PON-1 gene, increasing PON-1 expression in human liver cells and protecting against atherosclerosis in animal models.5

3. Quercetin

Quercetin is another polyphenol found in red wine and many other plant sources. It also up-regulates PON-1 gene expression, protecting against fat and cholesterol oxidation.

Quercetin possesses numerous mechanisms that help stabilize and preserve PON-1 activity against oxidative stress.6

References

  1. Okumachi Y, Yokono K. Anti-aging medicine: the evidence to the value of the antihypertensive drugs, hypoglycemic drugs and statins. Nippon Rinsho. 2009 Jul;67(7):1372-6.
  2. Kekes E. Combined antihypertensive and antilipemic therapy as one of the pillars in the poly-pharmacologic preventive strategy for patients with high cardiovascular risk. Orv Hetil. 2008 Sep 28;149(39):1827-37.
  3. Gouedard C, Koum-Besson N, Barouki R, Morel Y. Opposite regulation of the human paraoxonase-1 gene PON-1 by fenofibrate and statins. Mol Pharmacol. 2003 Apr;63(4):945-56.
  4. Aviram M, Dornfeld L, Rosenblat M, et al. Pomegranate juice consumption reduces oxidative stress, atherogenic modifications to LDL, and platelet aggregation: studies in humans and in atherosclerotic apolipoprotein E-deficient mice. Am J Clin Nutr. 2000 May;71(5):1062-76.
  5. Do GM, Kwon EY, Kim HJ, et al. Long-term effects of resveratrol supplementation on suppression of atherogenic lesion formation and cholesterol synthesis in apo E-deficient mice. Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2008 Sep 12;374(1):55-9.
  6. Aviram M, Rosenblat M, Billecke S, et al. Human serum paraoxonase (PON 1) is inactivated by oxidized low density lipoprotein and preserved by antioxidants. Free Radic Biol Med. 1999 Apr;26(7-8):892-904.

Summer is Here … Protect Your Skin from the Inside Out

Summer is Here ... Protect Your Skin from the Inside OutExcessive sun exposure can lead to premature aging of the skin; which means more wrinkles and discolorations. Although topical sunscreens remain the top choice of consumers, there is a new oral method for protecting your skin … Polypodium leucotomos.

Much has been written about how the sun’s burning ultraviolet rays harm our health and appearance. Yet despite the warnings, more than two million people in the US will be diagnosed with skin cancer this year alone. Rates of melanoma — the most dangerous form of skin cancer — have not only doubled over the past 10-20 years, but continue to rise 3% to 7% annually.1

A recent study found that a new oral supplement sourced from the fern, Polypodium leucotomos, could potentially become an important anti-aging ingredient for the skin.2  Extracts from the fern have been used in South America for many years to protect against the damaging effects caused by excessive sun exposure.

This amazing fern also protects skin cells from the consequences of excessive ultraviolet radiation by reducing sun-induced injury.3 Additionally, it helps ease skin inflammation and blocks protein-destroying skin enzymes.3,4

Polypodium leucotomos extract also contains a high percentage of potent antioxidants (phenolics) which block the formation of dangerous free radicals and the oxidative damage that results from excessive sun exposure.5

Remember, for long periods of sun exposure, you should defend your skin against premature aging with an oral extract from Polypodium leucotomos and a topical sunscreen to ensure complete sun protection.

References

  1. Available at: http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/470300_2. Accessed May 3, 2010.
  2. Philips N, Conte J, Chen YJ, et al. Beneficial regulation of matrixmetalloproteinases and their inhibitors, fibrillar collagens and transforming growth factor-beta by Polypodium leucotomos, directly or in dermal fibroblasts, ultraviolet radiated fibroblasts, and melanoma cells. Arch Dermatol Res. 2009 Aug;301(7):487-95.
  3. J Photochem Photobiol B. 2006 Mar 1;82(3):173-9.
  4. J Dermatol Sci. 2003 Jun;32(1):1-9.
  5. Ann Intern Med. 1971 Dec;75(6):873-80.

How to maintain healthy blood sugar with four supplements

How to  maintain healthy blood sugar with four supplements
Dietary intervention targets the underlying causes of high blood sugar and is a key step towards protecting yourself against the damaging effects caused by high blood sugar.

1. Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar combats blood sugar spikes after meals. Minimizing sugar spikes helps to restore insulin sensitivity…the hallmark of type 2 diabetes.

One study by Italian researchers showed that when healthy subjects consumed 4 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar with a meal, there was a 30 percent reduction in their glycemic response, or rise in blood sugar. Reducing your glycemic response is essential for beating diabetes.

2. Lipoic Acid

Glucose (blood sugar) destroys insulin receptors. Without the receptors, insulin can not work. Lipoic acid is a naturally occurring antioxidant that protects insulin receptors.

Recently, researchers revealed dramatic effects in improving insulin sensitivity in overweight adults suffering from type 2 diabetes. The antioxidant produced significant improvements in just four weeks.

Lipoic acid is also effective in treating diabetic neuropathy, which is characterized by numbness, tingling, and pain in the extremities. A large, randomized, placebo-controlled, multicenter, double-blind study involving 328 patients with type-2 diabetes revealed that it significantly improved symptoms.

Life Extension suggests taking 200 to 300 mg/day of R-lipoic acid (the “R” form is more potent).

3. Coenzyme Q10

Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is a potent antioxidant that reduces oxidative stress. Diabetics experience a high degree of oxidation that causes cellular damage.

CoQ10 is required to convert fats and sugars into cellular energy. Yet, the natural production of CoQ10 declines in diabetics. The best form of CoQ10 to supplement with is called ubiquinol. This form is easily absorbed and significantly increases blood levels.

Life Extension suggests taking 200 mg/day of ubiquinol CoQ10.

4. Pyridoxamine

The pyridoxamine form of vitamin B6 protects the body’s proteins from glycation. Sugar (glucose) in the blood can bind to proteins, particularly when blood levels are high. This binding causes the formation of dysfunctional proteins, which accumulate with time and contribute to some of the signs of aging.

Scientific research suggests that if you want to help protect your body against glycation, nutrients that help prevent the formation of AGEs may be beneficial. The latest information shows that pyridoxamine may also be of significant help in preventing the formation of these aging molecules.

In fact, one prominent antiaging doctor described pyridoxamine as “the most potent natural substance for inhibiting AGE formation.” By preventing AGE formation and working as a coenzyme in chemical reactions, pyridoxamine can support healthy nerve, eye, cardiovascular and kidney function.

Life Extension suggests taking 50 mg/day of pyridoxamine.

Statin Drugs May Increase Diabetes Risk

Statin Drugs May Increase Diabetes Risk

New data from a large review (meta-analysis) of major statin trials suggests that the cholesterol lowering drugs (statins) slightly increase the risk of developing diabetes. The results of the study were published online February 17, 2010 in The Lancet.

“We found that there was indeed a risk of diabetes, about 9%, but it isn’t a worrying increase as had been suggested by other studies,” said lead investigator Dr David Preiss (University of Glasgow, Scotland). “Then again, it wasn’t a completely flat result. We did see [risk].”

Investigators stress that clinical practice should remain unchanged in patients with moderate or high cardiovascular risk, given the benefits of statins seen in these populations.

However, statin medications are increasingly prescribed for low risk patients. The risk for developing diabetes is greater than the benefits of statin drugs in the low risk group.

Bottom line … protect yourself against diabetes if you’re taking a statin drug. The following nutrients help to maintain healthy blood sugar levels and may provide the protection you need:

1. Soluble Fiber

Soluble fibers, such as apple pectin and glucomannan, help control blood sugar spikes after eating a meal. Nutritionists suggest supplementing with five grams 20 minutes before each meal.

2. Chromium

Chromium is a trace mineral critical for maintaining healthy blood sugar levels. It helps the transport of blood sugar (glucose) into cells, and thereby supports already-normal insulin action. Foods rich in chromium include eggs, lean beef, spinach, and apples.

3. Cinnamon

Cinnamon supports healthy glucose metabolism. It’s believed that a water-soluble cinnamon extract is the most effective form for daily supplementation. Additionally, cinnamon has been shown to support levels of triglycerides and cholesterol that are already within normal ranges.

4. Lipoic Acid

Lipoic acid helps protect against oxidative stress generated by high glucose levels. Foods rich in lipoic acid include dark green leafy vegetables, broccoli, and organ meat. If you decide to supplement, take the active form of lipoic acid. It’s known as the “R” form and is responsible for lipoic acid’s benefits.

Natural Support for Diabetic Nerves that Hurt

Natural Support for Diabetic Nerves that Hurt
Millions of people suffer needlessly from diabetic neuropathy because conventional medicine has nothing to offer but toxic medications that don’t work.

Fortunately, natural nerve support is available for nerve damage caused by high blood sugar. You can stop the pain and improve your quality of life by supplementing with specific nutrients proven to support healthy nerves.

1. Acetyl-L-carnitine

Acetyl-L-carnitine has been shown to limit the neuropathy associated with diabetes. In two randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trials, acetyl-L-carnitine, in daily doses of 500 mg and 1000 mg, was shown to yield significant reductions in pain.

2. Lipoic Acid

As a powerful antioxidant, lipoic acid positively affects important aspects of diabetes, including prevention, blood sugar control, and the development of long-term complications such as disease of the heart, kidneys, and small blood vessels.

It has also been shown to reduce the pain associated with diabetic neuropathy.

Clinical trials of people with diabetes who had symptoms caused by nerve damage affecting the heart showed significant improvement taking 800 mg of oral alpha-lipoic acid daily without significant side effects.

3. Curcumin

Researchers are continually discovering more benefits from curcumin, which is the yellow pigment that gives turmeric its distinctive golden hue.

In a study of inherited peripheral neuropathies, curcumin was shown to relieve neuropathy by causing the release of disease-associated proteins that are produced by a mutated gene.

4. Omega-6 Fats

Diabetics are not able to make the omega-6 fat, GLA, and it must be supplemented. GLA improves diabetic neuropathy if given long enough to work.

In one double-blind, placebo-controlled study, 111 people with mild diabetic neuropathy received either 480 mg GLA daily or a placebo.

After 12 months, the group taking GLA was doing significantly better than the placebo group. Good results were seen in two smaller studies as well.

5. Omega-3 Fats

The omega-3s are found in high quantities in coldwater fish such as salmon and are widely consumed for their anti-inflammatory powers.

Omega-3s are essential fatty acids and are important components of cell membranes, including the delicate myelin sheath that protects nerves.

Studies have shown that omega-3 fatty acids, including eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), are able to reduce demyelination in the nerves of diabetic animals, which reduces neuropathic pain.

For more information on diabetic neuropathy, visit our protocol at http://www.lef.org/protocols/neurological/neuropathy_01.htm.

Stop Smoking! But Watch Out for Diabetes…

Stop Smoking! But Watch Out for Diabetes Smoking cessation predicts higher short-term risk for the development of type 2 diabetes, according to the results of a prospective cohort study reported in the January 5, 2010, issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine.

“Cigarette smoking is an established predictor of incident type 2 diabetes mellitus, but the effects of smoking cessation on diabetes risk are unknown,” writes Hsin-Chieh Yeh, Ph.D., from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, and colleagues from the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) Study.

The goal of this study was to test the hypothesis that smoking cessation would increase diabetes risk in the short term, possibly caused by weight gain related to quitting smoking.

The study cohort consisted of 10,892 middle-aged adults free of diabetes at study enrollment from 1987 to 1989.

Interview at baseline and at subsequent follow-up determined smoking status. Incident diabetes was identified by fasting glucose assays through 1998 and by self-report of physician diagnosis or use of diabetes medications through 2004.

In the first three years of follow-up, 380 participants quit smoking. Compared with adults who never smoked, the incident of diabetes among former smokers was two times higher. The authors concluded, “Smoking cessation leads to higher short-term risk.”

For smokers at risk for diabetes, smoking cessation should be coupled with strategies for diabetes prevention and early detection.

What You Should Do

You should protect against diabetes after you quit smoking. Here are two strategies to consider…

1. Start a Borderline Diabetic Diet

A borderline diabetic diet reverses prediabetes. Preventing full-blown diabetes is ONLY possible with early dietary intervention. Start this diet before you quit smoking.

The diet consists of avoiding anything “white” and focusing on a higher protein based-diet.  Eating whole grains is allowed to a lesser extent.

2. Stop Blood Sugar Spikes

The diabetic diet guidelines begin with minimizing sugar spikes after meals. Carbohydrates result in a sharp rise in blood sugar levels. This is quickly followed by a rise in insulin levels.

The more insulin that’s released the greater the chance for developing insulin resistance … the hallmark of type 2 diabetes.

Eat 10-15 grams of soluble fiber and try supplementing with 1 ounce of apple cider vinegar 10 minutes before each meal.

The Best Foods for Diabetics on Insulin

The best foods for diabetics on insulin are rich in nutrients that improve insulin sensitivity.  I call them “insulin promoters” because they promote more efficient cellular uptake of glucose from the blood. 

Eating a diet rich in promoters enhances the effects of insulin therapy by targeting insulin resistance, the hallmark of type 2 diabetes.  Taking insulin when resistant to its effects simply won’t work. 

You have to re-sensitize your body to insulin with foods rich in promoters in order to gain optimal blood sugar control.  I suggest adding the following foods, rich in insulin promoters, to your diabetic diet today.

The Best Insulin Promoters

The best insulin promoters contain high levels of lipoic acid.  As a powerful antioxidant, lipoic acid positively affects blood sugar control and the development of long-term complications. 

It’s believed that lipoic acid promotes optimal glucose control by protecting insulin receptors located on the surface of muscle cells.  Successful insulin therapy is totally dependent on healthy receptors, making lipoic acid a key component of a diabetic diet. 

It’s effectiveness as an insulin promoter is best supported by the recent approval in Germany for its use in the prevention and treatment of diabetes.

Foods rich in lipoic acid include:

1. Collard greens
2. Lean red meats (organ meats)
3. Brewer’s yeast
4. Cruciferous Vegetables (cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower)

I also suggest taking a lipoic acid supplement.  Take the “R” form of lipoic acid.  This is the more active form found in nature.  Take between 200 mg and 300 mg/day.

The Second Best Insulin Promoters

The second best insulin promoters are foods rich in chromium.  It’s an essential trace mineral that plays a significant role in sugar metabolism.

Chromium helps control blood sugar levels in type 2 diabetes and improves metabolism of carbohydrates, proteins, and lipids.  A study of type 2 diabetics compared two forms of chromium (brewer’s yeast and chromium chloride). 

Both forms of chromium significantly improved blood sugar control by promoting the uptake of glucose into the tissues after eating a carbohydrate rich meal.  Fasting blood glucose levels were also lowered during a 2 month follow-up period.

Foods rich in chromium include (in order of most to least):

1. Egg yolk
2. Brewer’s yeast
3. Breads (whole grain, wheat, sprouted, rye)
4. Apples
5. Spinach
6. Oranges

Summary

Insulin promoters, rich in lipoic acid and chromium, are the best foods for diabetics on insulin.  If you’re taking insulin, your diet should include foods like collard greens, broccoli, apples, and whole grain. 

If loaded with insulin promoters, the foods you eat could be the difference between disease and health.