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.

Prevent Heart Disease by Reversing Your Biological Clock

Human cells have biological clocks called telomeres which cap the ends of chromosomes. The telomeres shorten in length everytime a cell divides and replicates. Eventually, the telomeres become too short for cell division and the cell dies. Shorter telomeres accelerate a cell’s biological clock and are considered markers of aging.

Telomeres, Biological Clocks & Heart Disease

The American Heart Association discovered a link between shorter telomeres in white blood cells (immune cells called leukocytes) and the development of heart disease. Researchers sought to determine the relationship between telomere length and the risk of high blood pressure in men and women between the ages of 30 to 80 years.

The telomere length was measured in 388 people with high blood pressure and 379 healthy people. What they found was that older people and people with high blood pressure had the shortest telomeres.

It makes sense. High blood pressure causes physical damage to the white blood cells circulating in the bloodstream. Damaged cells need to regenerate by initiating cycles of cellular division. The more a cell divides, the faster the telomeres shorten. The end result is an accelerated biological clock and aged immune cells.

Aged and dysfunctional immune cells can have devastating consequences. For instance, systemic inflammation increases and damages the arteries feeding the heart. Complications include higher blood pressure and an increased risk for stroke and heart disease.

Participants with shorter telomeres were found to be more than three times as likely to develop heart disease compared with those who had longer telomeres. Researches also found that if the healthy subjects developed high blood pressure over the course of follow-up they too had shorter telomeres.

Analysis of the data confirmed that both short telomeres and high blood pressure were independent risk factors for developing heart disease. To prevent heart disease you need to maintain healthy blood pressure and slow-down the biological clock by keeping telomeres long.

Maintaining Healthy Blood Pressure

The trinity of nutrients can help you maintain healthy blood pressure. Supplementing your diet with these three powerful nutrients is simple, safe, and effective. Remember to check with your doctor before starting any supplement, especially if you’re taking blood pressure medications.

1. Grapeseed Extract

Supplementing with 150mg/day of a high quality grapeseed extract was shown in several studies to reduce and stabilize pressure.

2. Milk Peptides

Spliting milk protein in half creates a small protein fragment (peptides) called CVH-15. The protein fragment inhibits certain blood proteins that increase pressure. Take 1500mg/day of milk peptides.

3. Pomegranate Extract

A true superfood, pomegranate has been proven to work without side effects. Eating pomegranate is good, but you still need to supplement with 100mg/day.

Keeping Telomeres Long

HIV researchers from the National Institutes of Health have been exploring methods for lengthening the telomeres in white blood cells. White blood cells with long telomeres live longer and could strengthen the immune system in HIV patients. They successfully identify one herb that significantly lengthens the telomeres in white blood cells.

Astragalus is an herb cultivated in Asia and has been used for centuries to strengthen the immune system and treat winter viruses. The researchers concluded that 500mg/day of Astragalus can significantly lengthen the telomeres in white blood cells.

The Life Extension Foundation has tons of information on how to prevent heart disease. Visit the web site today at http://www.lef.org and use the search terms “heart disease.”  You will learn about innovative strategies for maintaining a healthy heart.

Three Foods that Lower High Blood Pressure

High Blood PressureHigh blood pressure has been nicknamed the silent epidemic because of its far-reaching consequences. Today, nearly one of every three adults has high blood pressure. It is the 13th largest cause of death in the United States.

Amazingly, studies based on the well-known Framingham Heart Study have estimated that a 55-year-old person who has normal blood pressure has a 90-percent lifetime risk of getting high blood pressure.

Sadly, millions of Americans who think their blood pressure is under control may be wrong. Numerous studies have shown that most people treated with antihypertensive drugs (drugs that lower blood pressure) still have higher-than-optimal blood pressure.

What you need is an innovative food-based approach that lowers high blood pressure. And here it is…

Food #1: Red Grapes

The seeds from red grapes can help maintain healthy blood pressure. In one study, researchers concluded that red grape seed extract may be beneficial in lowering the blood pressure of people who are prehypertensive.

Subjects took 300 mg/day of red grape seed extract.

Food #2: Milk Protein

Researchers recently hydrolyzed (or split) the milk protein known as casein and isolated the C12 peptide. Clinical studies now show that the C12 peptide is a natural ACE inhibitor that has specific blood pressure lowering effects.

But don’t drink milk. You won’t get the C12 peptide. Instead, take a C12 peptide supplement that provides 200-400 mg/day.

A Japanese study sought to evaluate the longer-term benefits of supplementing with the C12 peptide. Eighteen mildly hypertensive subjects, with a mean blood pressure of 141/99 mm Hg, received 200 mg/day of the C12 peptide for 4 weeks.

The researchers recorded significant reductions in both systolic (top number) and diastolic (bottom number) blood pressure.

Food #3: Pomegranate

Pomegranates are fast becoming known as one of the healthiest foods we can eat, largely because of their beneficial effects on cardiovascular health.

The benefit of supplementing with pomegranate extract (rather than drinking the juice or eating the fruit) is that the extract, unlike the juice, contains virtually no sugar or calories, and requires no refrigeration to maintain optimal quality.

Pomegranate extract lowers high blood pressure by preventing blood vessel constriction. Supplementing with 400 mg/day is the right dose to fully benefit from this super fruit.

Summary

Red grapes, milk proteins, and pomegranates are three foods that lower high blood pressure. As always, check with your doctor before starting any diet and exercise program.

For more information, visit the Life Extension web site at http://www.lef.org and type into the search bar: Hypertension.

Fibromyalgia Breakthrough…Stop the Pain

A breakthrough in fibromyalgia research could lead to a new strategy for stopping the pain. Researchers from Washington State University were successful in decreasing fibromyalgia pain by increasing the production of nitric oxide (NO) from endothelial cells.

NO delivers nutrients to muscles by dilating blood vessels. Patients with fibromyalgia have low levels of nitric oxide. This deprives their muscles of oxygen-rich blood and nutrients. Eventually, harmful toxins build-up and cause debilitating pain.

The following supplements can significantly increase nitric oxide levels and may help to stop the pain:

1. Pomegranate Extract–Taking 500-1000 mg/day of a high quality pomegranate extract increases NO levels by close to 50%. Pain is greatly diminished as oxygen-rich blood reaches muscle tissue.

2. Cocoa Polyphenols (antioxidants in dark chocolate)–Dark chocolate is loaded with antioxidants called polyphenols. Taking 100-120 mg/day of cocoa polyphenols was shown to increase NO levels by 40%. More nitric oxide, less pain.

3. Super-Oxide Dismutase (SOD)–Supplementing with 500-1000 mg/day of this powerful antioxidant was shown to raise NO levels between 25-35%. The highest quality SOD brand is called Glisodin and is manufactured by Isocell and sold by the Life Extension Foundation.