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.

Resveratrol May Reverse Arterial Aging

Resveratrol

“Atherosclerosis is reversible” is not a phrase we expected to hear from mainstream medical researchers until very recently—since these are the precise opening words of a remarkable editorial about resveratrol that appeared in a recent issue of the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine. Just as astonishingly, the editorial was written by a renowned immunologist, Linda K. Curtiss, PhD, of the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California. The fact that an immunologist is writing about cardiovascular disease in a trend-setting medical journal speaks volumes about how far we have come in our understanding of chronic diseases and their relationships with inflammation, which is an immune system phenomenon. What truly sets Dr. Curtiss’s article apart, though, is her description of a dramatic new phenomenon mediated by the grape polyphenol resveratrol.

Curtiss’s excitement comes from work done by Cleveland Clinic cell biologist Young-Mi Park, MD, who was exploring the role of oxidant stress and inflammation on the pathogenesis, or disease-causing mechanisms, of atherosclerosis. Knowing that fat-laden inflammatory cells called foam-cell macrophages trigger inflammation when they become trapped beneath the lining of blood vessels, Park’s team sought to understand why the cells become trapped, and how they could be freed from their “endothelial bondage,” thereby reversing the inflammatory process.

The most natural approach to take, Park’s group decided, was simply to test known antioxidants’ ability to prevent the foam cells from migrating into the endothelial lining in the first place, and their ability to release any cells that were already present. Specifically, they studied how oxidized low-density lipoprotein (LDL) promotes foam-cell formation and impairs migration. To do this they blocked LDL oxidation with several potent antioxidants. They found that oxidized LDL actually triggered production of a sort of cellular “glue” in the form of filaments of actin, one of the proteins also found in muscle tissue. The actin filaments were entangling the foam cells, preventing their natural migration out of the endothelial lining, leading to progressive inflammatory changes.

Park’s group chose resveratrol as one of the two antioxidants to test—another testimony to the respect that mainstream researchers are according this remarkable molecule (the other was N-acetylcysteine, also an antioxidant available in supplement form). Resveratrol treatment of the foam cells inhibited production of reactive oxygen species by greater than 90%, an important first step in breaking the cycle. Even more impressively, resveratrol supplements partially restored the foam cells’ ability to move out of the entangling actin filaments, and migrate away from the endothelial lining!

This brings us back to Dr. Curtiss’s astounding initial observation that atherosclerosis is a reversible condition—through the use of powerful antioxidants such as resveratrol, we can now understand how oxidized LDL contributes to invasion of endothelium by inflammatory cells, and how prevention or reversal of LDL oxidation promotes mobilization of inflammatory cells and their emigration away from vessel linings.

As Dr. Park concluded, “[these studies] also provide additional mechanistic support for the atheroprotective effect of antioxidants.” Resveratrol is already well-known as a cardiovascular protective supplement—the work of Park and others is now showing us that resveratrol must also be considered a valuable cardiovascular therapeutic supplement, one that can literally “turn back the clock” on chronic vascular diseases of aging!

Nutritional Strategy for Preventing Colon Cancer

A nutritional strategy for preventing colon cancer is as easy as 1-2-3!

#1–Polyphenols

Polyphenols are plant-based nutrients loaded with powerful antioxidants. Toxins, like pesticides, enter our bodies from the foods we eat and damage the cells lining the colon wall. If the toxins damage the cells DNA this can lead to cancer.

A diet rich in plant-based polyphenols (antioxidants) prevents the cellular damage caused by food toxins. High concentrations of polyphenols are found in:

1. Red Grapes & Buckwheat

Red grapes and buckwheat are loaded with polyphenols. One in particular, called resveratrol, protects the colon by activating DNA-protection genes. Eat whole grain breads fortified with buckwheat. Freezing red grapes is a nice cold treat on hot summer days.

I also suggest supplementing with a whole grape extract containing 50-100 mg of resveratrol.

2. Green Tea

Drink green tea! It’s load with ECGC, another powerful polyphenol. Laboratory studies have shown that green tea may inhibit colonc cancer growth. The problem is that you would have to drink 15 to 20 glasses a day. Instead, take a supplement of green tea with high levels of ECGC.

#2–Herbs & Spices

Herbs and spices have been used for centuries to support digestive health. Colon cancer research has recently uncovered amazing protective effects with the turmeric spice and garlic:

1. Turmeric Spice

The active nutrient in turmeric is called curcumin. Add turmeric to soups, marinades, pastas, eggs, and meats. It has a subtle sweetness and nutty flavor.

If you have a family history of colon cancer, consider supplementing with a turmeric extract that contains 200-400 mg of curcumin.

2. Garlic

Cooking with garlic not only tastes good but also protects the cells lining the colon. I add garlic to just about everything I eat. But that’s probably not enough.

A high quality supplement containing 20-30 mg of allicin, the most important part, is the only way to fully benefit from garlic.

#3–Vitamins & Minerals

All the vitamins and minerals are important for disease prevention. However, the two big ones are listed below:

1. Vitamin D

In 1990, the peer-reviewed medical journal, Lancet, was the first to link vitamin D to the risk of developing colon cancer. They reported that you are 5 times less likely to develop colon cancer with high blood levels of vitamin D.

They also noted that relying on sunlight and dietary sources for vitamin D wasn’t enough.

The conclusion was to supplement with vitamin D. Most people will need to take around 2000 units/day. Check a blood level first and than talk to your doctor about the right dose for you.

2. Selenium

Selenium is a trace mineral found in legumes and nuts. In 2004, the University of Arizona found that people with high blood levels of selenium had a 34% less chance of developing colon cancer.

But it’s hard to get enough selenium from your diet. A supplement providing 200 mcg/day is suggested.

Summary

A nutritional strategy for preventing colorectal cancer includes plant-based polyphenols, herbs and spices, vitamin D, and selenium. I started my program with red grapes, garlic, and a vitamin D supplement.

For more information, read Life Extension’s colon cancer protocol.