Tag Archives: blood pressure

Eating fish lowers reduces stroke risk and lowers blood pressure

A fascinating study has highlighted how different dietary proteins affect the blood pressure when taken as part of the normal diet. Following an analysis of 7 previous studies involving over 250,000 individuals it was discovered that while a diet high in animal proteins appeared to be linked to an increased risk of elevated blood pressure and stroke a diet high in fish protein was actually associated with a lowered stroke risk and lower blood pressure. Naturally, the solution proposed by the authors is simply to replace meat based meals with fish. While it is unclear how fish protein protects against stroke theories have been proposed that include a lowering effect of fish protein on blood fats (such as cholesterol. LDL’s and triglycerides) but the authors of the study feel that the stroke protective effect is more likely to involve the direct effect of fish proteins on the blood pressure itself. Fish protein is only one aspect of a meal and tends to be associated with nutrients with established blood pressure lowering actions such as potassium, magnesium and dietary fibre but once the effects of these were removed from the stroke risk calculations the protective effects of fish proteins still remained reinforcing the importance of this component of the diet in isolation of other factors. This study also supports the use of a natural food supplement (PeptACE produced by the Canadian manufacturer Natural Factors) made from a specific mixture of 9 small peptides (proteins) isolated from the Bonito fish, a relative of the Tuna. Studies into the effects of the PeptACE Fish Peptides show that it exerts its blood pressure lowering actions in a similar way as the drugs used to treat high blood pressure known as ACE inhibitors which block a key pathway involved in regulating blood pressure. In a similar way, PeptACE Fish Peptides reduce the blood volume and relax the artery walls and, in so doing, reduce the blood pressure. However, unlike the drug based versions of ACE inhibitors the PeptACE Fish Peptides are free of unwanted side effects because they do not actually inhibit (block) the ACE enzyme but react with in in a beneficial way. Knowledge about the effects of the 9 specific fish peptides in PeptACE may also help explain the observations noted in this key study published this June in the Journal of the American Academy of Neurology.



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The hidden health benefits of pomegranate.

Few can argue that a good diet goes a long way to maintaining health but as various foods reveal their hidden secrets and we are just discovering the real healing powers of the food we eat. With heart disease forever on the rise in the UK the news that the humble pomegranate could help reduce the risk of heart and circulatory disease was met with great interest by doctors and patients alike. Pomegranates have long been known to deliver a high concentration of antioxidants, more so that green tea and red wine, but not much was known about the real power of the pomegranate on health. In general, antioxidants are good for us. They help to reduce the damaging effects of a stressful life and improve the health of tissues that can become affected by inflammation. In the cardiovascular system its the smooth lining of blood vessels that shows the impact of stress and inflammation with the generation of thickenings known as plaques that can eventually encroach on the hollow blood vessel reducing the flow of blood. As time passes, such a reduced blood flow can seriously influence the organ that relies on it; in the case of the heart this can lead to a heart attack or a stroke if the brain’s circulation is affected. The damaging chemicals generated by bad diet, smoking and stress are known as free radicals. Antioxidants scavenge free radicals and neutralize them before they can  cause trouble. Interestingly, the use of pomegranate to help off set heart disease has been the focus of research first in Haifa, Israel, then followed in 2004 by a UK team from the Hammersmith Hospital in London and reported by the BBC’s on line news service. What drew their interest was the remarkably high concentrations of soluble antioxidants known as polyphenols and anthocyanins of which the phenol compound known as ellagic acid appears to be responsible for the bulk of the fruits health benefits. What became evident from the study that followed people over 3 years was that those who regularly consumed pomegranate juice enjoyed many cardiovascular benefits above and over those of non-pomegranate users. The benefits included a lowering of blood pressure, promotion of a healthier blood fat profile and improvement in the health of the artery wall. Their research was backed up by some impressive results all of which indicated a real benefit to the heart and circulatory system of regular pomegranate consumption.

Hot on the heels of the positive effects of pomegranate on heart health comes work that suggests an equally powerful effect on male prostate health. Preventing disease in the prostate looks to be well suited to nutritional measures. Its been estimated that slowly accumulating levels of inflammation, over some 15 years, lies at the centre of many non-cancerous prostate problems. Pomegranate consumption has been shown to significantly reduce the inflammation that eventually causes trouble in the gland and beneficially influence various blood test results that are used to monitor the health of the prostate gland. It’s interesting that the tradition of breaking a pomegranate open at a wedding as a symbol of fertility still occurs in Greece today reflecting its long association with promoting reproductive health.

If you don’t fancy drinking or eating a daily serving of two of pomegranate then consider the whole fruit dietary supplement by Natures Way. It’s standardised to contain 40% ellagic acid, the key antioxidant in pomegranate, and is supplied in vegetarian capsules. Just two capsules a day is a convenient way to get your pomegranate is your not actually a fan of the fruit!

Further reading

Pomegranate and PSA

University of Maryland pomegranate review

In vitro antiproliferative, apoptotic and antioxidant activities of punicalagin, ellagic acid and a total pomegranate tannin extract are enhanced in combination with other polyphenols as found in pomegranate juice. Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry

Pomegranate and blood pressure study. Atherosclerosis 158 (2001) 195–198

Pomegranate and cardiovascular health. Drugs & Experimental Clinical Research (2002) 49-62

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Beet Root & Blood pressure: more positive support!

More support for Beet Roots in lowering blood pressure…
In the November issue of the Journal of Applied Physiology researchers from the University of Exeter. They cleaverly tested the effects of beet root on blood presure using supplements of natural beet root and supplements of natural beet root with the nitrate removed. Our previous issue of our TAV news letter is still available to download and described the nitrate mechanism that lies behing the effect on blood pressure.The results of their investigation indicates the positive effects of a 6 day course of beet root supplementation on blood pressure and exercise is attributed to its high nitrate level.

Key resources

Beet Root supplement
University of Exeter beet rood research pages
Journal of Applied Physiology research summary
Beet root and brain health news

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Antioxidant supplements & artery health – the latest!

Just published… a key study looking at the effect of antioxidant supplementation with vitamin C, vitamin E, coenzyme Q10 and selenium on arterial health and  inflammation. As the research gathers pace, heart disease and the clogging of the arteries known as atherosclerosis is being view more as an inflammatory disease rather than a passive accumulation of fatty material within the walls of blood vessels.

This latest paper helps support the long held theory that antioxidants can help off set this process and protect the health of the cardiovascular system.

In this study, 70 people with two diagnosed cardiovascular risk factors (see the study for details) were recruited from a hypertension clinic. 35 people were given a 6 month course of capsules containing vitamin C (500 mg) vitamin E (200 iu), co- enzyme Q10 (60 mg) and selenium (100 mcg) while the other 35 were given a placebo. The summary conclusion is displayed below and the results and technicalities can be viewed by following the link at the end of this post.

Conclusions: Antioxidant supplementation significantly increased large and small artery elasticity in patients with multiple cardiovascular risk factors. This beneficial vascular effect was associated with an improvement in glucose and lipid metabolism as well as decrease in blood pressure.

The original paper is free to download from the open access journal by clicking here.

Shargorodsky M, Debbi O, Matas, Z, Zimlichman R. Effect of long term treatment with antioxidants (vitamin C, vitamin E, coenzyme Q10 and selenium) on arterial compliance, humoral factors and inflammatory markers in patients with multiple cardiovascular risk factors. Nutrition & Metabolism 2010, 7:55 doi: 10.1186/1743-7075-7-55

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Limited offer on Smart Q10

If you are a co-enzyme Q10 user – read on… We have a special but limited supply of Smart Q10 that is being offered on a but-1-get-1-FREE deal. This is a genuinely unique product and to our knowledge, the only Q10 product that can boast that 21 studies in support of its use.See April 28th blog entry for a list of these studies.

Q10, also referred to as coenzyme Q 10 or ubiquinone, is a natural fat-soluble nutrient present in virtually all living cells in the body. CoQ10 has a crucial role as a cofactor in the mitochondrial synthesis of cellular energy. Although it is produced by the body and exists in some dietary sources, these levels may be insufficient to meet the body’s requirement.

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The smart choice is Smart-Q10!

What is it and how does it work?
CoQ10, also referred to as coenzyme Q 10 or ubiquinone, is a natural fat-soluble nutrient present in virtually all living cells in the body. CoQ10 has a crucial role as a cofactor in the mitochondrial synthesis of cellular energy. Although it is produced by the body and exists in some dietary sources, these levels may be insufficient to meet the body’s requirement. A deficiency can result from impaired synthesis due to nutritional deficiencies, increasing age, or increased tissue demands. Numerous diseases may exhibit CoQ10 depletion. CoQ10 also functions as a potent antioxidant.
However, all CoQ10 products are not equal. They vary greatly in quality and absorbability. Serum level determination of CoQ10 in the bloodstream is not necessarily the most important measure of efficacy. In order for it to be fully effective, it must cross the cellular barrier and raise the intracellular levels. The only reliable indicator of CoQ10 supplementation is its presence in cell mitochondria. In central nervous system applications, CoQ10 must pass the blood brain barrier, resulting in increased brain intracellular levels to exert its effects.
Smart Q10™ CoQ10 is currently the only coenzyme Q10 supplement supported by studies that show increased serum levels, increased intracellular levels, and demonstrated ability to cross the blood brain barrier.
Smart Q10 CoQ10 wafers contain coenzyme Q10 emulsified in vitamin E and mixed tocopherols and is formulated with Micosolle®, a proprietary excipient.1 Clinical studies have demonstrated that this process enhances the absorption of CoQ10.
Two different methods can be used for the production of coenzyme Q10. One method is natural and the other is synthetic. The natural process utilizes living organisms and is referred to as a “biological fermentation/extraction process.” Coenzyme Q10 can also be synthesized by a chemical process, which produces a similar, but distinctly different product that contains chemical compounds not found in the natural form. smart Q10 CoQ10 contains the natural form of coenzyme Q10.

The Mitochondria
Mitochondria are highly specialized structures (organelles) within each nucleated cell. The number of mitochondria in a cell depends on the cell’s function. Cells with particularly heavy energy demands, such as heart muscle cells, have more mitochondria than other cells. The mitochondria’s primary responsibility is to capture most of the energy in nutrients and convert it into cellular energy. This energy conversion and storage is a complex, multi-step process that follows a specific pathway.
The converted cellular energy is stored in the energy-yielding molecule adenosine triphosphate (ATP) used to fuel the cell’s activities. (This is similar to the energy stored in gasoline that is used to fuel automobiles). Because this process requires oxygen, it is often referred to as cellular respiration. Obtaining as many electrons out of the nutrients as possible is the goal of cellular respiration. That is why part of the pathway is referred to as the electron pathway chain. CoQ10 functions as a vital link in the process of converting nutrients into ATP. Cellular respiration and the electron transport chain are completely dependent on CoQ10.
Mitochondrial Compartments
Mitochondria are encased in double membranes. The smooth outer membrane encloses the periphery of the mitochondria and the inner membrane is enfolded to form the cristae. CoQ10 is found in the cristae folds. Cristae folds provide a large surface area for cellular respiration.
Mitochondria are unusual organelles in that they contain their own deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) and ribonucleic acid (RNA).9,10 Insufficient CoQ10 levels may have an effect on cellular respiration and mitochondrial DNA.
Smart Q10™ CoQ10 and Support of Cardiac Health
Cardiac cells require large amounts of uninterrupted energy. They have a greater number of mitochondria and subsequently more CoQ10 than any other type of cell. Because of this association, CoQ10’s support of cardiac health is well researched and documented. CoQ10 supports healthy heart contractility and subsequent circulation, blood pressure, and exercise endurance. Due to Smart Q10 CoQ10’s ability to pass through the cell membrane and enter the mitochondria, enhanced levels can be attained.
Smart Q10™ CoQ10 and Support of the Neurological System
The Blood-Brain Barrier
The blood-barrier is a unique anatomical structure. Simply stated, the cells that make up the blood vessels that provide blood to the brain are extremely close together. This greatly restricts what can and cannot leave the bloodstream and enter the brain. While the blood-brain barrier protects the brain from potentially toxic substances, it can be a significant obstacle to therapy of central nervous system disorders. In order to leave the bloodstream and reach the brain cells, a substance must be able to pass through the tightly connected cells of the capillary walls. Only substances with certain solubilities or those that have a transport system can cross the blood-brain barrier to a significant degree.
Recently, CoQ10 has been studied for its effect in support of neurological health. When CoQ10 crosses the blood-brain barrier, mitochondrial concentrations are increased and clinical results indicate that significant neurosupportive effects follow. Clinical studies have examined the role of CoQ10 in the neurological system.
Smart Q10™ CoQ10 and Support of Immune Health
CoQ10 is necessary for immune health.† Increased free radical activity causes damage to cell membranes, mitochondria, and DNA. Supplementation with CoQ10 provides enhanced antioxidant activity that is supportive of the immune system.
Natural Vitamin E
The common name “vitamin E” is an umbrella term for a family of compounds known as the tocopherols. There are at least 8 forms of tocopherols including, alpha-tocopherol, beta-tocopherol, delta-tocopherol, and gamma-tocopherol. These tocopherols are all naturally created by plants, and when used in vitamin E supplements, are considered natural vitamin E.
Recently, the concomitant administration of vitamin E and CoQ10 has been studied. Research has demonstrated that CoQ10 can improve vitamin E’s antioxidant function and protect it from depletion.
Smart Q10™  and Clinical Trials
The formulation of Smart Q10™ CoQ10 is unique among CoQ10 supplements. Currently, three large multi-center studies investigating Smart Q10™ CoQ10 are ongoing. All of these clinical trials are investigating Smart Q10™ CoQ10 health supportive effects on the nervous system. To date, 21 published studies have used Smart Q10™ CoQ10 in their research.
The 21 Studies and Presentations at Medical Symposiums Utilizing Vitaline® Coenzyme Q10 Dietary Supplement Products:
  1. Matthews RT, Yang L, Browne S, Baik MF. Coenzyme Q10 administration increases brain mitochondrial concentrations and exerts neuroprotective effects. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 1998; 95:8892-8897.
  2. Langsjoen P. Overview of the use of CoQ10 in cardiovascular disease. Presented at The First Conference of the International Coenzyme Q10 Association. Boston, Mass, May 21-24, 1998.
  3. Koroshetz W. Huntington’s Disease Clinical Trail. Presented at the First Conference of the International Coenzyme Q10 Association. Boston. Mass, May 21-24, 1998.
  4. Shults CW, Haas RH, Flint Beal M. A possible role of coenzyme Q10 in the etiology and treatment of Parkinson’s disease. Proceedings of First Conference of the International Coenzyme Q10 Association, 95:8892-8897, July 21, 1998.
  5. Beal MF. Coenzyme Q10 as a potential treatment for neurodegenerative diseases. Presented at the First Conference of the International Coenzyme Q10 Association. Boston. Mass, May 21-24, 1998.
  6. Beal MF. Energy impairment and Huntington’s disease. Presented at the Mitochondrial Medicine Conference. University of California, San Diego School of Medicine, Mitochondrial and Metabolic Disease Center, San Diego, Calif, Feb 19-21, 1998.
  7. Kieburtz K, Rickey T. Co-enzyme Q10 and remacemide: evaluation in Huntington¡¦s disease (CARE-HD). A controlled investigation by the Huntington Study Group. Clinical trial in progress. Institutions participating in the CARE-HD Study: Allegheny University, Baylor College of Medicine, Boston University, Bowman Gray School of Medicine, Colorado Neurological Institute, Columbia-Presbyterian, Emory University, Indiana School of Medicine, Johns Hopkins University, Massachusetts General Hospital, Rush-Presbyterian-St.Luke’s Medical Center, Tampa General Hospital, and the universities of Alberta, British Columbia, Calgary, Iowa, Kansas Medical Center, Miami School of Medicine, Michigan, Rochester, Toronto, and Virginia. June 1997-2002.
  8. Langsjoen PH, Langsjoen A, Willis R, Folkers K. Treatment of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy with coenzyme Q10. Mol Aspects Med. 1997;18:S145-S151.
  9. Shults CW, Flint Beal MD, Fontaine D, Nakeno K, Haas RH. Absorption, tolerability, and effects on mitochondrial activity of oral coenzyme Q10 in parkinsonian patients. Neurology. 1998;50:793-795.
  10. Flint Beal M, Matthews RT, Tielman A, Shults CW. Coenzyme Q10 attenuates the 1-methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetradopyridine (MPTP) induced loss of striatal dopamine and dopaminergic axons in aged mice. Brain Res. 1998;783:109-114.
  11. Flint Beal M, Matthews RT. Coenzyme Q10 in the central nervous system and its potential usefulness in the treatment of neurodegenerative disease. Mol Aspects Med. 1997;18:S169-S179.
  12. Schwid SR, Mattson DH, Goodman AD. A phase II trial of coenzyme Q10 in MS. Clinical trial in progress. University of Rochester, Department of Neurology, Neuroimmunology Unit, Rochester, New York. 1996-2000.
  13. Koroshetz W. Huntington’s Disease Clinical Trail. Presented at the First Conference of the International Coenzyme Q10 Association. Boston, Mass, May 21-24, 1998.
  14. Shults CW, Haas RH, Passov D, Flint Beal M Coenzyme Q10 levels correlate with the activities of complexes I and II/III in mitochondria from parkinsonian and nonparkinsonian subjects. Ann Neurol. 1997;42:261-264.
  15. Feigin A, Kieburtz K, Como C, et al. Assessment of coenzyme Q10 tolerability in Huntington’s disease. Mov Disord. 1996;11:321-323.
  16. Cros D. Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS). Harvard Medical School- Massachusetts General Hospital Department of Neurology EMG Unit-Bigelow 12, Boston, Mass, 1995-1998.
  17. Tardive Dyskinesia Study Using Coenzyme Q10 and Nicotinamide. Harvard Medical School-Massachusetts General Hospital Department of Psychiatry and Neurology, Freedom Trial Clinic, Erich Lindemann Mental Health Center, Boston, Mass, 1995.
  18. Costeff H. CoQ10 and 3-Methylglutaconic Aciduria. Neuropediatric Unit. Loewenstein Hospital Rehabilitation Center, Tel Aviv. Medical School, Raanana, Israel, 1998.
  19. Flint Beal. Neuroprotective strategies for treatment of lesions produced by mitochondrial toxins: implications for neurodegenerative diseases. Neuroscience. 1996;71:1043-1048.
  20. Flint Beal M, Henshaw R, Jenkins BG, Rosen BR, Schulz JB. Coenzyme Q10 and nicotinamide block striatal lesions produced by the mitochondrial toxin malonate. Ann Neurol 1994;36:882-888.
  21. Schulz JB, Henshaw RD, Matthews RT, Flint Beal M. Coenzyme Q10 and nicotinamide and a free radical spin trap protect against MPTP neurotoxicity. Exp Neurol. 1995;132:279-283.

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Interview with Professor Robert Sapolsky

Robert Sapolsky is an American biologist and author. He is currently professor of Biological Sciences, and Professor of Neurology and Neurological Sciences, and by courtesy, Neurosurgery, at Stanford University. As a neuroendocrinologist, he has focused his research on issues of stress and neuronal degeneration, as well as on the possibilities of gene therapy strategies for protecting susceptible neurons from disease. His popular book, Why Zebras don’t get Ulcers describes the effects of stress on thye human body and is one of those ‘must-reads’ for all. I was lucky enough to pose some commonly asked questions for Prof Sapolsky; his replies are worth noting!

Q. What do you feel is the main adverse effect stress has on the human body?
A. “Well, there’s a number of particularly vulnerable outposts. Probably the most frequent adverse effects are hypertension, sleep disruption, disruption in concentration, depression, increased incidence of colds, sexual dysfunction.”

Q. What would be your 3 top tips to help someone suffering from stress?
A. “I’d say, 1) as per the cliche, distinguish between stressors you can and can’t control and, in the case of the former, find ways to increase the sense of control;  2) when the stressor is uncontrollable, at least strive for predictive information about when it is coming, how long it is going to last, and how bad it will be;  3) increase the amount of social support you get and give. Mind you, all this is said by someone who mostly thinks about stressed rats and neurons growing in Petrie dishes.”

Q. Do you feel that diet can help someone suffering from stress since many people report using B-vitamins can help them manage better?
A. “Well, it can certainly head off some of the adverse effect (e.g., large amounts of antioxidants delaying the emergence of some of the long-term pathologies of stress). What’s even clearer is that a bad diet is particularly bad news in the context of stress. For example, a combination of a high fat diet plus chronic psychosocial stress causes a synergistic increase in atherosclerosis in monkeys.”

There you have it… from experts mouth! Roberts knowledge of the biological effects of stress are beyond question and as we move into an ever more stressful existence we have to listen and learn how to off set its ravages on our bodies.

Check out the video clip below to learn more about stress and its biological effects…

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