May
11
2013

Changes Of Gut Bacteria Can Cause Heart Attacks

The recent news of gut bacteria possibly being involved in causing heart attacks (see details below) sounds pretty outrageous. In order to make this more understandable, we need to start backtracking how bacteria end up in our gut and what they are doing there.

Gut bacteria in our bowels at various stages in life

Even among infants there is a huge difference in the composition of the gut flora depending on whether the baby was vaginally delivered, born by Cesarean section or prematurely born and nursed in an intensive care unit for a prolonged period of time.

When we are grown up, it depends on where we live on our planet as to what type of gut flora we have. A 2011 study of the bacterial composition of stool samples in Europe versus Africa showed that the European microbiome in the colon was typical of the Bacteroides enterotype, whereas the African microbiome was dominated by the Prevotella enterotype. Other studies have shown that the type of diet we eat causes us to harbor different types of gut flora. A person eating a more vegetarian diet will have a Prevotella enterotype gut flora, while another person eating a Western style fat and protein dominated diet will have a Bacteroides enterotype gut flora. What is the gut flora doing? It lives within our gut for our mutual benefit. We provide the gut bacteria a comfortable home at body temperature where they grow best. They in turn ferment undigested foods, protect us from the growth of harmful bacteria, produce vitamins like vitamin K and biotin, and produce hormones that direct the body to store excess food as fat.

Changes Of Gut Bacteria Can Cause Heart Attacks

Changes Of Gut Bacteria Can Cause Heart Attacks

Cleveland Clinic’s gut flora research linked to heart attacks

In April 2013 reports that heart attacks may be related to the composition of your gut flora hit the popular press, articles like this. Two years earlier, in April of 2011, the same Cleveland research group under Dr. Stanley Hazen found that the gut flora composition has an impact on heart disease. They stated that a “byproduct called trimethylamine N-oxide (TMAO) is produced when intestinal bacteria digest the nutrient phosphatidylcholine, commonly known as lecithin”. It was determined that the liver was responsible for producing TMAO out of absorbed materials from gut bacteria and that this was responsible for accelerating hardening of the arteries, which in turn caused deadly heart attacks and strokes.

As can be seen from this link the Cleveland research group is suggesting that TMAO could become a valuable screening tool when measured in patients’ blood to screen for their risk to develop a heart attack or stroke in the future. Furthermore, once these patients are identified, they can be sent to a dietitian and be put on a different diet that prevents heart attacks and strokes; also, the progress could again be monitored through repeat TMAO blood tests down the road.

Criticism of research from the Cleveland Clinic

Not every one has welcomed the study as clear-cut proof for a link between the gut flora and heart attacks, strokes and deaths. This link shows that it is questioned whether perhaps low antibiotic residues in red meat would explain the findings of the study. It rightly points out that there was no control for whether the more than 4000 patients were eating organic foods or a regular American diet. The comment goes on to say that the regular American diet contains residual antibiotics from milk, milk products, beef, chicken and turkey. These traces of antibiotics are powerful enough to have an effect on the gut flora, which likely is the reason for the differences between the vegetarian diet versus a Western style fat and protein dominated diet. It is entirely possible that grass fed beef would not lead to TMAO levels in the blood whereas regular beef or hamburger meat will raise the TMAO levels. The same could be true for egg consumption, which was also accused of raising TMAO levels. However, we do not know whether organic eggs that do not contain antibiotics would have done the same as regular eggs that contain traces of antibiotics.

Cancer caused by gut flora

This 2008 review article explains how lactobacillus and bifidobacteria (probiotics) prevent colon cancer, while bacteria of the Bacteroides and Clostridium variety increase the incidence of colon cancer and the growth rate of colonic tumors. So, the composition of your gut flora does not only matter with regard to prevention of heart attacks and strokes, but is also important in preventing colon cancer.

Change your gut flora to boost your health

Here is where the “rubber hits the road”. What I mean is that you can benefit from all of this research with regard to your health by paying attention to a few facts and possibly making a few changes as follows.

  1. I think that the argument of the bulletproofexec.com website holds true and we should all eat organic meats whenever possible. The Cleveland study has already shown that the gut flora in vegetarians stayed healthy even when they occasionally slipped and ate a regular steak.
  2. Take supplemental probiotics from the health food store. It will improve your gut flora within a day or two.
  3. Higher intake of fruit and vegetables make a measurable difference in the body decreasing the risk for heart attacks and strokes as this British research group has shown. Another research group from Italy has confirmed that an increased intake of fruit and vegetables mobilizes genetic switches that will stabilize the metabolism of the gut wall and prevent cancer of the colon.

So, the verdict for boosting your health is out: eat organic foods, use probiotics as supplements and eat more fruit and vegetables!

More information on nutrition: http://nethealthbook.com/health-nutrition-and-fitness/nutrition/

References

  1. http://www.nature.com/nm/journal/v19/n5/full/nm.3145.html
  2. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23614584

Last edited Nov. 7, 2014

Apr
14
2013

Allergies Not Only In Spring

Springtime is the time of spring allergies: those affected develop a runny nose, itchy eyes and in more severe cases they may experience a flare-up of asthma. Allergies can be triggered by the increase of pollen counts in the air that occurs every spring. In those who are sensitive, this leads to antibody formation in the blood. But often people have not only sensitivities to the pollens of spring bloomers; they may also be allergic to spores from molds, to dust mites and may have underlying allergies to foods. The immune system has memory cells that memorize that a person has had an allergic encounter to one of these items in the past, and allergic reactions can become more significant with a future encounter. Allergies can also be made worse when a person has food sensitivities and there are cross reactions between pollens of trees or grasses that can share surface protein regions with similar protein regions in foods.

It is known that cross allergies are possible between birch pollen and apple, carrots or hazelnut. In its extreme form allergies due to antibodies, called IgE antibodies, can cause anaphylaxis. A person presensitized by inhaling birch pollen, after eating an apple, hazelnuts or a carrot can develop itching of the throat, swelling of the lips and very quickly deteriorate getting into an anaphylactic shock.

Other cross allergies exist between ragweed pollen, which is a powerful inhalant allergen and melons or bananas. Again there are specific IgE antibodies that are responsible for this immune reaction. In this case the ragweed allergy primes the immune system to produce IgE antibodies, which are potentiated by certain foods that share similar protein components as the ragweed pollen.

In the following I will deal with inhalant allergies separately from food allergies.

Allergies Not Only In Spring

Allergies Not Only In Spring

Inhalant allergies

Inhalant allergies are easier to diagnose and to treat than food allergies. Your doctor will likely refer you to an allergist when you have allergies that do not respond to treatment with intermittent over the counter antihistamines. Your symptoms may come on in the spring with itchy eyes and a runny nose. From year to year you find that you become more and more dependent on antihistamines and nose drops to unplug your nose. The allergist likely will do sensitivity tests, which consist of skin prick or scratch tests on the back or the forearms.

In more serious allergies, where the patient has coughing and wheezing attacks following allergic reactions, the allergist may suggest to start intermittent allergy injections alongside the standard inhalation therapy for asthma. An allergy serum is prescribed where the lab mixes ingredients based on all of the positive tests that led to a strongly positive skin reactions when allergy testing was done. Typically the family doctor or his nurse will start the allergy injections initially in weekly intervals, later when the maintenance dose is reached, it may be modified to injections every 10 to 14 days.

The allergy injections stimulate the immune system to produce harmless competing antibodies, which counteract the disease producing allergic antibodies. In the process of desensitization shots the immune system will normalize, which means that the inflammatory response of the immune system settles down to normal.

This is not the end of the story with inhalant allergies. The patient needs to be retested on a yearly basis by the allergist. The immune system changes all the time as new allergies can develop and old ones may go away.

Retesting is necessary to keep track of what is going on and to change the composition of the allergy serum. Those patients who are working together with the allergist can do very well, and often they gradually outgrow their allergies. Others may not be so lucky. They may have reactions to the allergy injections. In these cases avoidance of what causes the allergy may be the only solution to treat the allergies.

There is an alternative to allergy injections, which has been used in Europe, namely a sublingual immunotherapy. Recently there has been a review of the literature for FDA approval that is needed for oral desensitization for ragweed, dust mites, grass pollen and cat dander. It will take some time before the FDA approval process will become a reality for sublingual desensitization in the US.

A special form of inhalant allergies are allergies to pets (mainly dogs and cats, but also allergies to petting zoo animals). The dander that the human comes in contact with is a protein contained in the animal hair. It causes hives when it touches the skin. This occurs as the dander is absorbed through the skin and meets the local mast cells that release histamine. This in turn is responsible for the hive formation. Sneezing and even asthma can develop from inhaled protein particles that reach the lungs. Allergy injections for the treatment of animal dander allergies are very limited as they often do not help or make the allergies worse. Avoidance of animal contact is usually what the allergist recommends as the solution, a recommendation, which often is not appreciated by the affected animal lover.

Food allergies

Often we eat  some foods more frequently, because they are our favorites. This means that our gut lymphocytes that get in contact with these foods can start to react to one or more of the foods we ingest. At this time we may experience abdominal cramps, diarrhea, vomiting and a host of other possible symptoms.

The physician will tell the patient that testing for food allergies is a problem as most of the usual skin tests employed for inhalant allergies do not reliably work in determining food allergies. The doctor will ask the patient or the mother of the child with food allergies to keep a food diary and keep track of the allergic symptoms in the diary as well. An elimination diet will have to be devised based on the information gathered in the diary as it becomes clear from that record which foods cause which symptoms. The foods causing allergic symptoms are subsequently eliminated. This is a cumbersome process, but it is the most reliable method of testing and treating food allergies.

In the past there was a blood tests, called RAST test, which tested for common food allergies that can cause severe allergic reactions like egg, milk, peanut, tree nuts, wheat, crustacean shellfish and soy. Since about 2010 this has been replaced by the more sensitive ImmunoCAP Specific IgE test.

Children often develop food allergies to egg, milk, wheat, nuts, peanuts and soy, which are food allergies with positive IgE tests. When they age, their immune system develops tolerance to many of these foods and they often outgrow these allergies.

There are other popular lab tests where a blood drop is analyzed with IgG, IgM and IgE antibodies against a panel of foods. A number of suppliers offer these tests.  However, the specificity, sensitivity and reliability can pose problems with regard to the interpretation of the results: allergists often point out that a test may be a false positive when a person likes certain foods and IgG antibodies against this food show up despite the patient having no symptoms. Another specialist may interpret this to indicate that the body shows early sensitization to a certain food, but clinically it is not yet obvious. In other words the sensitivity of the test is so high that it undermines the validity of the test. Recently a panel of international scientists reviewed the validity of these IgG based food intolerance tests and they found the tests not reliable.

The immune responses to food allergies are complicated as there are immediate type immune reactions and delayed type immune reactions. The immediate immune responses are investigated with the above mentioned ImmunoCAP Specific IgE test. The delayed immune responses can be measured using the ELISA test.

Other considerations about allergies

You see from this discussion that a patient with allergies needs a properly trained allergist who will do a comprehensive analysis involving a thorough history, examination, blood tests and immune tests.  The test results have to be interpreted with the experience and the clinical judgment of the specialist.

Since the 1970’s when Clearfield wheat was introduced around the world on a large scale, which has a much higher gliadin (gluten) content than the old wheat varieties. As a result of exposure to this new type of wheat gluten intolerance and leaky gut syndrome have increased substantially in the world population. Genetically modified foods like soy, corn, sugar beets, canola and more have challenged the immune system of sensitive humans even more to an extent, which is not fully understood yet. We do know that some people can develop autoimmune diseases and this may be the reason that a host of diseases that belong into this disease category (MS, rheumatoid arthritis, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, ankylosing spondylitis etc.) are much more common now than in the past.

After food elimination for 2 to 12 months depending on the severity of the food allergy, your body may have eliminated the allergy to the food you have avoided, in other words your body built up tolerance. Before you expose yourself to any food that you used to be allergic to and that you want to re-test, it is best to have an EpiPen ready in case your allergy has not resolved. Caution is necessary with regard to foods that cause more severe allergies, e.g. shellfish or peanuts, which may last life long. It is safer to avoid these foods that cause more severe allergies altogether.

Allergic reactions of the immune system belong into the category of chronic inflammatory diseases. These are known to be the root of chronic diseases like asthma, arthritis, heart disease, high blood pressure and cancer. When you are vigilant about allergies and get proper assessment and treatment by an allergist, you will prevent serious health problems including the above mentioned chronic diseases.

More on asthma, which is a chronic inflammatory lung condition, often associated with multiple environmental allergies:

http://nethealthbook.com/lung-disease/asthma-introduction/

Last edited Nov. 6, 2014

Dec
01
2008

Disease Of Peripheral Blood Vessels Occurs With Metabolic Changes

Metabolic syndrome has serious health consequences: diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease are just a few conditions that are associated with it. It is also known that diabetic patients are prone to pressure sores and ulcers of their feet and if the leg became gangrenous, the patient would lose it due to the need to amputate. Peripheral artery disease or PAD has recently been studied by Dr. Aruna D. Pradhan, and the prospective study involved 27,000 women. At the beginning of the study the middle aged women were free of cardiovascular disease, but a quarter of them had the hallmarks of metabolic syndrome. Twenty five percent of those with the condition also were diabetic. During the 13 years of follow-up 114 women developed peripheral artery disease and those patients with metabolic syndrome were 62% more likely to develop the disease. The individuals with metabolic syndrome had other features: they were less likely to exercise, more likely to smoke and their weight was higher. But 7,000 women with metabolic syndrome had another important feature in their lab tests: they had markedly higher levels of biomarkers of systemic inflammation, which was manifested in higher levels of C-reactive protein.

Disease Of Peripheral Blood Vessels Occurs With Metabolic Changes

Metabolic syndrome causes peripheral artery disease

 

 

Once all the criteria are stacked up against each other, it becomes obvious that the presence of metabolic syndrome alone is not responsible for the most significant increase in peripheral artery disease. It is not the high cholesterol levels or the high triglyceride readings that are the villains in this condition. The driving force is systemic inflammation, as documented by the high C-reactive protein levels in blood tests.

More information about hardening of arteries: http://nethealthbook.com/cardiovascular-disease/heart-disease/atherosclerosis-the-missing-link-between-strokes-and-heart-attacks/

American Heart Association, New Orleans, Nov. 8 to 12, 2008

Last updated Nov. 6, 2014

Sep
01
2007

Emotional Distress Impairs Cognitive Function

Stress has been linked to numerous medical conditions, such as heart disease, stomach problems and muscle spasm. Stress also has been quoted as a silent killer.

Research in the field of Alzheimer’s has shown that negative emotions and chronic distress are associated with increased vulnerability to this disease.

Study author Dr. Robert Wilson of the Rush’s Alzheimer’s disease Center in Chicago has found that people most prone to psychological distress were 40% more likely to develop mild cognitive impairment (MCI) than the group that is least distress prone.

Dr. Wilson stated that these individuals would not necessarily see a psychiatrist to help them deal with their negative emotions. It becomes clear, however, that persistent negative emotional states truly impact the physical well being, and also the cognitive status. For this reason more medical attention should be given to an older patient with emotional problems and even mild depression.

Emotional Distress Impairs Cognitive Function

Emotional Distress Impairs Cognitive Function

It can become a treatment challenge, if there are personality traits or deeply entrenched behavior patterns that may not respond well to treatment. By understanding the biological link between chronic distress and loss of cognitive function in old age, early intervention can be a way to delay symptoms or to prevent disease onset.

More information on Alzheimer’s: http://nethealthbook.com/neurology-neurological-disease/alzheimers-dementia-and-delirium/

Reference: The Medical Post, August 7, 2007, page 53

Last edited November 3, 2014

Jul
01
2007

Estrogen In Early Menopause Saves Lives

Introduction

In the June 21, 2007 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine a randomized study of  8.7 year duration the question was examined whether postmenopausal women following hysterectomy would have a higher risk with estrogen replacement therapy than controls who did not take estrogen therapy. The lead author was Dr. JoAnn E. Manson of Harvard Medical School and the method chosen to examine the heart disease risk was a CT of the heart to measure calcium  in plaque of coronary arteries.

Previous research had shown a good correlation of calcification of coronary arteries with the degree of hardening of coronary arteries as shown in this image.

Various doses of estrogen were used and overall there was a reduction of calcium scores in all of the groups ranging from 22% to 31% when the calcium scores of the estrogen treated patients were compared to the non treated controls. This translated into 36% to 64% less heart attack rates when the treated groups were compared to the controls not treated with estrogen.

Discussion regarding estrogen replacement therapy

The discussion regarding estrogen replacement therapy following menopause is not finished, but women can be reassured that the cardiovascular risk appears to not be as straight forward as research seemed to suggest in the recent past. There likely was a bias in these retrospective studies and the present prospective study is much stronger having been done over 8.7 years following randomization. As this study was done on patients who had previous hysterectomies, there is no concern about uterine cancer. Breast cancer risk was not examined in this study.

Estrogen In Early Menopause Saves Lives

Estrogen In Early Menopause Saves Lives

The authors concluded that low dose estrogen replacement with 0.625mg of conjugated estrogen (Premarin) appears to be safe and has the most beneficial effect on coronary artery health when taken between the ages of 50 and 59. However, the authors also cautioned that estrogen would have multiple effects and may have negative effects on the cardiovascular system in some other way.

Reference: N Engl. J Med. 2007;356:2591-2602

Comment

Comment on Nov. 18, 2012:  The real problem of this study is that the authors took the wrong “hormone replacement”, namely Premarin, which is a non-bioidentical estrogen concoction from horses, which translates into an ill fitting key. The human body’s estrogen receptors do not fit this “key”. The proper experimental set-up would have been to use bio-identical estrogen hormones, which are usually given as a cream and would be the perfect key for the human estrogen receptors. This would have to be balanced with bio-identical progesterone to achieve a balance the way it is in a younger woman. We know from other studies that this prolongs life by preventing coronary artery disease, prevents Alzheimer’s disease, prevents strokes and does not cause uterine cancer or breast cancer. Women on bio-identical hormone replacement also retain their normal sex drive.

See this chapter on menopause in the Net Health Book.

Dec
01
2006

Cinnamon And Multivitamins May Boost Fertility

Prenatal vitamin supplements are the norm, as folic acid has been known to play a role in the prevention of neural tube defect. Generally they are taken once pregnancy has been confirmed.
Dr Jorge Chavarro from the department of nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston pointed out, that multivitamin supplementation has its place earlier than just after the pregnancy test has become positive. In one of the largest studies involving 18,000 married pre-menopausal women, regular use of multivitamin supplements were associated with a decrease of infertility. The key is in the regular use. Women who took two multivitamin tablets per week had similar infertility rates as women who did not take supplements at all. Those who took 6 or more multivitamins had a 40% lower risk of anovultation, a condition where no eggs are released by the ovaries.
Most of the women were Caucasian between the ages 24 and 42.
The importance of nutrition is coming increasingly into the forefront in reproductive medicine. One condition known as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is often a reason for infertility. It is one of the red flags that point to the condition of insulin resistance, and it manifests itself in menstrual irregularity and higher levels of androgens, often showing as increased facial hair. As the metabolism is headed for trouble, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and heart disease would tend to develop.
Researchers at Columbia University in New York conducted a pilot study to see if insulin sensitivity in women with PCOS could be improved. Cinnamon, a well-known spice, has been known to have a favorable effect on the insulin response of the body. Researchers found that eight weeks of treatment with cinnamon extract significantly decreased fasting glucose and insulin resistance in women with polycystic ovary syndrome.

Cinnamon And Multivitamins May Boost Fertility

Cinnamon And Multivitamins May Boost Fertility

Dr. Jeff Wang who conducted the study reported that no side effects or adverse reactions were reported throughout the study period. If large-scale prospective studies confirm these findings, then recommending cinnamon as a dietary factor may be a simple, inexpensive lifestyle change that can be easily followed. Reducing insulin resistance is a key to improve the overall health status in patients with PCOS, and it ties in with reproductive health benefits as well.

More information about infertility: http://nethealthbook.com/womens-health-gynecology-and-obstetrics/infertility-php/

Reference: The Medical Post, November 14, 2006, page 32

Last edited November 2, 2014

Incoming search terms:

Nov
01
2006

Eat Your Salad Greens, But No Spinach

Spinach has traditionally been regarded as a healthy, green leafy vegetable and a valuable source of vitamins and minerals, in particular iron. The tedious chore of cleaning the tender greens and removing soil and sand traces has been taken care of by packinghouses. As a result, the consumer could purchase ready to eat spinach in plastic bags. These greens were a welcome ingredient for spinach salads or other dishes.
Lately all spinach has been recalled from the world’s largest producer of organic produce. Natural Selection Food has recalled a total of 34 brands that were distributed nationwide, and some of which were available also in Canada. Consumers are still being warned not to eat fresh spinach from the U.S., even though there have been no reported cases of ill effects or diseases in Canada itself. Problems have surfaced in September in form of food borne illness in the U.S. The culprit seems to be contamination with E. coli 0157:H7. Food borne illness can be serious. So far there have been 109 cases of illness in the U.S. and possibly two deaths. The worst affected area so far is Wisconsin, where 29 illnesses were reported and one person died of the disease.
As a result of this alert, salad mixes that contained a variety of greens including spinach leaves have also been pulled from the shelf. It should be mentioned that washing the spinach leaves does not make it safe to consume, as the E.coli bacteria stick to the leaves.
While it seems good-bye to spinach leaves for now, it remains important to eat your greens. Researchers at University of California in Los Angeles and colleagues at Louisiana State University analyzed the salad consumption based on the intake of salad, raw vegetables and salad dressing on 9,406 women and 8,282 men. The researchers also found from their studies that daily consumption of salad and raw vegetables is not the norm in any population group and even less prevalent among African Americans.

Eat Your Salad Greens, But No Spinach

Eat Your Salad Greens, But No Spinach

There were data from lab tests on serum nutrient levels, and it showed that consumption of salads was positively associated with above-median serum micronutrient levels of folic acid, vitamin C and E, lycopene, and alpha carotene and beta carotene. All of these nutrients are important for healthy daily functioning. They are weapons that help fight infection, heart disease and cancers. The consumption of salad and raw vegetables remains the most effective strategy for increasing the intake of important nutrients.

Reference: The Medical Post, October 3, 2006, page 21

Here is a follow-up on this story: Apparently the outbreak was caused by a wild boar and by a nearby cattle field:  http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2009/09/meaningful-outbreak-7-dole-spinach-e-coli-outbreak/#.VFaWXPTF-88

More information about food safety: http://nethealthbook.com/health-nutrition-and-fitness/nutrition/food-safety/

Last edited November 2, 2014

Incoming search terms:

Nov
01
2005

Pre-Conception Nutrition For Healthy Children

The importance for good maternal nutrition during pregnancy has been emphasized for a long time. Of course in this case it was up to the mom-to-be to avoid toxins, such as smoking and alcohol and to take prenatal supplements along with sensible nutrition. Enticing the women away from the excesses of the standard Western diet would yield handsome health benefits for the country. Dr. David Barker, a medical advisor to the British government pointed out, that this approach would reduce heart disease, diabetes and other chronic diseases in the mothers as well as in their offspring. This concept does not address all the aspects, which are important for a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby.
For the past 20 years a group of around 20 British family physicians, obstetricians and researchers under the name of Foresight has been putting a program into practice, which identifies and addresses the health deficiencies in prospective parents. Almost all couples that followed the pre-conception program had previously experienced problems relating to conception, pregnancy and birth. In one follow-up study of 367 couples that followed the Foresight program from 1990 to 1992, 327(89%) of the women became pregnant and had healthy, well-developed babies. None of the babies suffered malformations and none was transferred to special care. Of the 367 couples, 217(59 %) had suffered from infertility (from 1 to 10 years) and 139 (38%) had histories from 1 to 5 previous miscarriages. Eleven (3%) had previously given birth to a stillborn child, 40 had small-for-date babies and 15 had already had a low birth weight baby (less than 2,500 g). Seven couples had a previous baby with malformations and three had lost a baby to sudden infant death.
In a larger follow-up study of 1,076 couples, almost all of whom had previous fertility or miscarriage problems, 846 conceived success rate of 78%, as reported by Belinda Barnes, who runs Foresight. There were four problem pregnancies, including one Down syndrome baby, two terminations and one child with an adhesion of the intestine, which was correctable. This is a complication rate of only 0.47 %.

Pre-Conception Nutrition For Healthy Children

Pre-Conception Nutrition For Healthy Children

As the complication rate in the general population amounts to 6.43%, the pre-conception program has only 1/7th of the complications, a strong indicator that a pre-conception program does make a difference.

More info about healthy nutrition: http://nethealthbook.com/health-nutrition-and-fitness/nutrition/

Reference: The Medical Post, September 27, 2005, page 33

Last edited October 29, 2014

Incoming search terms:

May
01
2005

Inflammation Connected To Sudden Heart Death

It is a well-known fact that certain diseases go together, for instance diabetes and heart disease. Every effort has to be made for this reason to control a disease in order to minimize the risk for other associated illnesses.
New research from rheumatologist Dr. Sherin Gabriel at the Mayo Clinic points to another health condition. Patients affected by rheumatoid arthritis have a higher risk of early death than others, and these deaths are mostly due to cardiovascular disease. The relationship between these two diseases is complex, reports Dr. Gabriel, and the common denominator between heart disease and rheumatoid arthritis seems to be systemic inflammation.

Research from the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, has been published in March, and it was found that inflammation documented by laboratory tests such as an erythrocyte sedimentation rate of over 60mm per hour increased the risk for heart disease by a factor of two. Rheumatoid arthritis vasculitis increased the risk to 2.4, and RA lung disease showed a risk increase of 2.3. Traditional risk factors for heart disease like smoking, alcohol, obesity and diabetes were accounted for, yet the more dramatic risk factor in the population with RA (rheumatoid arthritis) was the aspect of inflammation. The results of this research are based on data from the Rochester Epidemiology Project, in which 603 persons with rheumatoid arthritis were followed over 15 years. In this time span 364 of these patients died, and heart disease was the primary cause of death in 176 of them. The subjects of this group were three times as likely as an age-matched population to have been hospitalized for a heart attack and had five times the risk of having an unrecognized heart attack. This group is also more vulnerable, because patients with rheumatoid arthritis suffer of joint pains, receive painkillers, and often chest pain can be masked by pain medication and go unrecognized.

Inflammation Connected To Sudden Heart Death

Inflammation Connected To Sudden Heart Death

Co-author Dr. Hilal Maradit points out that rheumatoid arthritis remains a multifactor problem, and one factor alone does not explain the entire story, but in the meantime the link of inflammation in RA to cardiovascular disease is an important step closer to early recognition and successful control.

More info about:

Rheumatoid arthritis: http://nethealthbook.com/arthritis/rheumatoid-arthritis/

Gingivitis: http://nethealthbook.com/dentistry/gingivitis/

Heart attacks: http://nethealthbook.com/cardiovascular-disease/heart-disease/heart-attack-myocardial-infarction-or-mi/

Reference: National Review Of Medicine, April 15, 2005, page 3

Last edited October 28, 2014

Jan
01
2005

Doctor Recommended Diet Against Obesity

After overindulging over the holidays, new years resolutions often have diets and life style choices high on the list.
These concerns are not something new. Doctors have had concerns about heart disease, diabetes, bulging waistlines and elevated cholesterol. For over three decades there have been concerns that elevated insulin levels may be associated with heart disease, and the constellation of symptoms was called “syndrome X” and later the “insulin resistance syndrome”.

Most recently the evils that are associated with body fat have been called the “metabolic syndrome”.The problem has assumed epidemic proportions: by 2001, 30% of US adults were considered obese with a body mass index of over 30, and 50% were overweight with a body mass index over 25. The form of type 2 diabetes (the adult onset of the disease) is predicted to double in the next 20 years. Physicians are reporting that they are seeing increasing numbers of children who are obese and suffer of type 2 diabetes. The major concern with an accumulation of body fat is the area of the abdomen (think of the “apple shape” with fat around the abdomen). This visceral fat tissue is not just innocently sitting there stopping you from closing buttons and zippers. It is very metabolically active and the substances it releases are a threat to your health. These fat cells secret pro-inflammatory substances called “cytokines.”

They also form substances that influence blood-clotting, factors that increase insulin resistance, substances like angiotensin, which are signing responsible for high blood pressure as well. Among the host of damaging substances is also the C-reactive protein, which is recognized as a risk factor for heart disease.

Doctor Recommended Diet Against Obesity

Doctor Recommended Diet Against Obesity

There is only one solution: to reduce the risk, excessive weight has to be shed. A sensible diet to achieve that goal has to contain less saturated fat, more fiber, and low glycemic index carbohydrates. Proper dietary habits are only one part. The other as important measure is life style intervention, which includes 2.5 to 3 hours of moderate exercise per week.
Many of the current diets promise weight loss without compromising health. All of them promote weight loss, provided they are strictly adhered to.
The high protein diets (Atkins, Protein Power Plan) are useful for rapid initial weight loss, however due to the overload of protein long term use is highly questionable. Kidney dysfunction as a consequence is a threat to health and no benefit at all!
Moderate carbohydrate diets, moderate fat, as well as moderate protein will remain the answer for long-term life style changes. It is also of significance that the glycemic index of carbohydrates plays a major role. Food intake, which favors carbohydrates with a low glycemic index, is associated with less heart disease. It has also been documented that insulin levels are more stable. Low glycemic carbohydrates include most vegetables, beans, lentils, as well as fruit like apples, pears and oranges. In contrast, high glycemic carbohydrates result in a fast insulin release, which ultimately leads to insulin resistance. Among these items are potatoes, crackers and other flour products, rice, puffed or flaked breakfast cereals, and tropical fruit (papayas, pineapple, melons).

For short-term dieters, it is an option to embark on any of the current diets without deleterious effects, no matter whether they are high-carb or low-carb. But at this point only the diets with moderate carbohydrates have shown to have some benefits on heart health.
Ultimately the wiser choice is to consume foods with a low to moderate glycemic index, by increasing the intake of vegetable proteins and oils and by choosing increased servings of vegetables and fruit instead of highly processed items. So, when you next walk through your supermarket, remember that most of the good stuff is in the periphery, namely the area where all the fresh, unprocessed or minimally processed foods are found.

More info about Mediterranean diet: http://nethealthbook.com/news/mediterranean-diet-benefits-us-workers/

Reference: Metabolic Syndrome Rounds, Oct. 2004, Vol. 2, Issues 8, St. Michael’s Hospital, University of Toronto/On/Canada

Last edited October 27, 2014