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Vitamin D Lowers Risk of Dying From Cancer, Fish Oil Reduces Heart Attack Risk: Study

A large U.S. study designed to gauge the health benefits of vitamin D and fish oil supplements concludes that the omega-3 oil can dramatically reduce the odds of a heart attack while vitamin D’s benefits seem to come from lowering the risk of death from cancer.

Neither vitamin D nor fish oil lowered the odds of stroke or of getting cancer in the first place in the trial, whose participants did not know whether they were taking the real supplements or a dummy pill.

The heart attack rate in fish oil recipients was 28 percent lower than among those who got the dummy pill, or placebo, and it was 77 percent lower among African American participants – although the lead author of the study told Reuters Health that this dramatic drop in risk among black participants needs to be confirmed.

For people taking vitamin D who developed cancer, the death rate from cancer was 25 percent lower, possibly because the vitamin “may affect the biology of the tumor so it’s less likely to spread and become metastatic,” said lead author Dr. JoAnn Manson, chief of the division of preventive medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.

“If you’re talking about prevention of cancer, that may take treatment for well over a decade.”

It took a few years of vitamin D use for the reduction in cancer deaths to become clear.

The results were reported Saturday at the American Heart Association Scientific Sessions meeting in Chicago and online in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Both supplements have a reputation for being beneficial based on animal tests and observational studies involving large diverse populations or ethnic groups. But large studies that directly test the benefits of vitamin D and fish oil in supplement form have given inconsistent results.

The new study, known as VITAL, is the first large test of both in the general population. Most previous research has focused on volunteers with an elevated risk of heart attack, stroke and/or cancer.

vitamine d

The researchers gave 2,000 international units of vitamin D per day, 1 gram of marine omega-3 fatty acids, or placebo supplements to 25,871 volunteers aged 50 or older. None had a history of cancer, heart attack or stroke. At least half stayed in the study for more than five years.

Based on the new findings, “people already taking vitamin D or fish oil will feel there’s no reason to stop,” Manson said.

People who are considering starting the supplements may want to wait “because we are going to be publishing findings for other endpoints – diabetes, cognitive function, depression, autoimmune diseases – over the next six months,” she said. “These findings may help people decide if the benefits are likely to outweigh the risks for them.”

And people should not be taking higher doses than what was used in the study, Manson noted. With megadoses, “the risk may outweigh the benefit. With high doses of vitamin D there can be a risk of high blood calcium levels developing. Some have suggested a higher risk of cardiovascular disease, falls and even fractures.”

By other measures, neither supplement seemed useful.

Among fish oil recipients, the rates of death from any cause, death from cancer and death from heart disease in general were not significantly different than for people not taking fish oil supplements.

In addition, the collective odds of having a heart attack, stroke or death from any cardiovascular cause were essentially the same whether people were taking fish oil or placebo.

It was only when researchers teased out individual elements of heart disease – such as the rate of heart attack, the rate of fatal heart attack and the need for angioplasty – that a benefit stood out.

Even a little fish oil seemed to help. Volunteers who consumed less fish than average – less than one-and-a-half servings per week – and received the real omega-3 supplements saw a 40 percent reduction in the risk of a heart attack.

In the vitamin D study, which was “the largest high-dose randomized trial of vitamin D in the world,” according to Manson, supplement and non-supplement recipients had similar rates of heart attack, stroke, death from heart attack and cancers of the breast, prostate, or the colon and rectum.

It was only the odds of dying from cancer that were reduced.

By Gene Emery Reuters    November 13, 2018


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Best Supplement To Improve IQ By 10%

Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) — an omega-3 fatty acid — can improve IQ by 10%, new research finds.

People in the study, who were aged over 65, were given 2g/day of DHA for a year.

A control group was given a placebo of corn oil.

The high quality study involved 240 Chinese individuals.

Their IQ and other measures of cognitive function were tested after 6 and 12 months.

The study’s authors explain the results:

“…oral DHA supplementation (2 g/d) for 12 months beneficially affected global cognitive function, specifically participants’ performance on the Information and Digit Span tasks.”

Brain scans also revealed changes in the hippocampus, an area of the brain critical for memory.

The study’s authors write:

“The hippocampus is a critical brain region for memory formation and plays important roles in the consolidation of information from short-term memory to long-term memory and spatial navigation.
[…]
Our results suggest that 12-month DHA supplementation significantly increased hippocampus volume.
Notably, we observed a 6.13% volume increase in the left hippocampus, a 1.89% increase in the right hippocampus, and a 0.29% increase in total hippocampus.”

omega3
Best supplement for older adults
with mild cognitive impairment (MCI).

Best supplement combination?

The use of omega-3 to prevent dementia has provided some mixed results.

B vitamins also seem to be important in warding off cognitive decline.

A recent study found that B vitamins combined with omega-3 can help slow mental decline in older people with memory problems.

The study’s first author, Dr Abderrahim Oulhaj explained the results:

‘We found that for people with low levels of Omega-3, the vitamin supplements had little to no effect.
But for those with high baseline Omega-3 levels, the B vitamins were very effective in preventing cognitive decline compared to the placebo.’

Other studies, though, have been less positive about the benefits of omega-3 for cognitive decline.

It is likely that the combination of nutrients — including both B vitamins and omega-3 will turn out to be the crucial factor.

The study was published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease (Zhang et al., 2016).
OCTOBER 14, 2016
 
source: PsyBlog


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Omega-3s May Protect Against Schizophrenia

Omega-3 supplements may help keep young people with a high risk of schizophrenia from getting the condition, according to a small study.

Back in 2010, Australian researchers reported that taking the supplements for 12 weeks prevented a first episode of a psychotic disorder for up to a year in high-risk study participants ages 13-25. Now, in a follow-up study, the team checked on how 71 of the 81 volunteers were doing.

They found that:

  • 9.8% of the group given omega-3 supplements (4 of 41) developed psychosis, an episode where you lose touch with reality. It’s a symptom of different illnesses, including schizophrenia.
  • 40% of the group given a fake placebo supplement (16 out of 40) developed psychosis.
  • The group not given omega-3s also developed psychosis more quickly and had a higher overall risk of getting other psychiatric disorders.

The study is published in Nature Communications.

 

fish oil

Omega-3 essential fatty acids are widely seen as “good fats.” They can help improve cholesterol balance and lower the risks of heart and joint disease, among other health perks.

Previous research has pointed to a lack of omega-3s and omega-6s being linked with mental health conditions. Some trials have shown that fatty acid supplements can reduce psychotic symptoms.

The Royal College of Psychiatrists in the U.K. says omega-3s have already been linked with improving learning, and may help with mental stability. Doctors sometimes try them as supplements for people with mood problems and schizophrenia, and they may help prevent relapses with bipolar disorder. Talk with your doctor before you start taking any supplement, though.

The college says there is not enough evidence to recommend omega-3s as an alternative to antidepressants or mood-stabilizing medications.

By Tim Locke    WebMD Health News     Reviewed by Arefa Cassoobhoy, MD, MPH    Aug. 11, 2015
 
sources : Amminger, G.P. Nature Communications, 2015.
The Royal College of Psychiatrists: “Eating well and mental health.”
Amminger, G.P. Archives of General Psychiatry, February 2010.
 


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Why You Might Want to Start Taking Fish Oil

Alexandra Sifferlin     @acsifferlin      April 26, 2016     

Combining depression drugs with nutrient supplements could make them more effective

Finding ways to make antidepressants more effective could help the millions of people who take them for depression. Now early research suggests pairing the medication with certain supplements, including omega-3 fish oil and vitamin D, could be one way to do so.

In the new study published in the American Journal of Psychiatry, researchers looked at what happened when some supplements were paired with antidepressants. They combed 40 clinical trials that tested antidepressants taken in conjunction with omega-3s, vitamin D and zinc—nutritional supplements sometimes used to help treat depression, often called nutraceuticals.

The researchers found that people who took omega 3s with antidepressants reported fewer depressive symptoms compared to people taking antidepressants alone. While omega-3s had the most powerful effect, other nutraceuticals also improved the effects of antidepressants, including S-adenosylmethionine, a synthetic form of a compound formed naturally in the body that helps maintain cells and brain chemicals; methylfolate, a form of folate; and vitamin D. Mixed results were seen for zinc, folic acid, vitamin C and the amino acid tryptophan.

Research suggests that the supplements tested in the studies target some of the similar brain processes and pathways as antidepressants. Though recent research has been somewhat mixed, omega-3 supplements have been found to potentially benefit parts of the brain thought to be linked to depression and mood.

omega3

“Omega-3 fatty acids appear to exert a range of biological activity which may be beneficial for improving mood,” says study author Jerome Sarris, head of the ARCADIA Mental Health Research Group at the University of Melbourne, in an email. “The question remains whether when combined with medication, a unique beneficial interactive effect is occurring, or whether it is due to two distinct yet complementary mood elevating effects.”

Even though millions of Americans take antidepressants, there’s a lot experts don’t know about the drugs, including how exactly they work and why some people respond to them better than others. Antidepressants also appear to have a powerful placebo effect; recent data suggests that anywhere from 30-45% of response to an antidepressant is due to the power of placebo. Figuring out how to make the drugs more effective could help a lot of people.

“I’m cautiously optimistic about the results, which show some positive benefit,” says Dr. Richard Friedman, professor of clinical psychiatry at Weill Cornell Medical College who was not involved with the study. “There are many methodology concerns about individual studies, like small sample sizes. But the results of this study clearly justify more rigorous large randomized clinical trials of nutraceuticals in the treatment of depression.” Nutraceuticals are largely unregulated, he says, “so quality and purity is a concern.”

The researchers did not turn up major safety issues and found that overall the supplements were well-tolerated; the most commonly reported side effects were constipation, stomach upset and diarrhea. Still, people should consult with their physician about what supplements and medications to take, they conclude. Based on the findings, which need to be replicated in larger studies, taking supplements alongside antidepressants may be a low-cost way to improve treatment.

source: time.com


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The Natural Dietary Add-On Found To Treat Anxiety and Even Major Depression

Anxiety reduced 20% on average by a common supplement.

Omega-3 supplements reduce anxiety and even lower inflammation in healthy people.

A high quality study has shown that the supplement reduces anxiety by an average of 20%.

On top of this a new review of 13 separate studies containing 1,233 people has shown that omega-3 supplements can reduce symptoms of major depression (Mocking et al., 2016).

Professor Janice Kiecolt-Glaser, the anxiety study’s first author, said:

“We hypothesized that giving some students omega-3 supplements would decrease their production of proinflammatory cytokines, compared to other students who only received a placebo.
We thought the omega-3 would reduce the stress-induced increase in cytokines that normally arose from nervousness over the tests.”

The study recruited 68 healthy young medical students who were divided into groups, with half taking the supplement and others receiving a placebo.

Professor Martha Belury, one of the study’s authors, explained:

“The supplement was probably about four or five times the amount of fish oil you’d get from a daily serving of salmon, for example.”

The researchers had planned to test the effects of omega-3 on stressed people.

But, because of changes to the curriculum, the medical students were relatively relaxed during the study.

omega 3

Professor Janice Kiecolt-Glaser explained:

“These students were not anxious.
They weren’t really stressed.
They were actually sleeping well throughout this period, so we didn’t get the stress effect we had expected.”

Despite this, those taking the supplements saw 20% reductions in anxiety, on average.

Professor Ron Glaser, another of the study’s authors, explained the measures and results:

“We took measurements of the cytokines in the blood serum, as well as measured the productivity of cells that produced two important cytokines, interleukin-6 (IL-6) and tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNFa).
We saw a 14 percent reduction in the amounts of IL-6 among the students receiving the omega-3.
…anything we can do to reduce cytokines is a big plus in dealing with the overall health of people at risk for many diseases.”

Professor Belury concluded:

“It may be too early to recommend a broad use of omega-3 supplements throughout the public, especially considering the cost and the limited supplies of fish needed to supply the oil.
People should just consider increasing their omega-3 through their diet.”

The study was published in the journal Brain, Behavior, and Immunity (Kiecolt-Glaser et al., 2011).

source: PsyBlog


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The 3 Most Important Types of Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Omega-3 fatty acids are essential fats that have numerous benefits for health.
But, they’re not all equal.

By Freydi Hjalmarsdottir / Authority Nutrition November 19, 2015

Omega-3 fatty acids are essential fats that have numerous benefits for health.

However, not all omega-3 fatty acids are equal.

There are actually 11 different types. The three most important ones are ALA, EPA and DHA.

ALA is mostly found in plants, while EPA and DHA are mostly found in animal foods like fatty fish.

This article takes a detailed look at these three main types of omega-3 fatty acids.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids: A Recap

Like all fatty acids, omega-3s are chains of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen atoms.

Omega-3 fatty acids are polyunsaturated, meaning they have two or more double bonds (poly = many) in their chemical structure.

Just like the omega-6s, omega-3 fatty acids cannot be made by the body and we must get them from the diet. This is why they are termed essential fatty acids.

Omega-3 fatty acids are not simply stored and used for energy. They have important roles in all sorts of bodily processes, including inflammation, heart health and brain function.

Being deficient in omega-3s is associated with lower intelligence, depression, heart disease, arthritis, cancer and many other health problems.

Bottom Line: Omega-3 fatty acids are a group of polyunsaturated fats that we must get from the diet. They have numerous benefits for health.

1. ALA (Alpha-Linolenic Acid)

ALA is short for alpha-linolenic acid. This is the most common omega-3 fatty acid in the diet.

It is 18 carbons long, with three double bonds.

ALA is mostly found in plant foods, and needs to be converted into the EPA or DHA before it can be utilized by the human body.

However, this conversion process is inefficient in humans. Only a small percentage of ALA is converted into EPA, and even less into DHA.

When ALA is not converted to EPA or DHA, it remains inactive and is simply stored or used as energy, like other fats.

Some observational studies have found an association between a diet rich in ALA and a reduced risk of heart disease deaths, while others have found an increased risk of prostate cancer.

This increase in prostate cancer risk was not associated with the other main omega-3 types, EPA and DHA, which actually had a protective effect.

ALA is found in many plant foods, including kale, spinach, purslane, soybeans,walnuts and many seeds such as chia, flax and hemp seeds. ALA is also found in some animal fats.

Some seed oils, such as flaxseed oil and rapeseed (canola) oil are also high in ALA.

Bottom Line: ALA is short for alpha-linolenic acid. It is mostly found in plant foods, and needs to be converted into EPA or DHA in order to become active in the human body.

2. EPA (Eicosapentaenoic Acid)

EPA is short for eicosapentaenoic acid. It is 20 carbons long, with 5 double bonds.

Its main function is to form signaling molecules called eicosanoids, which play numerous physiological roles.

Eicosanoids made from omega-3s reduce inflammation, while those made from omega-6s tend to increase inflammation.

For this reason, a diet high in EPA may reduce inflammation in the body. Chronic, low-level inflammation is known to drive several common diseases.

Several studies have shown that fish oil, which is high in EPA and DHA, may reduce symptoms of depression. There is also some evidence that EPA is superior to DHA in this regard.

One study also found that EPA reduced the number of hot flashes experienced by menopausal women.

Both EPA and DHA are mostly found in seafood, including fatty fish and algae. For this reason, they are often called marine omega-3s.

EPA concentrations are highest in herring, salmon, eel, shrimp and sturgeon. Grass-fed animal products, such as dairy and meats, also contain some EPA.

Bottom Line: EPA is short for eicosapentaenoic acid. It is an omega-3 fatty acid that can reduce symptoms of depression and help fight inflammation in the body.

salmon

3. DHA (Docosahexaenoic Acid)

DHA is short for docosahexaenoic acid. It is 22 carbons long, with 6 double bonds.

DHA is an important structural component of skin and the retina in the eye.

Fortifying baby formula with DHA leads to improved vision in infants.

DHA is absolutely vital for brain development and function in childhood, as well as brain function in adults.

Early-life DHA deficiency is associated with problems later on, such as learning disabilities, ADHD, aggressive hostility and several other disorders.

A decrease in DHA during aging is also associated with impaired brain function and the onset of Alzheimer’s disease.

DHA is also reported to have positive effects on diseases such as arthritis, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and some cancers.

The role of DHA in heart disease is also well established. It can reduce blood triglycerides, and may lead to fewer harmful LDL particles.

DHA also causes the breakup of so called lipid rafts in membranes, making it more difficult for cancer cells to survive and for inflammation to occur.

As mentioned before, DHA is found in high amounts in seafood, including fatty fish and algae. Grass-fed animal products also contain some DHA.

Bottom Line: DHA is short for docosahexaenoic acid. It is a long-chain omega-3 fatty acid that is very important for brain development. It may also help protect against heart disease, cancer and other health problems.

Conversion Process: From ALA to EPA to DHA

ALA, the most common omega-3 fat, needs to be converted into EPA or DHA to become “active”.

Unfortunately, this conversion process is inefficient in humans. On average, only 1–10% is converted into EPA and 0.5–5% is converted into DHA.

Furthermore, the conversions are dependent on adequate levels of other nutrients, such as vitamins B6 and B7, copper, calcium, magnesium, zinc and iron. Many of these are lacking in the modern diet, especially among vegetarians.

The low conversion rate is also because omega-6 fatty acids compete for the same enzymes needed for the conversion process. Therefore, the high amount of omega-6 in the modern diet can reduce the conversion of ALA to EPA and DHA.

Bottom Line: ALA is not biologically active in the body. It needs to be converted into EPA and/or DHA in order to become active, but this conversion process is inefficient in humans.

8 Other Omega-3 Fatty Acids

ALA, EPA and DHA are the most abundant omega-3 fatty acids in the diet.

However, at least 8 other omega-3 fatty acids have been discovered:

  1. Hexadecatrienoic acid (HTA).
  2. Stearidonic acid (SDA).
  3. Eicosatrienoic acid (ETE).
  4. Eicosatetraenoic acid (ETA).
  5. Heneicosapentaenoic acid (HPA).
  6. Docosapentaenoic acid (DPA).
  7. Tetracosapentaenoic acid.
  8. Tetracosahexaenoic acid.

These fatty acids are found in some foods, but are not considered essential. However, some of of them do have biological effects.

Bottom Line: At least 8 other omega-3 fatty acids have been discovered. They are found in some foods, and can have biological effects.

Which Omega-3 Fatty Acid is Best?
The most important omega-3 fatty acids are EPA and DHA.

EPA and DHA are mainly found in seafood, including fatty fish and algae, meat and dairy from grass-fed animals, and omega-3 enriched or pastured eggs.

If you don’t eat a lot of these foods, then omega-3 supplements can be useful.

Freydis Hjalmarsdottir is a writer for Authority Nutrition. She holds a Master’s degree in Human Nutrition from the University of Iceland, a BSc in Human Nutrition from London Metropolitan University in London and a diploma in Nutritional Therapy from CNM, London.


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Omega 3s for Weight Loss: Timing is Everything

Michelle Schoffro Cook      January 17, 2014

You’ve probably heard that Omega 3 fatty acids are good for you. You may even know they help with weight loss. But, timing when you ingest them plays a huge role in how much fat you’ll burn or whether you’ll burn fat at all.

walnuts


When researching my book 60 Seconds to Slim, I discovered that when people take Omega 3 fatty acids, or ingest them from food sources, plays a significant role in whether they’ll lose weight. By taking Omega 3s or eating Omega-3 rich foods within one hour of working out, the body will burn 14% more fat than through exercise alone.

It’s easy to obtain Omega-3 fatty acids from diet if you consume the following foods on a daily basis:

  • A handful of raw, unsalted walnuts
  • A tablespoon of freshly-ground flaxseeds two times daily or a tablespoon of flaxseed oil drizzled on food
  • Fatty fish like wild salmon, flounder, catfish, sardines, mackerel, herring, kipper, or whitebait. Tuna also contains high amounts of Omega 3s but is frequently contaminated with high levels of mercury.

If you’re supplementing with Omega 3s, 2000 milligrams of eicosapentanoic acid (EPA) and docosahexanoic acid (DHA) is a typical daily dose.

Omega 3 fatty acids have many other health benefits too, including:

  • Reducing the risk of heart disease
  • Brain disease prevention
  • Preventing diabetes
  • Pain-reduction
  • Joint healing and arthritis-prevention


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10 Words Everyone Should Live By

BY DR. LAWRENCE ROSEN   JULY 10, 2013

I’ve noticed a trend in wellness circles. Whether in my work with patients or in my yoga classes, I keep coming across the same words. On a given day, one might be the theme of a dharma talk or a TED Talk video someone mentioned to me. (Or, as was the case one strange morning, the same word was featured in both.) I am sure the universe is sending me messages, and the more I mention these to friends and colleagues, it seems like they’re hearing the same words.

Which of these words resonates with you? My guess is some will at different times, but they’re all good words to live by.

1. Presence: To be fully engaged in what you are doing right now. And right now. And right now. Mindfulness of the present moment is something we never fully attain 100% of the time, but it shouldn’t stop us from trying. Whatever tools you use to cultivate presence, make time to hone them. That is why we practice (not perfect) yoga and meditation. 

2. Vulnerability: The willingness to be let others see you as you are. Vulnerability is to admit, “I am human. I am not perfect. I struggle, just like you.” No one has described vulnerability more effectively than Brene Brown. She teaches us that vulnerability is NOT weakness; in fact, being vulnerable is the most courageous thing we can be. Only when we are vulnerable can we truly connect and be open to intimacy. 

3. Clarity: Transparency and lucidity of vision and thought. Not just an uber popular, kinda creepy song by Zedd. Clarity is that aha moment when everything is crystal clear and it all just makes sense. I find it comes to me when I’m not trying to achieve it, but allowing my mind to relax and focus. It’s one of those things that the harder you try to achieve it, the further away it may feel. 

4. Equanimity: The evenness of mind to stand steady in the face of stress or challenge. I didn’t really “get” equanimity until last weekend, when a very wise friend told me it could best be explained by the phrase, “It’s all good.” The next day, I was meditating on this phrase at the beginning of a particularly challenging beach yoga session. (I know, boo-hoo, poor me.) Still, it was hot, with no wind, black flies biting. The teacher began by saying, “I was reading something this morning about equanimity…” Aha.

5. Gratitude: An intentional appreciation of what and who you have. An acceptance and explicit acknowledgment of what life brings you. Not taking anything for granted. As psychologist Robert Emmons notes, “Gratitude allows us to celebrate the present.”

6. Creativity: The use of your imagination to produce something—a thought, an object, really anything. Creativity implies a childlike playfulness, having the courage to make mistakes and keep pushing on. We desperately need more creativity in education and in the workplace. Never forget: you were once a child and some part of you always should be.

7. Authenticity: Walking the walk. The real you. The most honest “way of being.” To be authentic is to accept your self as is and offer that self to the world. The challenge is to learn to be OK with who you are and then… just be.

8. Passion: An incredibly intense and compelling desire for something (or someone) that is barely containable. And I think that’s the key. Your passion should be so palpable that it’s going to burst out of your eyeballs… but it just quite doesn’t. That’s what separates a crime of passion from the kind that makes you invest your whole being in the pursuit of your dreams and inspires others to follow you.

9. Compassion: Love and acceptance for another as if they were you. To treat them as you would want to be treated. To walk a mile in their shoes.  To see through their eyes as if they are your own. Compassion for yourself is the first step in having compassion for others. 

10. Love: Do I really have to explain this one? OK, just one quote: “We accept the love we think we deserve.” – Stephen Chbosky, The Perks of Being a Wallflower


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7 Ways To Prevent and Even Reverse Heart Disease With Nutrition

By: Sayer Ji      Monday, April 22nd 2013

Considering that heart disease is the #1 cause of death in the developed world, anything that can prevent cardiac mortality, or slow or even reverse the cardiovascular disease process, should be of great interest to the general public.
Sadly, millions of folks are unaware of the extensive body of biomedical literature that exists supporting the use of natural compounds for preventing and even reversing heart disease.
Instead, they spend billions buying highly toxic cholesterol-lowering pharmaceuticals with known cardiotoxicity, among 300 other proven side effects, simply because their doctor told them to do so.
So, with this in mind, let’s look at the biomedical literature itself.

Three Natural Substances that Reduce the Risk of Heart-Related Death

Omega-3 Fatty Acids: There is a robust body of research indicating that the risk of sudden cardiac death is reduced when consuming higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids. Going all the way back to 2002, the New England Journal of Medicine published a study titled,  “Blood levels of long-chain n-3 fatty acids and the risk of sudden death,” which found  “The n-3 fatty acids found in fish are strongly associated with a reduced risk of sudden death among men without evidence of prior cardiovascular disease.” Another 2002 study, published in the journal Circulation, found that Omega-3 fatty acid supplementation reduces total mortality and sudden death in patients who have already had a heart attack.[i] For additional research, view our dataset on the topic of Omega-3 fatty acids and the reduction of cardiac mortality.
It should be noted that the best-selling cholesterol drug class known as statins may actually reduce the effectiveness of omega-3 fats at protecting the heart. This has been offered as an explanation as to why newer research seems to show that consuming omega-3 fats does not lower the risk of cardiac mortality.
Vitamin D: Levels of this essential compound have been found to be directly associated with the risk of dying from all causes. Being in the lowest 25% percent of vitamin D levels is associated with a 26% increased rate of all-cause mortality.[ii]  It has been proposed that doubling global vitamin D levels could significantly reduce mortality.[iii] Research published in the journal Clinical Endocrinology in 2009 confirmed that lower vitamin D levels are associated with increased all-cause mortality but also that the effect is even more pronounced with cardiovascular mortality.[iv] This finding was confirmed the same year in the Journal of the American Geriatric Society, [v] and again in 2010 in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.[vi]
Magnesium: In a world gone mad over taking inorganic calcium supplementation for invented diseases such as T-score defined “osteopenia” or “osteoporosis,” despite their well-known association with increased risk of cardiac mortality, magnesium’s role in protecting against heart disease cannot be overstressed. It is well-known that even the accelerated aging of the heart muscle experienced by those in long space flight is due to magnesium deficiency. In 2010, the Journal of Biomedical Sciences reported that cardiovascular risks are significantly lower in individuals who excrete higher levels of magneiusm, indicating its protective role.[vii]  Another study published in the journalAtherosclerosis in 2011 found that low serum magnesium concentrations predict cardiovascular and all-cause mortality.[viii] Remember that when you are looking to ‘supplement’ your diet with magnesium go green. Chlorophyll is green because it has a magnesium atom at its center. Kale, for example, is far better a source of complex nutrition than magnesium supplements. But, failing the culinary approach, magnesium supplements can be highly effective at attaining a therapeutic and/or cardioprotective dose.
For an additional list of compounds that may reduce cardiac mortality, including cocoa, tea, wine and yes, even cholesterol itself, view our Reduce Cardiac Mortality page.

Four Natural Compounds Which May Unclog the Arteries

Pomegranate: this remarkable fruit has been found in a human clinical study to reverse the carotid artery thickness (i.e. blockage) by up to 29% within 1 year. [ix] There are a broad range of mechanisms that have been identified which may be responsible for this effect, including: 1) lowering blood pressure 2) fighting infection (plaque in arteries often contains bacteria and viruses) 3) preventing cholesterol oxidation 4) reducing inflammation.[x]
 
Arginine: Preclinical and clinical research indicates that this amino acid not only prevents the progression of atherosclerosis but also reverses pathologies associated with the process. (see also:Clogged Arteries and Arginine). One of the mechanisms in which it accomplishes this feat is by increasing the production of nitric oxide which is normally depressed in blood vessels where the inner lining has been damaged (endothelium) resulting in dysfunction.  
 
Garlic: Not only has garlic been found to reduce a multitude of risk factors associated with arteriosclerosis, the thickening and hardening of the arteries, but it also significantly reduces the risk of heart attack and stroke.[xi]  In vitro research has confirmed that garlic inhibits arteriosclerotic plaque formation.[xii]  Aged garlic extract has also been studied to inhibit the progression of coronary artery calcification in patients receiving statin therapy.[xiii]
And let us not forget, garlic’s benefits are extremely broad. We have identified over 150 diseases that this remarkable culinary and medicinal herb has been confirmed to be of potential value in treating and preventing and which can be viewed here: Garlic Health Benefits.
 
B-Complex: One of the few vitamin categories that has been confirmed in human studies to not only reduce the progression of plaque buildup in the arteries but actually reverse it is B-complex. A 2009 study published in the journal Stroke found that high dose B-complex vitamin supplementation significantly reduces the progression of early-stage subclinical atherosclerosis in healthy individuals.[xiv] More remarkably, a 2005 study published in the journal Atherosclerosis found a B-vitamin formula decreased the carotid artery thickness in patients at risk for cerebral ischemia.[xv]Another possible explanation for these positive effects is the role B-vitamins have in reducing the production of homocysteine, an artery and otherwise blood vessel scarring amino acid.[xvi]
 

Additional Heart Unfriendly Things To Avoid

No discussion of preventing cardiac mortality would be complete without discussing things that need to be removed in order to reduce risk, such as:
 
NSAIDs: Drugs like aspirin, ibuprofen, and Tylenol, have well-known association with increased cardiac mortality. Review six studies on the topic here: NSAID Cardiotoxicity.

Statin Drugs: It is the height of irony that the very category of drugs promoted to millions globally as the standard of care for primary and secondary prevention of cardiovascular disease and cardiac mortality are actually cardiotoxic agents, linked to no less than 300 adverse health effects. Statin drugs have devastating health effects. Explore the research here: Statin Drug Health Effects.
 
Wheat: while this connection is rarely discussed, even by those who promote grain-free and wheat free diets, wheat has profound cardiotoxic potential, along with over 200 documented adverse health effects: Wheat Toxicity. And why wouldn’t it, when the very countries that eat the most of it have the highest rate of cardiovascular disease and heart-related deaths? For an in-depth explanation read our article: Wheat’s Cardiotoxicity: As Serious As A Heart Attack.
 
Finally, for additional research on the topic of heart health promoting strategies visit our Health Guide:Heart Health.

References


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Top 10 Brain Foods

by Daily Health Post on March 22, 2013

Boost your brain power and keep your cognitive processes running smoothly into old age with these top ten brain foods.

1. Olive Oil
Drizzling your salad with olive oil or using it to sauté veggies may help preserve your brain’s overall health and function as you age. A 2010 study found that diets rich in monounsaturated fats, found in olive oil, can improve scores on test of overall cognitive function as well as verbal memory.

2. Avocados
Like olive oil, avocados contain monounsaturated fats, which also contribute to proper blood flow to the brain and lower blood pressure. Since high blood pressure is a significant contributor to cognitive decline, eating foods like avocados that lower your risk of hypertension is a great way to ward off age-related brain power shortages.

3. Sardines
Rich in Omega-3s, sardines give your brain the fatty acids it needs to build and maintain cell membranes. Diets containing high amounts of Omega-3s have also been associated with improved memory and focus, as well as a lower long-term risk of dementia.

4. Walnuts
These fiber and protein-rich nuts contain another type of Omega-3 not found in animal sources: alpha-linolenic acid, also known as ALA. Plus, just about every type of nut, including walnuts, is rich in vitamin E, which can improve blood flow and ensure that your brain is getting the oxygen it needs to work efficiently.

5. Spinach
Popeye may have had the right idea. Researchers at Harvard Medical School found that women who consumed more green leafy vegetables over 25 years exhibited fewer signs of age-related cognitive decline than those who avoided veggies like spinach, kale, and Brussels sprouts.


6. Coffee
Women who drink coffee have a far lower risk of developing depression than those who don’t, according to a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Although the effects haven’t been studied in men, it’s likely that this benefit translates to them, too.

7. Tea
If you’re not a fan of coffee, freshly brewed tea is an excellent alternative. Lower levels of caffeine may still protect the brain from depression and boost focus and memory without the risk of anxiety and jitteriness, while the antioxidants in tea improve blood flow to the brain.

8. Beans
Your brain runs on glucose, which means that maintaining steady levels of blood sugar help your brain to work better. Beans provide a steady source of energy to your brain, along with protein, fiber, and minerals that keep the rest of your body functioning well.

9. Blueberries
Since they’re frequently touted as an antioxidant-rich superfood, you may be getting somewhat bored of blueberries. But this little fact might reinvigorate your love for this fruit: a study in mice found that a blueberry-enriched diet can not only prevent, but can actually reverse memory loss related to object recognition.

10. Water
When it comes to immediate cognitive decline, dehydration is a serious culprit. In fact, when you don’t drink enough water, your brain actually shrinks. This means that your brain works far less efficiently than when it is hydrated, likely leading to impaired executive functions.
Have any other tips for good brain health? Share them in the comments section!

Sources:
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S089990071000136X
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/ana.23593/abstract
http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/omega-3/
http://archinte.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=1105943
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20336685
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15852398
http://www.webmd.com/diet/features/eat-smart-healthier-brain

source: dailyhealthpost.com