Cardiovascular Health

A healthy cardiovascular system is essential for
maintaining well-being and vitality. But, this system’s health is often
threatened by the formidable foes cholesterol and triglycerides, which
contribute to coronary heart disease (CHD). CHD, which can lead to heart attack,
is the most common heart disease in the United States and is often simply called
heart disease. Heart disease occurs when the arteries that supply the heart with
blood become hardened by calcification and narrowed by a buildup of excess
cholesterol and fat (plaque). When a clot forms over the plaque, blood flow
through the artery becomes blocked causing a heart attack. According to the
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, heart disease is the leading cause
of death in the United States and is a major cause of disability. Almost 700,000
people die of heart disease in the U.S. each year (about 29% of all U.S.
deaths).

Fortunately, the threat of heart disease can be
reduced or prevented by taking steps to decrease risk factors such as smoking,
high blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity, physical inactivity and
diabetes. Lifestyle modification can address most of these risk factors.
Additionally, certain nutritional ingredients can aid in supporting optimal
cardiovascular system health. Red yeast rice, phytosterols, vitamin K and
flavonoids, particularly polymethoxylated flavones (PMFs), are known to impart
heart healthy benefits.



High blood cholesterol is one of the major
risk factors for cardiovascular disease. Genetic predisposition accounts for
high cholesterol levels in some individuals, but for the majority, unhealthy
lifestyle and eating habits are key risk factors. Reducing LDL (bad) cholesterol
and elevating HDL (good) cholesterol are positive moves toward cardiovascular
health.


A
diet high in plant-based foods is associated with cardiovascular benefits. These
benefits may be partly due to plant sterols, or phytosterols. Phytosterols are
essential components of plant cell membranes and are found abundantly in wheat
germ, wheat bran, corn oil, peanuts, macadamia nuts, canola oil and olive oil.
Structurally phytosterols resemble cholesterol. Once ingested, they compete with
cholesterol during the absorption process, resulting in an inhibition of
cholesterol absorption and a decrease of LDL levels in the body. Numerous
research studies have documented the efficacy and safety of phytosterols in
lowering cholesterol. The health benefits of phytosterols are so encouraging
that the FDA approved a health claim for their role in the prevention of heart
disease. Products high in vegetarian ingredients are a good source of plant
sterols. Phytosterol is an ingredient in our Cholester-Reg®
II.



Flavonoids are also natural compounds found in
a wide variety of fruits and vegetables. Over 4,000 different flavonoids have
been identified, many of which are known to impart a variety of health benefits.
A subset of flavonoids known as polymethoxylated flavones (PMFs), found in a
variety of citrus fruits, possess especially beneficial properties. The most
common citrus PMFs, tangeretin and nobiletin, are found in the peels and juice
of

tangerines and oranges.


A joint
study by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and KGK Synergize, a Canadian
nutraceutical company, has shown that adding PMFs to the diet is effective
reduces LDL as well as total cholesterol and triglycerides. These actions are
attributed to an inhibition of the LDL structural protein, apolipoprotein B, in
liver cells. Apolipoprotein B is required for the formation of LDL cholesterol.
It also facilitates the transport and deposition of cholesterol in the arteries.
Inhibition of apolipoprotein B is therefore associated with reduced LDL levels
and a decrease in arterial plaque formation.



Red
yeast rice
, a product of rice fermented with Monascus purpureus yeast,
has long been used in China as both a food and medicinal substance. Recently, it
was discovered that red yeast rice contains substances that are similar to
prescription medications that lower cholesterol. It inhibits a body enzyme
called HMG-CoA reductase, an essential enzyme involved in hepatic cholesterol
synthesis. In a 12-week, controlled study at the Center for Human Nutrition,
UCLA School of Medicine, red yeast rice was found to significantly reduce total
cholesterol, LDL cholesterol and triglycerides compared with placebo, while HDL
cholesterol levels remained unchanged. Taking red yeast rice may lower the risk
of heart disease by helping to manage cholesterol levels. NSP offers a Red Yeast
Rice product formulated to support a healthy circulatory system.


References


1. Becker
M, Staab D, Von Bergmann K. Treatment of severe familial hypercholesterolemia

in childhood with sitosterol and sitostanol. J
Pediatr 1993 Feb;122(2):292-6

2. Pelletier X,
Belbraouet S, Mirabel D, Mordret F, Perrin JL, Pages X, Debry G. A diet

moderately enriched in phytosterols lowers
plasma cholesterol concentrations in

normocholesterolemic humans. Ann Nutr Metab
1995;39(5):291-5

3. Kurowska EM, Manthey JA.
Hypolipidemic effects and absorption of citrus

polymethoxylated flavones in hamsters with
diet-induced hypercholesterolemia. J Agric

Food Chem. 52, 10:2879-86, 2004.

4. Heber D, Yip I, Ashley JM, Elashoff DA,
Elashoff RM, Go VL. Cholesterol-lowering effects

of a proprietary Chinese red-yeast-rice
dietary supplement. Am J Clin Nutr. 1999

Feb;69(2):231-6.


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Posted: 03/08/2007 at 07:35 PM
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Posted: 03/08/2007 at 07:35 PM
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