Cardiovascular Health

Milled Flaxseed for 6 Months Linked to Lower Blood Pressure in Peripheral Artery Disease Patients

Like many diseases of stealth, hypertension can afflict a person without any telltale outward symptoms. It works its harm by taxing an overworked cardiovascular system, forcing the heart to work harder and potentially damaging arteries and other organs. It is the leading risk factor for stroke and contributes to other chronic diseases, including heart disease, metabolic syndrome, diabetes, weakened blood vessels in the kidneys and eyes and may affect brain function. High blood pressure was recently ranked the top risk factor for the global burden of disease. The good news…

Read More

Large Study Deems EPA + DHA Supplements No Value to High-Risk Heart Patients

Another controversial intervention trial, the Risk and Prevention Study, has concluded that long-chain n-3 PUFAs (n-3 LC-PUFAs) do not prevent cardiovascular death or disease in patients at high cardiovascular risk, a statement that created a media frenzy. The study’s findings led Dr. Eric Topol of the Scripps Clinic, La Jolla, Calif., to say, “I have an awful lot of patients that come to me on fish oil, and I implore them to stop taking it.” If that were not enough, he added, “Fish oil does nothing … it is a…

Read More

Long-Chain n-3 PUFAs in Blood Linked to 35% Lower Risk of Cardiovascular Death

As discussed in the previous article on the Risk and Prevention study, evidence for the effectiveness of long-chain n-3 PUFAs (n-3 LC-PUFAs) in reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease and mortality in primary and secondary prevention trials is inconsistent. Long considered to reduce the risk of sudden cardiac death, cardiovascular mortality and disease, low doses of n-3 LC-PUFAs may be of less benefit in patients who are receiving optimum medical care. At the same time, the evidence for the association between fish and n-3 LC-PUFA consumption and cardiovascular benefits is…

Read More

APOE Genotype Affects Association Between n-3 LC-PUFAs and Lipids

Changes in blood lipids in response to the consumption of long-chain n-3 PUFAs (n-3 LC-PUFAs) have been well studied in healthy and high-risk cardiovascular patients. Responses include significant reductions in triglycerides, especially in those with elevated levels, and increased high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) concentrations. Effects on low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) levels have been inconsistent, with small increases reported most frequently. EPA and DHA may affect blood lipids differently, with DHA more strongly associated with lower triglycerides and higher HDL-C and LDL-C levels compared with EPA. However, in studies with purified…

Read More

DHA-Triglycerides Reduce Brain Damage by Half in A Model of Neonatal Stroke

Less well known than adult strokes are those occurring in infants. They may affect up to 1,700 infants in the U.S. each year. Pediatric strokes are often related to changes in hemostasis in the mother or the placenta, particularly around the time of birth. An infant experiencing a stroke faces an increased risk of long-term neurological disability, particularly cerebral palsy. Faced with possible life-long neurological damage, infants could benefit considerably from interventions that limit the cellular and tissue damage from these strokes when they happen. A promising candidate for reducing…

Read More

Doubts About Linoleic Acid for Secondary Prevention of Heart Disease

A tenet of the received wisdom about dietary practices to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and the chance of dying from it is the substitution of foods rich in saturated and trans fatty acids with those rich in monounsaturated fatty acids and PUFAs. A pooled analysis of 11 cohort studies concluded that replacing saturated fatty acids with PUFAs rather than monounsaturated fatty acid or carbohydrates prevents coronary heart disease over a wide range of intakes. Persuasive data from Finland, where following this recommendation was associated with an 80% decrease…

Read More

Dietary n-3 PUFAs Linked to Reduced Carotid Intima-Media Thickness in Adults Impaired Fetal Growth

The presence in children of atherosclerosis and elevated risk factors for cardiovascular disease (CVD) has been well documented, with accelerated infant growth and childhood overweight and obesity among the contributing factors. Events in fetal life, such as impaired growth, as well as low birthweight have been associated with a higher risk of CVD in adulthood and with childhood endothelial dysfunction and structural vascular changes. One clinical feature of early atherosclerosis in children is increased carotid intima-media thickness (cIMT). In a recent study, investigators reported that impaired fetal growth or low…

Read More

Higher EPA Linked to Lower Cardiovascular Mortality in Chronic Heart Failure

In chronic heart failure, a person’s heart is unable to pump sufficient blood to meet the body’s needs. As a result, the individual experiences shortness of breath, fatigue and swollen ankles, feet and legs. In 2008, about 5.7 million U.S. patients experienced heart failure, a leading cause of hospitalization. Approximately half those diagnosed with heart failure will die within 5 years. Yet, the heart failure hospitalization rate fell 29% between 1998 and 2008, mainly because fewer patients were hospitalized with the condition. One-year mortality rates also fell. In spite of…

Read More

Higher EPA and DHA Linked to Lower Risk of Heart Failure and Mortality After Myocardial Infarction

As evidence accumulates that n-3 LC-PUFAs may reduce the risk of developing heart failure, investigators in Japan were curious whether n-3 LC-PUFA levels might be related to the occurrence of heart failure after an acute myocardial infarction. Existing cardiovascular disease is associated with a higher risk of developing heart failure. The researchers recruited 712 participants from those enrolled in the Osaka Acute Coronary Insufficiency Study, a multicenter prospective study on patients with an acute myocardial infarction. The study was designed to determine whether serum n-3 LC-PUFA levels were associated with…

Read More

Omega-3 Benefits Outweigh Mercury Risks in Chance of Heart Attack

Eating fish regularly or consuming supplements containing fish oil or long-chain omega-3 fatty acids has been associated with a significantly lower risk of developing heart disease and dying from it according to many studies. Although not all studies have reached the same conclusion, there is enough evidence favoring the heart-health benefits of eating fish that many health authorities worldwide have recommended that all adults increase the amount of fish they consume. Still, in many countries where heart disease is the leading cause of death, fish consumption remains low. One reason…

Read More