February 2019 - Wakunaga of America

The Latest News on Heart Health

Chocolate for Heart Health…too good to be true?

Something we keep hearing over and over, is that chocolate is linked to heart health. Past studies have indicated that foods that contain cocoa bean, specifically dark chocolate, are heart healthy, and that people who eat more chocolate have lower rates of heart attack, heart failure, and even death from heart disease. But what do current studies show? In one recent study in Denmark conducted by Harvard University, findings showed that chocolate, predominantly dark chocolate, also protects against another heart condition, called atrial fibrillation (AF), most likely due to the high concentration of flavanols, which may promote healthy blood vessel function. AF affects millions of people in the United States every year, and raises a person’s risk of heart failure, stroke, dementia, and death.

The study included over 55 thousand men and women whose health was monitored over the span of 13 years. Compared with those who ate a one-ounce serving of chocolate less than once per month, men and women who ate one to three servings per month had a 10 percent lower rate of atrial fibrillation; those who ate one serving per week had a 17 percent lower rate. The benefits leveled off with greater amounts of chocolate consumed, with those eating one or more servings per day having a 16 percent lower rate of AF. This suggests that even small amounts of cocoa consumption can have a positive health impact.

But it is also important to note that the heart health benefits of chocolate seemed to lessen in people who ate more than this serving size, due to the saturated fat and sugar content. So the main takeaway is that it’s best to eat in moderation.

Coffee…Good or Bad for the Heart?

Coffee. For some folks, it’s not just a beverage, but a way of life. According to a survey by the National Coffee Association, 83 percent of U.S. adults drink coffee. It helps us start our day, and gives us that afternoon pick-me-up, and sometimes fuels our late nights. What we’ve heard from cardiologists in the past, is that we should limit our coffee intake, because its caffeine could promote the development of cardiovascular disease, heart attack, strokes, and other cardiac events. But, recent studies show something different. Basically, if coffee is consumed in moderation, the high amount of polyphenols, which are antioxidant nutrients that help offset inflammation, can actually help protect us from heart disease.

As it turns out, coffee drinkers are less likely to die from not only heart attacks, strokes, and heart failure, but also from cancer and Alzheimer’s too. In the Nurse’s Health Study, a long-term look at more than 80,000 women showed that there was a reduction in stroke risk among women who drank 2-3 cups of coffee per week (Sinatra, 2017). Additional research has found similar results, regardless of gender. So keep drinking your polyphenol-packed morning cup of joe! Just don’t use too many artificial sweeteners, which may offset the health benefits associated with coffee.

Red Wine…a drink to your heart?

Red wine specifically has been touted as having heart health benefits for years now, among them a reduction in coronary artery disease. Any links between red wine and fewer heart attacks are still not completely understood. Part of the benefit might be related to the fact that the antioxidants in wine may increase levels of HDL (good) cholesterol and protect against cholesterol buildup. This might sounds like great news, but doctors are a little wary of encouraging people to start drinking alcohol, especially if there is a family history of alcohol abuse.

Resveratrol may be the key ingredient in red wine that helps prevent damage to blood vessels, reduces low-density lipoprotein (LDL, bad cholesterol), and prevents blood clots. Some research shows that resveratrol could be linked to a lower risk of inflammation and blood clotting, which can lead to heart disease. But other studies showed no benefits from resveratrol in preventing heart disease. More research is needed. So if you already drink red wine, continue to do so in moderation. As a refresher, moderation means: up to one drink a day for women of all ages, up to one drink a day for men over the age of 65, up to two drinks a day for men age 65 and younger.

As is true with many things in life, moderation is key. So for now, go ahead and enjoy moderate portions of chocolate, red wine, and that morning cup of coffee! But in addition to enjoying moderate amounts of these items, don’t forgot to keep up with that healthy diet and exercise, which truly has the most profound impact on cardiovascular health.

References

  1. http://epic.iarc.fr/centers/denmark.php
  2. https://www.health.harvard.edu/heart-health/is-chocolate-heart-healthy
  3. https://heartmdinstitute.com/diet-nutrition/coffee-good-bad-heart-health-2/
  4. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/heart-disease/in-depth/red-wine/art-20048281

This article is for informational purposes only. This article is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment and should never be relied upon for specific medical advice.

Podcast: How to Boost Heart Health with Aged Garlic Extract

In part one of this podcast, Dr. LaValle expands on the American Heart Association’s “Life’s Simple 7” for optimal Heart Health, including why aged garlic extract is among the most commonly used supplement in people with heart disease. He also mentions that numerous studies suggest that aged garlic extract may help improve risk factors for heart disease, including supporting healthy blood pressure levels, keeping bad cholesterol in check, increasing a hormone that helps protect against inflammation and atherosclerosis as well as helping improve insulin sensitivity and the management of blood sugar, thinning your blood, and staving off plaque in arteries.

In part two of this podcast, Dr. LaValle and Dr. Hoffman continue their discussion on heart health, and expand on the benefits of incorporating aged garlic extract into your diet. Click below to take a listen!

“Young at Heart” Podcast Part 1

“Young at Heart” Podcast Part 2

About Dr. James LaValle

Jim LaValle, R.Ph., C.C.N, a nationally recognized clinical pharmacist, author, board-certified clinical nutritionist, and founder of Metabolic Code Enterprises, Inc. a web platform and practice solution enterprise, launching AIR Support and the Metabolic Code Assessment.

About Dr. Ronald Hoffman

Dr. Ronald Hoffman is one of New York’s pioneering Integrative Medicine practitioners. He obtained his MD from Albert Einstein College of Medicine, and has been practicing for 34 years. His radio program, Intelligent Medicine, is the longest-running physician-hosted health program on the air.

This article is for informational purposes only. This article is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment and should never be relied upon for specific medical advice.

Heart Health Hacks

Don’t worry, these hacks will not be hard to keep up with. We chose these for a reason…they are very achievable. Living a heart-healthy lifestyle doesn’t have to be time-consuming or expensive, anyone can do it by making a few small tweaks in their everyday routine.

Before we get into the list, we want to preface this by saying that one of the best ways to keep up these healthy hacks and habits is to repeat them for 21 days, and build them into your daily routine. Eventually, you will take part in these hacks so many times that they will become second nature, and you won’t have to think twice (Richardson, 2017).

Here are 5 habits you can practice every day to achieve a more heart-healthy lifestyle:

  1. Eat colorful foods: It is recommended by the American Heart Association to get at least eight servings of fruits and vegetables per day. It sounds like a lot but you can do it. Each time you feel the need to snack on something, try reaching for something fun and colorful, like an apple, cucumber, bell pepper with hummus, and you’ll be at eight servings in no time. Much healthier than reaching for a bag of chips or handful of candy. Nowadays, lot’s of grocery stores even offer to-go style cups of fruits and veggies with hummus and small pieces of cheese, pretzels…etc., so take advantage!
  2. Portion patrol: Eating fruits and vegetables is all well and good, but not if you’re eating two or three times what your portion-size should be. Controlled portion sizes should be important to anyone concerned with heart health. A quick way to get the right portion size is to eat off of a smaller plate. The average dinner plate today clocks in at twelve inches, so switching to a slightly smaller plate, like eight inches, will help you control your portions (it will also make your portions looks larger since your plate is a bit smaller, win-win!).
  3. Catch those Z’s: Sleep is so important for a healthy heart. People who don’t sleep enough are at greater risk for cardiovascular disease and coronary heart disease. Also, sleep is when your body repairs itself, so you want to give it ample time. Your sleep also affects your energy levels for the next day, as well as your ability to control your weight. Make a bedtime, and stick to it. Aim for getting 6-8 hours of sleep per night. It helps to shut off your electronic devices half an hour before bedtime, and just let the body unwind.
  4. Get moving: Try to increase the amount of steps you take in a day. That could mean incorporating a daily 30 minute walk, or it could just mean parking farther away from the entrance of the store. Parking towards the perimeter of the parking lot will help get those steps in and increase your heart rate. If you are at work, once an hour, try to get up, get outside, and take a lap around the office.
  5. Brush and floss: This might not sound like it is related to heart health, but you’d be surprised. There are some studies that show that your dental health and cardiac health are intertwined. There is definitive proof that the bacteria in the mouth, when released into the bloodstream, can lead to hardening of the arteries, which, in turn, can lead to heart attack and stroke. So make sure to brush twice each day, and floss once.

Don’t forget to take your supplements! Kyolic Aged Garlic Extract is great for strengthening your cardiovascular system by reducing major risk factors and promoting overall heart health.  Kyolic Formula 106 contains Aged Garlic Extract, vitamin E, hawthorn berry, and cayenne pepper, and is designed to help maintain healthy circulation, normal cholesterol, and overall heart health.

Practice these simple hacks every day, and prioritize your heart health!

References

  1. https://www.ahchealthenews.com/2017/03/14/5-life-hacks-heart-doctors-use-stay-healthy-every-day/

This article is for informational purposes only. This article is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment and should never be relied upon for specific medical advice.

Do Social Ties Help or Hurt Your Health?

And they’re not just referring to romantic partners, but to family, friends, neighbors, and others, who can ultimately influence our biology and well-being. Not to be a bummer, but studies show that those with the lowest level of involvement in social relationships have poorer health, higher rates of depression, and even slightly higher mortality rates, compared to those individuals with greater social involvement.

In addition to Heart Health Month, Valentine’s Day also falls in February. For some of us, this holiday means getting together with loved ones, friends, and family. Such occasions give us the chance to check in with each other, exchange pleasantries, or lend a supportive shoulder. Social connections like this not only make us happy, but they also impact our health in ways that are just about as powerful and impactful as getting a full night’s sleep, having a healthy diet, and more (Mayo Clinic, 2016). The bottom line is that people who interact regularly with family, friends, and even their community, are happier and healthier.

So what makes these social relationships so healthy for us? One way, is that these relationships reduce our stress. Stress, when not managed and dealt with in healthy ways, can affect coronary arteries, our gut function, and the immune system. Additionally, research shows that caring behaviors even trigger the release of stress-reducing hormones.

It’s not enough to just have a couple of acquaintances either. Health-inducing relationships have to be meaningful, quality relationships. One study, for example, found that women who were in highly satisfying marriages, or marital-type relationships, have a lower risk for cardiovascular disease, compared with those in less satisfying marriages. This study also found signs of reduced immunity in couples during hostile marital spats (Harvard Health Publishing, 2010).

But what about friendships…are those important too? Let’s check the relationship meter.

Friendships are very important to your health. It takes some time and energy to maintain friendships, but they are very worthwhile, and can have a major impact on your health. Friends are there for you in challenging times, when you need support, and they are also there with you to celebrate the good times as well. Friendship prevents loneliness and gives you a source of companionship. Friends can also increase your sense of well-being, boost your happiness and reduce your stress, improve your confidence, help you cope with traumas, and encourage you to change or avoid your unhealthy lifestyle habits. Those with a strong supporting group of friends can enjoy reduced risk of many significant health problems, including depression, high blood pressure, and even an unhealthy BMI (body mass index).

Interestingly, scientists have also been looking into whether simply believing that you have strong social support may help protect against the harms of stress. For example, long-term conflicts with others are a stressor that can affect health. But research shows that its effects are buffered by perceived social support, which is good news. Also, simply hugging a person can help reduce their stress. People who reported having more frequent hugs were less likely to develop an infection after being exposed to a virus (News in Health, 2017).

Now that you know how important social relationships are to your health, here are some tips you can use to make a few more friends and expand your social circle. You may find it helpful to attend community events. Look for groups or clubs that gather around an interest or hobby you share. These groups are often listed in the newspaper or on community bulletin boards. There are also lot’s of websites out there nowadays that facilitate these kind of group hangouts.

Another helpful tip is to volunteer. Giving your time to a worthy, charitable cause not only makes you feel better, but it’s also a great place to meet people. You’d be surprised at the strong connections that you can forge with people who have mutual interests (like volunteering).

Remember, it’s never too late to build new relationships or reconnect with old friends. Investing in these social ties can pay off in the long term, and make you a healthier and happier person.

References

  1. https://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletter_article/the-health-benefits-of-strong-relationships
  2. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/in-depth/friendships/art-20044860
  3.  https://newsinhealth.nih.gov/2017/02/do-social-ties-affect-our-health

This article is for informational purposes only. This article is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment and should never be relied upon for specific medical advice.

Kyolic® Aged Garlic Extract™ Found to Reduce Gingivitis

How Does It Occur

Typically attributed to poor oral hygiene, gingivitis commonly occurs because a film of plaque, or bacteria, accumulates on the teeth. Over time, this can cause red, inflamed gums that bleed easily when a person brushes their teeth. Left untreated, gingivitis can progress to a more serious case of periodontitis that can lead to tooth loss. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research report that gingivitis is also associated with an increased risk of several diseases including cardiovascular disease.

While brushing and flossing are an important part of treatment for the condition, this new study, which appeared in The Journal of Clinical Dentistry, found that AGE improves symptoms compared to placebo. The randomized, controlled, examiner-blind, two-treatment parallel group study involved 134 participants suffering from gingivitis. Each participant was assigned to take either 2.4g of AGE or an identical dummy pill every day for four months. Inflammation and bleeding were assessed periodically throughout the study. Those taking the AGE experienced improved oral health as evidenced by a significant reduction in both of these markers.

The subject of more than 800 published studies and scientific papers, Kyolic AGE has been shown in earlier research to support healthy cholesterol and blood pressure levels, reduce coronary artery calcification, improve arterial integrity, enhance metabolic heath, and strengthen immunity. This is the first study to look at AGE’s beneficial impact on oral health.

“This unexpected finding adds more evidence of Kyolic Aged Garlic Extract’s ability to improve health from head to toe,” says Jay Levy, Director of Sales for Wakunaga of America. “Earlier research has pointed to AGE’s anti-inflammatory and antioxidant actions for much of its ability to benefit a variety of health conditions. Now we can include oral health.”

This article is for informational purposes only. This article is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment and should never be relied upon for specific medical advice.

Podcast: Staying Young at Heart

Some of the quick tips provided by Dr. LaValle included: getting in a daily walk, stretching everyday, lifting weights (since it promotes healthy bones), and meditation.

For the full podcast, click here!

About Dr. Jim LaValle

Jim LaValle, R.Ph., C.C.N, a nationally recognized clinical pharmacist, author, board-certified clinical nutritionist, and founder of Metabolic Code Enterprises, Inc. a web platform and practice solution enterprise, launching AIR Support and the Metabolic Code Assessment.

About the podcast host Danielle Lin 

Danielle Lin is  the creator and host of the nationally syndicated talk radio program, The Danielle Lin Show: The Art of Living and Science of Life, Danielle Lin, C.N., has been a leading voice in conscious media for over 30 years. For more information on her website, click here.

This article is for informational purposes only. This article is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment and should never be relied upon for specific medical advice.