Heart Health Archives - Wakunaga of America

Key Supplements for Better Heart Health

Before we get into the best supplements for your cardiovascular health, let’s take a closer look at some basics regarding eating well for a healthy heart. Now, you may be eating plenty of food, but your body may not be getting the nutrients it needs to be healthy. Nutrient-rich foods have vitamins, minerals, protein, fiber, fats and carbohydrates, and are generally lower in calories. They may help you to manage your weight, cholesterol, and blood pressure levels. Overall, a heart healthy diet emphasizes eating a variety of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, skinless poultry and fish, nuts and legumes. Try to limit saturated fat, trans fat, sodium, red meat, sweets and sugar-sweetened beverages. If you choose to eat red meat, compare labels and select the leanest cuts available. One diet that fits this pattern is called the DASH diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension)1. Most healthy eating patterns can be adapted based on calorie requirements and your personal food preferences.

Top Supplements for Heart Health

In addition to eating well, you may need to consider adding a few heart healthy supplements to your routine to help fill any nutritional gaps in your diet.

Aged Garlic Extract (AGE)

Aged Garlic Extract is one of the most heavily researched herbal medicines today and is among the most commonly used supplements in people with heart disease. In studies, AGE is the type of garlic supplement that has been most consistently shown to have favorable effects on heart health. Kyolic AGE is produced through a proprietary aging process that eliminates garlic odor and harsh side effects. A heart-healthy dose is 1,200 mg daily. AGE can support healthy blood pressure levels, keep bad cholesterol in check, protect LDL (bad cholesterol) from oxidation, increase adiponectin (a hormone that helps protect against inflammation), thins your blood, and staves off plaque in your artieries2.

Coenzyme Q10

CoQ10 is a natural compound made by your body that has antioxidant properties. It is considered an “energy generator,” that enhances your heart’s pumping ability. Your body naturally makes some CoQ10, but it only makes a limited amount. CoQ10 is especially important to take if you are on a statin drug, because studies show that when you take a statin drug to lower cholesterol, you deplete CoQ103.

Red Yeast Rice

Red Yeast Rice is a fermented rice supplement produced by growing red yeast on white rice. Red yeast contains a small amount of a naturally occurring statin that lowers cholesterol. So it works like a statin drug by blocking an enzyme that is involved in making cholesterol4. If you’ve had side effects from taking a statin drug though, such as muscle aches and weakness, you should be cautious with red yeast rice, especially high doses, as you may experience the same side effects from the supplement. It is always best to talk to your doctor before starting a new supplement regimen.

Phytosterols

Phytosterols are compounds naturally found in the cell membranes of foods from certain plants, and they have a chemical structure that’s similar to cholesterol. Because of that, they can compete with cholesterol for absorption in your gut, which may help lower LDL in your bloodstream5. You consume small amounts of phytosterols when you eat vegetable oils, nuts, seeds, and whole grains. Foods containing at least 0.65 grams per serving of plant sterols, eaten twice a day as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol, may reduce the risk of heart disease by lowering cholesterol levels. Adding a supplement with Phytosterols can ensure that you are doing all you can to keep your cholesterol levels in check.

Take charge of your heart health by eating well, keep exercising and working some of these cardiovascular supplements into your daily routine.

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.

Be in the Know About High Blood Pressure

According to the American Heart Association, 116.4 million—or nearly half of all US adults—are estimated to have high blood pressure. In recognition of national “High Blood Pressure Education Month,” we wanted to shed a little light on this topic, starting by explaining what high blood pressure is. Blood pressure is the force of your blood as it flows through the arteries in your body. Arteries are blood vessels that carry blood from your heart to the rest of your body. When your heart beats, it pushes blood through your arteries. As the blood flows, it puts pressure on your artery walls. This is called blood pressure. High blood pressure (a.k.a. hypertension) happens when your blood moves through your arteries at a higher pressure than normal.1 Let’s take a look at different things that can cause high blood pressure, how you can reduce your risk, and what nutrients may be able to help.


What causes high blood pressure, and what are some of its symptoms?

There are two types of hypertension, and they each have different causes.

Primary hypertension: Primary hypertension is also called “essential hypertension.” This kind of hypertension develops over time with no identifiable cause.2 Most people have this type of hypertension. A combination of factors may play a role in primary hypertension:

Genes: Some people are genetically more likely to get hypertension. This may be from gene mutations or genetic anomalies from your parents.

Physical changes: If something in your body changes, you may begin to experience the effects of high blood pressure. For example, it is thought that changes in your kidney function due to aging may upset the body’s natural balance of salts and fluid. This change may cause your body’s blood pressure to rise.

Environment: Over time, unhealthy lifestyle choices like limited exercise and unhealthy food choices can lead to weight problems. And being overweight can increase your chances of getting hypertension.

Secondary hypertension: Secondary hypertension usually happens pretty quickly, and can become more severe than primary hypertension. Some causes of secondary hypertension include: kidney disease, sleep apnea, thyroid problems, adrenal gland issues, among others.3

High blood pressure is known as a “silent killer.” You may not feel that anything is wrong, but high blood pressure could be quietly causing damage that can threaten your health. Most people won’t even experience any symptoms, and even if they do, they might attribute these symptoms to other issues. Some symptoms of hypertension include shortness of breath, headaches, nosebleeds, flushing, and dizziness. These symptoms require immediate medical attention. When you have your yearly physical, get your blood pressure checked and talk to your doctor about your risks for hypertension. The best prevention is to know your numbers and make lifestyle changes as needed.

How you can reduce your risk

When it comes to reducing your risk of hypertension, it all comes down to making some key lifestyle changes. If you successfully control your high blood pressure with a healthy lifestyle, you might avoid, delay, or reduce the need for medication, too. Here are some lifestyle changes that can help reduce your risk:

Watch your waistline: Blood pressure often increases as weight increases, and losing even a small amount of weight can help reduce your risk. Being overweight can also cause sleep apnea and other breathing disruptions at night, which can further raise your blood pressure. Besides losing weight in general, also pay attention to the weight you carry specifically around your waist. Carrying too much weight around your waist can put you at greater risk of high blood pressure. The rule of thumb, is that men are at risk if their waist measurement is more than 40 inches, and women are more at risk if their waist measurement is more than 35 inches.4

Exercise Regularly: Regular physical activity, which amounts to getting in about 30 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity most days of the week, can also help to lower your blood pressure. With exercise, though, you have to be consistent. Because if you stop exercising, your blood pressure can rise again. Some examples of aerobic physical activity that can help to lower your blood pressure include things like swimming, Zumba, and high intensity interval training. If you have any concerns, you can talk to your doctor about developing an exercise program that is right for you.

Eat a healthy diet: Eating a healthy diet that is high in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy, and one that is low in sodium, fat, and cholesterol, can help to lower your blood pressure. Sometimes it can be hard changing the foods you eat, especially if you’re used to eating the same thing every day. It may be helpful to keep a food diary. This can shed some light on your eating habits, and may give you some insight into something you’ve been eating everyday which has not been the healthiest for you. Another helpful tip is to be a smart shopper. Read food labels when you shop, and pay attention to sodium levels, which can increase blood pressure if consumed in high amounts.

Top nutrients and herbs that may help

Aged Garlic Extract: According to a recent study published in the journal Experimental and Therapeutic Medicine,5 supplementing with Aged Garlic Extract effectively reduces blood pressure in people with hypertension, while also improving arterial stiffness. This groundbreaking study focused on 12 clinical trials involving 553 people with high blood pressure. It confirms earlier findings that aged garlic extract lowers systolic blood pressure by an average of 8.3 mmHg and diastolic blood pressure an average of 5.5 mmHg. The effectiveness of this plant-based supplement is comparable to the benefits provided by standard drugs used to treat high blood pressure, but without the potential drug side effects.

Nattokinase: Another nutrient that can help to lower blood pressure is nattokinase, which comes from the Japanese food natto. Nattokinase works by reinforcing the actions of plasmin, your body’s own enzyme that breaks down the clotting agent called fibrin, thereby preventing abnormal thickening of the blood. Because plasmin production slows as you age, this type of support is another really great option for those who would like to help lower blood pressure naturally.7

Managing your blood pressure is a lifelong commitment, but one that can ultimately lead to a healthier and longer life. For a free guide all about high blood pressure, natural ways to manage it, and how to reduce your risk, check out this healthy living guide.7 If you would also like a printed copy mailed to you, please contact us.

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.

CoQ10 – How It Can Help Your Heart, Energy and Functional Health

Coenzyme Q10, or CoQ10, is an antioxidant that your body produces naturally, that your cells use for growth and maintenance. CoQ10 is present in every cell of your body. However, the highest concentrations are found in organs with the greatest energy demands, such as the heart, kidneys, lungs, and liver.1 This antioxidant is found in most living things and is used by our cells to process energy and function properly.2 Naturally occurring CoQ10 decreases as we age, but luckily, CoQ10 is available in some foods, and also as a supplement. One thing is for certain, plenty of research has revealed CoQ10’s wide range of health benefits.


Why Our Bodies Need CoQ10

Our cells use CoQ10 to help turn the energy we get from consuming carbohydrates into adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the form of energy our cells can actually use to carry out their functions in the body. ATP is essential for healthy metabolism, bones, and neurological and muscle functioning. The healthy body naturally produces coenzyme Q10 in quantities sufficient to prevent deficiency, though this production does decrease with age, which we will talk a little more about below. CoQ10 also functions as an antioxidant, and is particularly effective when combined with vitamins E and C and selenium, to help prevent free radical damage to our cells.

It is not an understatement to say that CoQ10 is absolutely essential for life. It helps to metabolize fats and carbohydrates, and maintains cell membrane stability. It is also an effective free radical scavenger that may beneficially affect the aging process. As we age, our body’s production of CoQ10 declines gradually. Because it’s so important to energy production, researchers believe that this decline may be a factor in the effects of aging on the human body, such as heart failure, skin damage, and cognitive health .3

Research on CoQ10 has shown that it can improve these specific conditions:

Heart conditions: CoQ10 has been shown to improve symptoms of congestive heart failure. Some research also suggests that when combined with other nutrients, CoQ10 might aid recovery in people who have had bypass and heart valve surgeries.4

Migraines: Some research suggests that CoQ10 might decrease the frequency of these headaches. Since CoQ10 lives mainly in the mitochondria of cells, it has been shown to improve mitochondrial function and help decrease the inflammation that may occur during migraines.5

Physical performance: Because CoQ10 is involved in energy production, it’s believed that this supplement might improve your physical performance. It can help to decrease oxidative stress in the cells and improve mitochondrial function.6

Foods Containing CoQ10

While you can easily consume CoQ10 as a supplement, it can also be found in some foods, especially meat, poultry and fish. Though it is important to note that the amounts of the antioxidant in these foods are not high enough to significantly boost levels in the body, healthy eating offers a number of benefits to whole body wellness. Here are some foods that contain CoQ10:

Meats: pork, beef, and chicken

Fatty fish: Trout, herring, sardines

Legumes: Soybeans, lentils, and peanuts

Nuts and seeds: Sesame seeds and pistachios

Veggies: Spinach, broccoli and cauliflower

Fruit: oranges and strawberries

Oils: Soybean and canola

Real-Life Example of Benefits of CoQ10

While it’s nice explaining the benefits of CoQ10, it helps to see them in a real-life example. A double-blind, placebo-controlled study, which was conducted at the Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, looked at the impact CoQ10 had on a group of firefighters who were at moderate risk of heart disease. All of the firefighters underwent testing using Cardiac CT, an imaging technology that accurately measures coronary artery calcium deposits (CAC) and plaque buildup in the arteries. C-reactive protein (CRP) – a marker of internal inflammation that may contribute to a higher risk of heart attack – was also measured.

Once their risk was determined, the firefighters were given either a placebo or a combination of 1,200 mg of Aged Garlic Extract (AGE) and 120 mg of CoQ10 every day for 12 months. AGE was included in this study because it is known to support and strengthen your cardiovascular system by maintaining circulatory function and promoting overall heart health. The UCLA researchers found that the firefighters taking the AGE/CoQ10 supplement had significantly less CAC in their arteries and lower CRP levels than those taking the placebo. And that translated to a lower risk of future cardiovascular issues.7

But the benefits of CoQ10 aren’t just reserved for firefighters. Since both calcification and inflammation are hidden risk factors for heart attack and stroke, taking CoQ10 (especially when paired with Aged Garlic Extract) is a smart and simple way to protect your cardiovascular system.

Whether you get it through your diet, a supplement, or all of the above, this antioxidant can help your cells to process energy, can prevent free radical damage, and can improve certain cardiovascular symptoms too. If these sound like areas of health that you need to improve, be sure to ask about CoQ10 at your local health food store.

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.

 

Supporting Circulation During Quarantine

With most of us sheltering in place, exercise isn’t exactly our number one priority. Our stress levels might be a little higher, we might be thinking about our families, our jobs, the state of the world…the list goes on. To add to that, we are surrounded by the comforts of home, and our gyms and fitness studios may still be closed. This increase in sedentary behavior can take a toll on our fitness goals, our mood, and importantly, our circulatory system. So why does our circulatory system matter so much? Let’s take a look.


Your Circulatory System

The circulatory system is made up of vessels and muscles that help control the flow of blood around the body. The main components of this system are the heart, arteries, capillaries, and veins.1 The circulatory system does a very important job in your body. Not only does it keep your cells healthy, but it essentially keeps you alive. The heart constantly receives signals from the rest of the body that direct how hard it needs to pump to properly supply the body with what it needs. For example, when we sleep, the body sends electrical signals to the heart that tells it to slow down. And when we engage in heavy exercise, the heart receives the message to pump harder to deliver extra oxygen to the muscles.2 Let’s take a closer look at some of the main components of your circulatory system.

The heart is the key organ in the circulatory system. As a hollow, muscular pump, its main function is to propel blood throughout the body. It usually beats from 60 to 100 times per minute, but it can go much faster when it needs to. It beats about 100,000 times a day, and more than 30 million times per year.3

Blood vessels carrying blood away from the heart are called arteries. They are the thickest blood vessels, with muscular walls that contract to keep the blood moving away from the heart through the body.

Artery walls have three layers:4

  • The endothelium: Provides a smooth lining for blood to flow over as it moves through the artery.
  • The media: is the middle part of the artery, made up of muscle and elastic tissue.
  • The adventitia: is the tough covering that protects the outside of the artery.

Blood vessels that carry blood back to the heart are called veins. They are not as muscular as arteries, but they contain valves that prevent blood from flowing backward. Veins have the same three layers that arteries do, but they are thinner and less flexible.

Now that we have taken a closer look at what makes up your circulatory system, what are some common conditions that can affect the health of your circulatory system?

Common Circulatory System Conditions

Atherosclerosis

Atherosclerosis happens when plaque builds up along the walls of your arteries. Risk factors that can contribute to plaque buildup include: high blood pressure, high cholesterol, tobacco use, diabetes, an unhealthy diet, and low levels of physical activity. This condition can also gradually make the arteries narrower, affecting the amount of blood that can flow through them. Because of this, organs and tissues may not get enough oxygen.5

High Blood Pressure

Your blood pressure is the force that your blood exerts on the walls of your arteries as your heart pumps. High blood pressure can eventually damage your heart and blood vessels, as well as other organs like your brain, kidneys, and eyes.6

Blood Clots

A blood clot can happen when blood coagulates or clumps together to form a gel-like mass. This clot can get stuck in a blood vessel where it blocks the flow of blood. Blood clots can cause things like heart attacks, stroke, deep vein thrombosis, and even a pulmonary embolism.6

Healthy Circulation Action Plan

To improve the health and performance of your circulatory system, there are several lifestyle changes you will need to consider making, with the most important change being diet.

Diet

Your diet has a significant effect upon the overall health and wellness of your circulatory system. Foods that can negatively impact vascular health are those with large quantities of saturated and trans fats. Saturated fat is most commonly found in animal products, while trans fats occur in processed foods. Steer clear of fried foods, and foods made with partially hydrogenated oils, which contain trans fats.

Eat more fruits and vegetables! Fruits and veggies contain many nutrients that benefits the circulatory system, like fiber, potassium, and vitamin C. Fun fact – vitamin C provides structural support for your blood vessel walls, protecting you from ruptures that impede healthy blood circulation.7 Try and up your potassium, too. Potassium plays a role in every heartbeat. A hundred thousand times a day, potassium helps trigger your heart to squeeze blood through your body.

Another food group to incorporate more in your diet are monounsaturated fats. These fats can help to reduce bad cholesterol levels in your blood, which can lower your risk of heart disease and stroke. Oils rich in monounsaturated fats also contribute vitamin E in your diet, an antioxidant that is beneficial to circulatory health. Good sources of monounsaturated fats include: olive oil, avocados, sunflower seed butter, almond butter, and many nuts and seeds.8

More Tips

Beyond your diet, which is one of the most important areas of focus in terms of circulatory health, there are also a few other things you should pay attention to:

  • If you work at a desk, take regular breaks every hour to walk around for a few minutes.
  • Rent an exercise dvd that features resistance exercises that use your own body weight.
  • If painful joints make traditional exercise difficult, try doing something low impact like swimming.
  • Take steps to stop smoking. Tobacco use is the most detrimental thing you can do to your circulatory system.

Herbs and Supplements that Can Help

The right supplement can also help if you’ve been diagnosed with or are at a high risk of atherosclerosis or some other circulatory problem. We recommend finding a supplement containing Aged Garlic Extract (AGE), Vitamin E, Hawthorn Berry, and Cayenne Pepper, which have all been shown to help maintain healthy circulation, overall heart health, and can also improve cholesterol levels.9

Aged Garlic Extract: AGE may have the single biggest impact on heart health of any known dietary supplement. Research suggests that it supports healthy blood pressure and reduces oxidized LDL cholesterol levels, lowers homocysteine levels (a common amino acid found in the blood that in high levels, increases risk of developing heart disease), and improves the elasticity of blood vessel walls.10

Hawthorn Berry: Hawthorn Berry is well known for the cardiac benefits it provides, including improved coronary artery blood flow, as well as improved blood flow to the extremities. 11

Cayenne Pepper: Research shows that ingesting cayenne pepper can increase circulation, improve blood vessel strength, and reduce plaque buildup in your arteries.12

Vitamin E: This fat-soluble vitamin, which the vast majority of us fall short on, helps support healthy circulation. It does this by helping thin your blood. Try aiming for 800 IE per day.13

So even though you may be sheltering in place at home and not getting in as many steps as you’d like, you can still ‘take steps’ to improve the state of your circulatory system.

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.

Here’s What Can Happen if You Don’t Take Care of Your Heart

Maybe there is not a history of heart disease in your family but poor habits could make you the first. Some of you may also think that you’re too young to start thinking about your heart health, but trust us, you don’t want to play fast and loose when it comes to your heart.

Did you know that heart problems are the leading cause of death in the United States? In 2011 alone, for example, heart disease killed more than 787,000 people. What’s more, someone dies of a heart-related disease every minute in the U.S.1 Now, genetics can play a role in cardiovascular health, but so can lifestyle. Here are a few factors that can affect the heart and what to do about them:

3 Factors That Affect the Heart

Diet / Cholesterol
“Bad” LDL cholesterol can clog up the arteries that feed your heart and brain and increase heart attack and stroke risk. “Good” HDL cholesterol can help eliminate the bad, but only to an extent. The body also takes in additional cholesterol from certain foods like meat, eggs, and dairy2. Get a blood test to know your cholesterol levels. If they are inching higher, work with your doctor to understand what changes might be needed. Switching to a low-fat diet can help lower LDL cholesterol. Don’t let your diet become a free-for-all of bad food choices!

Exercise
Aerobic exercise can get the heart pumping and build endurance. Growing evidence over the past three decades has shown that low levels of cardio exercise are associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease and death. High levels are linked to a lower risk of developing dementia, diabetes, and more. Try to get in 30 minutes per day of brisk walking, swimming, biking, or tennis, to enjoy the heart-healthy benefits3.

Sleep
Getting good sleep isn’t just important for your energy levels, it is critical for your heart health too. Adults who sleep less than 7 hours each night are more likely to say they have had health problems, including heart attack, asthma, and depression4. We’re looking at you, insomnia sufferers! Here are some quick tips to get a better nights rest:

  • Stick to a regular sleep schedule: Go to bed at the same time each night and get up at the same time each morning. This means no sleeping in until noon on weekends.
  • Get enough natural light, especially earlier in the day. Try going for a morning walk.
  • Don’t eat or drink within a few hours of bedtime, especially alcohol or foods high in fat or sugar.

How Garlic Can Help

If a garlic supplement isn’t already part of your heart health arsenal, hundreds of scientific studies suggest that it should be. In fact, Aged Garlic Extract™ (AGE) is one of the most heavily researched herbal medicines today and is among the most commonly used supplements in people with heart disease. Numerous studies suggest AGE may help improve risk factors for heart disease, including5:

Supporting healthy blood pressure levels: Studies have shown that AGE lowers systolic blood pressure 7 to 16 mmHg and diastolic pressure 5 to 9 mmHg, compared to a placebo.

Keeping bad cholesterol in check: Total cholesterol has been reduced by 7 to 29 mg/dL in AGE supplement studies, compared to a placebo. Scientists suggest this mild to moderate reduction may be helpful when added to statin medications or for people who can’t tolerate statin drugs.

Protecting LDL (bad) cholesterol from oxidation: Oxidized LDL is toxic to the cells lining your arteries and contributes to the buildup of plaque.

More Heart Support

Besides AGE, there are a couple of other herbs and nutrients that can also help your heart. Remember, that it is best to work with your doctor to identify appropriate natural supplements and doses, especially if you are also taking medications that could cause interactions.

Lecithin: This compound, derived from soybeans, may help support healthy cholesterol levels. In a small study of people with high cholesterol, taking 500 milligrams of soy lecithin daily resulted in lowering total cholesterol by 42% and LDL cholesterol by 56% after two months, while people taking a placebo pill had no significant changes in their cholesterol level6.

Vitamin E: This fat-soluble vitamin, which the vast majority of us fall short on, helps support healthy circulation. It does this by helping thin your blood. At the same time, you shouldn’t go overboard on vitamin E. More is not better. Patrick Fratellone, MD, recommends limiting supplemental vitamin E to 800 IU per day7.

It’s never too soon to start thinking about the health of your heart, so don’t wait! Regardless of whether or not cardiovascular issues run in your family, start taking care of your heart today. It has to last you a lifetime!

References

  1. https://www.aging.com/10-signs-of-an-unhealthy-heart-you-need-to-know/
  2. https://www.heart.org/en/news/2019/02/01/8-things-that-can-affect-your-heart-and-what-to-do-about-them
  3. https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/wellness-and-prevention/3-kinds-of-exercise-that-boost-heart-health
  4. https://www.cdc.gov/features/sleep-heart-health/index.html
  5. https://kyolic.com/healthyguides/Heart-Of-The-Matter/index.html?page=10
  6. https://kyolic.com/healthyguides/Heart-Of-The-Matter/index.html?page=10
  7. https://kyolic.com/healthyguides/Heart-Of-The-Matter/index.html?page=10

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.

First Responders Respond Well to CoQ10 and Aged Garlic Extract

A double-blind, placebo-controlled study, which was conducted at the Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, looked at the impact CoQ10 (ubiquinone) had on a group of firefighters at moderate risk of heart disease. All of the firefighters underwent testing using Cardiac CT, a revolutionary imaging technology that accurately measures coronary artery calcium deposits (CAC) and plaque buildup in the arteries. C-reactive protein—a marker of internal inflammation that may contribute to a higher risk of heart attack—was also measured.

Once their risk was determined, the firefighters were given either a placebo or a combination of 1,200 mg of Kyolic Aged Garlic Extract (AGE) and 120 mg of CoQ10 every day for 12 months. The UCLA researchers found that the firefighters taking the AGE/CoQ10 supplement had significantly less CAC in their arteries and lower CRP levels than those taking the placebo. And that translated to a lower risk of future cardiovascular issues.

Benefits of CoQ10

But the benefits of CoQ10 aren’t just reserved for firefighters or other people in highly stressful careers. Since both calcification and inflammation are hidden risk factors for heart attack and stroke, taking CoQ10 daily (especially when paired with AGE) is a smart and simple way to protect your cardiovascular system.

If you are taking statin drugs like Lipitor and Crestor to lower your cholesterol levels, you are probably familiar with coenzyme Q10, or more commonly known as CoQ10. This vitamin-like substance is found in every single cell in the body, where it provides the mitochondria with the energy it needs to function. In fact, CoQ10 is so important that your cells could not survive without it! It is particularly critical for creating cellular energy in tissues that make up energy-demanding organs like the heart, brain, liver, and kidneys.

CoQ10 is one of the most powerful and protective antioxidants against free radical damage, and without adequate levels, no vital organ or system can perform optimally. Perhaps CoQ10’s most critical role however, is to protect and create energy within the cells of the heart. Since these particular tissues demand an enormous amount of energy to function properly, you will find a greater concentration of CoQ10 in the heart than anywhere else in the body. It’s so important to our cardiovascular system that low levels are implicated in virtually every form of heart disease.

Different Forms of CoQ10

There are two forms of CoQ10: ubiquinone and ubiquinol. Ubiquinol, the active antioxidant form of CoQ10, is naturally made in the body from ubiquinone as needed. As we age, the body’s ability to accomplish this conversion declines. The use of statin drugs also reduces levels of both forms of CoQ10. Here’s why: Your liver creates most of your body’s supply of Coenzyme Q10 with the help of a special enzyme. By coincidence, your liver uses the very same enzyme – known in medical circles as HMG-CoA Reductase – to produce another, more familiar substance – cholesterol. Since CoQ10 and cholesterol are both triggered by HMG-Co Reductase, using one of the popular statin drugs lowers both substances.

While you can sidestep the natural conversion process with an ubiquinol supplement—an expensive option at best—most of the research on CoQ10’s benefits has been done using ubiquinone, which is the more stable form. But what about the foods we eat, are there any food sources that have CoQ10? You’re in luck! Food sources of CoQ10 include: fatty fish like trout, herring, sardines, vegetables like spinach, cauliflower and broccoli, fruits like oranges and strawberries, legumes like soybeans and lentils, and nuts and seeds like sesame seeds and pistachios. Add these foods to your diet for an all-natural way to boost your CoQ10. And if the CoQ10 “diet” isn’t really your thing, consider taking a CoQ10 supplement, and enjoy all of it’s free-radical fighting, cholesterol lowering, heart healthy benefits.

References

  1. Budoff M, Zeb I, Ahmadi N, Nasir K, et al. Aged garlic extract and coenzyme Q10 have favorable effect on inflammatory markers and coronary atherosclerosis progression: A randomized clinical trial. J Cardiovasc Dis. 2012;3(3):185-90.
  2. Vitetta L, Leong A, Zhou J, et al. The plasma bioavailability of Coenzymd Q10 absorbed from the gut and oral mucosa. J Funct Biomater. 2018;9(4). pii:E73.

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.

Testosterone and Cardiovascular Health…Are They Related?

Research shows that for many men, testosterone levels may have a significant connection to heart health. Coincidence? Not according to studies conducted at the University of Sheffield, UK, that linked low testosterone to an uptick in heart issues. 1 If you are concerned about heart health, ask your doctor to check your testosterone levels.

Before we further dissect the relationship between testosterone and cardiovascular health, let’s take a couple steps back, and understand exactly what testosterone is and what it does. Testosterone is a hormone made in the testicles, and it helps in the formation of male sexual characteristics, and also plays a large role in maintaining muscle mass and healthy bone density. Healthy testosterone levels also fuel a man’s sex drive and a positive mental outlook.

All About Testosterone

Testosterone production starts to decline around age 30. 2 A blood test can pinpoint your exact testosterone levels, and can tell you if your testosterone falls within normal range, or is above or below average. If your testosterone levels are too low, there are some things you can do to help, such as testosterone therapy. Testosterone is actually available as an injection, a patch, a gel, or a dissolvable tablet.

Conditions such as disorders of the testicles or problems with the pituitary gland may cause low testosterone levels in men. Lowered testosterone also occurs as a normal result of aging and doesn’t always mean that something is wrong with you. In years past, doctors frequently prescribed testosterone for men without medical conditions who had low testosterone as a result of normal aging. But these days, the FDA recommends that added testosterone therapy shouldn’t be used for low levels as a result of normal aging.

A recent study published in the journal “The Aging Male” found an association between low serum testosterone and heart problems.3  Additionally, a study from the Intermountain Medical Center Heart Institute in Utah showed that testosterone therapy helped elderly men with low testosterone levels and pre-existing poor coronary artery conditions by reducing their risk of major cardiovascular events. The study showed that patients who had participated in testosterone therapy fared much better in heart-related events than non-testosterone therapy patients. Their research team studied just under 800 male patients between the ages of 58 and 78.4

Holistic Ways to Boost Testosterone

If testosterone medical therapy makes you uneasy, there are some alternative and holistic things to try. First and foremost, get enough sleep. Men produce most of their daily testosterone when they sleep. Set a regular bedtime and wake time, and watch the amount of caffeine you consume. If sleep apnea is a problem, seek professional help. Another tactic is to drink in moderation. Alcohol has been shown to lower testosterone levels and inhibit the release of nitric oxide. Limit yourself to two drinks per day. Lastly, get some exercise! Exercise naturally increases testosterone levels. Aim at getting at least 30 minutes of exercise daily. Doing what you enjoy, whether it’s going for a run, playing some basketball, or riding a bike, can help you stick with your fitness goals. Also, try and get some weight training in too. Studies have shown that compound weightlifting workouts increase your testosterone levels most of all. As a bonus, exercise effectively lovers stress levels and improves mood.

Now that fitness is covered, let’s talk healthy eating. Try adding some cooked veggies like spinach, asparagus, mushrooms, or peppers to your morning eggs for an antioxidant-rich, high-protein breakfast. Avoid processed foods that are high in sugar and carbohydrates if possible – even if they say they are “whole grain.” Try to eat at least one fresh salad each day that includes a variety of leafy greens and raw vegetables to make sure that you are getting enough circulatory-supporting nutrients.

If you would like to try the supplement route to enhance your testosterone levels, look for ones that contain a synergistic blend of clinically studied herbs and nutrients such as Maca, LongJack, and Codonopsis Lanceolata, that can work with your body to enhance testosterone levels safely and naturally.*

Practicing these healthy habits and adding a natural supplement may help you regain some of your youthful vitality, improve your cardiovascular health and enhance your overall wellbeing.*

References

  1. Kyolic Men’s Healthy Living Guide
  2. https://www.healthline.com/health/testosterone-and-heart-health
  3. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/13685538.2018.1479387
  4. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/04/160403195920.htm

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.

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.

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.