Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Heart Health

A healthy cardiovascular system is essential for maintaining well-being and vitality. However, the health of the cardiovascular system is often undermined by risk factors such as smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity, physical inactivity and diabetes. All of these contribute to coronary heart disease (CHD).

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. That is about 29% of all U.S. deaths.1

Fortunately, the threat of heart disease can be reduced or prevented by making healthy lifestyle choices that include daily exercise, not smoking, prudent eating, maintaining a healthy weight and reducing alcohol consumption.

Additionally, certain nutritional products can aid in supporting optimal cardiovascular system health. Coenzyme Q10, Cardio Assurance, Blood Pressurex and Super Omega-3 EPA provide healthful benefits.

Coenzyme Q-10 (Co-Q10) is a vitamin-like compound considered by some to be a “miracle nutrient.” It is present in virtually all cells, and is found in especially high concentrations in the heart, liver, kidneys and pancreas.2 Many studies suggest that Co-Q10 supports already-normal-range blood pressure levels. It also promotes a healthy heart muscle and plays a key role in energy production within cells. As an antioxidant, Co-Q10 scavenges free radicals, protects cardiac cells and promotes the regeneration of vitamin E, another heart-healthy antioxidant.

Levels of Co-Q10 decrease with age, which is why it is important to supplement the diet. Nature's Sunshine offers several nutritional supplements to help meet your daily Co-Q10 needs: Co-Q10 (50 mg), Nature's Sunshine's Cardio Assurance is formulated to support optimal heart function and cardiovascular system health. Hawthorn berries, resveratrol and vitamin K2 are the key ingredients.

Hawthorn berries contain flavonoids with potent antioxidant and heart protecting effects. Hawthorn flavonoids help keep blood vessels clear, relax and dilate blood vessels, and increase blood flow in the heart arteries.4-6

Studies indicate that resveratrol has promising heart-health benefits and may be the answer to the French Paradox. (Despite their high intake of fat, the French have a low incidence of heart issues.) Resveratrol may help inhibit platelet aggregation and promotes vasorelaxation.7-8

Vitamin K2 supports circulation already within a normal range by helping to keep the arteries clear. This important nutrient has emerged as a key factor in regulating calcium in the body. Adequate vitamin K2 consumption helps keep calcium out of the arteries and in the bones where it belongs.

Many supplements for hypertension on the market target only one or two underlying causes. Blood Pressurex targets many underlying causes to provide maximum support. The ingredients in Blood Pressurex help the body maintain blood pressure levels within a normal range by reducing oxidative stress, relaxing and strengthening blood vessels, and promoting blood flow.10-13

Super Omega-3 EPA softgels contain a blend of fish oils high in omega-3 fatty acids, EPA and DHA. Supportive but not conclusive research shows that daily consumption of 1 gram of fish oils from fish or fish oil supplements seems to decrease the risk of heart attack, stroke and the progression of atherosclerosis.14-15

According to one analysis, consuming dietary fish oil or taking fish oil supplements is associated with a 23% reduction in overall mortality and a 32% reduction in death from cardiovascular causes in people with or without cardiovascular disease.16 However, most American diets lack omega-3 fatty acids. In fact, the typical American consumes a disproportionate amount of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids. The ratio typically ranges from 10:1 to 25:1 (omega-6 to omega-3); a preferable ratio is closer to 1:1. Super Omega-3 EPA softgels offer a convenient way to meet your daily omega-3 fish oil needs.

1. Available at:
2. Jellin JM, Gregory PJ, Batz F, Hitchens K, et al. Pharmacist’s Letter/Prescriber’s Letter Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database. 8th ed. Stockton, CA: Therapeutic Research Faculty; 2006:pg 351.
3. Jellin JM, Gregory PJ, Batz F, Hitchens K, et al. Pharmacist’s Letter/Prescriber’s Letter Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database. 8th ed. Stockton, CA: Therapeutic Research Faculty; 2006:pg 350.
4. Al Makdessi S Sweidan H Mullner S Jacob R. Myocardial protection by pretreatment with Crataegus oxyacantha: an assessment by means of the release of lactate dehydrogenase by the ischemic and reperfused Langendorff heart. In: Arzneimittelforschung. 1996 Jan 46(1):25-7.
5. Chen ZY; Zhang ZS; Kwan KY; Zhu M; Ho WK; Huang Y. Endothelium-dependent relaxation induced by hawthorn extract in rat mesenteric artery. Life Sci. 1998 63(22):1983-91.
6. Schussler M Holzl J Fricke U. Myocardial effects of flavonoids from Crataegus species. In: Arzneimittelforschung. 1995 Aug 45(8):842-5.
7. Bertelli, A. A., Giovannini, L., Giannessi, D., Migliori, M., Bernini, W., Fregoni, M., and Bertelli, A. Antiplatelet activity of synthetic and natural resveratrol in red wine. Int J Tissue React. 1995;17(1):1-3.
8. Naderali, E. K., Smith, S. L., Doyle, P. J., and Williams, G. The mechanism of resveratrol-induced vasorelaxation differs in the mesenteric resistance arteries of lean and obese rats. Clin Sci (Lond) 2001;100(1):55-60.
9. Available at:
10. Visioli, E; Galli, C. "Oleuropein Protects Low Density Lipoprotein from Oxidation." Life Sci. 1994; 55(24):19651971.
11. Shafiq, J; Suzuki, S.; Itoh, T and Kuriyama, H. Mechanisms of vasodilation induced by NKH477, a water-soluble forskolin derivative, in smooth muscle of the porcine coronary artery. Circulation Research, Vol 71, 70-81.
12. Mafffei Facino, R., Carini, M., Aldini, G., Bombardelli, E., Morazzoni, P., and Morelli, R. 1994. Free radicals scavenging action and anti-enzyme activities of procyanidines from Vitis vinifera, A mechanism for their capillary protective action. Arzneim-Forsch./ Drug Res. 44:592-601.
13. Lambert, TL ; Dev, V. ;Rechavia, E; Forrester, JS ; Litvack, F.; and Eigler, NL . Localized arterial wall drug delivery from a polymer-coated removable metallic stent. Kinetics, distribution, and bioactivity of forskolin. Circulation 1994 90: 1003-1011.
14. Burr ML, Fehily AM, Gilbert JF, et al. Effects of changes in fat, fish, and fiber intakes on death and myocardial reinfarction: diet and reinfarction trial (DART). Lancet 1989;2:757-61.
15. Bucher HC, Hengstler P, Schindler C, Meier G. N-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids in coronary heart disease: a metaanalysis of randomized controlled trials. Am J Med 2002;112:298-304.
16. Yzebe D, Lievre M. Fish oils in the care of coronary heart disease patients: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Fundam Clin Pharmacol 2004;18:581-92.

This Material Was Created By Larisa Wright
Health Sciences Department
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