Life Extension Update
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Grape supplement improves women’s cardiovascular risk factors
A report published in the August 2005 Journal of Nutrition (http://www.nutrition.org/) revealed that women who consumed a polyphenol-rich grape powder experienced lower plasma lipids and oxidative stress than those who consumed a placebo.
Twenty-four premenopausal and 20 postmenopausal women who did not have cardiovascular disease and were not on lipid-lowering drugs were enrolled in the current study. The women were randomly assigned to receive a daily dose of a grape powder that was high in flavans, anthocyanins, quercetin, myricetin, kaempherol and resveratrol or a placebo for four weeks. Followed by a three week period during which the participants received no treatment, each group received the opposite treatment for an additional four weeks.
The University of Connecticut researchers found that when women consumed the grape supplement, plasma triglycerides were15 percent lower among premenopausal women and 6 percent lower among the postmenopausal women than levels of those who received the placebo, despite the known effect of grape juice of increasing triglycerides due to its high natural sugar content. Low-density-lipoprotein levels, apolipoproteins B and E, and cholesterol ester transfer protein activity were also lower among women receiving grape powder. Additionally, urinary F2-isoprostane levels, which are a measure of whole body oxidative stress, were significantly reduced during the periods in which grape powder was consumed, compared to levels measured when the placebo was received. Furthermore, plasma levels of the inflammatory marker tumor necrosis factor-alpha were lower in women who received the grape powder.
Lead researcher Maria Luz Fernandez, of the University of Connecticut’s Department of Nutritional Sciences commented, "The protective effect of the grape antioxidants was remarkable. And the good news for women is that a reasonable serving of grapes delivers the benefits."
The authors conclude that their data support current findings that grape polyphenols may alter very low density lipoprotein metabolism, affecting overall lipoprotein metabolism, and that it reduced the major coronary heart disease risk factors that rise following menopause.
Americans have become complacent about the dangers of arterial disease. One reason is that the percentage of young people dying from acute heart attack has plummeted over the past 50 years. Explanations for these reductions include lifestyle changes, greater use of dietary supplements/preventive medications, and improved cardiac medical care.
Many of the underlying causes of arterial disease have been identified in the scientific literature. Regrettably, cardiologists have only addressed a limited number of these factors, such as prescribing cholesterol-lowering drugs, controlling hypertension, etc. By ignoring the other proven causes for the epidemic of vascular-related diseases, a significant number of Americans are experiencing needless suffering and are dying prematurely.
A growing consensus among scientists is that common disorders such as heart attack, stroke, and other vascular-related diseases are all caused in part by a chronic inflammatory syndrome. Numerous published articles demonstrate that the presence of blood indicators of inflammation are strong predictive factors for determining who will develop coronary artery disease and have cardiac-related death (Lindahl et al. 2000; Packard et al. 2000; Rader 2000).
The good news is lifestyle changes and certain dietary supplements can suppress these dangerous inflammatory components of blood.
Cardiovascular risk factors such as fibrinogen and C-reactive protein are produced in the liver by proinflammatory cytokines called interleukin-1B, interleukin-6, and tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-a) ( Ridker et al. 2000). Supplements such as highly concentrated DHA fish oil and DHEA suppress excess production of some of these dangerous cytokines.
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