Life Extension Magazine®

Woman flossing teeth for oral health and reduced heart risk

In The News: Oral Health Reduces Heart Failure

Oral hygiene reduces heart failure risk; PEA alleviates knee discomforts; tea boosts brain health; blueberries cut cardiovascular risk.

Scientifically reviewed by: Dr. Gary Gonzalez, MD, in March 2021. Written by: Life Extension Editorial Staff.

Atrial Fibrillation and Heart Failure Risk are Lower with Better Oral Hygiene

How well you take care of your teeth is linked to your risk of atrial fibrillation and heart failure, a study published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology* reported.

Better oral hygiene is associated with a lower risk of atrial fibrillation and heart failure, researchers concluded.

The study subjects were 161,286 men and women from the National Health Insurance System-Health Screening Cohort in Korea, aged 40 to 79, with no prior history of atrial fibrillation, heart failure, or cardiac valvular diseases. They were examined by dentists to note the presence of periodontal disease, condition of teeth, and missing teeth, and they completed a questionnaire about their oral hygiene behavior and dental symptoms.

The median follow-up was 10.5 years, during which there were 4,911 (3%) cases of atrial fibrillation and 7,971 (4.9%) cases of heart failure.

Brushing teeth three times a day or more was associated with a 10% reduced risk of atrial fibrillation and a 12% reduced risk of heart failure.

Editor’s Note: “Poor oral hygiene can provoke transient bacteremia and systemic inflammation, a mediator of atrial fibrillation and heart failure,” the authors stated.

*Eur J Prev Cardiol. 2019 Dec 1.

PEA Safe, Effective for Knee Osteoarthritis

Woman holding kale

The journal Inflammopharmacology reported the outcome of a randomized, double-blind trial that revealed the safety and efficacy of supplementation with PEA (palmitoylethanolamide) for individuals with knee osteoarthritis.*

The trial included 111 men and women with mild to moderate osteoarthritis in one or both knees who were given either a placebo, 300 mg of PEA or 600 mg of PEA daily for eight weeks. Pain, stiffness and other factors were evaluated at the beginning and end of the trial.

In comparison with the placebo group, participants who received PEA experienced significant reductions in pain (up to 57.6%) and stiffness (up to 53.7%) scores. Function significantly improved among those who received 600 mg of PEA. Both doses of PEA were associated with improvements in pain intensity scores and anxiety.

By week eight, the number of participants reporting no pain had increased by more than two and a half times in both groups, while decreasing slightly among the placebo group compared to the beginning of the study.

Editor’s Note: Palmitoylethanolamide is a fatty acid that is naturally produced in the body as part of a healthy immune response.

*Inflammopharmacology. 2019 Jun;27(3):475-485.

Drinking Tea Supports a Healthy Brain

plants growing in a beaker

Research reported in the journal Aging revealed a brain benefit in association with regularly drinking tea.*

Acting on the results of previous research that found a reduction in the risk of cognitive decline among daily tea drinkers, the current study compared 15 tea drinkers aged 60 and older to 21 participants in the same age group who did not regularly consume tea.

Neuropsychological tests evaluated cognitive function and magnetic resonance imaging assessed brain connectivity. Participants who regularly consumed tea had better organized brain regions and cognitive function compared to those who were not tea drinkers.

The authors noted that, “Tea has been a popular beverage since antiquity, with records referring to consumption dating back to the dynasty of Shen Nong (approximately 2700 BC) in China.” They went on to say that drinking tea has become increasingly popular in western countries today.

The study was led by Research Assistant Professor Feng Lei, of the National University of Singapore School of Medicine, with collaborators from the University of Essex and University of Cambridge.

Editor’s Note: “Our results offer the first evidence of positive contribution of tea drinking to brain structure and suggest that drinking tea regularly has a protective effect against age-related decline in brain organization,” said Dr. Feng Lei.

*Aging (Albany NY). 2019 Jun 14;11(11): 3876-3890.

Blueberry Intake May Reduce Cardiovascular Disease Risk

Woman holding kale

A study reported in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found a lower risk of cardiovascular disease among men and women with metabolic syndrome who consumed the equivalent of a cup of blueberries daily for six months.*

A total of 138 participants were randomized to groups that received 26 grams of powdered blueberries (equivalent to a cup of fresh blueberries), 13 grams of powdered blueberries plus ½ cup of a mock blueberry placebo, or 26 grams of the placebo.

Insulin resistance, flow mediated dilatation (a measure of endothelial function), augmentation index (which measures arterial stiffness), cholesterol, and other factors were measured before and after the intervention.

The researchers observed an improvement in endothelial function and arterial stiffness in the group that received 26 grams of blueberry powder.

Editor’s Note: “The simple and attainable message to consume one cup of blueberries daily should be given to those aiming to improve their cardiovascular health,” the authors concluded.

*Am J Clin Nutr. 2019 Jun 1;109(6):1535-1545.