Thursday, January 27, 2011

Nutrients for Heart Health interview

From an interview of me by Whole Foods Magazine, february 2011:

Our aging population will naturally turn to nutrients as a core defense of their heart and cardiovascular (CV) health. Research continues to pile up to support the benefits of various vitamins, minerals, amino acids, herbs, antioxidants, and other dietary supplements to optimize heart health. The trick is to communicate clear benefits associated with specific nutrients and formulas while treading on the right side of the label claims limits.

There are products that support various aspects of CV health. These include circulation, vascular health, heart energetics, fat metabolism, stress and cortisol control targeting abdominal fat, electrolyte metabolism, etc.

Additional heart support could be associated with blood sugar health, since diabetics disproportionately suffer and die from cardiovascular disease. Supporting nutrients to maintain healthy glucose metabolism include alpha lipoic acid, chromium, cinnamon, biotin, Gymnema sylvestre, corosolic acid, and others. The use of stevia as a sweetener can also be helpful in cutting carbohydrate intake; the whole herb, not the “Reb A” fraction commonly sold as a mass market sweetener, also has been shown to have supportive effects on pancreatic function, insulin sensitivity, and antioxidant benefits.

Many isolated nutrients have historically been used to support cardiovascular health, including amino acids (l-arginine, l-citrulline, l-carnitine), lecithin, vitamin E complex, CoQ10, B complex vitamins, methylators like TMG and SAMe, magnesium, antioxidants, plant sterols, sugar cane policosanol, and nattokinase. At the same time there are many botanicals for the same purpose such as hawthorn leaf and flower extract (not the berries, which are not shown to help the heart), and prickly ash bark. Whole foods or botanicals that support heart health include cayenne, garlic, ginger, cayenne, and whole fermented organic red yeast rice. And let’s not forget the benefits of fish oils and fiber, which do have FDA-approved qualified health claims.

Vitamin D also has a role in heart health, a benefit which the Institute of Medicine’s committee that released the new dietary recommendations did not endorse. By contrast, the FDA’s European counterpart EFSA (the European Food Safety Agency) has acknowledged a role for vitamin D in heart health: "The Panel concludes that a cause and effect relationship has been established between the dietary intake of vitamin D and contribution to the normal function of the immune system and healthy inflammatory response, and maintenance of normal muscle function." The heart, of course, is a muscle; the body’s control of inflammation, calcium metabolism, and muscle function are all intimately related to heart health.

No comments: