Vitamin D and Heart Disease

Vitamin D and Heart Disease

There has been a significant amount of research about the benefits of vitamin D on cardiovascular disease.

  • Vitamin D deficiency is a common medical problem  and its prevalence rises along with patient obesity, sedentary lifestyle, limited sunlight exposure and aging.
  • A great body of evidence has shown that patients with vitamin D deficiency have increased cardiovascular risks  and the catch-22 circumstance begins as abdominal obesity, insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes and hypertension places the patients at an increased risk of vitamin D deficiency.1

Some of the larger studies suggested that patients who raised their vitamin D levels were less likely to have a heart attack and develop heart failure. In the most recent study published in the medical journal Lancet, researchers suggest that low levels of vitamin D may be a cause high blood pressure. 2

So while doctors agree that Vitamin D deficiency has been linked with hypertension, myocardial infarction, and stroke, as well as other cardiovascular-related diseases, such as diabetes, congestive heart failure, peripheral vascular disease, atherosclerosis, and endothelial dysfunction, 3  yet despite this knowledge the high prevalence of vitamin D deficiency in the general population remains alarming and requires implementation of clear supplementation guidelines.4 Mainly because vitamin D deficiency is associated with a significant risk of cardiovascular disease and reduced survival. While Vitamin D supplementation was significantly associated with better survival, specifically in patients with documented deficiency,5 and in reducing inflammation and cardiovascular risk.6

Monitoring and adjusting Vitamin D deficiency is an important part of any health and anti-aging regimen, not only for cardiovascular patients but also for diabetes, vision problems, multiple sclerosis and general wellness.

Practical application also corroborates what researchers have noted — particularly relating to women who have type 2 diabetes and show signs of depression; vitamin D supplements significantly lowered blood pressure and improved their moods.7

1. Matyjaszek-Matuszek B1, Lenart-Lipińska M2, Woźniakowska E3. Clinical implications of vitamin D deficiency. Prz Menopauzalny. 2015 Jun;14(2):75-81. doi: 10.5114/pm.2015.52149. Epub 2015 Jun 22.  [Pubmed Clinical implications of vitamin D deficiency]

2. The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology, news release, June 25, 2014

3. McGreevy C, Williams D. New insights about vitamin d and cardiovascular disease: a narrative review. Ann Intern Med. 2011 Dec 20;155(12):820-6.  [Pubmed Clinical implications of vitamin D deficiency]

4. Van der Schueren BJ, Verstuyf A, Mathieu C. Curr Opin Lipidol. 2011 Nov 24. Straight from D-Heart: vitamin D status and cardiovascular disease.

5. Vacek JL, Vanga SR, Good M, Lai SM, Lakkireddy D, Howard PA. Vitamin D Deficiency and Supplementation and Relation to Cardiovascular Health. Am J Cardiol. 2011 Nov 7. [Epub ahead of print]

6. Gupta GK, Agrawal T, Delcore MG, Mohiuddin SM, Agrawal DK. Vitamin D deficiency induces cardiac hypertrophy and inflammation in epicardial adipose tissue in hypercholesterolemic swine. Exp Mol Pathol. 2012 Apr 17;93(1):82-90. [Epub ahead of print]

The Quiet Anti-Aging Mistake Many People Overlook

The Quiet Anti-Aging Mistake Many People Overlook

There’s one catastrophic anti-aging mistake that even some of the most proactive, skin-savvy individuals tend to make. It happens all the time.

People will take all the right steps to look younger—drinking water, taking supplements, sticking to a healthy diet…

And most importantly, they know to nourish their skin each day, with only the most effective anti-aging products.

Daily skincare routines are absolutely vital and it’s simply impossible to see anti-aging results without them…

But in focusing principally on their skin, people often neglect something which—when not properly cared for—can make even a fresh-faced 20-year-old, look more than a decade older…

Their teeth!

You see, the teeth age just like any other part of the body—and the older you get, the more noticeable these changes become.

We don’t just mean visible cavities or tooth decay (those are the result of poor dental hygiene, not age). The most common culprit is yellowing—a process which inevitably occurs over time, even if you brush and floss every day!

For example, take this public opinion poll conducted several years ago in the U.K:

Half of the participants were shown a photograph of a woman—and asked to guess her age. The average estimate was 31.


Meanwhile, the other half saw the exact same photograph, but this time, the woman’s teeth were digitally altered to look just slightly more yellow. Participants guessed her age to be 44.

That’s a 13-year difference—all caused by such seemingly minor pigment change.

So if you aren’t taking measures to keep your teeth from losing their pearly luster, you may adding 13 years to your appearance every time you smile!

Just be cautious of the broadly promoted “cheap, painless, and even all-natural options at your immediate disposal”— they all guarantee great results — but several may actually harm your teeth.

For example:

Brushing your teeth with a strawberry and baking-soda mixture — which “The Dr. Oz Show” and YouTube videos have touted as a natural, cheap, easy, do-it-yourself way to brighten teeth — does not actually whiten teeth, and may even weaken them, according to new research.

In the past, lemons had also been advocated as tooth-whitening agents. However, researchers very soon discovered that the high concentration of citric acid in lemons made their juice acidic enough to potentially erode teeth.

“Strawberries also contain a high concentration of citric acid, with trace amounts of malic acid, depending on the ripeness and storage conditions,” said lead study author So Ran Kwon, a tooth-whitening researcher at the University of Iowa. “However, I assume that malic acid is not well-known to the public, so that created some kind of a myth that it is different from citric acid, possibly working better and being safer.”

To see if this strawberry and baking-soda strategy might work, Kwon first rubbed a mixture of baking soda and California-grown organic strawberries on 20 recently extracted human molars for 5 minutes, and then brushed the teeth gently. She repeated this procedure three times daily for 10 days, much like the recommendations given by those trying this homemade recipe.

The experiments found that teeth brushed with the strawberry and baking soda formula showed no real whitening, based on two well-known color-measurement tests, and an examination with a scientific instrument that detects colors known as a spectrophotometer. The mixture only removed superficial debris from the teeth.

The scientists also experimented with three other groups of human molars, which they subjected to other teeth-whitening remedies — over-the-counter whitening strips, prescription tooth-whitening products and a procedure mimicking professional teeth whitening at a dentist. All of these methods produced discernible whitening, the researchers found. They detailed their findings online Oct. 3 in the journal Operative Dentistry.

The main reason the strawberry and baking-soda recipe failed to work is that the mixture lacks the chemicals hydrogen peroxide and carbamide peroxide, which are key ingredients in tooth-whitening products, according to the American Dental Association.

“The only benefit of the do-it-yourself method — strawberries and baking soda — is, while it seems to make your teeth look whiter, they look whiter because you’re just removing plaque accumulation on your teeth,” Kwon said in a statement. “You really want something that penetrates into your teeth and breaks down the stain molecules. If you don’t have that, you get just the superficial, and not the whitening from the inside, which was what you really want.”

In addition, the strawberry and baking-soda formula had a major downside: It reduced the surface hardness of teeth by up to 10 percent, due to the erosive effect of the citric acid in the fruit. Kwon reported these findings in June in the journal Odontology.

“It was very interesting and rewarding to find some information and evidence to share with the lay public on the efficacy and potential adverse effects associated with do-it-yourself strawberry whitening,” Kwon said.

As to whether there might be any other homemade recipes that could brighten teeth, Kwon noted that tooth whitening is the result of chemical agents “breaking down stain molecules deep within the tooth structure, so that the tooth lightens up from within. This procedure takes time.

“There may be natural ingredients that brighten teeth, but the application time would have to be definitely prolonged to see any whitening,” she added. “I could further explore this as my next project.”

Naturally, if you are in a position to afford professional whitening, this will typically produce the best and longest-lasting results — without damage to your tooth enamel.

Whichever method you elect to pursue, if you do get results, maintaining your new shade also takes some work.

Limit your intake of red wine, coffee, black tea, soy sauce, tomato sauce, and blueberries—all of these foods will stain your teeth and undo the effects of your whitening treatment.

Dazzling teeth are the perfect way to compliment—and accentuate—the beautiful, youthful look of your skin…While a yellow, lackluster smile, can actually undo all the hard work you put into your appearance.

That’s why we urge all of our readers to keep their pearly whites, as white as possible.

Teeth have a shockingly powerful effect on a person’s perceived age.

We’re not knocking all home remedies.  One that has been recommended for teeth whitening is the coconut oil pull. Now, while this will probably produce a very limited whitening effect, it may actually benefit your gums.

Every morning, before brushing your teeth, put about a tablespoon of coconut oil in your mouth and swish it around the way you would a mouthwash.

Make sure you pull it through every section of your teeth, then rinse and brush.

Your mouth will feel cleaner after the very first treatment.  Advocates say you should notice a whitening effect after about a week and a half of daily “pulling.”  This is debatable.

Aside from the potential benefit to your gums, coconut oil can even freshen your breath—the only catch is, you have to rinse for 10-15 minutes each time to get results.

We will have more valuable tips and ideas for you soon. Until then, have a great day and find lots of reasons to smile—after all, with so many great whitening resources, there’s no reason to hide your happy face!

Turn Down The Temperature!

Turn Down The Temperature!

   When you cook food at high temperatures, chemical changes occur, and these mutations are extremely dangerous to your health and longevity.  When you eat food cooked at high temperatures (300 degrees and up), you introduce dangerous compounds called advanced glycation end products (AGEs) and mutagens into your body.  Mutagens destroy your DNA, while AGEs set to work attacking your body’s proteins, making them stiff and malformed so they prematurely age and cannot properly function.  Subsequently, your cancer risk increases, as does your risk for obesity, diabetes, and other chronic illnesses.

Examining AGEs

     Every one of your cells contains thousands of proteins that are necessary for its continued function and structure.  The AGEs formed in food cooked at high temperatures are easily absorbed by the body and lead to the formation of more toxic AGEs that attack the proteins in our cells and induce chronic inflammation, weight gain, and rampant oxidative stress.

     A 2003 study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences showed that consuming foods cooked at high temperatures accelerated the rate at which we age.  A later study published in the journal Nutrition and Cancer showed that men who ate a mere 1.5 more servings of processed meat, or just 1 serving of grilled red meat or well-done red meat, increased their risk of advanced prostate cancer by 50%!

     Gender offers no protective benefit when it comes to foods cooked at high temperatures.  Researchers at the University of Minnesota discovered that women who ate overcooked hamburgers had a 50% greater risk for breast cancer than women who ate hamburgers cooked rare or on medium heat.  The Iowa Women’s Health Study likewise showed that women who regularly ate well-done meat (steak, hamburger, bacon, etc.) had a 4.62-fold increased risk of breast cancer.

     The effects of a high-temperature cooked diet on diabetics are even greater.  One study showed that diabetics who ate a low-temperature cooked diet for 6 weeks lost weight and lowered blood glucose levels compared to diabetics who ate the same amount of calories, carbohydrates, fats, and proteins but from a high-temperature cooked diet.  The low-temp group decreased glycated LDL by 33%, while the high-temp group increased glycated LDL by 32%.

     High temperature cooking also forms gene-mutating heterocyclic amines—more motivation for not dipping into the deep fried foods!  These amines have been associated with an increased risk for various cancers, including prostate, breast, colorectal, esophageal, lung, and liver cancers.

The Solution

     Pan-fried beef contains 9,052 kilounits of AGEs per serving…and bacon contains a whopping 11,905 kilounits!  To protect against exposure to AGEs, mutagens, and gene-mutating amines, reduce your consumption of simple sugars and starches, and lower the heat when you cook your food.  The lower the temperature and the higher the moisture the better.  Coating your meat with acidic marinades such as lemon juice and vinegar can also help restrict the formation of AGEs.

     The best methods for cooking meat include poaching, steaming, stewing, and boiling.  In fact, a boiled chicken has 80% less AGEs than a broiled chicken does.  Fill your plate up with AGE-fighting legumes, vegetables, fruits, and whole grains for extra protection.

How This Amino Acid Can Help You to Detox

How This Amino Acid Can Help You to Detox

     Your body is designed to detox naturally;  however, it can’t withstand the siege of toxins and pollutants in the modern world…not without your help that is.  One way you can protect your body’s natural detoxification mechanisms is by eating foods rich in protein, like yogurt, cottage cheese, and poultry, that are also high in cysteine, an essential amino acid.  Your body converts cysteine into N-acetyl cysteine (NAC), a sulfur-containing amino acid that helps maximize glutathione production.

     What’s so important about glutathione?  Glutathione has been anointed the master antioxidant because it can regenerate itself.  It seeks out and destroys free radicals before they can damage cellular health…and even when saturated by free radicals, glutathione can rejuvenate into a healthy, pure antioxidant.  Toxin overload is an epidemic these days, and experts recommend supplementing with NAC to help boost glutathione levels, enhance cognitive function, and remove contaminants in the body.

A Detox Aid

In supplement form, NAC is a potent chelating agent for detoxifying the liver and breaking down mucous.  Those who’ve been exposed to long-term use of over-the-counter anti-inflammatories or NSAIDs and are at risk for liver toxicity may benefit from NAC supplementation.

     NAC binds to heavy metals in the body, like lead from paint and cigarette smoke, and mercury from dental amalgam fillings that have been linked to degenerative illnesses such as multiple sclerosis.  Animal and cell culture studies showed that NAC encouraged renal excretion of lead, reduced mercury levels, and defended against liver cell damage caused by high concentrations of cadmium.

     For one such study, researchers exposed two groups of rats to aluminum, but one group was given NAC beforehand.  Those fed NAC before being exposed to aluminum showed less brain dysfunction, which suggests that NAC may help protect against the buildup of aluminum in the brain—long suspected to be a root cause of Alzheimer’s disease.

     Studies also indicate that NAC has the potential to remove environmental pollutants such as tobacco and alcohol from the bloodstream.

A Cold Buster

Studies have shown that NAC has the ability to suppress influenza A viruses by helping to prevent the replication of the virus within the body.  NAC also acts as a decongestant by breaking down mucus.

     Other studies have shown that NAC boosts the production of T-cells, essential for immunity.  AIDs patients are deficient in glutathione and NAC, but studies have shown that NAC inhibits the replication of HIV in vitro and promotes the ability of immune cells to fight off pathogens.  A Stanford University double-blind study made up of 45 patients showed that 3200 mg-8000 mg of NAC taken daily for 6 weeks amped up production of CD4+ immune cells in healthy individuals and prevented a decrease of CD4+ cells in AIDs patients.

A Cancer Fighter

     NAC is also showing promise as a potential anti-cancer agent.  Studies indicate that NAC can block a tumor from affecting surrounding tissue.  One study even showed that cancerous cells doused in NAC had 80% fewer metastases.

     Preliminary research shows that NAC may help defend against colon cancer.  In one study, 62 people had a polyp removed from the colon.  (Abnormal polyp growth in the colon is a marker of colon cancer.)  A biopsy of the rectum showed that those who supplemented with 800 mg of NAC a day for 12 weeks had more normal cells in the biopsied tissue.

     Suggested doses of NAC for adults vary by health condition.  Use only under the supervision of a qualified healthcare provider due to the potential for side effects and interactions with medications.

Revive Brain Cells with Taurine

Revive Brain Cells with Taurine

There’s a new school of thought among neurologists: brain shrinkage isn’t an inevitable part of aging, and brain cells can actually rejuvenate if fed supportive nutrients. One such nutrient is taurine, an amino acid that’s been shown to stimulate brain cell growth and improve brain function in the aging brain. Recent research indicates that taurine activates “hibernating” stem cells. These stem cells then mature into fully functioning brain cells that help support cognitive function in your golden years.

The 411 on Taurine

Recent studies show that the unique antioxidant properties of taurine help encourage new brain cell formation. Unfortunately, taurine levels in the body and brain taper off as we age . . . just when we need them most!

An animal-based study published in Stem Cell Research showed that when middle-aged mice were given taurine, sleeping stem cells in the brain came out of hibernation and matured into different types of brain cells in the hippocampus, the part of the brain responsible for memory.

Another study published in Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology demonstrated that when human neural precursor cells (neurons in the very early stages of development) were cultured with taurine, they generated significantly more brain cells.brain_activity

Other studies have shown that taurine increases the survival of new neurons in the brain. Neurites are like little branches that extend off brain cells to help them communicate with each other. They help support memory, cognition, emotions, and thinking. But over time, neurites succumb to stresses and toxins, leading to a decline in cognitive function as we age. Taurine may provide a solution. An in vitro study suggests that taurine can restore normal neurite growth in nerve cells that have been damaged by toxic elements.

How Taurine May Help with Parkinson’s and Depression

Scientists have determined that taurine levels are conspicuously low in patients with Parkinson’s disease. These low levels are also exacerbated by the commonly prescribed drug levodopa, which may contribute to a further decline in taurine. Some experts believe that taurine supplementation may help stabilize levels and improve cognitive loss experienced by Parkinson’s patients.

Taurine also shows promise as a possible treatment for depression, particularly in diabetic patients. Chronic blood sugar fluctuations may contribute to depression in those with diabetes. When diabetic rats were treated with taurine they exhibited improvement in depressive-like behaviors. Taurine also improved diabetes-damaged neurotransmitter function, which helped enhance short-term memory.

Feeding Your Brain Taurine

Meat and fish are rich in taurine, as are certain energy drinks, although the caffeine and sugar in energy drinks may nullify the positive effects of taurine. According to the Mayo Clinic, taurine supplementation is generally considered safe in doses between 500 mg and 3000 mg. Little is known of the long-term effects. Consult with your healthcare practitioner before adding a supplement to your nutritional program.