Atherosclerosis supplements
Atherosclerosis

  • Vitamin B3 is made up of niacin (nicotinic acid) and its amide, niacinamide, and can be found in many foods, including yeast, meat, fish, milk, eggs, green vegetables, and cereal grains. Dietary tryptophan is also converted to niacin in the body. Vitamin B3 is often found in combination with other B vitamins including thiamine, riboflavin, pantothenic acid, pyridoxine, cyanocobalamin, and folic acid.
    Source:NaturalStandard
  • Vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin with antioxidant properties. Vitamin E exists in eight different forms ("isomers"): alpha, beta, gamma, and delta tocopherol; and alpha, beta, gamma, and delta tocotrienol. Alpha-tocopherol is the most active form in humans. Dosing and daily allowance recommendations for vitamin E are often provided in Alpha-Tocopherol Equivalents (ATE) to account for the different biological activities of the various forms of vitamin E, or in International Units (IU), which food and supplement labels may use. Vitamin E supplements are available in natural or synthetic forms. The natural forms are usually labeled with the letter "d" (for example, d-gamma-tocopherol), whereas synthetic forms are labeled "dl" (for example, dl-alpha-tocopherol). Vitamin E has been proposed for the prevention or treatment of numerous health conditions, often based on its antioxidant properties. However, aside from the treatment of vitamin E deficiency (which is rare), there are no clearly proven medicinal uses of vitamin E supplementation beyond the recommended daily allowance. There is ongoing research in numerous diseases, particularly in cancer and heart disease. Recent concerns have been raised about the safety of vitamin E supplementation, particularly in high doses. An increased risk of bleeding has been proposed, particularly in patients taking blood-thinning agents such as warfarin, heparin, or aspirin, and in patients with vitamin K deficiency. Recent evidence suggests that regular use of high-dose vitamin E supplements may increase the risk of death (from "all causes") by a small amount, although a different study found no effects on mortality in women who took vitamin E daily. Caution is warranted.
    Source:NaturalStandard
  • Lycopene is a carotenoid present in human serum and skin as well as the liver, adrenal glands, lungs, prostate and colon. Lycopene has been found to possess antioxidant and antiproliferative properties in animal and laboratory studies, although activity in humans remains controversial. Numerous studies correlate high intake of lycopene-containing foods or high lycopene serum levels with reduced incidence of cancer, cardiovascular disease, and macular degeneration. However, estimates of lycopene consumption have been based on reported tomato intake, not on the use of lycopene supplements. Since tomatoes are sources of other nutrients, including vitamin C, folate, and potassium, it is not clear that lycopene itself is beneficial. There is no well established definition of "lycopene deficiency," and direct evidence that repletion of low lycopene levels has any benefit is lacking.
    Source:NaturalStandard
  • One pomegranate delivers approximately 40% of an adult's daily vitamin C requirement and is high in polyphenol compounds. These compounds are thought to reduce 'silent inflammation,' which is at the root of diseases such as cancer, heart disease, and diabetes. Although pomegranate juice has been commonly consumed for atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), evidence of its effectiveness is inconclusive. Pomegranate juice may have antioxidant properties, but its effects have not been widely studied; more evidence is needed. More research is needed for the use of pomegranate as an antifungal agent before a firm recommendation can be made. Pomegranate has a long history of use as a food and medicine in Asia and South America. In the United States, pomegranate is typically juiced or the seeds are used as food. Pomegranate may have medicinal benefit as an anthelmintic (expels worms) and antidiarrheal agent, although reports conflict. The seeds may have phytoestrogenic qualities and may be used in hormonally-related conditions such as menopause.
    Source:NaturalStandard
  • Bilberry, a close relative of blueberry, has a long history of medicinal use. The dried fruit has been popular for the symptomatic treatment of diarrhea, for topical relief of minor mucus membrane inflammation, and for a variety of eye disorders, including poor night vision, eyestrain, and myopia. Bilberry fruit and its extracts contain a number of biologically active components, including a class of compounds called anthocyanosides. These have been the focus of recent research in Europe. Bilberry extract has been evaluated for efficacy as an antioxidant, mucostimulant, hypoglycemic, anti-inflammatory, "vasoprotectant," and lipid-lowering agent. Although pre-clinical studies have been promising, human data are limited and largely of poor quality. At this time, there is not sufficient evidence in support of (or against) the use of bilberry for most indications. Notably, the evidence suggests a lack of benefit of bilberry for the improvement of night vision. Bilberry is commonly used to make jams, pies, cobblers, syrups, and alcoholic/non-alcoholic beverages. Fruit extracts are used as a coloring agent in wines.
    Source:NaturalStandard
  • Alfalfa is a legume that has a long history of dietary and medicinal uses. A small number of animal and preliminary human studies report that alfalfa supplements may lower blood levels of cholesterol and glucose. However, most research has not been well-designed. Therefore, there is not enough reliable evidence available to form clear conclusions in these areas. Alfalfa supplements taken by mouth appear to be generally well tolerated. However, ingestion of alfalfa tablets has been associated with reports of a lupus-like syndrome or lupus flares. These reactions may be due to the amino acid L-canavanine, which appears to be present in alfalfa seeds and sprouts, but not in the leaves. There are also rare cases of pancytopenia (low blood counts), dermatitis (skin inflammation), and gastrointestinal upset.
    Source:NaturalStandard
  • Two parts of the safflower are primarily used: the flower itself and safflower seeds. There are two types of safflower oil with corresponding types of safflower varieties: those high in monounsaturated fatty acid (oleic) and those high in polyunsaturated fatty acid (linoleic). Currently, the seed varieties that produce oil high in oleic acid and very low in saturated fatty acids predominate in the United States market. High oleic safflower oil is lower in saturates and higher in monounsaturates than olive oil. In the U.S. diet, safflower oil has been frequently substituted for oils with higher saturated fat content, as monounsaturated fat may have a beneficial effect on the risk of coronary heart disease. Some clinical studies have shown that safflower oil supplementation may be helpful in patients with cystic fibrosis, Friedreich's ataxia, and neurotoxicity from lithium. However, more study is needed in these areas before a firm conclusion can be drawn. In traditional Chinese medicine, safflower is used to invigorate the blood, dissipate stasis, amenorrhea (absence of menstruation), pain, and traumatic injuries. It is also used to "calm" a live fetus and abort a dead fetus, and is therefore used cautiously during pregnancy.
    Source:NaturalStandard
  • Dietary sources of omega-3 fatty acids include fish oil and certain plant/nut oils. Fish oil contains both docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), while some nuts (e.g., English walnuts) and vegetable oils (e.g., canola, soybean, flaxseed/linseed, and olive oil) contain alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). Evidence from several studies has suggested that amounts of DHA and EPA in the form of fish or fish oil supplements lowers triglycerides, slows the buildup of atherosclerotic plaques ("hardening of the arteries"), lowers blood pressure slightly, as well as reduces the risk of death, heart attack, dangerous abnormal heart rhythms, and strokes in people with known heart disease. However, high doses may have harmful effects, such as an increased risk of bleeding. Although similar benefits are proposed for alpha-linolenic acid, scientific evidence is less compelling, and beneficial effects may be less pronounced. Some species of fish carry a higher risk of environmental contamination, such as with methylmercury.
    Source:NaturalStandard
  • The leaves of as many as 15 species of Epimedium are used as the herb known as yin yang huo in traditional Chinese medicine. "Yin yang huo" is usually translated as horny goat weed because the Chinese characters literally mean, "obscene goat leaves of pulse plants." In traditional Chinese medicine, Epimedium (yin yang huo) is used as a bodybuilding agent, a yang supporter, an agent to reinforce muscles and bones, and a supporter to the health of the liver and kidneys. This herb is also commonly used to treat angina pectoris (chest pain), chronic bronchitis, and neurasthenia (nervous exhaustion). As with many other herbs in Chinese medicine, horny goat weed is rarely used as a single ingredient. Horny goat weed is traditionally used as an ingredient in a yang tonic and for combating wind-damp-cold blocking qi circulation. Despite its traditional and popular use, there is little scientific evidence in support of horny goat weed. Currently, there exists a potential benefit for the treatment of atherosclerosis symptoms and quality of life associated with hemodialysis. Other promising areas include sexual function.
    Source:NaturalStandard
  • Copper is a mineral that occurs naturally in many foods, including vegetables, legumes, nuts, grains, and fruits, as well as shellfish, avocado, and beef (organs such as liver). Because copper is found in the earth's crust, most of the world's surface water and ground water used for drinking purposes contains small amounts of copper. Copper is involved in numerous biochemical reactions in human cells. Copper is a component of multiple enzymes, is involved with the regulation of gene expression, mitochondrial function/cellular metabolism, connective tissue formation, as well as the absorption, storage, and metabolism of iron. Copper levels are tightly regulated in the body. Copper toxicity is rare in the general population. Wilson's disease is a genetic disorder in which the body cannot rid itself of copper, resulting in deposition in organs and serious consequences such as liver failure and neurologic damage. Obstruction of bile flow, contamination of dialysis solution (in patients receiving hemodialysis for kidney failure), Indian childhood cirrhosis, and idiopathic copper toxicosis are other rare causes of potentially dangerous excess copper levels. Such individuals should be followed closely by a physician and nutritionist. Copper deficiency can occur in infants fed only cow-milk formulas (which are relatively low in copper content), premature/low-birth weight infants, infants with prolonged diarrhea or malnutrition, individuals with malabsorption syndromes (including celiac disease, sprue, or short bowel syndrome), cystic fibrosis, in the elderly, or those receiving intravenous total parenteral nutrition (TPN) or other restrictive diets. Medicinal use of copper compounds dates to Hippocrates in 400 B.C. Bacterial growth is inhibited on copper's surface, and hospitals historically installed copper-alloy doorknobs and push-panels as a measure to prevent transmission of infectious disease.
    Source:NaturalStandard
  • Interest in aortic acid began in the 1960s and focused on atherosclerosis (hardening of the artieries). This was a logical place to begin research, as aortic extract is usually manufactured from the hearts of animals, usually sheep, cows, or pigs. In this extract are many substances, including aortic acid, which is a broad term encompassing several constituents. Mesoglycan, a preparation of glycosaminoglycans, is the most studied of these constituents. Although mesoglycan is found in great quantities in the heart, it is found throughout the body, primarily in the cardiovascular system. It is in all three layers of blood vessels, and is responsible for maintaining vessel structure and flexibility. One of the glycosaminoglycans in mesoglycan is heparin sulfate, which may explain why mesoglycan has shown anticoagulation effects in some clinical studies. Because mesoglycan and aortic acid are extracted from the heart, preliminary studies have focused on cardiovascular disorders, such as atherosclerosis, deep vein thrombosis, lower limb ischemia, and cutaneous necrotizing venulitis. Mesoglycan has shown the most promise in treating chronic venous ulcers and intermittent claudication. Other areas of future interest may be hypercholesterolemia (high cholesterol), impaired fibrinolytic activity, and general wound healing. However, more high quality research is needed in all of these areas.
    Source:NaturalStandard
  • Lutein and zeaxanthin are found in high levels in foods such as green vegetables, egg yolk, kiwi fruit, grapes, orange juice, zucchini, squash, and corn. For some commercially available supplements, lutein is extracted from marigold petals. Lutein and zeaxanthin are carotenoids in the macular region of the retina of the eye (macular pigment), and thus lutein has been studied for its use in treating cataracts, preventing macular degeneration and retinal degeneration. Lutein and zeaxanthin also have antioxidant capabilities as well as the ability to trap short-wavelength light. The potential for carotenoids, including lutein, to play a preventing role in cardiovascular disease and cancer was recognized in the 1990s. Most of the information surrounding lutein is based on blood and/or dietary intakes of lutein compared with disease states (e.g. cancer, eye disorders, lung function, muscle soreness, obesity, and pre-eclampsia). More evidence is needed before recommendations can be made in these fields.
    Source:NaturalStandard
  • Numerous controlled trials have examined the effects of oral garlic on serum lipids. Long-term effects on lipids or cardiovascular morbidity and mortality remain unknown. Other preparations (such as enteric-coated or raw garlic) have not been well studied. Small reductions in blood pressure ( Numerous case-control/population-based studies suggest that regular consumption of garlic (particularly unprocessed garlic) may reduce the risk of developing several types of cancer, including gastric and colorectal malignancies. However, prospective controlled trials are lacking. Multiple cases of bleeding have been associated with garlic use, and caution is warranted in patients at risk of bleeding or prior to some surgical/dental procedures. Garlic does not appear to significantly affect blood glucose levels.
    Source:NaturalStandard
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