Friday, March 18, 2011

How not to die from heart disease by Jerry Brainum

The media seems to revel in reports about how useless antioxidant supplements are in preventing disease. In recent years, many such reports have even implicated antioxidants as promoters of mortality. A closer view of such adverse studies, however, shows that few, if any, of them have any real relevance. For example, one study that showed that vitamin E  increased the death rate death in a group of people used people that were moribund.Short of heavenly intervention, nothing could have saved these people, much less vitamin E. In addition, the amount of vitamin E supplied was below optimal levels to have shown health benefits. Another thing to consider is that the study used only synthetic alpha-tocopherol. In reality, vitamin E consists of eight forms: four tocopherols and four tocotrienols. The isomer of vitamin E shown to provide cardiovascular protection is not alpha-tocopherol, but gamma-tocopherol. Tocotrienols inhibit cholesterol synthesis in a manner similar to statin drugs, but minus the side effects of statins.
    A new animal study will not appear in the popular media because it shows dramatic effects provided by supplying a cocktail of natural antioxidants. Antioxidants always work best when provided as a group, as is found in nature. Supplying just one antioxidant, such as vitamin E, does nothing. This study involved two genetically altered groups of mice. They were altered in such a way as to mimic human disease states. As such, one type of mice in the study showed higher than normal levels of inflammation, which is the common underlying cause of cardiovascular disease. The other group of mice were bred to produce higher levels of cholesterol. Both groups mimic atherosclerosis in humans, the primary cause of cardiovascular mortality.The mice were provided with either a placebo or a cocktail of antioxidants, consisting of lycopene, catechin (found in green tea and other sources, such as red wine), resveratrol, vitamins C and E, and fish oil. The idea of providing these nutrients was that they would significantly lower inflammation, and subsequently, cardiovascular disease.
    The results showed that providing the mice with the antioxidant/anti-inflammatory cocktail resulted in a 96% reduction in the development of atherosclerosis compared to the placebo mice. The mixture also reduced a number of inflammatory mediators closely linked to cardiovascular disease.While this was an animal study, the particular animals used closely mimicked how human disease develops. But don't look for this in the popular media because none of the animals died.

A dietary mixture containing fish oil, resveratrol, lycopene, catechins, and vitamins E and C reduces atherosclerosis in transgenic mice.J Nut 2011: in press.

©,2015 Jerry Brainum. Any reprinting in any type of media, including electronic and foreign is expressly prohibited

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