In last week’s blog, we discussed the importance of preventing cardiovascular disease (CVD) and why we should be more aware of its impact on our health. Additionally, we discussed a couple ways of prevention. However, we’re going to address cholesterol and a big question when it comes to CVD: Is cholesterol the primary villain?
Cholesterol is vital and necessary for many normal functions in the body, including hormone production and brain health. One problem with cholesterol occurs when too much of it is oxidized. It is thought that free radicals can cause this oxidation or breakdown to the structure of the LDL cholesterol. The oxidized LDL cholesterol can then affect processes that lead to CVD. For example, it can speed up the damage to the blood vessels and change the diameter of the blood vessel, both of which lead to the formation of heart disease. It does this through endothelial damage, reperfusion, and ischemia.
Oxidized LDL cholesterol can also enter the blood vessel walls, which is considered to be an essential step in the formation of CVD. Oxidized LDL has been shown to increase uptake of LDL by foam cells, alter vascular tone and formation of auto-antibodies, and accelerate endothelial damage. It is not so much the cholesterol that is bad, it is the breakdown that occurs to it from free radical attack that makes it worse. What makes the situation even worse is that the heart appears to be very susceptible to damage from free radicals. Therefore, cholesterol levels need to be controlled and the amount of cholesterol that is exposed to free radicals needs to be kept to a minimum. Remember that antioxidants can help destroy free radicals and thus keep the cholesterol from being broken down.
Role of NO nitric oxide) in cardiovascular health is becoming ever more obvious. In 1992 the journal Science declared NO as “Molecule of the Year”. Six years later three scientists were awarded a Nobel prize for their work on the gas NO and its role in CVD. As is typical clinical applications lag far behind the research discoveries.
NO helps regulate blood pressure, artery elasticity and also aids in keeping your arteries free of plaques and hardening of the arteries.
As with many valuable chemicals in the body, as we age, the body’s ability to produce NO tends to decline. You might not notice anything specifically as this happens but your clinical picture will begin to change slowly as your arteries clog up, become less flexible and your blood pressure begins to climb. Men might notice a decrease in erectile tissue function. Turns out that Viagra works by inhibiting the enzyme that breaks down NO keeping more of it available for its effect. Also nitroglycerin pills under the tongue help angina by increasing NO to the heart blood vessels.
So how do we keep NO levels at healthy levels? The main strategy is to increase L-arginine levels. The body readily converts L-arginine to NO. We are always looking for the best way but for years we have been using Pure Encapsulations Nitric Oxide Support. This is a 3:1 L-arginine and L-citrulline. L-citrulline is readily converted to L-arginine especially in the areas of the body where it can be immediately used to stimulate the production of NO.
In addition to cardiovascular health supplements, We are now carrying NO test strips that is an excellent way of tracking your NO and the effectiveness of your treatment program. Look for these under the Berkeley brand on OVitaminPro.com. These are easy to use saliva test strips. You will pay the price of chronically depleted NO levels.
With the test strips, we are experimenting different ways of keeping your NO levels up. Currently, we like a combination of beetroot powder and L-arginine and L-citrulline. We have been mixing our own and testing is in early stages. In the meantime, you can get started on the Pure Encapsulations Nitric Oxide support formula (one to two scoops a day is typical) and add a couple of beetroot powder capsules. You can give us a call for our recommendation of a trusted brand.
Hopefully, these tips will help you stay away from strokes and heart disease. Our goal here at OVitaminPro is to help you keep your health moving forward. Shop these, cardiovascular health supplements, and much more today by visiting us at OVitaminPro.com.