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Recent Longevity News for the seven days ending 4/6/11.  You should consult your doctor if you are taking any medications.

Whole cranberry powder shows activity against recurrent UTIs - Nutra USA, 4/5/11 - "The volunteers were randomly assigned to receive no intervention, or a low (500 mg) or high dose (1,000 mg) daily dose of the PACran whole cranberry powder for 90 days ... At the end of the study, the control group did not show any changes in concentrations of E. coli, while a significant reduction in the cranberry groups were observed. Specifically, the researchers report a reductions of E. coli in urine culture analysis of between 25 and 45 percent after 10 days of cranberry consumption, and this was maintained over 90 days" - Note: The abstract isn't in medline yet.  See cranberry extract at Amazon.com.

Diabetes treatment may also provide protection against endometrial cancer - Science Daily, 4/5/11 - "Recent research has found that metformin has anti-cancer properties, e.g., in breast cancer ... samples from PCOS women who had completed the 6 month course of metformin the rate of spread of endometrial cancer cells was around 25% lower than in the serum samples from PCOS women who had not started that treatment" - See metformin at The Antiaging Store.

Pneumonia death rate lower among people who take statins, study suggests - Science Daily, 4/4/11 - "Patients with a record of pneumonia were followed for six months to see if they died and the scientists found that 13% (109 out of 847) of statin users died compared with 20% (578 out of 2927) of non-statin users"

Social isolation, stress-induced obesity increases breast cancer risk in mice - Science Daily, 4/4/11 - "Stress from social isolation, combined with a high-fat diet, increases levels of a brain neurotransmitter -- neuropeptide Y, or NPY -- in mice that then promotes obesity, insulin resistance, and breast cancer risk ... To conduct the study, the researchers used female mice that develop breast cancer when given progesterone and a carcinogen. They established four groups of these mice: one group that lived together (not socially isolated) and ate a normal diet; a group that was isolated (each alone in a cage) and ate normally; an isolated group that ate a high-fat diet, and a group that lived together and ate a high-fat diet ... Ten weeks after treatment and living in these environments (for a total of 17 weeks), 92 percent of the socially-isolated mice fed a high-fat diet had developed tumors, compared to 36 percent of socially-isolated mice fed a normal diet and 36 percent of grouped mice that were also fed normally. But 67 percent of mice who were happy in group homes, but were fed a high fat diet, developed breast cancer"

Metabolic syndrome may increase risk for liver cancer - Science Daily, 4/3/11 - "metabolic syndrome, a constellation of conditions that increases the risk of heart disease and diabetes, may also increase the risk of the two most common types of liver cancer ... The prognosis for liver cancer is only marginally better than the prognosis for pancreatic cancer, with a five-year survival of approximately 10 percent ... the persons with liver cancer were significantly more likely than cancer-free persons to have a prior history of metabolic syndrome: 37.1 percent of patients with hepatocellular carcinoma had pre-existing metabolic syndrome, as did 29.7 percent of patients with intraheptic carcinoma; only 17.1 percent of the cancer-free adults had metabolic syndrome"

Avoiding or controlling diabetes may reduce cancer risk and mortality - Science Daily, 4/3/11 - "Previous epidemiologic studies have shown an association between diabetes and an increased risk for cancers including colorectal, liver and pancreas ... As for mortality, diabetes was associated with an 11 percent increased risk in women and a 17 percent increased risk in men ... diabetes was associated with a significant increase in risk for colon, rectal and liver cancers among men and women. In men, diabetes was associated with an increased risk for pancreatic and bladder cancers; in women, it was associated with an increased risk for stomach, anal and endometrial cancers. No association was found between diabetes and lung, skin or other cancers"

Vitamin D levels linked with health of blood vessels - Science Daily, 4/3/11 - "A lack of vitamin D, even in generally healthy people, is linked with stiffer arteries and an inability of blood vessels to relax ... people with vitamin D deficiency had vascular dysfunction comparable to those with diabetes or hypertension ... It could be strengthening endothelial cells and the muscles surrounding the blood vessels. It could also be reducing the level of angiotensin, a hormone that drives increased blood pressure, or regulating inflammation ... Forty-two study participants with vitamin D insufficiency whose levels later went back to normal had an average drop in blood pressure of 4.6 millimeters mercury" - See vitamin D at Amazon.com.

Routine periodic fasting is good for your health, and your heart, study suggests - Science Daily, 4/3/11 - "fasting not only lowers one's risk of coronary artery disease and diabetes, but also causes significant changes in a person's blood cholesterol levels ... fasting was also found to reduce other cardiac risk factors, such as triglycerides, weight, and blood sugar levels ... During the 24-hour fasting periods, HGH increased an average of 1,300 percent in women, and nearly 2,000 percent in men"

The Effects of Education on Health - National Economic Trends, 4/11 - "The chart shows the age-adjusted mortality rate (deaths per 100,000 people) for Americans 25 to 64 years of age who attained different levels of education. In 2007, the mortality rates for the three groups were as follows: fewer than 12 years of education, 664.4; 12 years of education, 477.0; and 13 or more years of education, 195.4 ... more-educated people are less likely to die or suffer from these health problems, primarily because they are more likely to engage in healthier behaviors: They exercise more, smoke and drink less, and use seat belts and preventative medicines more often ... In 2007, for example, an estimated 9 percent of individuals with a bachelor’s degree or higher smoked, whereas 30 percent of those with a high school diploma or less education smoked ... differences in income account for only about 20 percent of the positive effect of higher education on health-related behaviors ... As an alternative explanation, the authors propose that education provides individuals with better access to information and improves critical thinking skills" - Note:  (664.4 - 195.4)/664.4 = .71 or a 71% reduced mortality for having 13 or more years of education vs. having less than 12 year of education.

New data show non-alcoholic fatty liver disease will reach epidemic status in the US - Science Daily, 4/2/11 - "if the current rates of obesity and diabetes continue for another two decades, the prevalence of NAFLD in the US is expected to increase by 50% in 2030"

Antidepressants linked to thicker arteries - Science Daily, 4/2/11 - "The study included 513 middle-aged male twins who both served in the U.S. military during the Vietnam War ... A higher level of depressive symptoms was associated with higher IMT only in those taking antidepressants ... One of the strongest and best-studied factors that thickens someone's arteries is age, and that happens at around 10 microns per year ... In our study, users of antidepressants see an average 40 micron increase in IMT, so their carotid arteries are in effect four years older"

Soy increases radiation's ability to kill lung cancer cells, study shows - Science Daily, 4/1/11 - "These natural soy isoflavones can sensitize cancer cells to the effects of radiotherapy, by inhibiting survival mechanisms which cancer cells activate to protect themselves ... At the same time, soy isoflavones can also act as antioxidants in normal tissues, which protect them against unintended damage from the radiotherapy ... soy isoflavones increase killing of cancer cells by radiation via blocking DNA repair mechanisms, which are turned on by the cancer cells to survive the damage caused by radiation ... Researchers used a formulation consisting of the three main isoflavones found in soybeans, including genistein, daidzein and glycitein ... Previously, researchers had found that pure genistein demonstrated antitumor activity in human NSCLC cell lines and enhanced the effects of EGFR-tyrosine kinase inhibitors. This study showed that the soy mixture had an even greater antitumor effect than pure genistein" - See soy isoflavones at Amazon.com.

Got a craving for fast food? Skip the coffee, study suggests - Science Daily, 4/1/11 - "a healthy person's blood sugar levels spike after eating a high-fat meal, but that the spike doubles after having both a fatty meal and caffeinated coffee -- jumping to levels similar to those of people at risk for diabetes ... saturated fat interferes with the body's ability to clear sugars from the blood and, when combined with caffeinated coffee, the impact can be even worse"

Singing lowers patient's blood pressure prior to surgery, case study reports - Science Daily, 3/30/11 - "Upon admission to the hospital for surgery the patient's blood pressure was 160/90 mm Hg, controlled by her normal regimen of nifedipine and lisinopril. In the preoperative area, the woman's blood pressure increased to 240/120 mm Hg and persisted, requiring doctors to postpone surgery ... The patient asked doctors if she could sing, which the patient reported doing frequently to calm herself down and to help with sleeping. The medical team encouraged her to so, and after two songs checked her blood pressure which had lowered to 180/90 mm Hg. With continued singing for 20 minutes, the patient's blood pressure remained lower and persisted for several hours after. As instructed by doctors, the patient sang periodically through the night which kept her blood pressure at acceptable levels. The following morning, the woman was cleared for knee replacement surgery, which was successful and without complications" - See my Karaoke page and my Song Book Page.

Green tea shows body weight and fat benefits: Rat study - Nutra USA, 3/30/11 - "Rats consuming green tea along with a high fat diet gained less body weight and accumulated less fat than animals not supplemented with tea, says a new study ... Consuming the equivalent of five to eight cups of green tea a day was associated with a 5.6 percent decrease in body weight gain, and a 17.8 percent decrease in fat accumulation over eight weeks" - [Abstract] - See green tea extract at Amazon.com.

Abstracts from this week's Doctor's Guide Nutrition/Dietetics plus abstracts from my RSS feeds (Click here for the journals, the PubMed ones at the top):

Cumulative Coffee Consumption and Reduced Risk of Oral and Oropharyngeal Cancer - Nutr Cancer. 2011 Mar 31:1 - "Tobacco smoking, alcohol drinking, and higher intake of bacon and deep-fried foods were directly related to disease; the inverse was observed to family income and salad intake. Coffee consumption and tobacco smoking were partially correlated (Spearman correlation coefficient 0.14 among cases, 0.31 among controls). When adjusted for all covariates, a cumulative coffee consumption higher than 18.0 daily liters × year during lifetime was indicated to be protective against disease (adjusted odds ratio 0.39, 95% confidence interval 0.16-0.94, P = 0.037). This observation may have pharmacological implications for clinical medication of these cancers and is relevant to programs aimed at reducing the burden of disease"

Inverse association between serum phospholipid oleic acid and insulin resistance in subjects with primary dyslipidaemia - Clin Nutr. 2011 Mar 30 - "oleic acid (OA) ... By adjusted logistic regression, including the proportions of other fatty acids known to relate to IR, the odds ratios (OR) (95% confidence intervals) for IR were 0.75 (0.62-0.92) for 1% increase in OA and 0.84 (0.71-0.99) for 1% increase in linoleic acid. Other fatty acids were unrelated to IR. When using the alternate definition of IR, OA remained a significant predictor (0.80 [0.65-0.99]) ... Higher phospholipid proportions of OA relate to less IR, suggesting an added benefit of increasing olive oil intake within the Mediterranean diet" - Note: I saw olive oil mayonnaise advertised and I thought that would be a good way to increase the omega-9 (oleic acid) in my diet. When I read the label in the store, olive oil was the main ingredient however it had three omega-6 oils listed after that so I’m sure it had much more omega-6 than omega-9. Bottom line, I started making my own omega-9 mayo. See the recipe at http://allrecipes.com//HowTo/making-mayonnaise/Detail.aspx.

Brain histological changes in young mice submitted to diets with different ratios of n-6/n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids during maternal pregnancy and lactation - Clin Nutr. 2011 Apr 1 - "N-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (n-3 PUFAs) are essential for brain development and function, but the appropriate quantity of dietary n-3 PUFAs and ratio of n-6/n-3 PUFAs have not been clearly determined ... The feeding regimens began two months before mouse conception and continued throughout lactation for new pups. As compared with the n-3 PUFA-deficient diet, both the flaxseed oil n-3 PUFA diets and the flaxseed/fish oil n-3 PUFA diets significantly increased the expression levels of brain neuron-specific enolase, glial fibrillary acidic protein and myelin basic protein, somewhat dose-dependently, in new pup mice at 21 d and 42 d of age. The expression of PPAR-γ in the brains of pup mice was increased only at 7 d of age with the n-3 PUFA diet, and no changes in the expression of PPAR-α and PPAR-β were found among all the diet groups. These results suggest that the higher intake amount of n-3 PUFAs with a low ratio of n-6/n-3 PUFAs at about 1-2:1, supplied during both maternal pregnancy and lactation, may be more beneficial for early brain development, and PPAR-γ may act in one of the pathways by which n-3 PUFAs promote early brain development" - See Mega Twin EPA at Amazon.com and Jarrow Max DHA at Amazon.com.

Dietary fat and meat intakes and risk of reflux esophagitis, Barrett's esophagus and esophageal adenocarcinoma - Int J Cancer. 2011 Mar 31 - "The aim of this study was to investigate whether dietary fat and meat intakes are associated with reflux esophagitis (RE), Barrett's esophagus (BE) and esophageal adenocarcinoma (EAC) ... Patients in the highest quartile of total fat intake had a higher risk of RE (OR=3.54; 95%CI=1.32-9.46) and EAC (OR=5.44; 95%CI=2.08-14.27). A higher risk of RE and EAC was also reported for patients in the highest quartile of saturated fat intake (OR=2.79; 95%CI=1.11-7.04; OR=2.41; 95%CI=1.14-5.08, respectively) and monounsaturated fat intake (OR=2.63; 95%CI=1.01-6.86; OR=5.35; 95%CI=2.14-13.34, respectively). Patients in the highest quartile of fresh red meat intake had a higher risk of EAC (OR=3.15; 95%CI=1.38-7.20). Patients in the highest category of processed meat intake had a higher risk of RE (OR=4.67; 95%CI=1.71-12.74). No consistent associations were seen for BE with either fat or meat intakes"- Whoa!!!  Almost 5 times the risk of esophageal adenocarcinoma for the highest processed meat intake!!!  Maybe that sodium nitrate isn't good.  I knew a professor in my college days who exaggerated a little and said that hot dogs were 50% fat and the rest was poison.  Maybe it wasn't that much of an exaggeration.

Serum Antioxidant Status Is Associated with Metabolic Syndrome among U.S. Adults in Recent National Surveys - J Nutr. 2011 Mar 30 - "Serum antioxidants included retinol, retinyl esters, carotenoids [α-carotene, β-carotene (cis+trans), β-cryptoxanthin, lutein+zeaxanthin, total lycopene], vitamin E, and vitamin C. MetS (NCEP ATP III) prevalence in U.S. adults was 32.0% among men and 29.5% among women. Adults with MetS had consistently lower serum carotenoid concentrations compared with those without MetS, even after controlling for total cholesterol and TG among other potential confounders. Vitamin E had no significant relationship with MetS in the full multiple logistic regression model, whereas retinol+retinyl esters were inversely related to MetS among men only. The latter were also inversely related to elevated CRP and positively associated with hyperuricemia. Vitamin C exhibited a similar pattern to serum carotenoids with an inverse linear association with MetS (binary), HOMA-IR, and hyperuricemia. Future intervention studies of dietary and lifestyle change must be conducted to assess the utility of modifying serum antioxidant concentrations, especially carotenoids, given their suboptimal levels among U.S. adults with MetS, for the prevention of type 2 diabetes and various cardiovascular endpoints" - See Jarrow Formulas, CarotenALL at Amazon.com.

Protective Role of Tea Polyphenols in Combination against Radiation-induced Haematopoietic and Biochemical Alterations in Mice - Phytother Res. 2011 Mar 31 - "The purpose of this study was to investigate the radioprotective effects of tea polyphenols (TPs) in various combinations against radiation-induced damage in mice. Mice were divided into different groups: non-irradiated control, irradiated control, amifostine (43.6 mg/kg, i.v. 30 min before irradiation; positive control) and various combinations of tea polyphenols in different doses. The radioprotective effect on the haematopoietic system, serum cytokines and endogenous antioxidant enzymes were studied. TP50, containing approximately 50% of (-)-epigallochatechin-3-gallate in addition to other catechins, showed the greatest radioprotective effect against radiation-induced changes in haematological parameters (red blood cell count, white blood cell count and haemoglobin), and maintained the spleen and thymus indices unchanged (spleen or thymus weight/body weight × 1000). Tea polyphenols also significantly decreased radiation-induced lipid peroxidation (malondialdehyde levels), elevated endogenous antioxidant enzymes (superoxide dismutase) and reduced the serum cytokines which were elevated in radiation-induced toxicity. This evidence shows the potential of tea polyphenols, particularly in the combination found in TP50, as radioprotectors in mice, especially regarding recovery of the haematopoietic system, antioxidant potential activity and reduction of inflammatory cytokines" - See green tea extract at Amazon.com.

Habitual coffee consumption and risk of hypertension: a systematic review and meta-analysis of prospective observational studies - Am J Clin Nutr. 2011 Mar 30 - "habitual coffee consumption of >3 cups/d was not associated with an increased risk of hypertension compared with <1 cup/d; however, a slightly elevated risk appeared to be associated with light-to-moderate consumption of 1 to 3 cups/d"

Acetyl-11-keto-β-boswellic acid suppresses invasion of pancreatic cancer cells through the downregulation of CXCR4 chemokine receptor expression - Int J Cancer. 2011 Feb 3 - "Ninety percent of cancer-mediated deaths are due to metastasis of the tumor; however, the mechanisms controlling metastasis remain poorly understood. Thus, no therapy targeting this process has yet been approved. Chemokines and their receptors are mediators of chronic inflammation and have been linked to the metastasis of numerous cancers. More recently, the Cysteine X Cysteine (CXC) chemokine receptor 4 (CXCR4) has emerged as a key mediator of tumor metastasis; therefore, identification of inhibitors of this receptor has the potential to abrogate metastasis. In this report, we demonstrate that acetyl-11-keto-β-boswellic acid (AKBA), a component of the therapeutic plant Boswellia serrata, can downregulate CXCR4 expression in pancreatic cancer cells. The reduction in CXCR4 induced by this terpenoid was found to be cell-type specific, as its expression was also abrogated in leukemia, myeloma and breast cancer cell lines. Neither proteasome inhibitors nor lysosomal stabilization could prevent the AKBA-induced reduction in CXCR4 expression. This downregulation occurred at the transcriptional level. Suppression of CXCR4 by AKBA was accompanied by the inhibition of pancreatic cancer cell invasion, which is induced by CXCL12, the ligand for CXCR4. In addition, abrogation of the expression of chemokine receptor by AKBA was found in human pancreatic tissues from orthotopic animal model. AKBA also abolished breast tumor cell invasion, and this effect correlated with the disappearance of both the CXCR4 messenger RNA and CXCR4 protein. Overall, our results show that AKBA is a novel inhibitor of CXCR4 expression and, thus, has the potential to suppress the invasion and metastasis of cancer cells" - See boswellia at Amazon.com

Dairy Consumption and the Incidence of Hyperglycemia and the Metabolic Syndrome: Results from a French prospective study, Data from the Epidemiological Study on the Insulin Resistance Syndrome (DESIR) - Diabetes Care. 2011 Apr;34(4):813-817 - "Dairy products other than cheese, and dietary calcium density, were inversely associated with incident MetS and IFG/T2D; cheese was negatively associated with incident MetS. All three parameters were associated with lower diastolic blood pressure, and with a lower BMI gain. Higher cheese intake and calcium density were associated with a lower increase in waist circumference and lower triglyceride levels. Calcium density was also associated with a lower systolic blood pressure and a lower 9-year increase in plasma triglyceride levels. CONCLUSIONS A higher consumption of dairy products and calcium was associated with a lower 9-year incidence of MetS and IFG/T2D in a large cohort drawn from the general population"

Green tea aqueous extract reduces visceral fat and decreases protein availability in rats fed with a high-fat diet - Nutr Res. 2011 Feb;31(2):157-64 - "Green tea is associated with beneficial health effects mainly because of its body fat-reducing and hypocholesterolemic activities, but an effective dose without pronounced influence on protein availability is unknown. The objective of this study was to examine the hypothesis that green tea aqueous extract (GTAE) depending on dose improves cardiovascular risk indicators such as body weight, visceral fat content, and atherogenic index of plasma and does not have unfavorable effect on protein availability in rats fed with a high-fat diet. The rats fed with a high-fat diet enriched with 1.1 and 2.0% GTAE for 8 weeks had significantly (P < .05) lower atherogenic index (in both groups, about 14.3%). Only administration of 2.0% GTAE significantly (P < .05) decreased body weight gain (5.6%) and prevented visceral fat accumulation (17.8%) in rats. However, considerably (P < .05), reduction in the digestion of protein (but not fat) was observed in both GTAE groups (1.1% GTAE: 82.6% +/- 1.8%; 2.0% GTAE: 84.3% +/- 0.8%) when compared to the control (93.3% +/- 1.5%). It was concluded that GTAE may have preventive effects on the accumulation of visceral fat but only in higher doses. Although both doses improved cardiovascular risk indicators, they, in addition, significantly inhibited protein digestion" - See green tea extract at Amazon.com.

Health Focus (Nitric Oxide):

Alternative News:

  • High levels of dietary nitrate might in part explain the vascular benefits of diets rich in leafy greens - Science Daily, 3/23/11 - "Nitric oxide (NO) is an important molecule that helps maintain the contractility and health of vascular smooth muscle cells, and multiple studies have linked vascular pathology to a decreased level of NO ... NO is synthesized from arginine by an enzyme called nitric oxide synthase (NOS) ... after vessel injury in the rat, the NOS pathway is disrupted, but a secondary pathway that generates NO from nitrate is activated. Furthermore, supplementing rats with nitrate before inducing vessel injury markedly limited the extent of the damage, while a diet low in nitrate exacerbated it ... high levels of dietary nitrate might in part explain the vascular benefits of diets rich in leafy greens, but warn that high dose supplementation could lead to the generation of carcinogenic molecules"
  • Citrus Polyphenol Hesperidin Stimulates Production of Nitric Oxide in Endothelial Cells while Improving Endothelial Function and Reducing Inflammatory Markers in Patients with Metabolic Syndrome - J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2011 Feb 23 - "Hesperidin, a citrus flavonoid, and its metabolite hesperetin may have vascular actions relevant to their health benefits ... Treatment of BAEC with hesperetin acutely stimulated phosphorylation of Src, Akt, AMP kinase, and endothelial NO synthase to produce NO; this required generation of H(2)O(2). Increased adhesion of monocytes to BAEC and expression of vascular cell adhesion molecule-1 in response to TNF-α treatment was reduced by pretreatment with hesperetin. In the clinical study, when compared with placebo, hesperidin treatment increased flow-mediated dilation (10.26 +/- 1.19 vs. 7.78 +/- 0.76%; P = 0.02) and reduced concentrations of circulating inflammatory biomarkers (high-sensitivity C-reactive protein, serum amyloid A protein, soluble E-selectin). Conclusions: Novel mechanisms for hesperetin action in endothelial cells inform effects of oral hesperidin treatment to improve endothelial dysfunction and reduce circulating markers of inflammation in our exploratory clinical trial. Hesperetin has vasculoprotective actions that may explain beneficial cardiovascular effects of citrus consumption" - See hesperidin at Amazon.com.
  • Want more efficient muscles? Eat your spinach - Science Daily, 2/1/11 - "dietary nitrate feeds into a pathway that produces nitric oxide with the help of friendly bacteria found in our mouths. Nitric oxide has been known for two decades as a physiologically important molecule. It opens up our blood vessels to lower blood pressure, for instance ... Among the more consistent findings from nutritional research are the beneficial effects of a high intake of fruit and vegetables in protection against major disorders such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes ... the underlying mechanism(s) responsible for these effects is still unclear, and trials with single nutrients have generally failed. It is tempting to speculate that boosting of the nitrate-nitrite-NO pathway may be one mechanism by which vegetables exert their protective effects"
  • Oral L-citrulline supplementation improves erection hardness in men with mild erectile dysfunction - Urology. 2011 Jan;77(1):119-22 - "L-arginine supplementation improves nitric oxide-mediated vasodilation and endothelial function; however, oral administration has been hampered by extensive presystemic metabolism. In contrast, L-citrulline escapes presystemic metabolism and is converted to L-arginine, thus setting the rationale for oral L-citrulline supplementation as a donor for the L-arginine/nitric oxide pathway of penile erection ... A total of 24 patients, mean age 56.5 +/- 9.8 years, were entered and concluded the study without adverse events. The improvement in the erection hardness score from 3 (mild ED) to 4 (normal erectile function) occurred in 2 (8.3%) of the 24 men when taking placebo and 12 (50%) of the 24 men when taking L-citrulline (P < .01). The mean number of intercourses per month increased from 1.37 +/- 0.93 at baseline to 1.53 +/- 1.00 at the end of the placebo phase (P = .57) and 2.3 +/- 1.37 at the end of the treatment phase (P < .01). All patients reporting an erection hardness score improvement from 3 to 4 reported being very satisfied" - See citrulline malate at Amazon.com.
  • Blueberries linked to improved blood vessel health: Rat study - Nutra USA, 11/18/10 - "Our data provide clear evidence that the 8 week dietary treatment with 8 percent wild blueberry in the adult SHR with established endothelial dysfunction results in a significant moderation of the increased aortic vascular tone ... The berries were proposed to act via the NO pathway – nitric oxide is a potent vasodilator, or compound that promotes the dilation or relaxation of blood vessels, thereby easing blood pressure" - [Abstract] - See blueberry extract at Amazon.com.
  • A Wild Blueberry-Enriched Diet ( Vaccinium angustifolium ) Improves Vascular Tone in the Adult Spontaneously Hypertensive Rat - J Agric Food Chem. 2010 Nov 24 - "The vasoconstriction elicited by Phe was reduced in the WB group, attributed to the NO pathway, favoring a lower vascular tone under basal conditions. Acetylcholine-induced vasorelaxation in the WB group was possibly mediated through the COX, but not the NO pathway. These findings document the potential of wild blueberries to modify major pathways of vasomotor control and improve the vascular tone in the adult SHR with endothelial dysfunction" - See blueberry extract at Amazon.com.
  • Chocolate eaters may have healthier hearts: study - MSNBC, 11/8/10 - "The authors found that women older than 70 who ate chocolate at least once per week were 35 percent less likely to be hospitalized or die from heart disease over the course of the study, and nearly 60 percent less likely to be hospitalized or die from heart failure ... The danger is that many people will start eating more of it than is necessary, without cutting back in calories from other snacks, which will result in weight gain and will counteract any beneficial effects of chocolate ... Flavonoids are thought to reduce the risk of heart disease, the leading cause of death in many industrialized countries, by helping to increase nitric oxide, which in turn helps boost the functioning of blood vessels and lower blood pressure"
  • Dark chocolate lowers blood pressure, research finds - Science Daily, 6/28/10 - "Flavanols have been shown to increase the formation of endothelial nitric oxide, which promotes vasodilation and consequently may lower blood pressure. There have, however, been conflicting results as to the real-life effects of eating chocolate. We've found that consumption can significantly, albeit modestly, reduce blood pressure for people with high blood pressure but not for people with normal blood pressure ... The pressure reduction seen in the combined results for people with hypertension, 5mm Hg systolic, may be clinically relevant -- it is comparable to the known effects of 30 daily minutes of physical activity (4-9mm Hg) and could theoretically reduce the risk of a cardiovascular event by about 20% over five years" - See flavonoids at Amazon.com.
  • Glycine Propionyl-L-carnitine Modulates Lipid Peroxidation and Nitric Oxide in Human Subjects - Int J Vitam Nutr Res. 2009 May;79(3):131-141 - "Nitric oxide was increased (p<0.05) from pre- to post-intervention with 3 g GPLC (21.34+/-2.27 vs. 29.46+/-3.61 micromol.L (-1))" - Note:  (29.46 - 21.34) / 21.34 = 38% increase in nitric oxide. See GPLC at Amazon.com.
  • Endothelial-Vasoprotective Effects of High-Density Lipoprotein Are Impaired in Patients With Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus but Are Improved After Extended-Release Niacin Therapy - Circulation. 2009 Dec 21 - "Patients with diabetes were randomized to a 3-month therapy with ER niacin (1500 mg/d) or placebo ... HDL from healthy subjects stimulated endothelial nitric oxide production, reduced endothelial oxidant stress, and improved endothelium-dependent vasodilation and early endothelial progenitor cell-mediated endothelial repair. In contrast, these beneficial endothelial effects of HDL were not observed in HDL from diabetic patients, which suggests markedly impaired endothelial-protective properties of HDL. ER niacin therapy improved the capacity of HDL to stimulate endothelial nitric oxide, to reduce superoxide production, and to promote endothelial progenitor cell-mediated endothelial repair. Further measurements suggested increased lipid oxidation of HDL in diabetic patients, and a reduction after ER niacin therapy ... HDL from patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus and metabolic syndrome has substantially impaired endothelial-protective effects compared with HDL from healthy subjects. ER niacin therapy not only increases HDL plasma levels but markedly improves endothelial-protective functions of HDL in these patients, which is potentially more important" - See niacin at Amazon.com.
  • Sea of science deepens for fish heart benefits - Nutra USA, 12/16/09 - "left ventricular systolic dysfunction (LVSD) ... moderate fish consumption, defined as , was associated with 53 per cent reduction in the risk of developing LVSD compared to no/rare consumption of fish ... In addition, moderate fish consumption was associated with a lower inhibition of the nitric oxide synthase, an enzyme which produces nitric oxide – a potent vasodilator that relaxes blood vessels and improves blood flow" - See Mega Twin EPA at Amazon.com and Jarrow Max DHA at Amazon.com and glucosamine products at Amazon.com.
  • Carnosine facilitates nitric oxide production in endothelial f-2 cells - Biol Pharm Bull. 2009 Nov;32(11):1836-9 - "These results indicate that carnosine facilitates NO production in endothelial F-2 cells. It is also suggested that eNOS is activated by Ca2+, which might be released from intracellular Ca2+ stores in response to carnosine" - See carnosine products at Amazon.com.
  • Regulation of nitric oxide production in health and disease Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care. 2009 Oct 16 - "The role of the cofactor tetrahydrobiopterin in nitric oxide production and its relation with arginine availability is indicated as an important explanation for the arginine paradox. This offers potential for nitric oxide regulation by dietary factors such as arginine or its precursors and vitamin C. Because diets with a high saturated fat content induce high plasma fatty acid levels, endothelial nitric oxide production is often impaired due to a reduction in nitric oxide synthase 3 phosphorylation. Increasing the arginine availability by arginine therapy or arginase inhibition was, therefore, proposed as a potential therapy to treat hypertension. Recent studies in septic patients and transgenic mice models found that inadequate de-novo arginine production from citrulline reduces nitric oxide production. Citrulline supplementation may, therefore, be a novel therapeutic approach in conditions of arginine deficiency" - See L-arginine products at Amazon.com and l-citrulline products at iHerb.
  • Scientists Help Explain Effects Of Ancient Chinese Herbal Formulas On Heart Health - Science Daily, 8/19/09 - "Nitric oxide is crucial to the cardiovascular system because it signals the inner walls of blood vessels to relax, which facilitates the flow of blood through the heart and circulatory system. The messenger molecule also eliminates dangerous clots, lowers high blood pressure and reduces artery-clogging plaque formation ... In the study, researchers performed laboratory tests on DanShen, GuaLou and other herbs purchased at a Houston store to assess their ability to produce nitric oxide"
  • Pure dietary flavonoids quercetin and (-)-epicatechin augment nitric oxide products and reduce endothelin-1 acutely in healthy men - Am J Clin Nutr. 2008 Oct;88(4):1018-25 - "Dietary flavonoids, such as quercetin and (-)-epicatechin, can augment nitric oxide status and reduce endothelin-1 concentrations and may thereby improve endothelial function"
  • Pycnogenol((R)), French maritime pine bark extract, augments endothelium-dependent vasodilation in humans - Hypertens Res. 2007 Sep;30(9):775-80 - "These findings suggest that Pycnogenol((R)) augments endothelium-dependent vasodilation by increasing in NO production. Pycnogenol((R)) would be useful for treating various diseases whose pathogeneses involve endothelial dysfunction" - Some say that grape seed extract is the same as Pycnogenol((R)) without the patent markup.  See Pycnogenol at Amazon.com and grape seed extract at Amazon.com.
  • Pine bark extract boost for blood flow and heart health - Nutra USA, 10/18/07 - "Acetylcholine stimulates the cells of arteries to produce NO from L-arginine faster ... In turn, the NO causes the muscle surrounding arteries to relax, which results in an increase of blood vessel diameters. When subjects had taken Pycnogenol the relaxation of arteries was increased by 42 per cent as compared to the group taking placebo tablets" - See Pycnogenol at Amazon.com and citicholine at Amazon.com.
  • Why Cocoa May Help Heart Health - WebMD, 1/18/06 - "cocoa's antioxidants -- called flavonoids -- coax the body into making more nitric oxide, which relaxes the blood vessels"
  • Jarrow Formulas’, Inc. Introduces ALCA 500(TM) (Acetyl-L-Carnitine Arginate Dihydrochloride) - NPI Center, 3/8/05 - "Acetyl-l-carnitine arginate (ALCA) represents an advancement in the carnitine and arginine fields as this new dietary supplement offers potential benefits in affecting levels of nitric oxide over and above the traditional benefits of carnitine" - See acetyl l-carnitine at Amazon.com.
  • Vitamins enhance benefits of exercise for heart - Nutra USA, 5/25/04 - "Exercise alone has been shown to increase nitric oxide in the body ... But adding the amino acid L-arginine and the antioxidants vitamins C and E to the mix significantly magnified the effect" [WebMD]
  • Nitric Oxide Now -- Ask Me How -  WashingtonPost.com, 10/6/03 - "In the arteries, the innermost layer of cells releases nitric oxide to signal smooth muscle cells to dilate (increase the diameter of) the arteries. This allows blood to flow more freely, particularly during exercise ... By the 1990s, many scientists saw nitric oxide as the next great weapon for treating heart disease, impotence and even bacterial infections ... Niteworks has L-arginine and also L-citrulline, which recycles spent L-arginine by resupplying it with atoms it lost producing nitric oxide ... "Ninety dollars a month? That's obscene," Murad said. "You can probably get [vitamin] C and E for pennies a day. You can probably get arginine for about a dollar a day"" - See L-citrulline at Amazon.com.
  • N-acetylcysteine Improves Blood Vessels - Nutrition Science News, 5/01 - "Researchers suspect this is because NAC enhances the bioavailability of the relaxing substance nitric oxide, but because nitric oxide has a short half-life and cannot be measured by current methodology, they were unable to determine this directly. In addition, NAC may act as an antioxidant that protects nitric oxide destruction"
  • A Fish Story - Nutrition Science News, 4/01 - "daily consumption of very low daily doses of EPA/DHA (120 mg/180 mg, about one standard fish oil capsule) in an enriched milk led to a 19 percent decrease in blood triglycerides and a 19 percent increase in HDL cholesterol after six weeks ... It is unclear whether EPA is superior to DHA, although EPA has proven more potent in relaxing cow coronary arteries and producing the vasodilator gas, nitric oxide, in vitro"
  • Want a love potion? What to know before you try - CNN, 6/15/00 - "Tissue and animal studies of one form of ginseng, called panax, give some credence to the root's sexy reputation. A study published in the May 1995 issue of the journal British Pharmacology, for instance, concluded that substances in ginseng extract known as ginsenosides may work in a similar way to Viagra. Viagra enhances the effects of nitric oxide, which helps relax artery walls, allowing more blood flow into the penis. Ginsenosides may encourage the release of more nitric oxide."

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