In The News: CoQ10 Proves Its Worth Again

Heart To Heart: News & Tips For A Healthy Heart

New research on the supplement CoQ10, recently published in American and European medical journals, shows that it increases survival rates and decreases hospitalizations for people being treated for heart failure. CoQ10 (also called Coenzyme Q10, among other names) is a powerful antioxidant and acts as an essential factor in the heart’s energy production. In the past, clinical studies have provided evidence of its value as an adjunct treatment for angina, congestive heart failure, arrhythmia, and hypertension (high blood pressure). In addition, researchers have found that statin drugs deplete CoQ10, and so it has been suggested that people taking these cholesterol-lowering drugs should also use CoQ10 to support healthy heart function.

CoQ10 (also called Coenzyme Q10 and ubiquinone, among other names) is a powerful antioxidant and acts as an essential factor in the heart’s energy production. A naturally occurring and powerful antioxidant nutrient, it retards free radical formation in biological systems, and resembles vitamin E and vitamin K in chemical structure. Biochemically, it functions much like vitamin E in that it participates in antioxidant and free radical reactions. 

NOW AVAILABLE FROM NYBC’S ONLINE CO-OP:
Jarrow Formulas’ Q-Absorb, available in two strengths, utilizes a “completely natural proliposome lipid soluble delivery system clinically shown in humans to increase Co-Q10 levels up to 400% – three to four times better absorbed than chewable Co-Q10 tablets.” Price: $21- $29.

Douglas Labs’ Cardio Edge* employs plant sterols (phytosterols) from soy, Sytrinol (a proprietary extract of polymethoxylated flavones and tocotrienols from citrus and palm fruits), and pomegranate extract. Their Ultra Coenzyme Q10 ($121.60) has 60 chewable tablets with 200 mg CoQ10 combined with 500 mg lecithin.

* Note: Prices on Douglas Labs’ products are considerably lower for NYBC members!

The study lasted for two years and compared heart failure patients taking 100mg CoQ10 three times per day with patients who were not taking the supplement. By the end of the two-year period, the CoQ10 group showed a significantly lower rate of hospitalization for heart failure, significantly better functional capacity, and a significantly lower rate of death from cardiovascular disease.

NYBC has stocked CoQ10 since our founding, and has recently expanded its offerings. We’re happy that we’ve been able to provide this important supplement at discounted prices to our members over the years, and we’re happier still to see this new research strengthening the case for a supplement that already had a considerable amount of evidence demonstrating its benefit for heart health.

Here are some additional NYBC suggestions for cardiovascular health. All are based on our reading of the always-evolving research on nutrition and nutritional supplements:

Eating fatty fish (such as wild salmon) once or twice a week is an excellent approach to maintaining cardiovascular health; however, regular supplementation with fish oil can also provide the omega-3 fatty acids (called DHA and EPA) that have been closely linked to cardiovascular benefit. Note that supplements, when properly purified, avoid the problem of mercury contamination, a concern for those who eat sea food regularly.

Niacin, a B vitamin, is still one of the best agents for supporting cardiovascular health. In a long-term study, it was associated with lower risk of cardiovascular disease and death related to cardiovascular disease. (Don’t be misled by some recent reports about Niacin’s lack of effect, which only appeared in a study using a particular form of the supplement together with a statin drug.) The main drawback of Niacin is that it may cause flushing and itching, which make it difficult or impossible for some to take. Starting with a low dose of about 100 mg and working up to about 1,000 mg per day may minimize this reaction.

Other helpful agents include carnitine (which may lower triglycerides), pantethine (a B vitamin) and phytosterols, such as those in Douglas Labs’ CardioEdge.

Pomegranate juice and heart health

In the past decade, there have been a number of studies of the potential of pomegranate juice to support cardiovascular health and provide additional health benefits as well. Recently we reviewed a research report published in 2012 that looked at the cardiovascular and immune system benefits of pomegranate juice for hemodialysis patients. This was a randomized placebo controlled double-blind trial (a kind of research design that is likely to produce reliably objective findings). The patients were followed for one year as they used pomegranate juicee three times a week while continuing their dialysis treatments. The results:

Pomegranate juice intake resulted in a significantly lower incidence rate of the second hospitalization due to infections. Furthermore, 25% of the patients in the pomegranate juice group had improvement and only 5% progression in the atherosclerotic process, while more than 50% of patients in the placebo group showed progression and none showed any improvement.

And the conclusion:

Prolonged pomegranate juice intake improves nontraditional CV [cardiovascular] risk factors, attenuates the progression of the atherosclerotic process, strengthens the innate immunity, and thus reduces morbidity among HD [hemodialysis] patients.

Of course, this research involved a special group of patients, those on hemodialysis. But, as a well-designed study, it does, we think, provide a fairly strong endorsement of the health benefits of pomegranate juice.

For more on pomegranate juice, see the NYBC entry

http://nybcsecure.org/product_info.php?cPath=40&products_id=333

Note that NYBC also carries the Douglas supplement Cardio-Edge, which includes pomegranate:

http://nybcsecure.org/product_info.php?cPath=35&products_id=284

Reference: Shema-Didi, L et al. One year of pomegranate juice intake decreases oxidative stress, inflammation, and incidence of infections in hemodialysis patients: a randomized placebo-controlled trial. Free Radic Biol Med. 2012 Jul 15;53(2):297-304. doi: 10.1016/j.freeradbiomed.2012.05.013. Epub 2012 May 17.

New FDA warnings on statins; NYBC reviews supplements to support cardiovascular health

In February 2012 the FDA added new safety warnings about statins, the cholesterol-lowering medications that are among the most widely prescribed drugs in the world. The side effects cited by the FDA include memory loss, muscle pain (myopathy), and now a significant diabetes risk as well. Reports of memory loss, confusion, and forgetfulness were found in all types of patients taking statins, according to the new warnings.

In addition, a 2011 review in the Cleveland Clinic Journal of Medicine concluded that statin-related muscle pain was much more common than previously reported. (The main reason: clinical trials of statins often eliminated patients more likely to develop muscle pain as a side effect of the medication.) The same article estimated that muscle pain as a side effect may help explain why up to 25% of adults stop taking statins within six months, and up to 60% stop taking them within two years.

There is good evidence that statins can be valuable in preventing heart disease, and there is widespread consensus that they remain a crucial option for many dealing with cardiovascular disease and risk. However, it’s also more evident than ever that statin side effects are significant. And given the side effects, there is some disagreement among doctors about what cholesterol levels should call for treatment with statins, and what levels can better be dealt with through changes in diet or exercise habits.

It’s a complex subject and of course involves many individual factors including age, family history and blood pressure, so, as you’d expect, NYBC advocates that everyone make decisions about how best to manage cardiovascular risk and disease in consultation with their healthcare provider.

Given the new FDA warnings about statins, NYBC also believes that it’s more important than ever for people to be aware of the potential of dietary supplements in supporting cardiovascular health. Here are some of the supplements we often recommend for consideration:

–Plant products called sterols have been shown to inhibit cholesterol. See, for example, Douglas Labs’ Cardio-Edge.

Fish oil (omega-3 fatty acids). Research has found a strong effect on lowering triglycerides, one measure associated with cardiovascular risk. Recommended to support cardiovascular health by the American Heart Association.

Flaxseed: 40-50 grams per day can have a substantial impact on cholesterol.

Pomegranate concentrate. Needs more study, though recent research found that diabetic patients taking pomegranate concentrate were able to lower their cholesterol significantly.

Finally, if you are taking statins, consider supplementing to lessen the risk of certain side effects. A 2011 research report suggested that Vitamin D deficiency might contribute to muscle pain caused as a side effect of statins, and that supplementing with the sunshine vitamin could reverse that side effect. (Reference: Glueck, C J et al. Curr Med Res Opin. (2011 Sep). “Vitamin D deficiency, myositis-myalgia, and reversible statin intolerance”) Also, a 2007 pilot study suggested that the supplement CoQ10, used to support cardiovascular health in a variety of contexts, could diminish statin-related myopathy and improve a person’s ability to continue normal daily activities. (Reference: Caso, Giuseppe. Am J Cardiol. 2007 May 15. “Effect of coenzyme q10 on myopathic symptoms in patients treated with statins”)

For more on Vitamin D and CoQ10 see the NYBC entries:

CoQ10

Vitamin D3

The Virtues of Pomegranate

NYBC’s buyers’ co-op stocks Pomegranate Juice Concentrate (Jarrow) Each bottle, 12 oz (355 ml) of 100% pomegranate juice concentrate. This concentrate is really thick, so you are getting a lot of the pomegranate in a bottle!

Pomegranate is one of Nature’s most powerful sources of antioxidants, with an antioxidant power greater than that of blueberries and strawberries. Various studies suggest that pomegranate’s antioxidants may help to improve the level of glutathione in cells. (Glutathione is sometimes called the “master antioxidant” for its role in controlling many damaging inflammatory responses in the body.) Specifically, pomegranate may support blood vessel health and counteract the oxidative processes of atherosclerosis (“hardening of the arteries”)

A related product: Cardio-Edge (Douglas Labs). This combination supplement was devised by Douglas Labs following recent research attention to “plant sterols” and other botanical substances that can support healthy cholesterol levels. Cardio-Edge also includes pomegranate (for support of cardiovascular health, as mentioned above), and Sytrinol (a proprietary extract obtained from citrus and palm fruits).

Reference: Aviram M, Rosenblat M, Gaitini D, et al. Pomegranate juice consumption for 3 years by patients with carotid artery stenosis reduces common carotid intima-media thickness, blood pressure and LDL oxidation. Clinical Nutrition 2004; 23:423-233.

Green foods for immune support

As we pass through the short days of winter, which also brings the cold and flu season to those of us in the northern hemisphere, our thoughts may turn to fortifying ourselves with a good diet, making it as healthy as possible till that day when the arugula sprouts in the garden or the new crop of berries arrives (ok, getting a little poetical here!)

Anyway, here are NYBC suggestions for green foods and green/red foods combinations, which many use to boost the nutritional content of their diet when that boost is most needed:

Organic DAILY 5 (Jarrow). A mix of greens and reds (fruits). Used as directed, it is a 30-day supply, at $23.40/month. It is a blend of high quality, organic (USDA seal) fruits and vegetables, rich in antioxidants such as proanthocyanidins.

Each single (6 g) scoop provides 3,240 mg of a blend of organic fruits and vegetables, including apple, carrot, raspberry, strawberry, cranberry, blueberry, beet powder acerola powder, broccoli and spinach. In addition, each scoop includes 1,720 mg of organic flax seed powder as well as 110 mg of a blend of organic barley grass, wheat grass and oat bran powders.

Green Vibrance is a more complex mix of probiotics, greens, and immune supportive nutrients. The list of ingredients is long, so please follow the link to see how this green food supplement is structured. A month’s supply is $38.50, and a 60-day Green Vibrance is also available for the savings-conscious. (The large size will save you about 20% off the one-month version, if our calculations are correct.)

Healthy cholesterol levels the botanical way

We’ve long known about certain supplements like niacin, pantethine, omega-3 fatty acids that can have an effect on cholesterol levels. In recent years, research attention has also focused on “plant sterols” and other botanical substances that can provide help in supporting healthy cholesterol levels.

Responding to this emerging science, supplement suppliers have devised some combination supplements. Among them is Douglas Lab’s Cardio-Edge, which includes: plant sterols (phytosterols) from soy; Sytrinol (a proprietary extract obtained from citrus and palm fruits); and pomegranate extract.

Here’s a little more detail on the product:

Cardio-Edge is designed to help maintain cardiovascular health and support healthy cholesterol levels. Sytrinol is intended to have the following effects, some of which you can monitor with routine bloodwork to assess its effect for you. These include:
1) Decrease apoprotein B, needed for LDL synthesis
2) Decrease action of an enzyme in the liver that makes triglycerides
3) Inhibit HMG-CoA reductase in the liver

Patented combination of citrus PMFs and alpha, delta and gamma tocotrienols derived from palm fruit (U.S. patents #6,251,400, and #6,239,114). Palm tocotrienols have been shown to inhibit HMG CoA reductase, the enzyme responsible for regulating cholesterol synthesis in the liver. Clinical studies in both animals and humans support Sytrinol’s role in reducing total and LDL-cholesterol as well as triglycerides.

Plant Sterols
Blood cholesterol is derived from the diet and synthesized in the liver. Sterols work by reducing the absorption of both forms of cholesterol – Sterols compete with cholesterol for absorption. Sterols and sterol esters can now be found in many foods including orange juice, rice drink, and margarine.

Pomegranate
Recent science has been focusing on the cardioprotective aspects of pomegranate. These brightly colored fruits contains numerous cornpounds known for their antioxidant capabilities, induding anthocyanidins, catechins, tannis, and gallic and ellagic acids. Research has shown that supplementation with pomegranate juice can decrease macrophage lipid accumulation, and cellular cholesterol accumulation in mice. Recently, research in humans has confirmed a beneficial effect of consuming pomegranate juice on parameters such as LDL oxidation, blood pressure, and blood vessel health.

In human clinical studies involving hypercholesterolemic subjects, no side effects were observed and four weeks of supplementing with a daily dose of 300 mg of Sytrinol.

See further information on recommended dosing on the NYBC website:

http://nybcsecure.org/product_info.php?products_id=284

New at NYBC: Daily Five, Vegetarian Enzymes, Pomegranate Concentrate

NYBC recently added to its list of food-based supplements by stocking Daily Five from Jarrow. This is a blend of high quality, organic (USDA seal) fruits and vegetables, rich in antioxidants such as proanthocyanidins. Ingredients include apple, carrot, raspberry, strawberry, cranberry, blueberry, beet powder acerola powder, broccoli and spinach. In addition, each scoop includes organic flax seed powder and a blend of organic barley grass, wheat grass and oat bran powders.

Read more at the NYBC entry Daily Five.

NYBC is also stocking a vegetarian formula digestive enzyme, Jarro-Zymes Vegetarian Enzymes. To aid digestion, this formulation contains the enzymes that help break down fats (lipase), proteins (protease), sugars and starches (amylase), as well as alpha galactosidase (sugars) and peptidases (proteins).

Read more at the NYBC entry Jarro-Zymes Vegetarian Enzymes.

Also among new products at NYBC: Pomegranate Juice Concentrate. This is one of the most powerful sources of antioxidants, with an ORAC higher than blueberries and strawberries and concentrated to a level of 4 times that of ordinary pomegranate juice…it is thick (mix with water or juice)! The antioxidants found in the juice include ellagic and gallic acid, anthocyanins and tannins, and punicalagin (the most powerful). Various studies suggest that this may help to improve the level of glutathione in cells, particularly macrophages. It may have benefit for maintaining platelet levels, lowering LDL and sustaining vascular tone. NOTE: Pomegranate juice, like grapefruit juice, may interact with a number of medications. People on meds like anti-hypertensive or statins, or people who are allergic to many plants, should consult their physician before taking.

Read more at the NYBC entry Pomegranate Juice Concentrate.