Thursday, August 18, 2011

Remedy for "Heart Vein Opening"

No Need Now for Angioplastty or Bypass?

That is a chain email about a brew of lemon, ginger, garlic and apple cidar vinegar to “open heart vein”.

For authenticity the chain email quotes Prof. Dr. S. Vikineswary Sabaratnam of the Institute of Biological Sciences, University of Malaya.

Unsubstantiated Claims

Mathew Simon contacted the good professor to verify the authenticity of this claim. She responded stating that it is a hoax and that the claim is not substantiated.

Half Truths

This brew may have some benefits in helping prevent cardiovascular disease. Certainly it has not been clinically proven to be able to clear clogged arteries; personal accounts cannot replace peer-reviewed rigorous clinical studies.

So what do we know about


These can be considered functional foods.

Unlike herbal products many of which contain potentially toxic substances, particularly in relation to interactions with drugs, functional foods are components of the usual human diet that may have special disease prevention attributes and are the topic of current traditional scientific investigation.

Working with rats, Morihara, Hayama and Fujii, have shown that showed that aged garlic extract scavenged superoxide radicals in a dose-dependent manner suggesting that aged garlic extract may be useful for preventing diseases associated with reactive oxygen species.

Also working on rats, Ansari, Bhandari and Pillai, discovered that an alcoholic extract of ginger exhibits cardioprotective property.

Still with rats, Budak NH et al has reported that apple cider vinegar given to the animals decreased triglyceride and very low density lipoprotein (VLDL) levels in all groups when compared to animals on high-cholesterol diets without vinegar supplementation

Carol Johnston’s treatise on functional food mentioned that antioxidants in citrus can lower the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Carol Johnston, PhD, RD of the Department of Nutrition, Arizona State University, explains:

There is growing consensus that systemic inflammation is at the heart of cardiovascular disease (CVD). Inflammation is a key feature of the immune system, functioning to defend tissue integrity and function. However, chronic stimulation of inflammatory mediators leads to lasting vascular reactivity, insulin resistance, hyperlipidemia, and, subsequently, chronic disease.

Dietary practices to minimize inflammatory stimuli and CVD risk include regular intakes of fatty fish rich in the EPA and DHA (Omega 3 fatty acids) that compete with the more pervasive membrane fatty acid, arachidonic acid acid (Omega 6 fatty acid), disrupting the metabolic cascades that stimulate inflammation. Another effective dietary strategy is to consume less arachidonic by reducing beef, poultry, fish, and eggs from the diet (e.g., adopting a vegetarian-like diet).

Since oxidative stress plays a prominent role in immune system activation, regular ingestion of ample amounts of fruits and vegetables (8+ servings per day) rich in antioxidant compounds, the polyphenols, carotenoids, and vitamin C (e.g., citrus, tomatoes, berries, carrots, and greens), lowers inflammatory mediators and risk for chronic disease.

Whole grains, legumes, and nuts have also been demonstrated in clinical trials to effectively reduce inflammatory mediators and risk for CVD. Hence, as proclaimed in antiquity, 'let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food'.

Dr Johnston’s paper entitled “Functional Foods as Modifiers of Cardiovascular Disease” in the American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine in July 2009. You can read the full text HERE

Functional Foods for Health Maintenance

Remember, functional foods are simply intended for maintaining human health.

You can make this brew of lemon, ginger, garlic and apple cidar vinegar part of your diet for health maintenance.

If you are at risk of stroke you should see your regular doctor for regular check-ups. This will help early diagnosis and management of diseases known to increase stroke risk, such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure, irregular heart beats or diabetes.

How to Reduce Your Risk of Stroke

Exercise and lifestyle change in addition to dietary discretion and stress reduction are amongst the principal positive steps that you can take now to reduce your risk of stroke.

CLICK HERE for more details in this website maintained by the Stroke Center, Stanford Unviersity School of Medicine.

Additional References

Morihara N, Hayama M, Fujii H. Aged garlic extract scavenges superoxide radicals. Plant Foods Hum Nutr. 2011 Mar;66(1):17-21.

Ansari MN, Bhandari U, Pillai KK. Ethanolic Zingiber officinale R. extract pretreatment alleviates isoproterenol-induced oxidative myocardial necrosis in rats. Indian J Exp Biol. 2006 Nov;44(11):892-7.

Budak NH, Kumbul Doguc D, Savas CM, Seydim AC, Kok Tas T, Ciris MI, Guzel-Seydim ZB. Effects of apple cider vinegars produced with different techniques on blood lipids in high-cholesterol-fed rats. J Agric Food Chem. 2011 Jun 22;59(12):6638-44.

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