Bergomot antioxidants reduce heart disease risk, reveals leading expert

London: A natural supplement, made from plant antioxidants in the Bergamot pear, has been shown to reduce several health risks resulting from taking the cholesterol busting drugs known as statins.


Ross.jpg

The supplement with the brand name, BergaMet, is  made from the Italian Calabrian Citrus Bergamot and has been proven in clinical trials to offer a number of benefits to people with high cholesterol including:

• Lowering ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol by up to 31%.

• Works as a compliment to statins and has helped some patients halve their statin dose.

Dr Ross Walker (pictured  left), is an independent cardiologist who has been using BergaMet on over 1,000 heart patients and has found it to effectively reduce high cholesterol, lose tummy fat and help to lower their risk of heart attack.

He said the use of such a supplement could dramatically alter the health landscape of statin use within the UK, allowing doctors to prescribe smaller and less potentially harmful doses of statins.

He said: “Since Citrus Calabrian Bergamot launched in Australia in late 2010 I have seen significant and consistent improvements in my patients either with or without statin therapy. Around 1,000 of my patients are now taking the natural supplement and have witnessed reductions in total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol and increases in the ‘good’ HDL cholesterol.”

Dr Ross Walker says that the use of  BergaMet  would be helpful in the following cases: 

1)      Low risk patients or in statin intolerant patients to lower cholesterol

2)    In combination with statins to improve efficacy of statins, so a lower dose can be prescribed and side effects are reduced (e.g. muscle pain, weakness, altered cognition)

 He adds: “The results are impressive. Few have witnessed any minor side effects and it is worth noting associated cardiac improvements, such as reduction in arterial stiffness and reductions in abdominal obesity.”

In England, 3 million people were prescribed Simvastatin in the last year but when this is taken in conjunction with high blood pressure and chest pain drugs such as amlodipine and diltiazem, patients are more likely to suffer negative side effects. The side effects include muscle problems such as pain, tenderness, weakness and cramps and more rarely muscle breakdown leading to kidney damage.

BergaMet, from Calabrian Citrus Bergamot, is a natural supplement which has recently been granted food safety approval in the UK and launches this week for UK consumers.  BergaMet is used by experts as part of a management program to maintain healthy cholesterol. People with high cholesterol should not switch from prescribed medications such as statins or warfarin, but can consult with their GP or Cardiologist about introducing a natural supplement to work in complement.  Take 1 tablet twice a day before a large meal – it is important to take BergaMet before meals. Always read the label and use only as directed. BergaMet costs ÂŁ42 for a month’s supply and is available to order direct from www.bergamet.co.uk


   


Enhanced by Zemanta

Grapefruit may hold key to anti-obesity pill?

image

Toronto: A substance found in grapefuit could become a key ingredient in fighting obesity and diabetes, according to a new study.

Naringenin, a flavonoid found in citrus fruit such as grapefruit which gives it its bitter taste , makes the liver burn fat instead of storing it.

But high concentrations, far more than is available in the fruit, would be needed to achieve fat-busting benefits. The chemical also helps balance insulin and glucose levels.

If it could be made into a tablet then it could help treat patients suffering from Type 2 diabetes, a main cause of heart disease.

Successful tests have already been carried out on mice by researchers at the Robarts Research Institute at the University of Western Ontario, in Canada, and published in the journal Diabetes.

Two groups of mice were both fed the equivalent of a Western diet to speed up their ‘metabolic syndromeÂ’ – the process which leads to Type 2 diabetes in humans.

One of the groups ate food that had been treated with naringenin. The non-naringenin mice became obese, their cholesterol levels rose and their bodies became resistant to insulin, a hormone that regulates blood sugar levels.
The mice given the chemical did not suffer from these ailments, despite eating identical diets to the others.

Any rise in cholesterol-was corrected by the naringenin which also ‘reprogrammed’ their livers to burn fat rather than store it.

Lead researcher Professor Murray Huff added: ‘Furthermore, the marked obesity that develops in these mice was completely prevented by naringenin.
‘What was unique about the study was that the effects were independent of calorific intake, meaning the mice ate exactly the same amount of food and the same amount of fat.’ The team will now try to develop the chemical into a treatment for humans.

Note: anyone taking medication should be wary of eating grapefruit as it may interfere with the effect of drugs, such as as statins.

Statins may be new weapon against Alzheimer’s

Seattle: The family of anti-cholesterol drugs called statins and taken by millions around the world, can protect against Alzheimer’s disease, according to new research.

An examination of brain tissue has provided the first direct evidence that statins – taken to prevent heart disease and strokes – can also ward off dementia and memory loss. The study is published in the American Journal of Neurology.

The new findings s come from a study of 110 brains – donated for medical research – at the University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle. The researchers led by Dr Gail Li examined the brains for changes linked to Alzheimer’s -including the creation of ‘plaques’ and ‘tangles’ made from the protein called beta amyloid.

These changes appear in the brain long before any symptoms of dementia develop. Eventually, they damage enough brain cells to trigger confusion, memory loss and eventually death. The researchers found far fewer tangles in the brains of people who had taken statins, compared to those who had not.

The findings were true even after age, sex and the history of strokes were taken into account. This is the first study to compare the brains of people who took statins with those who did not.

Dr Eric Larson, study co-author said: “These results are exciting, novel and have important implications for prevention strategies.”

Statins work by blocking the action of a chemical in the liver which is needed to make the ‘bad’ form of cholesterol, LDL. Reducing levels of bad cholesterol keeps blood vessels unclogged.

The researchers are not sure how statins also prevent the buildup of protein tangles in the brain. They suspect that a healthy flow of blood is a key factor.

Another study, five year’s ago at Boston University found that statins may cut the risk of Alzheimer’s by as much as 79 per cent, even in people with a family history of the disease. Some small- scale studies have found an apparent link between statins and cancer and Parkinson’s disease. Other studies, however, suggest that the drugs can ease the pain of rheumatoid arthritis.

Heart risk women should be on statins, say experts

Dallas: Women with a “moderately high risk” of heart problems should be prescribed the anti-cholesterol drugs called statins, according to a leading expert.

Professor Scott Grundy from the Center for Human Nutrition at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center argues in the British Medical Journal that women should not be ruled out simply because of their gender.

The drugs are designed to reduce levels of bad cholesterol linked to heart disease called LDLs. While many studies have found that statins can prevent heart disease in men, the case for women is much less conclusive.

However, lack of evidence for their effectiveness on women in part because women make up only 16 per cent of those who take part in statins trials has led some experts to argue against their use.

Yet he said there was already general agreement that both men and women at high risk of heart disease should get intensive drug therapy.

Professor Grundy wrote: ‘Until a large-scale clinical trial is carried out to test the efficacy of cholesterollowering in women at moderately high risk, drug therapy should be avoided in most lower risk women.

‘But in those with multiple cardiovascular risk factors and who are projected to be a moderately high risk, use of drugs should not be ruled out.’

10 Ways to Save your Husband’s Life

London: New research1 to coincide with World Heart Day 2006 finds men in midlife still taking HEALTH risks: 45% of men would wait until they were ill before taking action and changing their lifestyle and behaviour; Wives and partners could be the key to better health and longer life for men.

The inequality in life expectancy between men and women is growing wider
and men are falling behind at a faster pace than ever. In 1940 women outlived men by 4.4 years – today the average is nearly seven.2

The biggest cause of premature death in men is heart disease, despite being one of the most easily treated and, therefore, preventable causes of death. New research1 from healthcare company McNeil Ltd. highlights menÂ’s risk taking attitudes as they enter mid-life.

Particularly relevant for World Heart Day 2006 (24th September) is the important role men identify for wives and partners in helping them change engrained and often life threatening behaviour.

MenÂ’s behaviours and attitudes are threatening their health and happiness? Midlife does not seem to have affected menÂ’s ambition with 60% of men over 45 feeling they still had much to achieve, while nearly a third clearly stated feeling excited about entering a new stage of their lives.

Life is still good with 43% of the men surveyed claiming they had had sex in the last seven days! Men considered the biggest priority for their health over the next 20 years was keeping mentally capable, staying out of hospital and being
there for their kids. 45% of men would only be prompted into improving their health and changing unhealthy behaviour by becoming ill first – the idea of preventing potential problems through diet and behaviour is an anathema.

One third of men over 45 never exercise and 13% are perfectly happy
with the fact they are unfit and overweight – and as a consequence at
increased risk of heart attack. A quarter of men over 45 drink more than the weekly allowance of 21 units and over half were on some sort of medication, indicating a clear need for men to re-evaluate their health and lifestyle choices.

“The biggest killer of men is heart disease and too many men are dying from
this condition by failing to tackle their risks,” said Dr. Mike Ingram, GP and men’s health specialist.

“The risk of heart disease increases with age- while men might covet a sports car or motorbike during their ‘menoporsche’, if they want to enjoy a long and active life they need to focus more on reducing their risk factors for heart disease such as smoking, blood pressure and cholesterol.

Regardless of where you start, reduction of cholesterol through diet and the proven effectiveness of statins will reduce risk. “ Key to a healthy heart is wives and partners The research highlighted how wives and partners were regarded by men as key to becoming more proactive with their health. Men ranked their wives and partners as equal to GPs in prompting changes towards healthier behaviour.

“Considering men spend more time with their wives and partners than their local GP, there is clearly a role and responsibility for them to motivate the men in their lives to look after their health,” said Dr Mike Ingram.

“If men are going to enjoy the increasing trend of a healthy old age then changing risky behaviour as they reach their “male menopause” is the key. Time after time I see men at my surgery whose attendance has been due to their wives concerns. I know that their motivation and support will help change their behaviour and even avoid an untimely and premature death.”

McNeil Ltd., manufacturers of Zocor Heart Pro®, the over-the-counter pill that effectively reduces cholesterol, recommends the following 10 simple ways that wives and partners could actually help to save their husband’s
life.

Ten Ways to Save Your Husbands Life:
1. Know the warning signs : Changes in bowel or bladder habits; Recurrent chest pain; Unexplained weight loss or gain; Extreme fatigue; Ensure that he makes a GP appointment if he has any of these symptoms

2. Does he know his blood pressure? High blood pressure damages the blood vessels, heart and kidneys

3. Encourage him to check himself out with routine testicular checks.

4. Promote a healthy diet – encourage him to eat a healthy, low fat diet with at least five portions of fruit and vegetables a day

5. Stop smoking – Create a new routine and rewards for milestones. NHS Quitline
recommends using nicotine replacement therapy at the same time as cutting
down on cigarettes, as it improves success.

6. Exercise regularly – give him encouragement, time and space to take exercise, or make it part of the family regime – little and often to start with

7. Reduce alcohol intake – do you know how much he drinks at home in the week – probably you wonÂ’t – show him the cans and bottles from a single weekÂ’s recycling if he is getting through more than 10 pints a week.

8. Be realistic about weight: be honest with your husband or partner
about whether he needs to lose weight and how much he needs to lose. The best way to do this is to follow a healthy low fat diet and regular gentle
exercise.

9. Reduce his cholesterol – get him to have his cholesterol levels checked and take appropriate steps to reduce it. If he is over 45 ask your pharmacist if he should take an OTC statin.

Be Patient – the goal of taking a more active role in menÂ’s health care is to
get your husband to take better care of himself, and to get the next generation of men to start building good habits. A small change can make
a big difference.

Heart attack is the single biggest cause of premature death in the UK and will account for 1 in 4 male deaths each year4. Raised cholesterol is a key risk factor for heart attack in men over 45. There is an estimated 8.8 million of people who are considered at moderate risk of a heart attack (10-15% chance) in the next 10 years3. While many in this group will be below the threshold that would make them eligible for prescription statins, the single most effective product that you can buy to reduce cholesterol before it becomes a problem is an over the counter statin from the pharmacist.

Zocor Heart-Pro® contains simvastatin, always read the leaflet. Consult
your pharmacist for advice. Zocor Heart-Pro® is suitable for men aged 55 or over. In addition it is suitable for men aged between 45 and 54, or women aged 55 or over if they have a one or more of the following risk factors: a family history of heart disease, smoke (current or within last 5 years), are overweight, or
have a family origin from South Asia. References: 1. TNS Onlinebus conducted 183 interviews with men aged 45-64 on 24th-27th August 2006 2. “19 Ways the Save Your Husband’s Life” By Armin Brott 3. Ipsos RSL Consumer Survey amongst 612 UK adults. July 2004. 4. British Heart Foundations Statistical Database. 2003.

Statins help stroke victims

Boston: Statins, the class of cholesterol-reducing drugs, has been shown to help stroke victims avoid further attacks.

According to a five year study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, high doses of statins cut the risk of a second stroke by 16 per cent.

Patients taking part in the study were given the drug Lipitor (atorvastatin) or a placebo.

Dr Larry Goldstein, of the Duke Stroke Centre in North Carolina, said the study demonstrated that treatment with a statin can reduce the risk of strokes in patients who have had a recent stroke and who have no known history of coronary heart disease.

Statins are used to reduce the amount of cholesterol in the blood. This substance builds up inside arteries, damaging them and raising the risk of heart disease and strokes.

Studies suggest statins may also protect against blood clots, Alzheimer’s and eye disorders.

UK’s foremost expert on hormones warns about the dangers of statins

London: One of BritainÂ’s foremost experts on hormones today warned of the dangers of statins, the cholesterol busting family of drugs.

Dr John Moran said that taking too much could deplete the body of vital hormones, such as testosterone and oestrogen, which are processed in the body from cholesterol.

Statins, not only deplete the body of cholesterol but also the beneficial natural substance, co-Enzyme Q10, an anti-oxidant and cellular energiser which is present in healthy hearts.

Dr Moran of the Holistic Medical Clinic in LondonÂ’s Wimpole Street was commenting on the recent decision by the National Institute for Clinical Excellence to recommend that GPs prescribe statins to anyone with a 20 per cent chance of having a heart attack or stroke over the next ten years. Patients are also going to be able to buy statins across the counter.

Dr Moran, who specialises in advanced hormone replacement therapies for men and women said: “Taking too much of a statin could prevent the manufacture of vital hormones, such as testosterone which is responsible for a host of body functions, including sex drive. Patients should be aware that there are side effects, but anyone who has been prescribed statins should not stop taking them but consult their doctor, particularly those with diabetes or heart or stroke problems.

“One of my other concerns is that people will be able to buy statins over the counter and might not be aware of the consequences of taking the incorrect dose. In some people statins can raise liver enzymes to an unacceptable level which means the liver is not working efficieciently. They can also cause muscle aches and pains. On the whole statins are an amazing drug for preventing the risks of cardio-vascular disease but .”

Contact: John Moran RD, MBBS, DFFP, PG Dip.Nutri.Med at the Holistic Medical Clinic, London, W1 on 020 7935 4870 or mobile 07860 417874

Red grapefruit lowers cholesterol

Jerusalem: Eating one whole red grapefruit daily, decreases blood fat levels, researchers in Israel have discovered.

The researchers from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem tested white and red grapefruit on patients who had not responded to the cholesterol-lowering group of drugs known as statins. All had undergone heart bypass surgery.

After 30 days it was found that those who had consumed red grapefruit had lowered levels of blood fats called lipids. Those who consumed white grapefruit also suffered a decrease but the effect was not as marked.

Magic bullet will drain world health budgets

Rotterdam:Treating everyone, or those at only moderate risk of cardiovascular disease, with the polypill would not save any money at all, even if the drug cost nothing to make, finds research in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.

The “magic bullet” could drain global health budgets, unless it is carefully targeted and very cheap to manufacture, suggest the authors.

The formulation has not been tested out on large numbers of people, and how the various constituents will interact is as yet unknown, say the authors.

But in theory, the polypill, which combines aspirin, a statin, three blood pressure lowering agents, and folic acid into one tablet, has the potential to slash the risk of coronary artery disease by 88% and stroke by 80% in those aged between 55 and 64.

To calculate potential costs of widespread treatment with the polypill, the authors looked at differing levels of risk of developing coronary artery disease in different age groups, and medical and treatment costs.

They used data from the US Framingham Heart Study, which involved over 5,000 people aged between 28 and 62, who were monitored for heart disease and stroke in two year periods for almost half a century.

And they also used data from the Framingham Offspring Study, which involved monitoring the children and spouses of those in the original study every four to eight years.

Even if the polypill cost nothing, it would not save anything at all if given to everyone, irrespective of their risks of developing cardiovascular disease, or if given to those only at moderate risk, say the authors.

Giving the polypill to everyone over the age of 60 would produce the greatest health gains, the authors say. It would prevent between 76 and 179 heart attacks, and between 11 to 33 strokes, per 1000 people in this age group.

But to be cost effective, the annual expense of the polypill would have to be no more than £208 (€302) for those aged 50 and no more than £282 (€410) for those aged 60 at high risk of coronary artery disease, say the authors.

And this cost would need to be around three times lower for those at lower risk, they add.

The authors point out that irrespective of its value, treatment with the polypill “implies the medicalisation of a large section of the population,” as well as the risk of exposing healthy people to the risk of side effects.

Statins

A guide is being posted