In a study just published in the current edition of American Heart Journal, researchers out of Israel evaluated effects of tomato extract on patients with mild elevated blood pressure1. food
The study involved 31 subjects with mild elevated blood pressure without concomitant diseases who required no anti-hypertensive or lipid-lowering drug therapy. Subjects entered a four-week placebo period followed by an eight-week supplementation regimen utilizing 250 mg of a patented and standardized tomato extract known as Lyc-O-Mato®, followed by four weeks of control period with placebo.
During the supplementation period, systolic blood pressure decreased from an average of 144 to 134, while diastolic blood pressure decreased approximately four points from 87 to 83. No changes in blood pressure were demonstrated during the placebo period. It was concluded that short term supplementation with antioxidant-rich tomato extract can reduce blood pressure in patients with mild elevations of blood pressure. This is critically important when you consider the fact that even mild increases in blood pressure can lead to heart attacks and stroke. Additional benefits proven in other studies utilizing Lyc-O-Mato® extract include benefits for prostate health and powerful antioxidant protection for LDL cholesterol against oxidative damage that may lead to clogged arteries. I recommend 15 to 30 mg per day of Lyc-O-Mato® for these benefits.
In a study published in the January American Journal of Epidemiology, researchers from Johns Hopkins University sought to identify the relationship between serum levels of antioxidant nutrients and an inflammatory molecule in the body known as interleukin-6 (IL-6)2. Six hundred and nineteen participants in the Women’s Health and Aging study had levels of IL-6 measured at baseline and a follow up one and two years later.
It was found that participants with the highest serum levels of alpha carotene, total carotenoids and selenium were significantly less likely to be in the highest tertile of serum IL-6 at baseline. Those individuals with the lowest levels of antioxidants were significantly more likely to have increasing IL-6 levels over two years. In general, increased IL-6 levels have been linked to poor health outcome in older adults. It was found that those individuals with the lowest selenium levels have significantly higher risk of total mortality over a five-year period. The findings were said to suggest that specific antioxidant nutrients may play an important role in suppressing IL-6 levels in disabled older women.
I recommend Betatene natural carotenoids (5,000 IU to 25,000 IU), FloraGlo lutein (6 mg to 20 mg) and selenomethionine (200 mcg to 400 mcg) for these benefits.
Moving on to a fond and enjoyable nutrient to ingest, chocolate has been hypothesized to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease due to its high levels of stearic acid and antioxidant flavonoids. In the January edition of Nutrition and Metabolism, a 40-year Medline search was studied the relationship between cocoa, chocolate, stearic acid, flavonoids and risk of cardiovascular disease3.
The body of short term randomized trials suggested that cocoa and chocolate may exert beneficial effects on cardiovascular risk via effects on lowering blood pressure, anti-inflammation, anti-platelet function, higher HDL and decreased LDL oxidation. Overall, the meta analysis indicated that intake of these flavonoids may lower cardiovascular mortality by 19 percent, comparing highest and lowest tertiles.
Finally, in a study in the January edition of Stroke, researchers from Japan studied effects of dietary intake of calcium in relation to mortality from cardiovascular disease4. Researchers looked at over 110,000 people between 1988 and 1990, ages 40 to 79. It was found that a total intake of calcium tended to be inversely associated with mortality from total stroke but not from coronary artery disease or total cardiovascular disease for men and women.
Certainly a potpourri of information this week. The take home message is pretty clear: Aside from having your periodic pieces of dark chocolate, a good quality multi-vitamin containing excellent doses and quality forms of selenium, calcium, carotenoids and other nutrients is essential for optimal health.
This may certainly not be as much fun as eating a bar of chocolate, but it surely is not going to put weight on you. Look for a supplement that contains a combination hoodia, cocoa and green tea extracts which is a great combination for weight reduction.
As always, your comments are read and appreciated.
- Engelhard YN, Gazer B, Paran. Natural antioxidants from tomato extract reduce blood pressure in patients with grade-1 hypertension: A double-blind, placebo-controlled pilot study. Am Heart J: Jan, Vol. 151:Issue 1, pages 100.e6-100.e1.
- J. Walston, Q. Xue, R. D. Semba, L. Ferrucci, A. R. Cappola, M. Ricks, J. Guralnik and L. P. Fried. Serum Antioxidants, Inflammation, and Total Mortality in Older Women. Am J of Epidemiology. Vol. 163, Number 1: pages 18-26.
- Eric L Ding, Susan M Hutfless, Xin Ding, Saket Girotra. Chocolate and Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease: A Systematic Review. Nutrition & Metabolism , 3:2 (3 Jan).
- Mitsumasa Umesawa, Hiroyasu Iso, Chigusa Date, Akio Yamamoto, Hideaki Toyoshima, Yoshiyuki Watanabe, Shogo Kikuchi, Akio Koizumi, Takaaki Kondo, Yutaka Inaba, Naohito Tanabe, Akiko Tamakoshi, and JACC Study Group. Dietary Intake of Calcium in Relation to Mortality From Cardiovascular Disease: The JACC Study. Stroke 37: 20 – 26