What is Atherosclerosis?
Atherosclerosis is a disease that can affect people at any age, although it usually doesn’t pose a threat until people reach their forties or fifties. It is characterized by a narrowing of the arteries caused by cholesterol-rich plaques of immune-system cells. Key risk factors for atherosclerosis, which can be genetic and/or environmental, include: elevated levels of cholesterol and triglyceride in the blood, high blood pressure and cigarette smoke. A protein called apolipoprotein E, which can exist in several different forms, is coded for by a gene found on chromosome 19. It is important for removing excess cholesterol from the blood, and does so by carrying cholesterol to receptors on the surface of liver cells. Defects in apolipoprotein E sometimes result in its inability to bind to the receptors, which leads to an increase a person’s blood cholesterol, and consequently their risk of atherosclerosis. Currently, a debate is raging over how the various mutated forms of apolipoprotein E effect the body. As a result, many of the treatments proposed remain in their experimental phase. While mice are proving useful for modeling the human disease, a great deal of research is still required before we can fully understand the mechanisms that regulate the levels of lipoproteins – like apolipoprotein E – in the blood.
- Beta-Carotene – reduces risks of heart attack and stroke. Researchers suggest 15 mg.
- Chromium Picolinate – fights atherosclerosis, lowers triglycerides, and improves blood cholesterol profile. RDA: 50 to 200 mg.
- Copper – prevent heart rhythm problems, regulate blood pressure, balance cholesterol levels, protect against cancer, boost immunity, prevent anemia, protect bones. RDA: 1.5 to 3 mg.
- Fish Oil
- Magnesium – contributes to proper functioning of heart muscle, keeps heartbeats normal, reduces angina. RDA: Men:350 mg. Women: 280 mg.
- Potassium – lower blood pressure, protect against stroke, thwart heart disease, prevent kidney problems, lower risk of cancer. Researchers suggest 3,000 to 4,000mg a day.
- Silicon – prevent clogged arteries.
- Co-Q10 – promotes heart function, reduces risk of heart failure, reduces high blood pressure, speeds recovery from bypass surgery, reduces risk of heart attack, and prevents recurrences of heart attack. 25 mg per day. Grape Seed – improves vein and capillary circulation, and lowers cholesterol.
- Vitamin C – important in treating cardiovascular disease. Recommended Dietary Allowances: Men = 90 mg; Women = 75 mg; Pregnant Women = 70 mg; Smokers = 125 mg
- B Vitamins – Vitamin B6(RDA: Men = 2 mg; Women = 1.6 mg; Pregnant Women = 2.2 mg), Vitamin B12 (RDA: Men = 6 mcg; Women = 4 mcg; Pregnant Women = 2.2 mcg), and Folic Acid (RDA for men is 400 mcg and women is 200 mcg.) deficiency has been linked to heart disease, particularly blocked arteries.
- Vitamin E – strengthens the immune system and heart muscle, improves circulation, reduces risk of clots (preventing thrombosis: blot clot blocking a blood vessel), destroys free radicals. Recommended Dietary Allowances: Men = 40 IU; Women = 30 IU; Pregnant or Nursing Women = 15 IU (10 mg)