February is heart health month, a time to pause and consider what you can do to love your heart. Following are two studies for you to read that make the connection between nutrients and your heart and circulatory system.
Living Longer with Vitamin C
Vitamin C is one of the best antioxidants on the planet, and plays a key role in preventing the oxidative changes that can lead to heart and circulatory problems. This 11-year follow-up study covered 13,421 participants who answered a food questionnaire every two years.
Doctors measured vitamin C in the diet, as well as other nutrients and lifestyle factors. Overall, those who got the most vitamin C from all sources were 70 percent less likely to develop a heart or circulatory condition such as cardiovascular disease, heart attack or stroke, compared to those who got the least vitamin C.
Those who got the most vitamin C were also more likely to get more dietary fiber, follow a Mediterranean-style diet pattern and take vitamin C supplements.
Lutein Reduces Inflammation
Earlier research found that carotenoids such as lutein offer anti-inflammatory protection. Many people with coronary artery disease (CAD) have low-grade chronic inflammation. In this study, doctors measured levels of the six most common carotenoids in 193 people with CAD, and compared them to levels of the inflammatory marker, interleukin-6 (Il-6).
Of all the carotenoids, lutein was the only one with a direct link to Il-6: as levels of lutein increased, levels of inflammatory Il-6 decreased.
In a follow-up leg of the study in the lab, doctors took inflamed cells from people with CAD and exposed them to lutein and found that inflammatory activity decreased significantly. Doctors said that these findings, taken together, show that lutein can resolve chronic inflammation in people with CAD.
Reference: Nutrients; 2017, Vol. 9, No. 9, 954.
These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. They are not intended to treat, diagnose, cure or prevent any disease.