Posts Tagged heart attack
by: Dr. Mercola
July 11, 2012
Your body not only depends on nutrients in the food you eat, but is actually composed — atom-by-atom, molecule-by-molecule – by them, which is why we should not be surprised by the profound power that certain nutrients and food constituents have in supporting optimal health.
One of them, calcium, is an old-standby in many people’s supplement stashes, but new research suggests this is one nutrient you’re better off getting from food sources.
Two lesser known, but extremely therapeutic, nutrients are turmeric (the spice that gives curry its deep yellow color) and resveratrol (a polyphenol found in plants, particularly grape skins), and which in two new studies have been revealed to have exciting health benefits.
Calcium: Good From Food, Not From Supplements?
Calcium is one of the most popular dietary supplements on the market, largely because of the widely circulated belief that regular supplemental doses of this mineral are essential for building and maintaining healthy bones. As a result, many people believe that taking a calcium supplement is one of the best — if not an essential — strategy to prevent bone fractures resulting from osteoporosis.
However, it’s becoming increasingly clear that while organically-bound calcium from your diet is beneficial, elemental calcium supplements, e.g. calcium carbonate, calcium citrate, etc., may dramatically increase heart attack risk, and other health problems.
A recent study published in the journal Heart found that people who took calcium supplements regularly had an 86 percent greater risk of having a heart attack, which led researchers to suggest such pills should be “taken with caution.”i Dietary calcium, on the other hand, had no such risk! In fact, those who got their calcium exclusively from supplements more than doubled their risk of a heart attack compared to those who took no supplements.
A similar trend has been seen for kidney stones, with people taking calcium supplements at a greater risk, while those who consume a high level of calcium in food at a reduced risk.ii There have been a number of studies that indicate calcium supplements increase your risk for cardiovascular incidents and other problems, as well as NOT being of much benefit to your bones.
A 2010 meta-analysis showed calcium supplements (without coadministered vitamin D) are associated with a 27% increased risk for heart attack.iii Even when calcium was administered with vitamin D, which helps you absorb and utilize calcium, elemental calcium still increased heart attack risk by 24 percentiv
A 2008 study found calcium supplements are associated with a greater number of heart attacks in postmenopausal womenv
A 2004 study showed that people with excess calcium in their coronary artery and who take statins have a 17-fold higher risk of heart attacks than do those with lower arterial calcium levels; researchers concluded that the two most definitive indicators of heart attack were LDL levels and arterial calcium build-up
Osteoporosis and Bone Density
- A 2010 article presented evidence for a total lack of support in the research for calcium supplements reducing fracture riskvi
- A 2007 study showed that calcium from dietary sources has more favorable effects on bone health than calcium from supplements in postmenopausal womenvii
- A 2009 study of postmenopausal women using calcium supplements showed that, although calcium loss from bone was slowed, bone loss was still occurringviii
What Makes Calcium Supplements Potentially Dangerous?
Your body does not make calcium, and in fact loses this important mineral daily through your skin, nails, hair, sweat and elimination, which is why you must replace it on a regular basis. Historically this has been through dietary sources.
It has been estimated, however, that your body excretes as little as 100 mg a day, making the current recommendations by the National Osteoporosis Foundation for women over 50 to take 1,200 mg a day a bit troubling. When we compare our calcium-rich diet to the traditional calcium-poor Chinese peasant diet, which was free of cow’s milk and calcium supplements, approximately 250 mg a day of plant-based calcium was all that was needed to fulfill their bodily needs – and this is a culture with no word for “osteoporosis” in its 3,000+ year old language!
Due to the fact that about 99 percent of your body’s calcium is stored in your bones and teeth, if you don’t get enough calcium, your body will use the calcium reserves in your bones to perform vital metabolic functions. This is where the idea that supplementing with calcium could prevent calcium loss from your bones comes from — but it is an overly simplified theory that lacks solid evidence to back it up, especially in Western, modernized cultures, which consume unprecedentedly large amounts of dairy-derived, fortification-based and supplemental calcium.
The truth is that taking any calcium in excess or isolation, without complementary nutrients like magnesium, vitamin D and vitamin K2, which help keep your body in balance, can have adverse effects, such as calcium building up in coronary arteries and inducing heart attacks. Even taking calcium with vitamin D does not appear to be sufficient to prevent these types of adverse effects.
So when you take a biologically foreign form of calcium (such as limestone, oyster shell, egg shell and bone meal (hydroxylapatite)), or when your body’s ability to direct calcium to the right places becomes impaired (as when you are deficient in vitamin K2), calcium may be deposited where it shouldn’t be, which can lead to multiple health problems, including heart attacks. It’s more likely your body can use calcium correctly if it’s food-based calcium.
Good sources include:
- Organic grass fed and finished raw milk and cheese from pasture-raised cows
- Leafy green vegetables
- The pith of citrus fruits
- Sesame seeds and wheatgrass
Calcium from dietary sources is typically better absorbed and utilized than calcium from supplements, which is why studies involving calcium from natural food sources have shown favorable results, including a 25 percent lower risk of dying from all causes.ix
It is also vital to remember that magnesium, along with a variety of additional trace minerals such as strontium, boron, and the other crucial vitamin K2, may all be every bit as, if not even more important than calcium.
Turmeric Provides Heart and Diabetes Protection, and Anti-Cancer Effects
The next nutrient in the news is turmeric, which is no surprise as there are so many research studies that show it has powerful anti-inflammatory, anti-tumor and antioxidant properties. Last year, a study by Penn State researchers revealed that an antioxidant-rich spice blend made of turmeric, rosemary, oregano, cinnamon, black pepper, cloves, garlic powder and paprika could reduce your insulin levels by 21 percent, and your triglycerides by 31 percent when added to a meal.x
by: Sayer Ji
July 9, 2012
The ongoing battle of the bulge, while once considered primarily a matter of vanity, may actually be one of the best ways to reduce your risk of dying from a multitude of causes (i.e. all-cause mortality), but especially heart attack.
Some studies have even revealed that abdominal obesity, known clinically as central obesity, and which is measured by the hip-to-waist ratio, may be more important than blood lipids, i.e. “cholesterol,” in determining heart attack risk. 
So, with this in mind, the following 6 “diet tips,” take on even greater relevance to your overall health.
- Coconut Oil – Two human studies now exist showing that dietary coconut is safe and effective in reducing midsection fat in both women and men. In the women’s study, the treatment group received two tablespoons of coconut oil (30 ml), daily, over a period of 12 weeks, resulting in both a reduction in waist circumference, as well as a boost in their “good” HDL cholesterol levels.  In the male study, obese men received two tablespoons (30 ml) of coconut oil per day, taken in 3 divided doses, half an hour before each meal, for one month. The men experienced an average of over one inch (2.86 cm) reduction in their waist circumference, with no changes in their blood lipids. You can read the full study here.
- Green Tea – Green tea has been called “the medicine which grew into a beverage.” Indeed, our project has identified research on over 200 health conditions that may benefit from its use, with obesity on top of the list. In a 2009 study published in the journal Obesity, the consumption of catechin-rich green tea was found to be safe and effective in reducing weight in moderately overweight subjects, including an over two inch reduction in their waist circumference.
- Sunlight – A 2011 study in The Journal of Investigative Dermatology revealed a remarkable fact of metabolism: The exposure of human skin to UV light results in increased subcutaneous fat metabolism. While subcutaneous fat, unlike visceral fat, is not considered a risk factor for cardiovascular disease, it is known that a deficiency of one of sunlight’s best known beneficial byproducts, vitamin D, is associated with greater visceral fat. Also, there is a solid body of research showing that vitamin D deficiency is linked to obesity, with 9 such studies on our obesity research page. One of them, titled “Association of plasma vitamin D levels with adiposity in Hispanic and African Americans,” and which was published in the journal Anticancer Research in 2005, found that vitamin D levels were inversely associated with adiposity in Hispanics and African-Americans, including abdominal obesity. The point? Exposure to UVB radiation, which is most abundant two hours on either side of solar noon and responsible for producing vitamin D, may be an essential strategy in burning midsection fat, the natural way.