Oxidized LDL

The prime focus of most drug research concerning cardiovascular disease has been about lowering cholesterol levels, and that is about all you will hear in their ads on television. However, thousands of studies are now showing how oxidized LDL is much more dangerous and promotes virtually every stage of atherosclerosis; therefore, in addition to lowering its level, it is just as important to keep your LDL cholesterol from becoming oxidized. LDL cholesterol can become oxidized by free radicals. Oxidized cholesterol is more prone to stick to arterial walls and form foam cells that eventually form plaque. Commercial tests are not yet available to measure oxidized cholesterol at affordable prices. Since there is no economical test to determine the degree to which LDL cholesterol is oxidizing in your body, it is bet to quench inflammation, take antioxidants, lower Apo B (apolipoprotein B) levels, and take supplements to reduce small LDL particles.

For example, the higher the calorie, sugar, and fat content of each of your meals, the greater you will experience what doctors call postprandial oxidative stress after you have finished eating. It is an oxidation process. So eating a Mediterranean diet wins again. You can also drink water with lemon or lime, green or black tea, or 2 ounces pomegranate juice with your meals to reduce this oxidation process.

It is also recommended that you take the following in supplement form if you are not getting these nutrients to lower oxidized cholesterol:

• Gamma tocopherol
• Pomegranate juice
• Ubiquinol (CoQ10)
• Grape seed and/or pine bark extracts
• Theaflavin

Apolipoprotein B

Apo B is a measurement of the number of LDL (bad cholesterol) particles in the blood. It is the protein portion of the low-density lipoprotein and transfers cholesterol from the lipoprotein either to the cells to be used or to the liver to be excreted. If the amount of Apo B present is in proportion to the amount needed by the cells, then no problem occurs. However, if you have an excess of Apo B, the excess Apo B will usually deposit cholesterol in arterial walls. Apo B determines whether the cholesterol is used correctly, it determines if cholesterol ends up as plaque. It is believed that LDL particle numbers may predict coronary artery disease risk better than LDL levels. Apo B is mainly genetically determined. Having a large number of LDL particles has been shown to increase heart attack risk even when the total LDL is normal or low and that this measurement is among the most powerful tools for predicting an ischemic event.

To determine the number of LDL particles, it is possible to count apolipoprotein B (Apo B) particles, because Apo B is the major protein particle of an LDL cluster, and each LDL cluster will have only one. It is possible to have an LDL number of 80 (normal), for instance, but an Apo B count of either 50 (normal) or 130 (elevated). (Note that a normal Apo B level would be anything below 60). Unfortunately, a low LDL amount but a high Apo B count is fairly common and increases your risk of cardiovascular disease.

Proper diet, regular exercise, and supplementation are effective in reducing your Apo B level. Avoiding trans fats and reducing saturated fats in your diet are also extremely important in lowering Apo B. below are supplements to lower Apo B:

• Niacin
• Red yeast rice
• Sytrinol
• Pantethine

LDL particle size:

Small LDL particles are far more atherogenic (plaque forming) because they are 40 percent more likely to get stuck in artery walls and form plaque. Studies have shown small LDL triples the likelihood of developing coronary plaque. Small LDL also shows a tendency toward insulin resistance and thus an increased risk of diabetes, especially if you are overweight or obese. Other research has shown that if you have small LDL particles and high C – reactive protein (CRP) levels, your chances of a heart attack are six times higher than normal.

The best way to keep LDL particle size larger and safer is by maintaining a healthy weight. Taking 1,500-3,000 mg of niacin a day (or as directed by your doctor) can also help control LDL size. Research is showing niacin may be the most effective nutrient to take to help eliminate small LDL. It is also best to eat foods that have a low glycemic index (GI) number and thus release sugars more slowly after eating. Note that stain drugs have only a minimal to no effect on LDL particle size. Taking soluble fiber supplements with your other foods can also help in promoting larger LDL particles, as can making sure you are getting enough omega-3 fatty acids and getting regular exercise.

Ascorbate (vitamin C) is a highly potent aqueous-phase antioxidant in plasma, which has been shown in vitro to retard LDL oxidation. USANA Vitamins Supplements Booster C 600™ has a special blend of immunity-supporting ingredients. It contains zinc, echinacea, and elderberry and includes USANA’s own proprietary vitamin C supplement Poly C as well. Booster C 600 is also the perfect seasonal companion to USANA’s other supplements that support immunity health: USANA Proflavanol® C100, USANA® Probiotic, Pure Rest™, and USANA’s Vitamin D supplement.

Pomegranate

Pomegranates have been grown in the Middle East since ancient times. They have also been cultivated in the Mediterranean region, Europe, Asia, Africa and India. The pomegranate tree was introduced to California in the late eighteenth century; today, pomegranates in the United States are grown primarily in Arizona and California.

Pomegranates are basically round with a tough reddish-pink skin. Cutting the fruit open reveals white, fleshy tissue and hundreds of pips – small translucent sacs that contain juice, tart red pulp and a seed. To eat a pomegranate, slice it in half and place it in a bowl of water. Gently remove the pips from the rind and membrane and strain the pips from the water. Then, enjoy the tart, rich flavor of the pips by themselves, or use them on salads and in baked goods.

Nutritional Benefits of Pomegranate

Pomegranates are an excellent source of potassium, vitamin C and polyphenols, especially anthocyanins, ellagic acid, tannins and punicalagin (of all the polyphenols contained in pomegranate juice, punicalagin is responsible for half of the juice’s antioxidant powder). In one study, researchers compared pomegranate juice with cranberry juice, red win, blueberry juice and orange juice and found that pomegranate juice had more polyphenols than the other juices and that the polyphenols in pomegranate juice were significantly more active. Pomegranate juice neutralized free radicals and prevented LDL cholesterol oxidation, which contributes to atherosclerosis.

Pomegranate and Your Health

Scientific literature increasingly shows that the polyphenols in pomegranate juice protect the heart, fight free radicals and protect against cancer and other chronic diseases.

Studies suggest that regularly drinking pomegranate juice helps to reduce oxidative stress, atherosclerosis, blood pressure and narrowing of the carotid arteries in the neck. Scientists at the Preventive Medicine Research Center in Sausalito, California, found that 240 milliliters (about eight ounces) of pomegranate juice a day improved blood flow to the heart in patients with coronary heart disease.

In 2006, Israeli researchers reported that the antioxidants in pomegranate juice are especially beneficial for diabetics. Noting that diabetes increases oxidative stress and the risk of atherosclerosis, the researchers gave 10 diabetic patients 50 milliliters of pomegranate juice per day for three months. (As a control, 10 non-diabetic patients received the same amount of pomegranate juice). The researchers found that pomegranate juice reduced the risk of oxidation and atherosclerosis in the diabetic patients without increasing blood sugar levels.

Pomegranate juice may even protect against cancer. Laboratory and animal studies have revealed potential roles for pomegranate in fighting lung cancer, skin cancer, prostate cancer, colon cancer and breast cancer.

The Bottom Line

As baby boomers reach their fifties and sixties, the emphasis on active lifestyles, maintaining good health and living longer increase. To meet their health goals, more and more people are tuning to fruits and vegetables for the healthful antioxidants they contain. As modern science continues to research the role of free-radical damage in aging and disease, expect to hear more about the potent phytochemicals in acai berries, mangosteen, goji berries and pomegranate, al of which offer numerous benefits to those who want to take control of their health.

Superfruits Fast Facts

Uses and Benefits: Superfruits are nutritional powerhouse, providing vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, phytonutrients and more. Because of their nutritiaonl value, superfruits may boost overall well-being and help prevent disease.

Forms: Superfruits are whole foods and can be enjoyed as such. Many are also available as juices or fruit extracts. Because of its astringency, the highly nutritious mangosteen pericarp is inedible – look for supplements instead.