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.

Monounsaturated Fats

Monounsaturated fats, like all dietary fats, provide the body with an efficient energy source. These fats are in liquid form at room temperature but can become more solid when refrigerated. The two types of monounsaturated fats found in the diet are oleic acid and palmitoleic acid.

Oleic acid is the main source of monounsaturated fats found in foods. Key food sources for these fats include

• Vegetable oils (olive oil, canola oil, peanut oil, mid-oleic sunflower oil, and other mid- and high-oleic vegetable oils)
• Nuts and seeds (including almonds, cashews, pistachios, and peanuts)
• Olives
• Avocados

Palmitoleic acid is found in macadamia nuts, some fish oils, and beef fat.

Many foods that are rich in monounsaturated fats are also good or excellent sources of other key nutrients (for example, vegetable oils are rich sources of vitamin E, and nuts and seeds provide plant protein, fiber, and some vitamins and minerals).

Studies have shown that replacing saturated fats with monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats (although keeping calories consistent) can lower bad low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels. This can protect cholesterol from accumulating in the linings of arteries that lead to the heart or the brain and can cause a heart attack or stroke, respectively.

A recent review of several studies found that those who consumed a high-ft diet with 22-23 percent energy from monounsaturated fats lowered their total blood cholesterol, very low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and blood triglycerides more than those who consumed a low-fat, high-carbohydrate diet.

Too much of any fat – even healthful monounsaturated fat – can lead to excess calorie intake and contribute to the development of being overweight or obesity. That can increase the risk of diet-related diseases including heart disease, high blood pressure, and type 2 diabetes.

Health Benefits of EFAs

Cardiovascular Health

Research shows that omega-3 fats can lower blood pressure, decrease LDL (“bad”) cholesterol levels, increase HDL (“good”) cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart attack, stroke and other vascular disorders. When heart attacks do happen, omega-3 fatty acids may make them less severe.

Omega-3s reduce the risk or severity of heart disease by influencing several factors, including blood clotting and blood pressure. There is also mounting evidence that omega-3s can protect the heart against arrhythmias (irregular heart rhythms), which can be fatal. According to the American Heart Association, arrhythmias are responsible for more than 780,000 hospitalizations per year.

In August 2003, an article in the European Journal of Medical Research reported that omega-3 fatty acid could reduce the risk of sudden cardiac death in as little as 90 days. The fatty acids were reported to be as effective as aspirin and statins in reducing the risks of sudden death from heart disease. They only treatment that proved more effective than omega-3 fatty acids was the use of beta-blockers, but even patients taking beta-blockers benefited from the addition of omega-3 fatty acids.

In 2004, the FDA recognized the health benefits of EFAs by approving a qualified health claim for products containing omega-3 fatty acids. Food and supplement companies can now state on the product label that EPA and DHA fatty acids may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease (CHD).

Also in 2004, a team of researchers wrote an article in Preventive Medicine proposing the “Omega-3 Index”, which they defined as the red blood cell composition of EPA and DHA. According to the authors, the Omega-3 Index is a reflection of long-term omega-3 intake and is a simple indicator of CHD risk.

Arthritis

Most studies on the antiarthritic effects of EFAs focus on the effects of omega-3 fatty acids on rheumatoid arthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder in which the immune system attacks the joints, causing pain and stiffness. In 1995, a meta-analysis in the Journal of Clinical Epidemiology reveled that taking fish oil supplements for at least three months resulted in modest but significant improvement in joint tenderness and morning stiffness. In 1996, a population-based study published in Epidemiology suggested that omega-3 fatty acids help prevent rheumatoid arthritis. The study’s authors reported that women who ate two or more servings of broiled or baked fish per week had about half the risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis as women who ate less than one serving per week.

Cancer and Other Conditions

Research indicates that omega-3 fatty acids may help prevent and treat certain cancers. A meta-analysis published in 2007 reported that fish consumption could provide a slight reduction in colorectal cancer risk. The same year, researchers from the Oregon Health and Science University conducted a large-scale study on fatty acids and breast cancer in Shanghai, China. They found that omega-3 fatty acids provided a protective effect against breast cancer. Also in 2007, researchers investigated the effects of fatty acids on prostate cancer risk in genetically predisposed mice and found that omega-3 fatty acids reduced prostate tumor growth, while omega-6 fatty acids did the opposite.

There are other uses for omega-3 fatty acids. Researchers are looking into the links between fish oil and childhood asthma, healthier pregnancies (and healthier infants), improved bone growth, schizophrenia, Alzheimer’s disease and lengthened remission time for patients in prolonged remission from Crohn’s disease. Some experts also believe that essential fatty acids help lower the risk and severity of depression.

USANA Vitamins BiOmega is a fish oil supplement manufactured by USANA Health Sciences that’s easy to take every day, especially when you don’t feel like you’re getting enough fish in your diet.