USANA Heart Health Supplements

Healthy hearts and are happy hearts

We’ve all been inundated with information about the cardiovascular risks of eating too much saturated fat. That’s not new. It may be shocking to many Americans to realize that the French – whose diets are comprised largely of rich, fatty foods such as cream and cheese and butter – actually enjoy some of the world’s best cardiovascular health. How can this be? The superior heart health enjoyed by the French despite the amount of saturated fats in the typical French diet is known as the “French Paradox.”

Some researchers theorize that the French Paradox can be attributed to the fact that, along with their cheese, the French also enjoy good wine. The average French person consumes about 9 ounces of wine daily. Wine contains antioxidant polyphenols, which promote good heart health. These substances work to protect LD from oxidization, even more so than other popular antioxidants such as vitamins C and E. Antioxidants promote the healthy flow of blood through the blood vessels, even those that may be partially constricted by plaque.

The flavinoids that are present in red grapes (the grapes used to make wine) reside in the grape seeds. These flavinoids are called proanthocyanidins and now scientists have been able to extract the proanthocyanidins from the grape seeds so that we can enjoy the benefits of the flavinoids without having to consume alcohol, which can post its own health risks.

In a healthy adult, arteries and other blood vessels expand and contract to deliver blood, oxygen and nutrients throughout the body. In a person who suffers from coronary artery disease (or, CAD) the proper expansion and contraction may not occur. This can be an early indicator that the person may be at risk of suffering a stroke or a heart attack in the future. Researchers in the Boston University School of Medicine conducted research in which they studied the microvascular functioning of the blood vessels in participants’ fingertips, both before and after they began to take supplements. The study showed that within just a few hours after ingesting the supplement, microvascular function had improved. The blood vessels had begun expanding and contracting like healthy blood vessels should. The researchers noticed that the improvement only occurred when epicatechin, a bioflavinoid found in grape seed extract, was also present in the subjects’ blood stream.

USANA scientists and Boston University worked together and discovered that the continuous and regular intake of a supplement that contained both grape seed extract and vitamin C together could improve vascular health. This was achieved by providing antioxidant protection and by promoting healthy microvascular blood flow through the arteries.

USANA Health Sciences, was instrumental in developing the process now used by the company’s suppliers use to create grape-seed extract that is readily available for use by the body. These extracts are contained in USANA’s Proflavanol C100 or Proflavanol C200 tablets.

Proflavanol C is one of USANA’s most popular supplements. It is part of a heart-healthy regime and it also has been shown to promote a healthy immune system and healthy, glowing skin.

Other heart-healthy habits

Taking supplements isn’t the only key to a healthy body. You also have to follow a heart-healthy diet as well.

The adage that “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” isn’t just an old wive’s tale. It’s true. A recent study found that eating one apple every day can help to reduce LDL, the bad cholesterol in our blood that puts us at risk for dangerous heart attacks and strokes. So grab a Granny Smith, a Fuji or a Gala and get chomping your way to good health!

Another heart-healthy food that you should be incorporating into your daily diet are nuts. Nuts are high in healthy omega-3 fatty acids and contain high levels of protein and fiber, among other heart-healthy things. Beware, however, that nuts are a snack that should be eaten mindfully and with an eye toward portion control. Nuts contain high levels and fat and, although it is “good fat,” nuts should be consumed in small amounts. Add some to a salad, combine a handful with some dried fruit, or mix a few into some yogurt. Steer clear of heavily smoked, salted or “flavoured” nuts which can derail your healthy-eating intentions. Raw almonds are one of the best choices, weighing in at just 7 calories per nut. Pistachios are another good choice. Because they take some work to get into (never buy them pre-shelled!) you won’t be as tempted to overeat.

Your mother was right

It may be a difficult pill to swallow, but your mother was right when she told you to eat your vegetables. Eating a wide variety of vegetables every day helps to prevent cardiovascular disease. It’s important to know that cooking vegetables reduces the amount of bio-available nutrients in them. Boiling, in particular, leeches the nutrients out of the food and exposure to air sucks away certain vitamins including vitamins A, C, E, K and B. Instead of boiling, cook your vegetables by lightly steaming them over a double boiler. In addition, avoid exposing your vegetables to air by cutting them only right before you plan to cook and/or eat them. Finally, serve raw or lightly cooked vegetables as often as possible, supplementing with fully cooked vegetables less often.

Getting raw vegetables into your diet isn’t as challenging as it may seem. At breakfast, if you put spinach into your omelet, do so at the last moment so the nutrients don’t cook out and add some sprinkles of tomato on top of the finished product. At lunchtime, make a big salad with lots of dark leafy greens, shredded carrot, diced peppers and sliced mushrooms. On your sandwich, add a slice of tomato and some romaine lettuce. At dinner time, always have a big salad on the side of your entree and load your plate with lightly steamed vegetables. Vegetables such as broccoli, asparagus, zucchini and eggplant all taste great when they are just barely tender-crisp.

A quick note about tomatoes: A 2002 study found that cooking tomatoes actually helps to bolster the amount of lycopene in tomatoes. Lycopene is a powerful antioxidant that helps to protect our cells from the free-radical damage that can occur when our bodies burn oxygen for energy. Easy ways to incorporate cooked tomatoes into your diet are, as already mentioned, in an omelet at breakfast, in a sandwich or soup (homemade, please!) at lunch, and in a simple tomato sauce over whole-grain pasta at dinner time.

USANA’S MyHealthPak

Every aspect of USANA‘s MyHealthPak is geared toward optimizing your health. Their website and packaging system allows customers to custom-design their nutritional supplement backs for both the morning and evening supplements for a system that is truly one-of-a-kind and tailored to each customer’s specific needs.

USANA’s Health Assessment and Advisor was designed by the company’s top-notch scientific team. The program is designed to help customers identify their particular nutritional needs using biometric, lifestyle and health priority information. Based on the answers you provide, the system will provide you with Core, Advanced and Optimal recommendations. You can also select one of the systems pre-determined profiles that is the closest to your health and lifestyle habits. Whichever option you choose – either providing your own information or choosing a pre-determined profile – you have the choice to further customize by dragging and dropping various USANA products into your am or pm packs.

Worried about taking too much of one thing, or the wrong combination of things? Don’t fret! The MyHealthPak Builder keeps careful track of what you are adding to your packs. This will prevent you from adding any unsafe levels of supplements so you don’t have to do the figuring yourself. Once you’ve made the final selections for your packs, you can complete your pack with your name and a message of your choosing. From there, your USANA MyHealthPak is assembled individually by a proprietary packaging machine. The server on the machine receives your order from the website and communicates the order to a high-speed packer. The packer then dispenses the appropriate tablets. Each of the 56 packs and the b ox they come in are labeled with your name and unique bar code so that you can be sure you receive what you order – nothing more, nothing less. You’ll receive a full four-week supply of tablets along with a full information packet about all of your selected tablets. USANA endeavors to make the process not only customizable and quick, but also as user-friendly as possible. Because if it’s too confusing, time consuming or expensive to take supplements, most of us simply won’t do it.

The only unfortunate thing is that MyHealthPak is not (yet) available everywhere. Fortunately, however, USANA is committed to meeting the needs of their worldwide family. In some markets, USANA is required to register every combination of tablets customers could potentially get from their company and because there are so many great products being offered that could amount to hundreds of thousands of possible combinations. That presents a significant challenge in bringing the MyHealthPak idea to certain parts of the world, but USANA continues to strive to find ways to get personalized packs into various world markets.

Fish oil is your secret health weapon

When Maria was pregnant, her doctor put her on fish oil supplements to boost her baby’s developing brain and nervous system. But Maria didn’t realize how much she herself would benefit from the supplement. After her baby was born, she noticed a drastic difference in her postpartum mood, as opposed to her previous pregnancy when she didn’t take the supplement. She has stayed on fish oil ever since. “It’s fantastic for my memory, mood and stress levels. I feel more balanced when I take it”, she says.

Like Maria, thousands of women are discovering the myriad benefits of fish oil. In addition to boosting mood, supplements containing these healthy omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to lower the risk of various heart woes and improve symptoms of inflammatory conditions like arthritis. There’s even research suggesting fish oil can help maintain brain power as we age and maybe even reduce wrinkles. Because omega-3s are essential fats, they have wide-ranging effects throughout the body.

Of all the purported perks of fish oil, the data for cardiac conditions is most compelling. Research shows that fish oil cuts the risk of heart attack, heart failure, and sudden cardiac death. Kathy, 57, started taking fish oil on her doctor’s advice to bump up her lackluster HDL – the “good” cholesterol. Within a few months, it had doubled, slashing her risk for heart attack or stroke. “I used to be on a medication for high cholesterol”, echoes Nancy, 57, “Since taking fish oil, my cholesterol levels have never been better. My physician says I should frame my lipid results because they are so excellent”.

Donna, 48, doesn’t need a study to tell her fish oil helps her achy knees. “I had been suffering from intense knee joint pain for years”, she says. “A few weeks after beginning the supplements, my pain completely disappeared. For a while, I got lazy and stopped taking the fish oil. It wasn’t long before the pain came back with a vengeance. I got it back on my daily regimen and about two weeks later the pain was gone again.

Research also suggests fish oil could play a role in fending off depression and other mood disorders, including bipolar disorder. In a study from the University of Sheffield, in the U.K., depressed patients who had not been helped by the antidepressant Prozac were given fish oil. Almost 70 percent improved on the supplement, compared to 25 percent on a placebo pill.

Some of the most provocative new research on fish oil, involving data from the Nurses’ Health Study at Harvard School of Public Health suggests it may delay aging by slowing down the shortening of telomeres, a marker of aging in the body’s cells. Telomeres cap the end of chromosomes, allowing them to function more accurately. Cells with shorter telomeres are more prone to damage and disease.

A study in the Journal of Lipid Research found that omega-3s might suppress the type of aging damage in the skin that causes wrinkles. That’s no surprise to Barbara, 62, of California. Soon after she stared taking fish oil, she noticed that her hands were less dry and her skin smoother. “Recently, a cosmetic clerk thought I was in my forties”, says Barbara, “I told her she needed glasses. I can pass for 50, but 40 seems a stretch”.

Where to get it

Omega-3 fats are found in abundance in fatty fish like salmon and mackerel. Experts recommend eating two to four fish meals a week to get optimal health benefits. But if you’re not a big fan of fish, a supplement is a great alternative. Just be sure to check the label for the amounts of the two key omega-3 fats, EPA and DHA. The two combined should be between 500 and 1,000 milligrams. If you are a vegetarian, you can take algal oil – oil made from the plants that are normally eaten by fish.

There’s a third type of omega-3 fat, called alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), which is found in flaxseed, canola oil, and walnuts. The body converts ALA into EPA, but not very efficiently. If you eat 1,000 milligrams of ALA, only 37 milligrams of EPA will get made. That means you still need fish – or fish or algal oil – to get the maximum effects. Caution: Never discontinue a prescription drug, whether for a heart condition, pain, or a mood disorder, without talking to your doctor first.

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.

A healthy diet may help improve mental funciton

Eating a healthy diet may help protect against dementia as people age, according to a new study.
Researchers from the National Research Council in Milan, Italy studied more than 1,600 men and women over age 70. Participants were questioned about the types of food they ate and took a test to determine their level of mental function. Researchers then evaluated the diets of the individuals and separated them into groups based on mental function.

After evaluating the data, researchers found that a balanced diet with low levels of saturated fat and cholesterol is linked with a lower risk of mental decline. While they are unsure how a healthy diet protects from mental decline, researchers hypothesize antioxidants play a key role. Potent antioxidants such as vitamins C and E are crucial in clearing up free radicals from the body. Researchers say studies also show omega-3 fatty acids may be helpful. Previous studies have shown the ability of omega-3 fatty acids to protect against Alzheimer’s disease.

USANA Vitamins fish oil Supplement USANA BiOmega provides advanced and guaranteed levels of EPA and DHA, two long-chain omega-3 fatty acids important for memory and learning.

In the current study, researchers also found moderate alcohol intake to be associated with better mental function. Researchers say while it may be that moderate drinking habits and good health generally go together, other research that shows moderate alcohol intake is associated with reduced risk of stroke may also mean it has a positive benefit on cognitive capabilities.

Dementia can occur at any age but is more common after age 65. Researchers emphasize dementia is not a normal part of the aging process. According to the San Francisco Alzheimer’s and Dementia Clinic, Alzheimer’s disease is the most common type of dementia. It typically occurs after 65 years of age and affects 4 million adults. Alzheimer’s Disease is the fourth leading cause of death in the United States. From onset until death, the disease generally lasts from 3 to 18 years.

SOURCE: European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2001;55:1053-1058

Fish oil, Vitamin D, Vitamins C and E and other antioxidants

Fish oil

What you need to know – It has a reputation as a heart helper. Evidence supports the idea that higher intake of fish or fish-oil supplements, with their omega-3 fatty acids, probably reduces the risk of heart attack and stroke and may slow the progression of hardening of the arteries in people with existing heart disease. Omega-3s might also boost mood and help prevent certain cancers, cognitive decline, and eye disease.

Who should consider it People who have heart disease.

How much to take One gram daily, so you’ll probably need several capsules. Other people can generally get enough omega-3s by eating two or more weekly servings of fatty fish such as salmon.

Vitamin D

What you need to know – Calcium might get credit for bone strength, but it’s vitamin D that helps the body take in and use it. Research has found that the combo might help reduce falls in people who are D-deficient and also cut bone loss in people taking corticosteroids. In addition, higher levels of vitamin D have been linked to a reduced risk of certain cancers, diabetes, and heart attack, plus a stronger immune system.

Who should consider it – The sun’s rays help convert a chemical in the skin to vitamin D, but most people still need more, especially those who don’t get much midday sun, who (wisely) use sunscreen, and who live in areas where the sun isn’t intense enough to stimulate D production in winter. Being middle-aged or overweight or having darker skin can also make it difficult to get enough D.

How much to take – Experts suggest getting 800 to 1,000 international units (IU) daily. Few foods are naturally good sources, and even fortified cereal or orange juice usually has only about 100 IU per serving.

Vitamins C and E and other antioxidants

What you need to know – People who eat a lot of antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables may have a lower risk of certain cancers, diabetes, heart disease, and other diseases. For many years, scientists have tried to replicate those results using antioxidant vitamins, minerals, and other plant chemicals. Unfortunately, it just hasn’t panned out. In an analysis of 67 antioxidant trials involving 230,000 people, the only positive result uncovered was a reduced mortality risk in some of the selenium trials. Vitamin C appeared to have no effect, and beta-carotene and vitamins A and E were actually associated with an increased risk of death.

Who should consider it – People with mid- to late-state age-related macular degeneration, a progressive eye disease that causes vision loss, might be able to slow its progress with certain supplements. Consider them if you have the disease or a strong family history. What about the popular advice to take vitamin C at the first sign of sniffles? Some studies show a modest reduction in symptoms, but the levels tested – 1 to 8 grams daily – can cause intestinal upset and diarrhea in some people.

How much to take – If you have macular degeneration, ask your eye doctor about antioxidant supplements.

DHA and Omega-3 Fatty Acids

The term healthy fat may sound too good to be true, but that’s exactly what docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and other omega-3 fatty acids are. They are monounsaturated, which means they are room temperature – think oil instead of butter. (The other healthy fats are polyunsaturated fats, such as olive oil).

DHA is a long-chain omega-3 that is naturally present in fatty fish such as mackerel, salmon, sardines, trout, and tuna. In the human body, DHA is found primarily in the brain and eyes, and it is important for development of these organs. Adults with the highest levels of DHA are up to 47 percent less likely to develop dementia than those with lower levels of the substance, according to studies, and the fatty acids also help the development of visual and cognitive abilities in infants.

Another type of long-chain omega-3, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), also has numerous health benefits. Together, DHA and EPA have been shown to lower the LDL (“bad”) cholesterol level, heart rate, and blood pressure and boost HDL (“good”) cholesterol. Studies show that about 500 milligrams a day of DHA and EPA – the amount you’d get from eating about 8 ounces of fatty fish a week – is enough to produce benefits in an adult.

The American Heart Association recommends that all adults eat fish at least twice a week. And for fetal and infant brain and tissue development, the European Commission advises that all pregnant and breastfeeding women consume an average of at least 200 milligrams of DHA a day. (Guidelines and expert recommendations in the United States have flip-flopped in recent years because of concerns over mercury poisoning during pregnancy. According to the Food and Drug Administration, pregnant women should not eat king mackerel, shark, swordfish, or tilefish and should limit albacore tuna to 6 ounces a week). For those who choose not to eat fish, both fish oil and algal oil supplements are good sources of DHA. Certain foods and beverages are also now available in omega-3 fortified versions.

1. A shorter-chain omega-3 called alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) is found in plant foods such as flaxseeds, walnuts, and canola oil. The human body can covert ALA into DHA in very small amounts, but it’s important to consume both kinds directly.

2. A 2008 study found that farmed tilapia, a popular fish in the United States, has low levels of omega-3s, and high levels of unhealthy omega-6 fatty acids because of inexpensive, unhealthy food the fish have been fed.

3. Breast milk contains DHA and is the preferred source for infant nutrition. Babies who are not breasted should receive a formula containing DHA and arachidonic acid, another healthy fat.