Heart Health

A pinch of salt? UK health report reflects “mixed progress” by food industry on salt reduction

19 Dec 2018 --- Public Health England (PHE) has described the results of its first salt reduction report as a “mixed picture,” with just over half of salt reduction targets being met by the food industry. Companies were asked to meet average and maximum targets for salt content per 100g, with the maximum targets ranging from 0.13g in canned vegetables, to 3.75g in curry pastes. The foods covered by the program provide more than half the salt in the nation’s diet.

EMA: Omega 3 fatty acid medicines no longer seen as effective in preventing heart disease

17 Dec 2018 --- The European Medicines Agency (EMA) has concluded that medicines containing omega 3 fatty acids are not effective in preventing further heart and blood vessel problems in patients who have had a heart attack. As a result of this finding, omega 3 fatty acid medicines will no longer be authorized for such use. These types of medicines had been authorized for use after a heart attack at a dose of 1g per day, in combination with other medicines, in several EU countries since 2000.

Red meat and heart disease risk: Researchers identify mechanisms involving gut bacteria

11 Dec 2018 --- New mechanisms that demonstrate how the regular consumption of red meat is linked to increased chances of heart-related diseases and how gut bacteria affect the process have been published. Concurrent studies carried out at the Cleveland Clinic Center for Microbiome and Human Health have discovered note the difference between red meat and other protein source consumption on the development of heart disease.

Spice it up: Curcumin found to boost exercise performance in mice with heart failure

03 Dec 2018 --- Popular cooking and nutritional ingredient curcumin may improve exercise intolerance – a hallmark of chronic heart failure – when taken by people who have experienced the condition, a study published in the Journal of Applied Physiology has found. The researchers note that based on these findings, and previous studies, more targeted drugs should be formulated, and the consumption of foods that are rich in nuclear-factor E2-related factor 2 (Nrf2) activators should be encouraged.

How vitamin D and fish oil reduce heart attack, stroke and cancer risk: Long-awaited VITAL study bears first results

13 Nov 2018 --- Omega 3 fatty acids can aid in reducing the risk of heart attacks, especially among African Americans, while vitamin D can reduce cancer deaths over time. These are among the long-awaited findings of the VITamin D and OmegA-3 TriaL (VITAL) study. VITAL is the first randomized clinical trial of a general population large enough to adequately address questions surrounding the effects of vitamin D and omega 3 fatty acids derived from fish oil, in high doses, on the risk of diseases such as heart attack, stroke and cancer.

Cherry on top: Anthocyanin-rich foods linked to a healthier heart

08 Nov 2018 --- A new study has linked the consumption of anthocyanin-rich foods to a reduced risk of coronary heart disease and cardiovascular disease. Anthocyanins are red-pigmented flavonoids that give certain fruit and vegetables their rich red, purple and blue colors. They are found in berries, black soybean, black rice and cherries.

Fermented dairy products may protect the heart, finds Finnish study

01 Nov 2018 --- Men who eat a large amount of fermented dairy products may have a smaller risk of incident coronary heart disease than those who eat less of such products, a University of Eastern Finland study has found. However, the very high consumption of non-fermented dairy products, such as milk or cheese, was associated with an increased risk of incident coronary heart disease.

Study highlights heart-health boosting flavanols in cocoa

31 Oct 2018 --- Healthy adults experienced improved blood vessel function and blood pressure, arterial stiffness and cholesterol after daily consumption of a cocoa extract enriched with flavanols and procyanidins. Published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (AJCN) and funded by Mars Inc., the researchers note that this study undercovers the distinct processes behind the cardiovascular benefits of bioactive-rich cocoa, which can hopefully be generalized to the broader population with further exploration.

Females' “healthier fat” protects them from obesity-related health issues, mice study finds

24 Oct 2018 --- Female abdominal fat, in mice, has more blood vessels than males' which may explain why males and females differ in susceptibility to cardiovascular disease, insulin resistance and diabetes, notes research from York University, Canada. Previously, it was noted that female fat tissue tends to be more protective against health issues, such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease, than male fat tissue but the underlying reasons were not understood. Understanding the underlying mechanisms behind sex differences in cellular processes are important as they may contribute to individual's susceptibility to develop serious health issues.

Brexit’s impact on the sugar tax: Greater reductions in coronary heart disease mortality rates

15 Oct 2018 --- The British “sugar tax” will continue to reduce coronary heart disease deaths (CHD), regardless of whether the terms of the UK's impending exit from the EU are “soft” or “hard,” finds a study published in Public Health Nutrition. The researchers identified that reductions in CHD mortality were 4 percent and 8 percent greater under “soft” and “hard” Brexit scenarios, respectively.

Study: Fried and processed foods linked to increased hypertension in black Americans

09 Oct 2018 --- A change in diet could mitigate the increased risk for stroke in black Americans over white Americans, a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association has found. The findings suggest that lifestyle changes, particularly changes in diet around processed, fried and sugary foods, could help reduce the disparities seen in black versus white Americans.

Probiotics for pharma: Optibiotix launches heart health supplement range

26 Sep 2018 --- OptiBiotix Health has launched a new cholesterol management range, coined CholBiome, that harnesses probiotics for heart health. The range uses OptiBiotix’s patented probiotic Lactobacillus plantarum (LPLDL), which the company recently enabled to be developed as a biotherapeutic pharmaceutical product for the first time following a deal with an unnamed US-based pharmaceutical company.

Can olive oil and sleep stave off heart attacks and strokes? New study examines plasma protein's role

10 Sep 2018 --- Foods high in unsaturated fats, such as olive oil, may protect against cardiovascular disease, and new research published in Nature Communications has uncovered why. Apolipoprotein A-IV, known as ApoA-IV, is a plasma protein. Levels of this protein increase after the digestion of foods, particularly foods high in unsaturated fats. Higher levels of ApoA-IV in the blood have been linked to lower rates of cardiovascular disease.

1 in 4 adults physically inactive and at risk of disease, says WHO

05 Sep 2018 --- More than one in four adults globally – amounting to 1.4 billion people – are physically not active enough, with inactivity levels reaching one in three adults in some countries, new data published in The Lancet Global Health show. Policies to increase the physical activity levels of populations need to be prioritized and scaled up urgently to stave off the risk of poor health, note the involved World Health Organization experts. Regular physical activity is proven to help prevent and treat noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes and different types of cancer. It has also been linked to improved mental health, quality of life and well-being. Moreover, it helps prevent hypertension and obesity.

Few people at risk for heart disease understand food labels, Irish survey reveals

30 Aug 2018 --- Many consumers have difficulty understanding food labels, especially men and people at risk for heart disease, according to research presented at ESC Congress 2018. To remedy this, the lead researcher is calling for label improvements to avoid gaps in consumers’ use and interpretation of food labels.

Guidelines to limit dairy intake need to be reconsidered, research suggests

29 Aug 2018 --- Current guidelines to limit consumption of dairy products should be relaxed, according to research presented at ESC Congress 2018, the annual congress of the European Society of Cardiology. The consumption of dairy products has long been thought to increase the risk of death, particularly from coronary heart disease (CHD), cerebrovascular disease and cancer, because of dairy's relatively high levels of saturated fat. Yet evidence for any such link, especially among US adults, is inconsistent. With the exception of milk, which appears to increase the risk of CHD, dairy products have in fact been found to protect against both total mortality and mortality from cerebrovascular causes, according to the research presented.

Long-term cooking with coal, wood or charcoal linked to cardiovascular death

28 Aug 2018 --- A new study finds that long-term use of coal, wood, or charcoal for cooking is associated with an increased risk of death from cardiovascular disease. Moreover, compared to persistent long-term use of solid fuels, adopting clean fuels was associated with a lower risk of death from cardiovascular disease. The findings were presented last week at the ESC Congress 2018.

Patients with high blood pressure rely on medication over salt reduction, study finds

28 Aug 2018 --- Patients with high blood pressure are relying solely on medication to reduce their risk of heart attack, stroke and heart failure, rather than decreasing salt intake as instructed by their physicians, according to research presented at the ESC Congress 2018, the annual meeting of the European Society of Cardiology.

Too much of a good thing? Excessive levels of “good” cholesterol may be harmful to heart

27 Aug 2018 --- Very high levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL or “good”) cholesterol may be linked to an increased risk of heart attack and death, according to research presented at ESC Congress 2018 last week. In fact, the lead author of the research concludes that the mantra of HDL cholesterol as the “good” cholesterol may no longer be the case for everyone.

Diabetes epidemic will trigger “sharp rise” in UK heart attacks and strokes, warns British Heart Foundation

24 Aug 2018 --- The number of people in the UK suffering heart attacks and strokes as a result of their diabetes will rise by 29 percent by 2035, according to new analysis by the British Heart Foundation. This rise is likely to put an “unprecedented burden” on the country’s medical services, with previous estimates suggesting the yearly cost of treating people with diabetes will be £16.9 billion (US$21.7 billion) by 2035, up from £9.8 billion in 2012.