Cholesterol Information: Powdered Green Tea Improves Cholesterol
Green tea and its catechin polyphenol antioxidants can reduce the risk of heart disease as shown by research. Some of the mechanisms include protecting cholesterol from oxidation as well as lowering cholesterol levels, probably by blocking the absorption of cholesterol.
A new study has examined the effects of drinking powdered green tea (matcha) three times daily on cholesterol, oxidized cholesterol, and other antioxidants.
Healthy volunteers drank powdered green tea three times daily for two weeks with one week of tea-free water before the experiment and one week of tea-free water after the experiment. They also recorded their food intake during the month-long experiment.
Compared to the periods of water only, drinking powdered green tea three times daily lowered total cholesterol and LDL ("bad cholesterol") levels by 10 mg/dl.
These healthy volunteers also showed between 40% and 75% increased antioxidant protection of cholesterol.
There were no changes in Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, SOD (superoxide dismutase), or uric acid levels during the experiment Gomikawa S, Effect of ground green tea drinking for 2 weeks on the susceptibility of plasma and LDL to the oxidation ex vivo in healthy volunteers, Kobe Journal Medical Science, May 2008).
Reducing overall cholesterol levels, reducing bad cholesterol levels, and increasing capacity to protect cholesterol from oxidation can help reduce atherosclerosis-related heart disease.
Cholesterol Information: Cholesterol Lowering Statins Change Brain Cells
Statins are prescription drugs that help lower cholesterol. Since they are relatively new in human history, information about long-term use has been controversial.
One area of concern has been the effect of statins on the brain.
A new study has found that these drugs affect glial progenitor cells in the brain. Glial progenitor cells are similar to stem cells in that the brain can shape them and use them differently with changing circumstances to repair brain damage. These cells have the potential to become astrocytes or oligodendrocytes.
In a cell study, researchers found that the addition of statins to brain cells reduced the number of glial progenitor cells by approximately 80%. At the same time, there were five times more formed oligodendrocytes (Sim FJ, Statin treatment of adult human glial progenitors induces PPARgamma-mediated oligodendrocytic differentiation, Glia, July 2008).
This research is preliminary and long-term consequences of changing the brain's storehouse of glial progenitor cells are unknown, although scientists speculate that there could be reduced natural ability to repair damage from any brain injury.
Statins have been in the news lately because they are currently being considered for lifetime usage starting with children who have high cholesterol and cannot control their diet and exercise habits.
Cholesterol Information: Green Tea, Cholesterol, And Metabolic Syndrome
Metabolic syndrome increases your risk of heart disease, diabetes, and stroke.
It is a cluster of risk factors that includes high cholesterol, high blood pressure, abdominal fat, proinflammatory and prothrombotic conditions, insulin resistance, diabetes, and obesity, depending on the medical group defining metabolic syndrome.
A new study examines the effects of green tea on several of these risk factors including cholesterol levels and resulting abdominal fat deposition.
Researchers found that both green tea catechin antioxidants containing gallates and heat-treated (pasteurized) green tea catechins from bottled tea drinks were effective in reducing cholesterol absorption and belly fat, thus contributing to a potentially lowered overall risk of metabolic syndrome (Ikeda I, Multifunctional effects of green tea catechins on prevention of the metabolic syndrome, Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2008).
Most studies find that green tea provides measurable results with the equivalent of five cups daily.
Cholesterol Information: Eating Fat And Your Cholesterol
Trans fatty acids have been shown to increase risk factors for heart disease. Government recommendations to reduce or eliminate trans fats have led to various bans on their use in processed foods. Saturated fats are also known to increase heart disease risk factors.
A new USDA study confirms that eating these fats increase levels of LDL or "bad cholesterol."
The Agricultural Research Service of the USDA had 58 healthy men and women eat a different diet for six weeks at a time, including moderate trans fat diet, high trans fat diet, high saturated fat diet, and high oleic or "heart healthy" fat diet.
When the volunteers ate any trans fats or saturated fats, their LDL levels rose significantly. Only when they ate heart healthy fats did their cholesterol levels stay in the healthy range (USDA, March 2008).
The USDA recommends only 22 grams of saturated fats daily. The majority of Americans exceed this recommended saturated fat level.
Olive oil is one of the richest sources of oleic acid fats.
Cholesterol Information: Deadly Clogged Arteries In Hispanics
Clogged arteries, also called hardening of the arteries or atherosclerotic plaque build-up in the arteries, may damage the vascular system, causing clots to break off and create deadly heart attacks and strokes.
A recent review of people in the multi-ethnic North Manhattan Study examined the thickness of atherosclerotic plaque in 2189 men and women.
During 7 years of follow-up, it showed that Hispanics with the greatest amount of plaque or clogged arteries had a three to four fold increase in strokes and heart attacks, compared to Hispanics with the least amount of plaque build-up (Rundek T, Neurology, March 2008).
While this study did not examine possible causes of atherosclerosis or increased stroke and heart attacks, it did recommend ultrasound is a useful non-invasive tool to locate the beginning stages of atherosclerosis for preventive action.
Cholesterol Information: Big Bellies And Artery Blockages
While being overweight increases the risk of many diseases, some kinds of overweight are worse than others.
In some ways, belly fat, also called abdominal fat, stomach fat, pot belly, or apple shape, might be more dangerous than your total weight.
In a new study, multi-ethnic adults from the Dallas Heart Study were checked for waist hip ratio (WHR), body mass index (BMI), waist circumference, and the development of atherosclerosis. Using MRI and EBCT, researchers measured atherosclerosis by the presence of calcium deposits in the arteries and heart.
The most significant predictor of atherosclerosis was surprisingly the waist hip ratio, that is, abdominal or belly fat (See R, Journal American College Cardiology, 2007).
Atherosclerosis blocks the arteries and is a precursor to serious heart disease including heart attacks.
It is estimated that 1.2 million people in the United States will suffer heart attacks in 2007 (American Heart Association).
Cholesterol Information: Stroke/Cholesterol Association
Researchers examined over 1000 patients hospitalized for stroke or transient ischemic attacks (TIAs), commonly called "mini-strokes."
They found that 27% also had high blood cholesterol (Smith E, Neurology, 2007).
Of those with high cholesterol, 19% were currently on cholesterol lowering medication, yet had not achieved sufficient results according to current guidelines.
Diagnostic information, like cholesterol level, is valuable when you are planning a health program to prevent life-threatening diseases.
You should also consult with your licensed health care provider about healthy habits like diet, exercise, and drinking tea.
Both green and black tea have shown strong results in stroke prevention in several research studies. The greatest prevention is seen when people drink around five cups of tea daily.
High blood cholesterol is considered a risk factor for strokes because artery blockages can raise blood pressure, increasing the stress on blood vessels in the brain.
Cholesterol Information: Look Before You Leap
Sometimes ideas need to be tested by time.
For instance, several decades ago we discovered that too much cholesterol in the arteries was bad.
This discovery was so exciting that we forgot that we all have to have cholesterol for our brain, hormones, and all cell membranes.
Then we thought we'd settled the artery blockage problem with the discover of good cholesterol or HDL, and bad cholesterol or LDL.
But trials with drugs like torcetrapib, designed to increase the good cholesterol HDL, have been withdrawn because of increased patient risk with higher HDL, rather than lowered risk.
Now there's a new study analyzing the composition of HDL which shows over a dozen newly discovered proteins in HDL, as well as components that may have destructive effects (Heinecke J, American Chemical Society, 2007).
When will we get all this cholesterol information sorted out? This level of basic exploratory research usually takes decades.
So in the meantime, if you are looking for time-tested healthy habit ideas, consider green tea.
Trillions of people have been drinking green tea daily for thousands of years with demonstrated physical and psychological benefits.
Research never had it so good.
Cholesterol Information--Cholesterol Nukes Estrogen Protection
Women's natural estrogen protects their cardiovascular system and contributes to enhanced longevity.
Since this protection is reduced after menopause, many women opted for hormone replacement therapy. When it became apparent that there may be an association between hormone replacement therapy (HRT) and increased breast cancer, this procedure was no longer a primary recommendation for all women.
So, how can women retain some of the advantages of estrogen without artificial hormones?
One way would be to protect the effectiveness of the lower amounts of natural estrogen that are still present.
A new study shows that a cholesterol byproduct molecule called 27HC competes for the same binding site on blood vessel walls that estrogen uses.
Unfortunately, 27HC creates metabolic damage where the estrogen would keep the blood vessel walls elastic and healthy (Umetani M, Nature Medicine, 2007).
Is the solution to get rid of all cholesterol?
That's probably not a good idea, but protecting against cholesterol damage would certainly help.
Along with watching the diet, after checking with their health care providers, women might consider drinking green tea.
Research has shown that daily green tea protects against cardiovascular damage, cholesterol damage, and breast cancer.
Cholesterol Information--With A Twist Of Tangerine?
Several studies are now showing broad-spectrum health benefits from citrus peel.
Citrus peel contains polymethoxylated flavones (PMF) that have shown positive results in reversing insulin resistance, reversing learning disabilities, and lowering cholesterol in animal studies. Tangerine and orange peels are especially high in PMFs.
One study showed a reduction in total cholesterol by 19-27% and a reduction of LDL or "bad" cholesterol by 32-40% in hamsters on a high cholesterol diet (Kurowska EM, Journal Agric Food Chem, 2004).
While these cholesterol information studies are considered preliminary, the results are significant. Human studies usually show lower benefits. For example, green tea only shows total cholesterol lowered by 11% and LDL or "bad" cholesterol lowered by 16%.
However, green tea is exceptional at blocking cholesterol absorption from the digestive tract, showing up to 89% blocking. Here's the green tea research.
Whole citrus provides a variety of benefits--the juice can be high in Vitamin C, the white tissue high in bioflavonoids, and now the citrus peel is helpful also.
If you use citrus peel in cooking, always wash the surface to remove dirt, chemicals, and wax used for shipping.
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This page last updated by Sharon Jones on November 14, 2012
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