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Health Alert: Vitamin Use Associated with Increased Heart Disease Risk

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Health Alert: Vitamin Use Associated with Increased Heart Disease Risk
Niacin, also known as vitamin B3, has been a well-regarded nutrient for its benefits in cholesterol management and overall health. However, recent research published in Nature Medicine has highlighted a potential dark side. But the  niacin linking it to an increased risk of heart disease. This article delves into the findings of the study, explores the role of niacin in the body. And discusses its implications for heart health.

What is Niacin?

Niacin, a.k.a. vitamin B3, is a water-soluble B vitamin essential for various bodily functions. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Niacin is necessary for energy metabolism, the breakdown of fatty acids, DNA repair, cell signaling, and antioxidant defense. It is found in foods like chicken, turkey breast, salmon, and sunflower seeds, and is often added to flour and fortified cereals to prevent nutritional deficiencies.

The recommended dietary allowance for niacin is 16 milligrams for adult men and 14 milligrams for adult women.

Niacin and Heart Health: A Complicated Relationship

Niacin has historically been used in prescription medications to lower high cholesterol levels. Medications like Niaspan, which contain extended-release niacin, were prescribed to deliver doses ranging from 500 to 1,000 milligrams. However, the efficacy of niacin in reducing cholesterol and preventing heart disease has been questioned in recent years.

Dr. Stanley Hazen, co-author of the new study and chairman of the Department of Cardiovascular & Metabolic Sciences at the Cleveland Clinic, emphasizes that niacin is critical for health but is no longer commonly used as a cholesterol-lowering medication due to the availability of more effective alternatives.

The Study’s Findings: Niacin and Heart Disease Risk

New Research: Vitamin Tied to Higher Heart Disease Risk

Image by : Yandex

The recent study in Nature Medicine analyzed blood samples from 1,162 individuals evaluated for heart disease. Researchers discovered that high levels of niacin could trigger inflammation and damage blood vessels, leading to an increased risk of heart disease. They identified a substance called 4PY, produced when there is an excess of niacin in the body, which was strongly linked to patients who had experienced heart attacks, strokes, or other cardiac events. The study found that 4PY directly caused vascular inflammation, damaging blood vessels and potentially leading to atherosclerosis.

Who Should Avoid Niacin?

Given the study’s findings, Dr. Cheng-Han Chen, a board-certified interventional cardiologist, advises caution regarding routine niacin supplementation, especially in large doses. He stresses the need for further research to determine safe dosage levels.

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Nutrition expert Scott Keatley points out that typical dietary intake of niacin through fortified foods is unlikely to pose a risk. The study involved much higher doses, from 500 to 2,000 milligrams, far exceeding the recommended dietary allowances.

The Benefits of Niacin

Despite the concerns raised by the study, niacin has several established benefits, particularly when consumed in low doses. It supports energy metabolism, neurological function, and skin health. At higher doses, it has been used to manage high cholesterol and triglyceride levels, although its use for these purposes should be closely monitored by a healthcare provider.

Niacin and Clogged Arteries

The role of niacin in preventing clogged arteries is complex. Earlier research suggested that niacin could reduce plaque buildup by raising HDL (“good”) cholesterol levels. However, more recent studies, including an analysis of 35,760 patients from 17 clinical trials, have shown that niacin does not significantly prevent serious heart-related events and may even increase overall mortality.

Expert Recommendations

For individuals currently taking niacin for heart disease prevention, Dr. Chen recommends consulting with their healthcare provider before making any changes. He emphasizes that it is too early to make definitive recommendations about avoiding niacin based on the new study alone.

Keatley and Dr. Hazen agree that it is best to obtain vitamins from food sources rather than supplements and to avoid excessive intake. They advise focusing on a balanced diet rich in fruits and vegetables while avoiding excess carbohydrates.

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Disclaimer

Dietary supplements are intended to supplement the diet and are not medicines. They should not be used to treat, diagnose, mitigate, prevent, or cure diseases. Pregnant or nursing women and children should use supplements only under the recommendation of a healthcare provider.

Conclusion

The evolving science of nutrition continues to uncover new insights into the effects of vitamins and supplements on health. The recent study on niacin highlights the importance of cautious and informed use of dietary supplements. Individuals should consult with their healthcare providers and prioritize a balanced diet to maintain optimal health.

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Ditch the Drain, Embrace the Gain: Balanced Eating for Wellbeing

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By Eli Small

Ditch the Drain, Embrace the Gain: Balanced Eating for Wellbeing

Meet Sarah, Your Everyday Wellness Coach:

Sarah isn’t just a registered dietitian with over a decade of experience – she’s your cheerleader on the journey to a healthier you. She understands the challenges of juggling work, family, and personal health. That’s why Sarah is passionate about creating realistic, sustainable approaches to balanced eating. Forget restrictive fads and complicated meal plans! Sarah will show you how to transform your plate – and your life – with simple, delicious strategies.

Power Up Your Plate: A Recipe for Vibrant Health

Let’s ditch the beige and embrace a rainbow of vibrant colors on your plate! Here’s how to build a balanced meal that fuels your body and keeps you feeling energized throughout the day:

  • Half the Plate Powerhouse: Fill half your plate with a dazzling array of fruits and vegetables. Think leafy greens like kale and spinach, colorful bell peppers, juicy berries, and antioxidant-rich sweet potatoes. Aim for a variety of colors to ensure you’re getting a wide range of essential vitamins, minerals, and fiber. These powerhouses will support your immune system, aid digestion, and keep your energy levels soaring.
  • Protein Power Punch: Dedicate a quarter of your plate to lean protein sources. Lean protein is the building block of healthy cells and tissues. Incorporate delicious options like grilled chicken or fish, skinless turkey breast, legumes (beans and lentils), tofu, or tempeh. Protein helps keep you feeling full and satisfied, preventing overeating and unhealthy snacking throughout the day.
  • Whole Grain Goodness: The remaining quarter of your plate belongs to whole grains. Ditch the refined white bread and pasta for nutrient-rich options like brown rice, quinoa, whole-wheat pasta, or barley. Whole grains provide sustained energy through a steady release of complex carbohydrates, keeping your blood sugar levels stable and preventing those dreaded afternoon crashes.

Table 1: The Balancing Act – Benefits of a Balanced Diet

Nutrient Group Benefit Examples
Fruits & Vegetables (Half Plate) Rich in vitamins, minerals, and fiber Supports immunity, digestion, energy levels
Lean Protein (Quarter Plate) Builds and repairs tissues Maintains muscle mass and supports satiety
Whole Grains (Quarter Plate) Provides sustained energy Regulates blood sugar and keeps you feeling fuller for longer
Ditch the Drain, Embrace the Gain: Balanced Eating for Wellbeing

Picture by: Google Gemini

Power Up Your Life: Essential Habits for Balanced Eating

Building a balanced plate is just the first step. Here are some additional habits to embrace for a truly holistic approach to balanced eating:

  • Hydration Hero: Water is essential for every bodily function. Aim for eight glasses of water daily to keep your body hydrated, improve digestion, and support overall health.
  • Mindful Munching: Ditch the distractions! Eat slowly, savor each bite, and be present in the moment. This mindful approach helps you connect with your body’s hunger and fullness cues, preventing overeating.
  • Label Decoder: Become a label-reading pro! Understanding portion sizes and hidden sugars is key to making informed choices and maintaining a balanced diet.
  • Prep Power: Planning and prepping meals in advance is a lifesaver on busy days. Dedicate some time each week to chop veggies, cook lean proteins, and assemble quick and healthy meals.

Busting Myths and Embracing Delicious Realities

Let’s debunk some common myths holding you back from a balanced diet:

  • Myth: Restrictive diets are the only way to lose weight.
  • Fact: Balanced eating promotes sustainable weight management and overall health by providing your body with the nutrients it needs to function optimally.
  • Myth: Healthy eating is expensive and time-consuming.
  • Fact: There are budget-friendly options galore! Seasonal produce, legumes, and whole grains are all affordable and healthy choices. Additionally, healthy meals can be quick and easy to prepare. Think simple stir-fries, grilled chicken salads, or whole-wheat pasta with roasted vegetables.

Personalize Your Plate and Embrace the Joy of Food!

There’s no “one-size-fits-all” approach to balanced eating. Consider your own preferences, dietary restrictions, and cultural background when creating your meals. Experiment with different flavors and cuisines to keep things interesting. Involve your family and friends in meal prep – it can be a fun and social activity!

Most importantly, rediscover the joy of food! Balanced eating isn’t about deprivation; it’s about

embracing delicious and wholesome ingredients that nourish your body and soul. Explore new recipes, try exotic fruits and vegetables, and have fun in the kitchen!

Embrace the Journey: Celebrate Progress, Not Perfection

Transitioning to a balanced diet is a journey, not a destination. There will be days when cravings win, or life gets hectic and healthy meal prep falls by the wayside. Don’t get discouraged by setbacks! Celebrate your progress, no matter how small.  Maybe you swapped a sugary drink for water, or added a serving of vegetables to your lunch. Every step counts!

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The key is to find an approach that works for you.  If restrictive meal plans leave you feeling deprived, explore a more flexible approach like the Mediterranean diet or the DASH diet. Remember, Sarah is always here to help! If you have any questions or need personalized guidance on your balanced eating journey, feel free to reach out to her.

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Unleash Your Body’s Might: Natural Immunity Boosters

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By Fred Wilson

Unleash Your Body's Might: Natural Immunity Boosters

Meet Your Author: Sarah Jones

Sarah Jones is a certified health and wellness coach passionate about empowering individuals to take control of their wellbeing. Through research-based guidance and practical tips, Sarah helps people achieve their health goals and live a vibrant life.

Empowering Your Body’s Natural Defense System

We all know the feeling: that scratchy throat, the telltale body aches, the dreaded illness taking hold. While we can’t completely escape germs, a robust immune system is our first line of defense. But what exactly is the immune system, and how can we naturally support its function?

Understanding Your Immune System’s A-Team

The immune system is a complex network of cells, tissues, and organs working tirelessly to protect us from invaders like bacteria, viruses, and parasites. Key players include:

  • White blood cells: These warriors roam the body, identifying and eliminating threats.
  • Antibodies: Proteins that target and neutralize specific pathogens.
  • Cytokines: Chemical messengers coordinating the immune response.

Natural Hacks to Supercharge Your Immunity

The good news is, we hold the power to influence our immune system through daily choices. Here are some natural strategies to keep your defenses strong:

1. Fuel Your Body with Nourishing Foods:

  • Embrace a rainbow: Fruits and vegetables are packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that support immune function.
  • Prioritize protein: Protein is the building block of immune cells. Lean meats, fish, eggs, legumes, and nuts are excellent sources.
  • Healthy fats are your friends: Omega-3 fatty acids found in fatty fish can reduce inflammation and support immunity.

2. Prioritize Restorative Sleep:

  • Aim for 7-8 hours of quality sleep nightly. During sleep, the body releases cytokines that bolster the immune system.
  • Establish a relaxing bedtime routine. Wind down with calming activities like reading or meditation before bed.
  • Create a sleep-conducive environment. Ensure your bedroom is dark, quiet, and cool for optimal sleep.
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Photo by Pixabay: https://www.pexels.com/photo/close-up-of-fruits-in-bowl-327098/

3. Manage Stress Wisely:

  • Chronic stress can weaken the immune system. Practice relaxation techniques like yoga, meditation, or deep breathing exercises.
  • Connect with loved ones. Strong social connections can buffer the negative effects of stress.
  • Engage in activities you enjoy. Make time for hobbies and interests that bring you joy.

4. Move Your Body Regularly:

  • Regular exercise strengthens the immune system. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise most days of the week.
  • Find activities you enjoy. This could be brisk walking, swimming, dancing, or team sports.
  • Start gradually and increase intensity as your fitness improves.

5. Consider Natural Supplements (After Consulting Your Doctor):

  • Vitamin D: Studies suggest vitamin D deficiency may be linked to increased susceptibility to illness.
  • Elderberry: This berry extract has been traditionally used to support immune function.
  • Probiotics: These gut-friendly bacteria may play a role in immune health.

Building a Strong Foundation: A Quick Guide

Power Up Your Immunity

Habit Benefit
Eat a balanced diet Provides essential nutrients for immune function
Prioritize sleep Supports the production of immune cells
Manage stress Chronic stress can weaken the immune system
Exercise regularly Improves circulation and strengthens immune response
Consider natural supplements (consult your doctor first) May offer additional immune support

Remember

These hacks work best when combined into a healthy lifestyle. However, if you experience persistent health concerns, consult a healthcare professional.

By incorporating these natural strategies, you can empower your body’s natural defenses and stay on the path to optimal health and well-being!

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How Preventive Care Empowers Your Health

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By Harry Dickson

How Preventive Care Empowers Your Health

About the Author:

Sarah Jones is a certified health and wellness coach passionate about empowering individuals to achieve optimal health. Through her writing and workshops, she equips readers with practical tools and strategies for proactive health management.

Headings:

  1. Beyond the Band-Aid: Why Prevention Wins
  2. Unveiling the Powerhouse: Key Benefits of Preventive Care
  3. Your Personalized Roadmap: Types of Preventive Care
  4. From Doctor Visits to Daily Habits: Building a Preventive Care Routine
  5. Unlocking Resources: Tools and Support for Your Journey
  6. The Takeaway: Invest in Your Health Today

Hack Your Health: The Power of Preventive Care

Have you ever wished there was a way to “hack” your health and optimize your well-being? The good news is, there is! Preventive care, often overlooked, is a powerful tool that empowers you to take charge of your health and prevent future issues.

Beyond the Band-Aid: Why Prevention Wins

Traditional healthcare often focuses on treating existing conditions. While this is crucial, preventive care takes a proactive approach. It’s like fixing a leaky roof before it damages your entire house. By prioritizing preventive measures, you can:

  • Reduce your risk of developing chronic diseases: Regular screenings can detect health concerns early, allowing for early intervention and better treatment outcomes.
  • Improve your overall health and well-being: Preventive care encompasses healthy habits like nutrition and exercise, leading to more energy, a stronger immune system, and better management of existing conditions.
  • Gain peace of mind: Knowing you’re taking steps to safeguard your health can significantly reduce stress and anxiety.
How Preventive Care Empowers Your Health

Picture by: Google Gekmini

Unveiling the Powerhouse: Key Benefits of Preventive Care

Benefit Description
Early Disease Detection Regular screenings can detect conditions like diabetes, heart disease, and certain cancers in their early stages, leading to better treatment options.
Improved Management of Existing Conditions Preventive care helps control chronic conditions like high blood pressure or asthma, reducing the risk of complications.
Enhanced Quality of Life By promoting healthy habits and early intervention, preventive care leads to increased energy, better mental well-being, and a more active lifestyle.
Cost Savings Early detection and preventive measures can significantly reduce healthcare costs associated with treating advanced stages of diseases.

Your Personalized Roadmap: Types of Preventive Care

Preventive care encompasses various aspects, tailored to your age, gender, and family history. Some common examples include:

  • Regular checkups and screenings: These visits allow your doctor to monitor your health, discuss preventive measures, and identify potential concerns.
  • Vaccinations: Getting recommended vaccinations protects you from serious illnesses like influenza, pneumonia, and shingles.
  • Healthy lifestyle choices: Maintaining a balanced diet, engaging in regular physical activity, and managing stress are crucial for overall health.

From Doctor Visits to Daily Habits: Building a Preventive Care Routine

Here’s how to integrate preventive care into your life:

  1. Schedule regular checkups: Consult your doctor to discuss your health history and recommended preventive measures.
  2. Get vaccinated: Stay up-to-date on vaccinations based on your age and health needs.
  3. Prioritize healthy habits: Focus on a balanced diet, regular exercise, and adequate sleep.
  4. Manage stress: Practice relaxation techniques like meditation or yoga to manage stress.
  5. Know your family history: Be aware of any health conditions prevalent in your family and discuss them with your doctor.

Unlocking Resources: Tools and Support for Your Journey

Numerous resources can support your preventive care journey:

  • Online resources: Government health websites and reputable health organizations offer valuable information on preventive care.
  • Mobile apps: Several apps can help you track your health data, manage medications, and set healthy habit goals.
  • Community support groups: Joining a support group can connect you with individuals facing similar challenges and provide valuable encouragement.

The Takeaway: Invest in Your Health Today

Preventive care is not an expense; it’s an investment in your most valuable asset – your health. By taking a proactive approach, you empower yourself to live a longer, healthier, and more fulfilling life. Start your journey today, and take control of your health!

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