More Evidence for Excess Fat Tissue to Contribute to Hypertension

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Hypertension, or increased blood pressure, is one of the…

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Hypertension, or increased blood pressure, is one of the more important ways in which the low-level molecular damage of aging is converted into high-level structural damage to tissues. Hypertension produces increased rupture of capillaries and other forms of pressure damage to delicate structures of the brain and other organs, resulting in loss of function and, ultimately, death. It also accelerates the progression of atherosclerosis, the creation of fatty plaques that weaken and narrow blood vessels, with the end result of stroke or heart attack as an important blood vessel suffers structural failure.

Being overweight or obese is strongly associated with risk and degree of hypertension. The underlying mechanisms are easy to speculate on: the chronic inflammation produced by visceral fat tissue causes dysfunction in the smooth muscle cells that control blood vessel dilation and constriction, for example. That breaks the feedback mechanisms controlling blood pressure, leading to hypertension. The diet needed to become overweight likely contributes to greater cross-link formation, stiffening blood vessel tissues to produce much the same outcome. And so forth through a laundry list of other low-level damage that manifests in blood vessel walls.

 

Among the cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors, age is considered as the most important predictor of CVD events and hypertension is a major cause of CVD mortality. Age-related increase in blood pressure (BP) is recognized as a universal feature of human aging. Previous epidemiological surveys have shown a progressive increase in systolic blood pressure (SBP) with age, whereas diastolic blood pressure (DBP) also initially increases with age but falls at latter ages. Thus, effective control of BP is essential for improving population health.

Studies of BP associated with adiposity-related genetic variants and controlled trials of weight loss interventions have established the causal relationship between adiposity and BP. Regardless of age and other unmodifiable CVD risk factors such as sex and race, there are many risk factors that are manageable and can be controlled through lifestyle modification, including reduction of obesity. However, there are inconsistencies as to whether a general or central adiposity is more strongly associated with BP and different opinions about which variable is the strongest predictor of BP.

The present study aimed to investigate how BP and body…

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Stand Up for Good Health: Risks of Sitting Too Long

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Sitting Health Risks
Stand Up for Good HealthWhile we all know the hazards of fa…

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Stand Up for Good Health: Risks of Sitting Too Long

Sitting Health Risks

Stand Up for Good Health

While we all know the hazards of failing to include regular exercise as a part of our lives, it now appears that too much sitting can be risky. 1

Related Article: Dangers of Sitting Too Long

Research confirms the benefit of getting up and moving to maintain excellent health and quality of life as well as protect against premature death.

 

Research on Reduction in Sitting and Health

On November 13, 2013, Richard and Sara Rosenkranz of Kansas State University and their colleagues released findings from Australia’s 45 and Up Study, that included 194,545 participants, in BMC Public Health. In this study, those who reported the least time spent sitting were 13% more likely to rate their general health as outstanding and similarly most likely to rate their lifestyle as outstanding in contrast with those who sat 8 or more hours per day.2 “Not only do people need to be more physically active by walking or doing moderate-to-vigorous physical activity, but they should also be looking at ways to reduce their sitting time,” Richard Rosenkranz stated.

“We’re basically telling our bodies to shut down the processes that help to stimulate metabolism throughout the day and that is not good,” Sara Rosenkranz added. “Just by breaking up your sedentary time, we can actually upregulate that process in the body.”

The Women’s Health Initiative, which consisted of 3 medical trials (CT) and an observational study (OS), was performed to attend to major health concerns causing morbidity and mortality in postmenopausal ladies. In the February 2014 concern of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, Dr. Rebecca Seguin of Cornell University and her associates reported the results of a study that consisted of 92,234 topics who were 50 to 79 years of age upon registration in the Women’s Health Initiative. Dr. Sequin and her associates found that females who invested 11 hours or more daily sitting or resting without sleeping had a 12% increased threat of passing away of any cause over a typical follow-up period of 12 years compared to ladies who reported spending the least amount of time sitting or resting (four hours or less). The best increase in risk happened in coronary heart problem, followed by heart disease and cancer.

“The assumption has been that if you’re fit and physically active, that will protect you, even if you spend a huge amount of time sitting each day,” stated Dr. Seguin, who is an assistant professor of…
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Rethinking Cholesterol and Heart Disease Risk with Cardiologist Michael Ozner, MD

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You might think cholesterol alone is the key indicator of a health…

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Rethinking Cholesterol and Heart Disease Risk with Cardiologist Michael Ozner, MD
You might think cholesterol alone is the key indicator of a healthy heart, but it’s not the “root” cause.

Learn how atherogenic lipoproteins become the deciding factor that leads to heart disease. Learn how to reduce your heart disease risk and the importance of omega-3 fatty acids.

Rethinking Heart Disease Risk and Cholesterol

What’s the most important factor in heart disease?

Cholesterol, right?

Not so fast, cautions cardiologist Michael Ozner, MD. “I think it’s very important that we understand the root cause of heart attacks.”

“It’s not cholesterol per se but, rather, these particles which we call atherogenic lipoproteins that carry cholesterol and triglycerides. Cholesterol actually serves a worthwhile purpose. It’s required for cell membranes, for steroid hormone development, for bile, and other things, and triglycerides are useful as energy source. We need them, and they can’t travel by themselves. They need to be carried.”

Dr. Ozner, who is the medical director of Wellness and Prevention at Baptist Health South Florida, likens lipoproteins to vehicles and cholesterol and triglyceride molecules to passengers. Traffic jams are caused not by too many passengers, but by too many vehicles which, when they have nowhere to go, take the exit ramp into the arterial wall where they can become trapped, modified, and oxidized. This process initiates the disease known as atherosclerosis. Atherosclerotic plaque is a collection of lipoproteins with their cholesterol and triglyceride cargo. Rupture of these plaques can lead to heart attack and stroke.1

Cholesterol and Atherogenic Lipoproteins

Understanding heart disease risk:

Apolipoprotein B (ApoB) is a component of some of the most atherogenic lipoproteins, including low-density lipoprotein (LDL), very low-density lipoprotein (VLDL), and intermediate-density lipoprotein (IDL) particles. Apolipoprotein A1 (ApoA1), on the other hand, is primarily associated with high-density lipoprotein (HDL) particles and is potentially helpful. Levels of ApoB and its ratio to ApoA1 have a stronger association with cardiovascular disease risk than the better-known lipoprotein cholesterol fractions.2 These factors can be evaluated with blood tests.

Heart Attack Misconceptions

While LDL cholesterol has long been considered the standard test to assess cardiovascular risk, LDL is not the root cause of atherosclerosis, according to Dr. Ozner. Elevated LDL-cholesterol levels contribute to risk but don’t always…
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The Health Benefits of Honokiol from Magnolia Plant

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The plant genus Magnolia includes over 200 species of flowe…

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The Health Benefits of Honokiol from Magnolia Plant
The plant genus Magnolia includes over 200 species of flowering plants that grow in Asia and the Americas. Magnolias have been around since the time of dinosaurs — before bees existed! — and are thus pollinated by beetles. In the American South, the trees are treasured for their fragrant blooms. But other aspects of magnolias appear to be even greater treasures.

“Magnolia officinalis and Magnolia obovata bark extracts have been used for thousands of years in Chinese and Japanese traditional medicines and are still widely employed as herbal preparations for their sedative, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antibiotic, and antispastic effects,” write A. Sarrica and colleagues in a review article. As the review points out, neolignans, and in particular magnolol and honokiol, are the main substances that explain the beneficial properties of the magnolia bark extract.1

Honokiol and magnolol were reported in 1975 to have a long-lasting muscle-relaxing effect in mice.2 This relaxing effect may be due to the compounds’ interaction with receptors for gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA), a key neurotransmitter.3 A randomized, placebo-controlled trial involving overweight, premenopausal women resulted in a reduction in mild transitory anxiety in those who received an extract of magnolia combined with the herb Phellodendron amurense.4

Cancer Research

One of the most-promising areas of research involving honokiol is against cancer. “Investigations have demonstrated that honokiol possesses anticarcinogenic, anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidative, anti-angiogenic as well as inhibitory effect on malignant transformation of papillomas to carcinomas in vitro and in vivo animal models without any appreciable toxicity,” write R. Prasad and S. K. Katiyar in Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology. The authors mention that honokiol affects multiple signaling pathways and that some of its molecular and cellular targets include nuclear factor-κB, STAT3, epidermal growth factor receptor, cell-survival-signaling pathways, the cell-division cycle, and cyclooxygenase. Additionally, its chemopreventive and therapeutic effects have been tested against chronic diseases, including various cancers.5

An extract of Magnolia officinalis as well as magnolol have shown inhibitory effects against skin carcinogenesis in mice.6 In human fibrosarcoma cells, magnolol and honokiol inhibited tumor invasiveness.7 In mice with colorectal cancer, honokiol inhibited tumor growth and prolonged…
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