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Category: Cardiovascular Health

Seriously Spooky Sugar

When you walk into a Walgreens (“at the corner of happy and healthy”) and make your way past the cigarette section, you’ll soon hit the candy aisle. Halloween’s coming up and there are, without exaggeration, at least a thousand big bags of candy for you to pass out to unsuspecting children. This year, don’t do it. Give them an apple. Ignore their frowns, their “yech!” Read More

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Red Rice Yeast

Red yeast rice, an Asian dietary staple made by fermenting red yeast (Monascus purpureus) on rice, is rapidly gaining recognition as a cholesterol-lowering agent in the United States. Supplements are now available here that contain an extract imported from China, where a particular strain of M. purpureus is grown on rice under careful fermentation conditions. This yields specific amounts of statins–the compounds largely held responsible for reducing cholesterol levels. In contrast, the red yeast rice long used in Asia to flavor, preserve, and color food, and to make rice wine, contains negligible amounts of statins.

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Also known as vitamin B3, niacin has earned a reputation (in supplement form) as a natural cholesterol-lowering agent that often rivals prescription drugs in mild to moderate cases. It may also help to prevent or treat a number of other disorders, from arthritis and depression to diabetes. Three forms of niacin supplements–each with a specific therapeutic role–are commercially available: nicotinic acid (also called nicotinate), niacinamide and inositol hexaniacinate, a compound of niacin and inositol (another B-family vitamin).

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Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10)

One of the world’s most popular supplements, the chemical coenzyme Q10 has generated great excitement as a heart disease remedy and a cure for countless other conditions. The body naturally produces this compound, which has been dubbed “vitamin Q” because of its essential role in keeping all systems running smoothly. In fact, the scientists who identified coenzyme Q10 in 1957 initially honored its ubiquitous presence–it’s found in every human cell and in all living organisms–by naming it “ubiquinone.” Small amounts are also present in most foods.

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Allium Compounds

Allium compounds are derived from Allium sativum, or garlic, which is one of the most widely studied medicinal plants. The fresh garlic bulb is usually dried, crushed into a powder, and then compressed to produce a tablet. The tablet form is the most commonly used commercial preparation of garlic. Raw whole cloves have similar effects.

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High Cholesterol

Some cardiologists have philosophized about Western civilization’s love-hate relationship with cholesterol. For what’s basically a form of grease, it’s certainly more valuable than gold. After all, to surgically by-pass a pea-sized morsel of cholesterol will set your insurance company back about $50K. In fact, this tiny amount of cholesterol lodged in just the right place can kill you with a heart attack or paralyze you with a stroke. So on one hand, here’s the food industry developing more imaginative ways to feed us salted fat, and on the other, the pharmaceutical industry creating cholesterol-lowering medications we’re supposed to gobble up like M and M’s.

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The steady lup-dup, lub-dup regularity of our heart’s pumping beat is reassuring, and we don’t mind it speeding up for exercise or slowing down for sleep, as long as its rhythm remains steady. Any glitch in that rhythmic throb, whether too slow or too fast, is called an arrhythmia.

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An attack of angina, especially the first one, is a terrifying and life-changing experience. You’ve raced up the stairs or you’ve run to catch a train; suddenly an elephant is standing on your chest or a huge hand is squeezing your heart. Then you’re sweaty, lightheaded, and nauseated. You stop in your tracks; you wait; you pray you’re not having a heart attack. At last the elephant lifts his foot or the fist opens, the world slowly brightens, and slowly, carefully, you go home. (You really SHOULD go to an emergency room.)

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Crestor: To Take or Not To Take

Click here for the Health Tip link. When drug research like the recent Crestor study makes headlines in the Chicago Sun-Times and the national media, I know I’ll be fielding questions from patients. The very day after the Crestor study, in fact, the perky Crestor drug reps arrived in my office, barely able to contain their glee about the study’s conclusions. I was pretty sure Read More

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Q&A: Vitamin E and Heart Attacks

Click here for the original post. Q: I just read in Consumer Reports that vitamin E doesn’t help prevent heart attacks. Is this true? If so, is there any reason to take E? A: As early as 2001, clinical studies around the world were beginning to cast some doubt on the effectiveness of vitamin E in preventing heart attacks, so the Consumer Reports article, although Read More

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February Sale: 20% Off Way Out Wax Products

Way Out Wax has been crafting environmentally friendly, natural candles for over 20 years. They use pure essential oils and all-natural wax blends with subtle, natural hues instead of the synthetic dyes and fragrances traditionally found in candles.

We carry a variety of options, from an odor neutralizing spray to candles in travel tins and large pillars. Visit here to see our full selection.

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