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Taurine protects against coronary heart disease in women with high cholesterol

Taurine protects against coronary heart disease in women with high cholesterol

Tuesday, March 6, 2012. An article published online in the European Journal of Nutrition revealed that taurine, an amino acid found in relatively high amounts in dark poultry meat and other foods, may be protective against heart disease in women with elevated cholesterol levels. Taurine is involved in blood pressure regulation, and possesses antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Although studies have uncovered a heart benefit for the amino acid in animals, the current investigation is the first prospective study of taurine and coronary heart disease risk in humans.

New York University (NYU) School of Medicine associate professor of epidemiology Yu Chen, PhD, MPH and her colleagues analyzed data from subjects in the NYU Women's Health Study, which enrolled over 14,000 women between the ages of 34 to 65 from 1985 to 1991. Dr Chen's team averaged taurine levels measured in two prediagnostic serum samples from 223 participants who developed coronary heart disease and 223 women who had no history of the disease over the study's twenty year follow up period.

Women with a high intake of saturated fat tended to have a lower intake of taurine. Although no significant relationship between taurine and coronary heart disease was found for the entire study population, when women with high cholesterol of greater than 250 milligrams per deciliter were analyzed, a different picture emerged. Hypercholesterolemic women whose intake of taurine was among the top one-third of subjects had a 61 percent lower risk of heart disease compared to those in the lowest third. According to the authors, the data also suggest a protective effect for taurine against the risk of high blood pressure and diabetes. If the findings are replicated, supplemental taurine or increased taurine intake from food might be recommended for women with elevated cholesterol, who have an increased risk for cardiovascular disease.

"Our findings were very interesting," commented Dr Chen. "Taurine, at least in its natural form, does seem to have a significant protective effect in women with high cholesterol."

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Increased flavonoid consumption associated with reduced cardiovascular deaths

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An article published online on January 4, 2012 in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reveals a lower risk of dying of cardiovascular disease among those who consume more flavonoids: plant-based phytochemicals that may be responsible in part for the reduced risk of heart disease observed among those who consume a diet that contains high amounts of vegetables, fruit and other plant foods.

American Cancer Society and Tufts University researchers evaluated data from 38,180 men and 60,289 women who had no history of heart disease upon enrollment in the Cancer Prevention Study II Nutrition in 1999. Dietary questionnaire responses were analyzed for the intake of seven classes of flavonoids, including flavan-3-ols, flavanones, flavones, flavonols, isoflavones, anthocyanidins and proanthocyanidins from a variety of plant foods. The subjects were followed for seven years, during which 1,589 men and 1,182 women died from cardiovascular disease.

Subjects whose total flavonoid intake was among the top one-fifth of participants had an 18 percent lower risk of dying from cardiovascular disease compared to those whose intake was among the lowest fifth. Among classes of flavonoids, increased intake of flavon-3-ols, flavones, flavonols, anthocyanidins and proanthocyanidins were associated with a reduction in the risk of fatal cardiovascular disease. For men, the protective effect of increased total flavonoids was greater for stroke than for heart disease.

Flavonoids' possible cardioprotective mechanisms involve antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and vascular effects. "Our findings indicate that total flavonoids and several classes, especially flavones, are associated with lower risks of fatal cardiovascular disease," the authors write. "The finding that benefits of flavonoid consumption were realized at relatively low intake thresholds deserves further examination. If these findings are replicated, recommendations for food sources rich in specific flavonoids should be considered for cardiovascular disease risk reduction."

Life Extension Magazine® March, 2012 Issue Now Online!

Life Extension Magazine March, 2012

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