Tag Archives: High cholesterol

Heart Disease Risk Not Just for Seniors

WebJacquie Eubanks RN BSN

Those who typically believe that heart conditions are diseases of the aging population, may be surprised to learn that younger people aged 35-64 are putting themselves at risk of developing heart disease earlier in life. Lifestyle factors, such as smoking, sedentary behavior and unhealthy eating, contribute to the development of obesity and diabetes, as well as high blood pressure and cholesterol levels, all known risks for heart disease and stroke. Per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), half of all Americans have at least one of the top three risk factors for heart disease—high blood pressure, high cholesterol and a smoking habit. As the leading cause of death in the U.S., heart disease claims more lives than all forms of cancer combined.

Heart disease is a broad term used for a wide variety of symptoms and diseases related to the heart and blood vessels. These can include coronary artery disease or cardiovascular disease; heart rhythm disorders or arrhythmias; congenital heart defects; cardiomyopathy or weakened heart muscle; silent ischemia caused by reduced blood flow to the heart muscle; angina resulting in pain and discomfort caused by arterial spasms, insufficient flow of oxygen and nutrients or narrowing of the arteries; and atherosclerosis, the buildup of fats, cholesterol, calcium and other substances within artery walls, which can block or restrict blood flow.

High blood pressure: Currently, millions of Americans of all ages, including individuals in midlife have high blood pressure. Over time uncontrolled hypertension causes the coronary arteries to narrow and harden due to plaque buildup. This can increase the risk of clots that can block the flow of oxygen and nutrients and cause damage or death to the heart muscle, resulting in heart attack. Lifestyle changes that can help to lower and maintain healthy blood pressure levels include weight loss when needed, regular exercise, stress reduction and improved diet that limits sodium, restricts processed foods and increases whole food consumption, especially foods that contain potassium.

High cholesterol: Per the CDC, more than 100 million adults aged 20 and over have high cholesterol. Young adults with a family history of high cholesterol are mostly likely to develop this condition during their 20’s and 30’s. Startling statistics from 2014 show that more than seven percent, or one in five, U.S. children and teens have unhealthy cholesterol levels. High cholesterol levels in children and teens, linked to heredity, diet, obesity and sedentary behavior, generally follows into adulthood, increasing the risk of heart disease later in life. The initial approach to reducing high cholesterol in children involves lifestyle changes, including weight loss, improved diet and increased exercise.

Smoking: While most children and adolescents have yet to try smoking, the overwhelming majority of adult smokers in the U.S. began smoking before age 18. Per the American Lung Association, cigarette smoking causes detrimental harm and significant health problems among young people. Statistics show that most new smokers are children and teens. Each day approximately 2,500 children under 18 try their first cigarette and more than 400 will become regular daily smokers. Sadly, about half will ultimately die prematurely from a smoking-related disease. Smoking causes an instant and long-term rise in blood pressure and heart rate, reduces the flow of blood and oxygen to the heart, damages blood vessels and doubles the risk of stroke. As smoking is the single most preventable cause of early death, stopping smoking is key to the management of dangerous risks to heart heath. Quitting smoking will reduce the threat of heart disease and the risk for repeat heart attacks and cuts the risk of death by heart disease by half. Stopping is never easy. However, a balanced healthy diet, regular exercise to relieve stress , proper amounts of sleep, encouragement from friends and family, and participation in a support group can all help one break the habit and enjoy a healthier lifestyle at every stage of life.

Professional Supplement Center offers these and other high quality supplements in support of a healthy lifestyle:

Berberine BlendBerberine Blend by Professional Supplement Center®: Berberine Blend is formulated to provide support for overall cardiovascular wellness. Specific ingredients support healthy homocysteine levels, normal blood lipid regulation, free radical neutralization and the maintenance of healthy blood pressure and blood sugar levels already within the normal range. Non-GMO formulation.

Homocysteine FactorsHomocysteine Factors by Pure Encapsulations®: Homocysteine Factors is formulated with active B vitamins in support of the maintenance of healthy homocysteine metabolism. High homocysteine levels, a risk factor for cardiovascular problems, is associated with low levels of vitamins B6, B12 and folate. Gluten free, Non-GMO hypoallergenic formulation.

Smokers CleanseSmokers Cleanse by Renew Life®: This targeted, 3-part cleansing program is specifically  formulated with select herbs and natural ingredients to support lung and respiratory health. It may also help reduce the desire to smoke, soothe bronchial passages, and support a healthy stress response to improve overall wellbeing. Gluten and soy free formulation.

Ubiquinol-QH 200 mgUbiquinol QH 200 mg by Pure Encapsulations®: This active form of CoQ10 provides strong antioxidant protection and supports cellular energy metabolism and cardiovascular health. Ubiquinol supports healthy ejection fraction and mitral valve function, supporting overall physical activity and quality of life. Gluten free, Non-GMO hypoallergenic formulation.

Hawthorne Max-VHawthorne Max-V by Douglas Laboratories®: Used traditionally for centuries, hawthorne extract is now recognized for its cardioprotective benefits, which include support for healthy heart and circulatory function. Free of gluten, yeast, soy, dairy, corn, sodium, sugar, starch and artificial colors, flavors and preservatives. Vegan formulation.

ProOmega LDLPro Omega LDL by Nordic Naturals®: This product is formulated with bioavailable CoQ10, EPA, DHA and red yeast rice in support of nutritional maintenance for total cardiovascular health. Third party tested to be free of heavy metals and environmental toxins. Gluten, dairy and artificial color and flavor free. Non-GMO formulation.

References:
Heart Disease: It Can Happen at Any Age. https://www.cdc.gov/features/heartmonth/index.html
How High Blood Pressure Can Lead to a Heart Attack. https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/high-blood-pressure/health-threats-from-high-blood-pressure/how-high-blood-pressure-can-lead-to-a-heart-attack
10 ways to control high blood pressure without medication. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/high-blood-pressure/in-depth/high-blood-pressure/art-20046974
High Cholesterol in Children? It’s All Too Common. https://www.everydayhealth.com/high-cholesterol/symptoms/high-cholesterol-in-young-people/
Tobacco Use among Children and Teens. https://www.lung.org/stop-smoking/smoking-facts/tobacco-use-among-children.html
Smoking and Cardiovascular Disease. https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/smoking-and-cardiovascular-disease

Know Your Dietary Fats

appleBy Jacquie Eubanks BSN, RN

Dietary fat is often seen as the villain when it comes to obesity and associated health conditions, such as heart disease, high cholesterol and diabetes.  However, dietary fats along with protein and carbohydrates are a necessary part of a healthy diet.  Fats are an indispensible source of the essential fatty acids that are needed for proper brain development and function, inflammation control, and the formation of healthy cell membranes.  Healthy fats provide a concentrated energy source for most of our cellular and life functions.  Fats aid in the transport of fat-soluble vitamins including vitamins A, D, E and K, assist in the production of hormones, maintain healthy skin and hair, and protect organs.  With 9 calories of energy in every gram, fat is the most powerful food energy source.  By contrast, proteins and carbohydrates provide 4 calories of energy in every gram. 

Dietary fat and cholesterol are not one and the same.  As a vital part of the body’s chemistry,  cholesterol is used in the production of steroid hormones that are necessary for normal development and functioning.   Cholesterol is also involved in the production of cortisol which helps regulate blood sugar levels, is used to make the bile that aids in the digestion and absorption of dietary fat, and provides immune system support.  Your body has the ability to manufacture all the cholesterol it needs for proper function. 

When consumed in excess, dietary cholesterol and animal fats affect the body’s cholesterol production.  A diet high in animal fats will cause a slowdown in the production of cholesterol, whereas a diet with foods from plant sources will cause the body to manufacture cholesterol to meet its needs.  Most Americans consume too much dietary fat and cholesterol, mainly from animal fat and prepackaged and processed foods.  Elevated blood cholesterol levels are a risk factor for cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and atherosclerosis.  Types of dietary fats include:

  • Lipids –  The scientific term referring to naturally occurring molecules that include fats, cholesterol and triglycerides.  Lipids are a structural component of cell membranes, and are involved in energy storage and signaling. 
  • Triglycerides – The main form of fat found in the diet and stored in the body.  Triglycerides play an important role in metabolism as energy sources and transporters of dietary fats. 

The “bad” fats:

  • Saturated fats –  Normally solid at room temperature, most saturated fats are found in animal products including meat and dairy products, and in some tropical plant oils such as coconut and palm oil. Saturated fats raise total cholesterol levels. 
  • Hydrogenated fats – These unsaturated fats are processed to become solid at room temperature.  Packaged and processed foods such as cookies, crackers and margarine contain hydrogenated fats.  Hydrogenated fats can also raise total cholesterol levels. 
  • Trans fatty acids –  Small amounts of trans fatty acids are found naturally occurring in meat and dairy products.  Artificial trans fats are formed during hydrogenation, where hydrogen is added to liquid oil, turning it into a solid fat.  This process extends shelf life, increases stability and provides texture.  These fats can be found in partially hydrogenated margarines, white bread, fast foods and snack foods.  The American Heart Association recommends limiting this type of dietary fat to less than 1% of your total daily caloric intake which translates to approximately 2 grams.  Trans fatty acids tend to raise total cholesterol levels. 

The “good” fats:

  • Monounsaturated Fats – Liquid at room temperature, monounsaturated fats are primarily found in plant oils and include olive, canola and peanut oil.  Fish and nuts are another good dietary source.  Monounsaturated fats lower LDL (bad) cholesterol and raise HDL (good) cholesterol levels. 
  • Polyunsaturated fats – Liquid at room temperature, sources include many common vegetable oils such as corn, soybean, safflower, sesame and sunflower oils, plus avocados, olives and walnuts.  Polyunsaturated fats lower total cholesterol levels. 
  • Essential fatty acids –  Omega-3 fatty acids including DHA and EPA are found in high-fat cold water fish, as well as nuts and seeds and fortified eggs.  Omega-6 fatty acids, or LA, can be found in soybean, corn, and safflower oils.  Essential fatty acids are not made by the body and must be obtained through the diet.  Essential fatty acids lower triglycerides and total cholesterol levels.

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010 and the Institute of Medicine recommend that consumption of hydrogenated and trans fats be kept to a minimum.  Consumption of trans fats raises LDL, the bad cholesterol, increasing the risk of coronary heart disease, the leading cause of death in the U.S.  Major contributors to trans fat intake include fried foods, microwave popcorn, frozen pizzas, cake, cookies, margarines, prepared cake frosting and coffee creamers. 

To reduce trans fats in the diet:

  • Read nutrition labels.  Choose products with 0 grams of trans fat.  Products containing less than 0.5 grams of trans fats can be labeled as trans fat free.  In order to avoid all trans fat, check the ingredient labels for any partially hydrogenated oil. 
  • Check labels for cholesterol content.  Look for foods with 5% or less of the Daily Value.  The American Heart Association recommends limiting dietary cholesterol intake to less than 300 mg.
  • Limit total fat intake to less than 25 – 35% of your total daily calories.  Limit saturated fat intake to less than 7% and trans fats to less than 1% of daily caloric intake.  A minimum of 10% of daily calories should come from fats.  Limit your intake to less than 78 grams of fat per day and choose healthy unsaturated fats. 
  • Limit fried fast foods which contain both saturated fat and trans fat. 
  • Choose monosaturated and polyunsaturated fats.  The bulk of your fat intake should come from fish, nuts, seeds and naturally occurring non-hydrogenated vegetable oils.
  • Choose a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, high-fiber foods, and low fat dairy.  Choose lean meats and include cold water fish such as salmon or halibut several times a week. 

The typical American diet contains roughly 35 – 40% fat.  This dietary fat consumption plays a significant role in the obesity epidemic.  Choosing healthier types of dietary fats is one of the most important factors to reduce the risk of developing heart disease, obesity, cancer and diabetes.   Reducing the total fat content of your diet will help control your weight and that alone may help you live a longer and healthier life. 

BioLipotrol by BioGenesis Nutraceuticals –  An all natural nutraceutical designed to assist the body in regulating the production and metabolism of HDL and LDL cholesterol and triglycerides.  Effective and well-tolerated forms of niacin are combined with herbal extracts for a complete and natural option for blood lipid support. 

Cholestar (K-27) by Apex Energetics –  This scientifically designed formula includes natural compounds that maintain levels of cholesterol, including LDL, triglycerides, and HDL, within  the normal range for healthy individuals. The key ingredients are red yeast rice extract, inositol hexanicotinate, and garlic extract.

Cholesterzyme Formula by Professional Solutions –  This product supports healthy cholesterol levels and provides liver support for cholesterol production. 

Essential Nutrients for Kids

Essential Nutrients for KidsBy Jacquie Eubanks BSN, RN

Good nutrition helps prevent illness and disease and is essential to healthy physical and mental development. The American Academy of Pediatrics encourages parents to think of nutritional decisions as health decisions.  Nearly 1 in 3 children in America are now overweight or obese.  And like adults, kids who consistently overeat are at risk for developing the medical problems associated with being overweight, including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, type 2 diabetes, bone and joint problems, breathing and sleeping problems, and even depression. Later in life they are at greater risk for heart disease, heart failure, and stroke. Encouraging your child to make beneficial food choices now will help them develop wholesome eating patterns that can lead to a lifetime of healthier choices.   

It’s not always easy to get kids to eat what’s on their plates.  These strategies improve nutrition and encourage smart eating habits:

  • Have regular family meals.  Eating together allows parents and kids to reconnect and catch up on the day’s events.  Kids who sit down to family meals are more likely to eat fruits, vegetables and grains and are less likely to snack on unhealthy foods. 
  • Serve a variety of healthy foods and snacks.  You control the supply lines, so stock up on fruits, vegetables and healthy snacks such as low-fat yogurt and cheese, whole grain crackers, or nuts.  Limit chips, cookies, candy and sugary drinks but don’t ban them completely.  Serve them occasionally as a special treat.  
  • Be a role model by eating healthy yourself.  Keep a positive approach to food, limit your own portions and don’t overindulge in less nutritious foods.  Kids will follow your lead. 
  • Avoid food battles which means no bargaining or bribing kids to eat everything on their plate.  Provide variety and let your child choose from what you offer.  A growing child’s eating pattern will vary day to day.  Let them decide when they are hungry and when they are full. 
  • Involve kids in the process.  Kids love to help in the kitchen so select age appropriate tasks for them to do.  Let them be involved in occasional meal planning and help them make decisions about what to pack for lunch. 

Nutrition for kids is based on the same principle as nutrition for adults.  In addition to the nutrient dense foods of lean proteins, fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low-fat dairy products, there are vitamins and minerals that all growing children need for growth and development:

Vitamin A  –  Vitamin A  boosts the immune system which fights common infections.  Vitamin A promotes general eye health plus color and night vision.  Make sure your child gets plenty of orange vegetables and fortified milk. 

B Vitamins  –  B complex vitamins are needed for anemia prevention and for energy production and usage.  B vitamins are found in whole grains, fish, chicken, leafy greens, dairy and meat.

Vitamin C –  Vitamin C helps speed healing of cuts and scrapes and helps ward off colds and  fight infections.  Fruits, especially oranges, and green leafy vegetables are good sources of vitamin C.

Vitamin D Vitamin D is needed for calcium absorption for developing strong bones and teeth.  Foods fortified with vitamin D include milk, cereal and eggs. 

Calcium Calcium helps build strong bones and teeth and can help reduce the chances of developing age related bone disease.  The majority of our lifetime bone mass is built during our pre-teen and teen years.  Low-fat dairy is the best source of calcium in a child’s diet and includes  cheese, milk and yogurt.  Fortified cereals and orange juice are options for those who are lactose intolerant. 

Choline –  An important essential nutrient needed for the central nervous system function and cell growth.  Eggs, fish, meat, broccoli and chicken are good sources. 

IronFor healthy red blood cells that carry oxygen to all parts of the body and help keep kids energized.  Iron can be found in fortified foods, beans and lean red meats. 

MagnesiumImportant for energy and healthy heart function.  Look for magnesium in cereals, brown rice and nuts. 

Potassium –  Kids need potassium to support their organs and cells.  Potassium maintains blood pressure, supports the heart and muscle function.  Bananas and low-fat dairy are good sources. 

ZincZinc helps fight viruses and supports the immune system.  Zinc is necessary for growth and development.  Look for zinc in chicken, beans and fortified cereals. 

FiberKids need fiber to aid digestion and prevent constipation.  Offer lots of fruits and vegetables and whole grains including high-fiber cereals.

Water – Limit sugar laden fruit juices to breakfast time and give your child the choice of milk or water at other times.  Be sure to provide plenty of water throughout the day and encourage your child to drink up. 

Antioxidants –  Antioxidants help defend against harmful substances that can damage healthy cells.  Almonds, berries, citrus fruits and carrots are some kid friendly foods high in antioxidants. 

Essential fatty acidsChildren require both EPA and DHA omega-3 fatty acids as part of their healthy diet, especially for brain development and eye function.  If your child refuses to eat fish regularly or at all,  supplements made for children containing EPA/DHA are a safe, effective way to give your child’s mental and physical well-being a boost. 

It’s best not to get into a battle of wills at mealtimes.  Try to make breakfast and lunch the priority meals as young children are often tired and less likely to eat well at dinnertime.  Offer a variety of healthy foods and allow your child to be in charge of choosing which items to eat and how much.  Children allowed to make their own decisions at mealtimes are more likely to enjoy their meal and feel good about themselves.  You can feel good also, knowing that you are raising a healthy eater and establishing patterns that will lead to a lifetime of healthy nutrition. 

Nutritional supplements for kids:

Springboard SuperNutes by Ortho Molecular –  Super Nutrients Jr. is a great tasting strawberry-kiwi multivitamin and mineral supplement containing the most important vitamin and mineral components needed for a growing child. Besides having a solid scientific formulation of the highest quality professional-grade vitamins, SuperNutes also contains generous doses of industry leading Albion® minerals, setting SuperNutes in a class by itself when compared with other children’s multivitamins.

ProOmega Junior Minis by Nordic Naturals –  Perfect for ages three and older, these provide the essential fatty acid nutrition for optimal development.  Children find the tiny, pearl-sized soft gels easy to chew, and they enjoy the great-tasting, all-natural strawberry flavor.  With EPA and DHA from purified deep sea fish oil. 

Vital Kids Berry Well Immune Support by Vital Nutrients –  Berry Well is a uniquely concentrated botanical extract formula containing Elderberry Extract.  This formula provides enhanced levels of natural compounds that provide immune system support. Studies have shown that the properties of Elderberry Extract and Arabinogalactan maintain healthy immune function and promote well-being. 

Multigenics Chewable Orange by Metagenics  –  Multigenics chewable is a high quality multiple vitamin and mineral supplement with excellent nutrient bioavailability designed especially for children.  This formula provides an essential, comprehensive foundation for optimal health and contains highly absorbable amino acid chelates, ratio-balanced B vitamins, and broad-spectrum antioxidant protection.

Super Immune Space Sprinkles by Douglas Laboratories This product provides support for normal immune function with a specially formulated blend of probiotics in a naturally sweet base.  Super Immune Space Sprinkles change color when sprinkled on food and are designed specifically for children. 

Nordic Omega-3 Fishies by Nordic NaturalsThese easy to chew treats are rich in EPA and DHA for development support of the brain, eyes and the nervous and immune systems.  Delicious tangerine taste for even the pickiest of eaters.  For ages 2 and over. 

Nutri-West Chewable C-500 –  A pleasant tasting tablet ideal for children or for anyone looking for rapid absorption of Vitamin C.  Each naturally flavored tablet supplies 500 mg of Vitamin C (as sodium ascorbate and ascorbic acid) , 1,000 units of natural beta carotene, citrus bioflavonoids, hesperidin complex, rutin, and acerola.

Little One by Metabolic Maintenance –  A one-per-day multivitamin for children 6 through 12 years of age.  Each capsule contains only the finest ingredients, in the most bioavailable forms, in a very small, easy to swallow capsule.