Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine for Cholesterol Management

Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine for Cholesterol Management
By: Acufinder Staff Writer

What is cholesterol and how is it bad? Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance found in your body and many foods. Your body needs cholesterol to function normally and makes all that you need. Too much cholesterol can sometimes build up in your arteries. After a while, these deposits narrow your arteries, putting you at risk for heart disease and stroke.

Since you can have high cholesterol without realizing it, it’s important to have your blood cholesterol levels checked. Most of the 65 million Americans with high cholesterol have no symptoms. All adults age 20 and older should have their cholesterol levels checked at least once every five years, or more frequently if cholesterol levels are elevated.

High cholesterol can also develop in early childhood and adolescence, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the risk increases as weight increases. In the United States alone, more than twenty percent of youth aged 12-19 years have at least one abnormal lipid level. Children over the age of two should have their cholesterol checked if they are overweight or obese, have a family history of high cholesterol or heart disease, have diabetes, high blood pressure, or certain chronic conditions such as kidney disease, inflammatory diseases, congenital heart disease, and childhood cancer.

Research has clearly shown that lowering cholesterol can reduce the risk of developing heart disease. Whether you have heart disease already or want to prevent it, you can reduce your risk for having a heart attack by lowering your cholesterol level.

According to the American Heart Association, exercise and a healthy, balanced diet low in cholesterol and saturated fats is important to lowering risk and improving your cardiovascular health. Speak to your health care providers to make sure your cholesterol is being monitored and find out how acupuncture and Oriental medicine can help you stay healthy.

Acupuncture and Oriental medicine can be used to treat many of the health conditions known to drastically increase the risk of heart disease and high cholesterol including smoking, high blood pressure, excess weight, and diabetes.

Alpha-linolenic acid associated with lower risk of cardiovascular disease

New study finds alpha-linolenic acid associated with lower risk of cardiovascular disease                                Source: PR Newswire   

November 23, 2012 — A meta-analysis published in the recent issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition evaluates how the plant-based omega-3 fatty acid alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) offers protective effects on cardiovascular diseases (CVD).

The study found ALA to be associated with a lower risk of CVD, particularly coronary heart disease (CHD) death. These findings support the potential heart health benefits of ALA and suggest consumers should obtain adequate amounts of ALA in their diets.

Walnuts1 are a key source of ALA and the only nut that provides a meaningful amount of the essential plant-based omega-3 fatty acid offering 2.5 grams of ALA in a mere handful.

This systematic review incorporated 27 original studies and included 251,049 individuals and found that overall ALA exposure was associated with lower risk of CVD. In fact, in the pooled dietary analysis, each 1 gram per day increment of ALA intake was associated with a 10 percent lower risk of CHD death. Previously, the majority of research funding of omega-3 fatty acids have been directed towards marine sources, however recently increased attention has been given to its plant-based counterpart ALA, and has been suggesting that ALA consumption also offers cardiovascular benefits.

The researchers believe that there may be a direct or indirect antiarrythmic effect of ALA that could partially explain why ALA appeared protective against CHD. Previous studies have found ALA consumption may lower cholesterol levels, positively affect thrombosis, improve endothelial function and decrease inflammation.

The type of omega-3s found in walnuts and other plant sources are different from the type of omega-3s found in fish. According to Penny Kris-Etherton, PhD, professor of nutrition at The Pennsylvania State University, consumers need to understand the nutritional benefits of plant-based omega-3 fatty acids. She notes that “research is showing that the effects of ALA may have unique and independent benefits important to our well-being.”

Cardiologist Dr. James Beckerman finds this study extremely noteworthy and suggests people include more ALA rich food sources into their diet to promote heart health and potentially lower the risk of fatal cardiac events. “Given that plant sources of ALA are cheaper and more accessible to many people as compared to omega-3 fatty acids from fish, this study expands our arsenal to fight heart disease with safe and well tolerated dietary interventions that are easy for people to incorporate into their lifestyles,” notes Beckerman.

The Institute of Medicine (IOM), which establishes nutrient requirements, recommends that people should consume 1.1 to 1.6 grams a day of ALA which can easily be attained. “Eating a handful of walnuts, for example, is a great way to boost your ALA intake. In just a handful, or ounce of walnuts you get well over the amount of ALA recommended by the IOM, not to mention a whole host of additional nutrients,” states Dr. Kris-Etherton. In addition to ALA, walnuts have high antioxidant content, along with numerous micronutrients that Dr. Kris-Etherton thinks may work together synergistically.

Source: PR Newswire

 

Smart Exercise

Source: Health Behavior News Service, part of the Center for Advancing Health

January 7, 2013 — Despite the importance of physical activity, many people feel they don’t have enough time to exercise. An active lifestyle that includes engaging in physical activity for less than 10 minutes multiple times a day can have the same health benefits as more structured exercise, finds a new study in the American Journal of Health Promotion.

“There were little differences in levels of health outcomes between those who received moderate to intense levels of physical activity in 10 minute bouts or longer compared to those who were physically active in shorter bouts of activity,” said lead author Paul D. Loprinzi, PhD, assistant professor in the department of exercise science at Bellarmine University in Louisville, Ky. “This suggests that shorter bouts of about activity of 150 minutes a week may be just as beneficial as engaging in fewer bouts of longer duration.”

The researchers pulled data from a national survey of 6,321 people between 18 and 85 years old whose activity levels were measured along with blood pressure, glucose, and total cholesterol levels. With the exception of body mass index, people who engaged in a so-called active lifestyle, with multiple bouts of moderate to vigorous physical activity lasting less than 10 consecutive minutes had similar improvements in blood pressure, cholesterol, and other health measures as people who engaged in structured exercise for longer periods.

“This research demonstrates the same findings I regularly see in my practice,” said Laura Pady-Porter, MS, a clinical exercise physiologist at the University of Wisconsin Health Center in Madison, Wis. “As healthcare providers, we are still telling our patients to exercise for 30 minutes daily and are not taking into account busy schedules, health concerns or general deconditioning levels.”

 

She added that both consumers and healthcare professionals need to be informed that even 10 minute bouts of physical activity, preferably several times a day, are just as advantageous as 30-minute minimum bouts a day.

 

“I continue to be amazed when patients say they have never been informed that 10-minute bouts of physical activity can be just as beneficial as ‘suffering’ through 30 minutes of consecutive exercise,” said Pady-Porter. “Once I explain the option of several 10 minute sessions, I see better compliance.”

 

Regular exercise not only benefits a person’s health, it can improve their overall quality of life. But one of the biggest barriers to getting people moving is their attitude about exercise.

 

“A person’s attitude or beliefs can hold them back from being active,” said Loprinzi.  “Our findings are particularly informative as an individual who perceives him or herself to be too busy to be active may still be able to enhance their healthy by adopting an active lifestyle approach.”

 

 

 

 

 

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