hardened arteries

  1. Hardening of the arteries boosts dementia risk

    Hardened arteries for a harder time

    Traffic. Everyone hates it -- especially here in Southern California, where it seems like we have some of the worst traffic on the planet.

    But there's one place where the traffic could be worse than anything you'll see out on the highway, no matter where you live, and that's inside your body.

    If you start to feel hardening of the arteries harden your body, the flow of blood slows like cars on the L.A. freeway at rush hour. And when the flow slows, you suffer damage... disease... maybe even death.

    Hardening of the arteries are a major risk factor for all your vital organs, and they can positively destroy the one organ that relies on blood more than any other: Your brain.

    Your brain sucks up 20 percent of your body's blood. But if stiff arteries choke off even part of that supply, your brain will suffer serious damage -- including beta-amyloid plaques and lesions in the white matter, according to a new study of 91 seniors.

    That's the type of damage that leads to cognitive decline, dementia and even Alzheimer's disease.

    Clearly, you need to keep your arteries as elastic as possible -- but that's a whole lot easier said than done.

    While keeping your waistline in check, eating right and getting some movement can help, those steps alone aren't always enough. In most people, age alone will cause hardening of the arteries.

    That's why you need to do more -- and you can start with some of the simple, safe and natural nutrients you should be getting anyway.

    Magnesium, for example, is known to relax blood vessel walls. The omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil can restore elasticity to arteries already starting to harden. And garlic extract can slash levels of coronary plaque and help keep the aorta elastic at the same time.

    But the best way to help protect your arteries right now, especially if they're already starting to harden, is with a controversial treatment that your own doctor will dismiss.

    It's called chelation, and you can feel free to ignore his protests -- because this critical life-saving treatment is backed by decades of solid scientific research.

    I had the full story on chelation therapy and how it can help you in the May 2013 edition of my printed newsletter, Health Revelations.

    If you're a subscriber, use the password in the current issue to login and read all about it online. Not a subscriber? It's not too late -- sign up today and you'll get your own password for complete access to all my back issues.

    I'm not done with artery health yet. Keep reading for one habit that can cause hardening of the arteries.

  2. Statins: They still don't work

    If your doc is pushing cholesterol meds, it's time to push back--because yet another new study finds they just don't work.

    The researchers behind it even say their study proves that cholesterol isn't the best predictor of heart risk.

    But since up to 75 percent of all heart attacks happen to people with normal cholesterol levels, the only surprise here is that this is somehow considered a groundbreaking discovery.

    Researchers from Johns Hopkins University tracked 950 healthy men and women for five years. Half of the volunteers had the calcium buildup responsible for hardened arteries, while half did not.

    And, wouldn't you know it, the calcium crowd suffered 95 percent of all heart attacks, strokes or heart-related deaths during the study period, according to research presented at a recent American Heart Association meeting.

    The researchers conclude that only patients with high levels of calcium deposits in the arteries may benefit from statins... but I'd say even that's debatable since ordinary vitamin K has been shown to slow, stop and even reverse arterial calcification.

    You'll find this extra special K in leafy greens--kale and spinach are loaded with the stuff--or in an inexpensive supplement.

    But let's get back to statins and cholesterol levels, because another new study finds that while these meds may lower levels of LDL ("bad") cholesterol, they fail to prevent the heart risks associated with the low levels of HDL ("good") cholesterol.

    And the researchers who conducted that study wrote in the Annals of Internal Medicine that "the magnitude of that risk is quite large."

    While statins won't do a thing to help raise your HDL cholesterol levels, fish oil will--so here's today's lesson: Vitamin K and fish oil can do a whole lot more for your heart health than a statin ever will, especially if you combine them with the healthy lifestyle changes that will bring your waistline under control.

    And if you need any more reasons to avoid statins, consider the latest bit of bad news to come falling out of the side effect tree: Researchers have found that statins may put some people at risk for a rare but very serious autoimmune disease in which the body produces antibodies that attack its own proteins.

    The condition, called necrotizing myopathy, often starts as muscle pain--which is a common enough side effect of statins already.

    But then, it gets far worse--even if the patient stops taking the statins.

    The researchers wrote in Arthritis & Rheumatism that some of the patients have ended up in wheelchairs--and they might be the lucky ones, because at least one of them has died.

    It's a rare side effect, to be sure. But why take the chance when you don't have to?

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