Higher Blood Levels of Omega-6 Fatty Acids Linked to Lower Risk of Heart Failure

Salmon, a cold-water fatty fish, is a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids

Here’s the abstract from JACC: Heart Failure:

Objectives

The aim of this study was to determine if plasma eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) abundance (%EPA) is associated with reduced hazard for primary heart failure (HF) events in the MESA (Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis) trial.

Background

Clinical trials suggest that omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (ω3 PUFAs) prevent sudden death in coronary heart disease and HF, but this is controversial. In mice, the authors demonstrated that the ω3 PUFA EPA prevents contractile dysfunction and fibrosis in an HF model, but whether this extends to humans is unclear.

Methods

In the MESA cohort, the authors tested if plasma phospholipid EPA predicts primary HF incidence, including HF with reduced ejection fraction (EF) (EF <45%) and HF with preserved EF (EF ≥45%) using Cox proportional hazards modeling.

Results

A total of 6,562 participants 45 to 84 years of age had EPA measured at baseline (1,794 black, 794 Chinese, 1,442 Hispanic, and 2,532 white; 52% women). Over a median follow-up period of 13.0 years, 292 HF events occurred: 128 HF with reduced EF, 110 HF with preserved EF, and 54 with unknown EF status. %EPA in HF-free participants was 0.76% (0.75% to 0.77%) but was lower in participants with HF at 0.69% (0.64% to 0.74%) (p = 0.005). Log %EPA was associated with lower HF incidence (hazard ratio: 0.73 [95% confidence interval: 0.60 to 0.91] per log-unit difference in %EPA; p = 0.001). Adjusting for age, sex, race, body mass index, smoking, diabetes mellitus, blood pressure, lipids and lipid-lowering drugs, albuminuria, and the lead fatty acid for each cluster did not change this relationship. Sensitivity analyses showed no dependence on HF type.

Conclusions

Higher plasma EPA was significantly associated with reduced risk for HF, with both reduced and preserved EF. (Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis [MESA]; NCT00005487)

Source: Predicting Risk for Incident Heart Failure With Omega-3 Fatty Acids | JACC: Heart Failure

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Paleolithic diet is associated with lower resistant starch intake, different gut microbiota composition and increased serum TMAO concentrations

Doomed to premature death?

Ever heard of TMAO? Click that link and you’ll find that “In humans, a positive correlation between elevated plasma levels of TMAO and an increased risk for major adverse cardiovascular events and death is reported.” Uh-oh!

From European Journal of Nutrition:

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

The Paleolithic diet is promoted worldwide for improved gut health. However, there is little evidence available to support these claims, with existing literature examining anthropometric and cardiometabolic outcomes.

OBJECTIVE:

To determine the association between dietary intake, markers of colonic health, microbiota, and serum trimethylamine-N-oxide (TMAO), a gut-derived metabolite associated with cardiovascular disease.DESIGN:In a cross-sectional design, long-term (n = 44, > 1 year) self-reported followers of a Paleolithic diet (PD) and controls (n = 47) consuming a diet typical of national recommendations were recruited. Diets were assessed via 3-day weighed diet records; 48-h stool for short chain fatty acids using GC/MS, microbial composition via 16S rRNA sequencing of the V4 region using Illumina MiSeq. TMAO was quantified using LC-MS/MS.

RESULTS:

Participants were grouped according to PD adherence; namely excluding grains and dairy products. Strict Paleolithic (SP) (n = 22) and Pseudo-Paleolithic (PP) (n = 22) groups were formed. General linear modelling with age, gender, energy intake and body fat percentage as covariates assessed differences between groups. Intake of resistant starch was lower in both Paleolithic groups, compared to controls [2.62, 1.26 vs 4.48 g/day (P < 0.05)]; PERMANOVA analysis showed differences in microbiota composition (P < 0.05), with higher abundance of TMA-producer Hungatella in both Paleolithic groups (P < 0.001). TMAO was higher in SP compared to PP and control (P < 0.01), and inversely associated with whole grain intake (r = - 0.34, P < 0.01).

CONCLUSIONS:

Although the PD is promoted for improved gut health, results indicate long-term adherence is associated with different gut microbiota and increased TMAO. A variety of fiber components, including whole grain sources may be required to maintain gut and cardiovascular health.

Source: Long-term Paleolithic diet is associated with lower resistant starch intake, different gut microbiota composition and increased serum TMAO concentr… – PubMed – NCBI

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If You Want to Live Long, It Helps If You Have a Purpose

She’s got purpose…

From JAMA Network:

Question:

Does an association exist between life purpose and all-cause or cause-specific mortality among people older than 50 years participating in the US Health and Retirement Study?

Findings:

This cohort study of 6985 adults showed that life purpose was significantly associated with all-cause mortality.

Meaning:

Life purpose is a modifiable risk factor and as such the role of interventions to improve life purpose should be evaluated for health outcomes, including mortality.

Source: Association Between Life Purpose and Mortality Among US Adults Older Than 50 Years | Cardiology | JAMA Network Open | JAMA Network

Eating right and exercise also improve longevity.

Steve Parker, M.D.

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Not Very: How effectively does cinnamon treat diabetes?

Pharmacist Scott Gavura writes at Science Based Medicine:

Given the consequences of diabetes, self-management is something I want to encourage, not discourage. Without a commitment from the patient to take an active role in managing their diabetes, any treatment plan is doomed to fail. So is self-treatment with dietary supplements a wise idea? There’s an array available, and patients regularly ask about the latest treatment “Big Pharma doesn’t want you to know about”. That treatment used to be chromium. Ginseng was popular for a time, too. Fenugreek and bitter melon are used as well. One of the most persistently popular treatments is cinnamon. Like any other herbal remedy, most sources will tell you that it’s been used for “thousands of years” as a medicinal herb. As a treatment for diabetes, I have my doubts. While reports of diabetes go back to 1552 BCE, the ability to measure the effectiveness of any diabetes treatment only goes back a few decades. Interest in cinnamon as a treatment seems to have started with in vitro tests but gained some plausibility in 2003, when a study from Alam Khan suggested several grams of cassia cinnamon per day could lower fasting blood glucose. Khan randomized Type 2 diabetes to 1g, 3g, or 6g of cinnamon for 40 days. All three groups improved their fasting blood glucose, and blood lipid levels, but there was no effect on A1C.Like trials with any other supplement or herbal product, the primary question we must answer is “What exactly was studied?” The cinnamon you have in your kitchen may be a single species of plant or a mix of different cultivars. Ceylon cinnamon (Cinnamommum verum) is more commonly found in the West. Cassia cinnamon (Cinnamomum aromaticum) is the version of cinnamon that’s been studied in trials. The chemical hydroxychalcone has been identified as a potential active ingredient, which is believed to modify the sensitivity of cells to insulin, enhancing their uptake. If that’s the true mechanism of action, then it would work in a manner similar to that of the drugs Avandia, Actos, and metformin (Glucophage). Given the active ingredient (or ingredients) have not yet been definitively isolated, the issue of studying cinnamon is problematic. There’s no way to assess the potency of any batch, which complicates any evaluation. And that may be a reason why the research with cinnamon is inconsistent, and on balance, not impressive.

While the Khan study looked promising, supplementary studies have failed to consistently show beneficial effects.

Source: How effectively does cinnamon treat diabetes? – Science-Based Medicine

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Vegetarians Are Less Healthy Than Carnivores

From Independent:

Vegetarians are less healthy than meat-eaters, a controversial study has concluded, despite drinking less, smoking less and being more physically active than their carnivorous counterparts.

A study conducted by the Medical University of Graz in Austria found that the vegetarian diet, as characterised by a low consumption of saturated fat and cholesterol, due to a higher intake of fruits, vegetables and whole-grain products, appeared to carry elevated risks of cancer, allergies and mental health problems such as depression and anxiety.

While not mentioned in the Independent article, the full PLOS One report defined “vegetarian”:

While 0.2% of the interviewees were pure vegetarians (57.7% female), 0.8% reported to be vegetarians consuming milk and eggs (77.3% female), and 1.2% to be vegetarians consuming fish and/ or eggs and milk (76.7% female).

I haven’t read the whole thing, but if you’re a vegetarian, you should digest it. Note the study was done in Austria. And if vegetarians are so unhealthy, why do Seventh Day Adventists in Loma Linda, CA, seem to have a longevity benefit. Do ya think maybe there’s more involved than diet, like culture or genetics?

Steve Parker, M.D.

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Antioxidants: Is the Bloom Off the Rose?

If you’re the TL;DR type: Antioxidants in supplements or food may not be all they’re cracked up to be.

A science journal article abstract:

The powerful action of antioxidants in preventing premature lipid oxidation in food suggests that the same compounds, when consumed with the daily diet, could unfold antioxidative/anti-aging effects in the human body. Therefore, it has been hypothesized that antioxidants are helpful in preventing various diseases. More detailed chemical and physiological examination of antioxidants shows, however, that the extrapolation of in vitro data to in vivo behavior may be misleading. Indeed, such a procedure fails to take into account the mismatch between most in vitro models (e.g., cell cultures) and in vivo systems. For example, the physiological relevance of pro-oxidative and other physiological activities of antioxidants have been largely underestimated. Actually, contrary to the antioxidant hypothesis, clinical trials testing the health benefits of dietary antioxidants have reported rather mixed or negative results. Many clinical studies have not taken into account the nutrikinetic and nutridynamic nature of antioxidants. Further, oxidative stress is not only an inevitable event in a healthy human cell, but responsible for the functioning of vital metabolic processes, such as insulin signaling and erythropoietin production. In the light of recent physiological studies it appears more advisable to maintain the delicate redox balance of the cell than to interfere with the antioxidant homeostasis by a non-physiological, excessive exogenous supply of antioxidants in healthy humans.

Source: Antioxidants in food: mere myth or magic medicine? – PubMed – NCBI

Steve  Parker, M.D.

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Denninger Predicts Severe Recession in 2024 or Earlier Due to Healthcare Spending

A fictional cityscape abandoned and over grown with vegetation.

If Karl’s right, you’ll find good deals in real estate in a few years. If you have any money left.

You must expect that no medical care will be available for anything currently paid for by “insurance” or the government.  This is likely too pessimistic but if you count on it and are wrong you die, so being pessimistic by a bit over what’s likely is good rather than bad.  If you can change a chronic disease outcome with lifestyle you better do it now.  If you can’t then get your affairs in order, make peace with God if you believe in him, and then figure out whether you want to settle some scores when the bad stuff starts, because it’s going to and you’re going to have a very bad time of it.D

You must also expect that state, local and federal governments will all get very aggressive in trying to increase tax revenue.  If you live in a large metro area where embedded costs are high you need to get out now.  There is a very high probability that either through internal rot and collapse (e.g. they can’t pay for infrastructure repairs and they fail) or due to either an external actor or an uncoordinated and thus impossible to interdict group of Americans who decide they’ve had enough of the Blue “steal it all” crap infrastructure collapse is initiated and the large Blue Enclaves go feral within days.

If you lose this bet you will die fast and nasty.  If you stay and “win” you still lose; you’ve already seen property tax ramps in most of these places of 100% or more.  If you look at the discounted inflation-adjusted value of your house you’ve lost half of its value over the last 20 years not including the taxes already paid and thus forever gone!  That is, even if you “win” and there is no mass collapse due to either disgruntled Americans or some external actor you will still lose in that the value of your holdings will be destroyed over the next ten years.  It will be gone.  For most people not in the 1% who “own” houses their real estate holdings are more than half of their net worth and for many people it’s essentially all of it.  Get the **** out now or you will lose all of that value.  That much is assured and that’s if you win the bet; lose it and it’s not just money you lose, it’s your life as well.

RTWT.

Steve Parker, M.D.

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The Low-Carb Diabetes Diet Revolution

Dr Maria Muccioli looks at low-carb diet approaches to type 1 diabetes in part 1 of a series at Diabetes Daily:

Not long ago, low-carbohydrate diets were considered to be on the fringes of medically-recommended strategies for diabetes control. Long regarded as a “fad diet” and with the health effects often called into question, many patients were routinely discouraged from attempting such an approach. However, in recent years, as more and more research demonstrated the potential benefits of a low-carbohydrate approach for people with diabetes and prediabetes, we have seen a rapid change in the nutritional guidelines and the professional recommendations for patients.

At the 79th American Diabetes Association (ADA) Scientific Sessions, we saw a symposium addressing the changes in the nutrition consensus report for adults with diabetes. Notably, a one-size-fits-all approach is no longer recommended, with experts suggesting now that various eating strategies and macronutrient distributions can work well for patients from a nutritional and glycemic control perspective. Moreover, low-carbohydrate diets were explicitly addressed as a relevant and effective strategy, that is “garnering more attention and support”, as per Dr. William S. Yancy, MD, MHS, who chaired the symposium titled “Providing Options – Using a Low-Carbohydrate or Very Low-Carbohydrate Diet with Adults with Type 1 Diabetes, Type 2 Diabetes or Prediabetes”. In this series, we explore the research and surrounding conversations regarding low-carbohydrate approaches for these distinct patient subgroups.

RTWT.

Source: The Low-Carb Diabetes Revolution (Part I): Type 1 Diabetes (ADA 2019) – Diabetes Daily

Steve Parker, M.D.

PS: Many paleo diets are lower-carb than the standard American diet, and nearly all are low-glycemic index. The Paleobetic Diet provides approximately 60 grams/day of digestible carbohydrate.

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Older Women Gain Longevity Benefit With Just 4,400 Steps a Day

Among older women [average age 72], as few as approximately 4400 steps/d was significantly related to lower mortality rates compared with approximately 2700 steps/d. With more steps per day, mortality rates progressively decreased before leveling at approximately 7500 steps/d. Stepping intensity was not clearly related to lower mortality rates after accounting for total steps per day.

Source: Association of Step Volume and Intensity With All-Cause Mortality in Older Women | Geriatrics | JAMA Internal Medicine | JAMA Network

10,000 steps is about five miles, depending on stride length. 6,000 steps would be about three miles. Walking at two miles per hour, a leisurely stroll, it would take 90 minutes to walk three miles.

Steve Parker, M.D.

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Proton Pump Inhibitors Linked to Excess Deaths

Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) are widely used in the U.S. to treat or prevent heartburn and ulcers. For example, omeprazole is the 6th most prescribed drug in the U.S. according to one source. PPIs reduce acid production by the stomach. Doesn’t it make sense that God or Nature gave us that stomach acid for a reason?

From the British Medical Journal:

Taking PPIs is associated with a small excess of cause specific mortality including death due to cardiovascular disease, chronic kidney disease, and upper gastrointestinal cancer. The burden was also observed in patients without an indication for PPI use. Heightened vigilance in the use of PPI may be warranted.

Source: Estimates of all cause mortality and cause specific mortality associated with proton pump inhibitors among US veterans: cohort study | The BMJ

Click for UPI’s coverage.

If you suffer from frequent heatburn, try cutting down on carbohydrates.

Steve Parker, M.D.

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