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What is the Full Story to Heart Health?

We know that heart disease and arterial deterioration and strokes are killing us at an extremely alarming rate,  thousands a day across the USA. We know that there are things we can and should do as part of our life style that reduce risk for these adverse events.

Those include, but are not limited to:

Stopping smoking
Exercise regularly, preferably daily.
Include 5 servings of vegetables and fruits daily with at least 2 of them raw or barely cooked.
Get regular checkups.
Reduce or eliminate consumption of white sugar, white flower, white potatoes.
Reduce or restrict consumption of alcohol.
If over 50, take a baby aspirin a day. (check with Doctor first!)

These are the things we hear every day,  and most of us do observe these recommendations.   Somehow it just is not enough.

What is not widely known is that there are other nutritional issues that greatly effect our cardiovascular health.   Perhaps the most studied and well researched is the tremendous beneficial influence of L-Arginine, more often just called Arginine.

What is L-Arginine?    L-arginine is a semi-essential amino acid that is found in our diet naturally, primarily in red meat and other high cholesterol foods that for other reasons we tend to limit intake of.   Your body needs from 2-4 grams per day of Arginine to handle normal survival.  Recently 3-10g of dailyArginine supplementaion has been shown to offer benefits to people with health risk factors including: Arteriosclerosis, Atherosclerosis, high blood pressure, erectile dysfunction, and many many other health challenges.    L-Arginine is a precursor to Nitric Oxide, meaning that the Arginine is converted by the body into Nitric Oxide (NO) a gas that is then evenly distributed throughout the body to do many different things.   The Nitric Oxide pathway or Nitric Oxide Cycle was the basis of major research which resulted in 3 American doctors receiving in 1998 the Nobel Prize for Medicine.   They demonstrated that the body uses NO to make blood vessels relax, become elastic and dilated, a significant finding in the battle against heart disease and other vascular diseases.

What is Nitric Oxide? Since the mid 1970′s there have been over 25,000 publications in the medical journals (see our partial list of about 100 of the more recent and interesting ones) showing that “absolutely everything in the body depends on it.”   The function in human physiology is so important that the American Academy of Science named NO (Nitric Oxide) the ” Molecule of the Year” in 1992.   Since the 1998 Nobel Prize on the same topic NO has been referred to as “The Molecule of the Millennium”

 Dr. Jonathan S. Stamler, a professor of medicine at Duke University Medical Center perhaps put it best when he said of Nitric Oxide:     “It does everything, everywhere. You cannot name a major cellular response or physiological effect in which [Nitric Oxide] is not implicated today. It’s involved in complex behavioral changes in the brain, airway relaxation, beating of the heart, dilation of blood vessels, regulation of intestinal movement, function of blood cells, the immune system, even how fingers and arms move.”

There are three types of NO. Endothelial-derived NO diffuses out of endothelial cells (cells lining arteries and veins) and into smooth muscle cells of arteries enhancing relaxation and other properties of vascular physiology. Endothelial-derived NO also functions in platelets (blood cells responsible for blood clots) to inhibit aggregation or blood clotting. Brain-derived NO affects several types of nerve cells and appears to be important in neurotransmitter pathways in both the central as well as peripheral nervous system and regulates the production and release of many hormones. Macrophage-derived NO is important in the immune system. This type of NO helps macrophages, a type of immune cell, kill bacteria and tumor cells. So, NO is important to the nervous system, the immune system and the vascular system, which supplies nutrients to all parts of the body. Arginine, when combined with Oxygen, forms NO. Arginine, is a great all natural source of all forms of NO.

What Does Nitric Oxide Do For Blood Vessels?  In a healthy endothelium, Nitric Oxide:
-Keeps vessels pliable and elastic
-Keeps blood flowing smoothly
-Keeps platelets calm and prevents them from sticking to the vessel wall
-Keeps white blood cells calm and prevents them from sticking to the vessel wall
-Regulates oxidative enzymes in the cell, preventing oxidation
-Reduces growth and multiplication of muscle cells that thicken the vessel wall
-Slows plaque growth and suppresses atherosclerosis
-Melts away or shrinks plaque that already exists

Every major disease process today is directly or indirectly related to deficiency in Nitric Oxide, especially with a population of many risk factors such as Diabetes, Hypertension, Hyperlipidemia, Hypercholesterolemai, Cancer, Peripheral Vascular Disease, Coronary Artery Disease, Sickel Cell Anemia, Scleroderma, Renal Failure, Pulmonary Hypertension and Atherosclerosis which are all associated with decresed levels of NO. With the exception of Cancer, whre NO functions in the immune system, most of these disease processes involve the vascular system and Endothelial delivered Nitric Oxide (EDNO).

The primary function of EDNO is vascular homeostasis, or balance. NO maintains vascular health by enhancing endothelial reactivity. The endothelium is the inner lining of the blood vessels and as long as the endothelium remains reactive, they are supple, pliable and flexible. They are able to respond appropriately to the various changes that occur in blood vessels in the course of normal and abnormal physiology. When NO decreases, the vessels may become stiff and rigid. This is called Atherosclerosis or hardening of the arteries. When we develop Atherosclerosis, the results may include high blood pressure, heart attack and stroke and ultimately death. As long as we have plenty of NO, as supplied by the Arginine, our blood pressure may remain low and we may have protection from many of the consequences of the aging process.

What Is The Endothelium?  All blood vessels are lined with a coat of endothelial cells.  The blood vessels in you skin, brain, heart, and all of your organs are lined with this film of tissue.  Only one cell layer thick, the endothelium seems almost immaterial, so thin that it cannot be seen by the naked eye.  It could even be considered the largest organ in the body.  Because this almost invisible veil lines all blood vessels, and because the body is comprised of about 100,000 miles of blood vessels, the endothelium has the surface area of eight tennis courts.  In fact, if all of the endothelial cells in the body were lumped together, they would weigh as much as the liver.

The endothelium as a selective filter, allowing some things in and some things out.  It also exerts tremendous control over blood flow and serves as an interface between blood and the vessel wall.  This delicate tissue is a dynamic factory, producing a myriad of substances that maintain vessel health.  When it’s healthy, it produces its own forms of heart medicine.

So then, according to the research, what are the possible benefits of L-Arginine ?  To date Arginine has been shown in animal as well as human trials that it may be effective in the following:

·        Decreasing and Reversing Atherosclerosis by decreasing intimal thickening and monocyte accumulation
·        Restore normal endothelial function in hypercholesterolemia
·        Reversing consequences of Coronary Artery Disease
·        Decreasing cholesterol and triglycerides
·        Improves walking distance in Peripheral Vascular Disease
·        Improves pain in Interstitial Cystitis
·        Prolonged administration of Arginine reverses adverse effects of High Blood Pressure
·        Decreases High Blood Pressure
·        Decreases post operative infection and length of stay
·        Increases Human Growth Hormone
·        Improves outcome after Bypass Surgery
·        Improves sexual function
·        Improves exercise tolerance
·        Improves renal function
·        Improves glucose uptake in muscle cells
·        Improves Asthma
·        Improves cell mediated immunity
·        Improves pituitary responsiveness and Modulates Hormonal Control
·        Improves muscle performance
·        Improves Diabetes and reverses Damage
·        May prevent Diabetes
·        Reduces blood clots and strokes
·        Helps prevent restenosis after Angioplasty and bypass
·        Helps prevent post surgical damage after intestinal manipulation
·        May improve Irritable Bowel Syndrome
·        Improves osteoporosis
·        May improve prostate function
·        Helps protect in cardiac transplants
·        Improve Scleroderma

Is Arginine An Alternative to Viagra®?   The 40 and above age group is also the most likely age group to want to use Viagra®. In the genital tissue, NO triggers the release of c-GMP, which is a molecule that causes engorgement of this tissue. Arginine releases NO to make sure there is plenty of c-GMP.

Viagra® is a drug that blocks an enzyme to make sure there is plenty of c-GMP.  Arginine has been shown to be a safe and effective alternative to Viagra®. Viagra® has been reported to be safe; however, the FDA public records suggest the opposite. These records reported that between April of 1998 and May of 1999 there were 1,473 adverse events including 255 serious heart rhythm disturbances, 53 episodes of congestive heart failure (weakened heart), 119 strokes, 517 heart attacks and 522 deaths.

To summarize, Arginine is a safe and natural supplement to increase Nitric Oxide production, may be an significant factor in the treatment and reversal of many disease states. The impact of Arginine in preventive healthcare and Anti-Aging is profound, not to mention that it is a safe and effective replacement for Viagra®.   Optimum supplementation is to ingest it in a liquid form, for ease and for maximum efficiency,   and to take 5g per day.  Body builders and people with issues desiring more daily Arginine have

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