Joseph L. Evans, Ph.D., Manager, Pharmacology for Stratum Nutrition and Novus research fellow recently authored "Cardiovascular Health Benefits of the Mediterranean Diet.Targeting oxidized LDL," which was published in the March/April 2011 issue of the Agro FOOD INDUSTRY Hi-tech journal, a leading peer-reviewed European journal providing in-depth coverage of developments in the functional food and nutraceutical markets. The article highlights some promising nutrients present in the Mediterranean diet that have been shown in clinical trials to reduce oxidized low-density lipoprotein (OxLDL), a pro-atherogenic mediator and biomarker for cardiovascular disease.
"There are several historically-used measurements for identifying individuals at risk for developing cardiovascular disease, including levels of LDL- and HDL-cholesterol, total cholesterol, and high blood pressure to name a few," noted Dr. Evans. "However, there are other biomarkers, including OxLDL and the OxLDL / HDL cholesterol ratio that have been shown in clinical research to be more sensitive indicators for discriminating between individuals with and without coronary artery disease when compared to the commonly measured biomarkers. And consuming a Mediterranean diet is an effective way to reduce levels of OxLDL and improve overall cardiovascular health."
Currently, the American Heart Association estimates that nearly 81 million Americans (1 in 3 adults) have one or more types of cardiovascular disease and oxidative stress and inflammation are well- known contributors to heart health issues. The traditional
Mediterranean diet is rich in foods with strong antioxidant properties, such as fruits, vegetables, olive oil and nuts. Research has indicated that the nutrients contained in these foods increase the expression of those genes involved in our body's antioxidant defense system, and suppress those genes involved in advancing inflammation and atherogenesis. While the precise mechanism(s) responsible for nutrient-mediated reduction in OxLDL is unknown, it likely involves the increased expression of circulating and intracellular antioxidant enzymes, along with the inhibition of enzymes that contribute to increased production of reactive oxygen species.
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