Tag Archives: heart disease

L-Carnitine Supplement Could Treat Heart Disease

An animal study has identified a potential new therapeutic option for treating cardiac fibrosis: L-carnitine supplementation. Could L-carnitine prevent the development of heart failure?

Researchers (Y Omori, T Ohtani, et al), at the Department of Cardiovascular Medicine, Osaka University Graduate School of Medicine, Japan, developed an animal study to analyze potential new treatments for heart failure—specifically heart failure with preserved ejection fraction (HFpEF) in hypertensive heart disease.

Hypertensive heart disease is caused by hypertension, or high blood pressure. Hypertensive heart disease with heart failure is a serious condition, which can lead to ischemic heart disease and heart attacks. Heart disease is leading cause of death worldwide, according to the World Health Organization.

The researchers were aware that prognosis of heart failure with preserved ejection fraction is poor. They knew that hypertension causes decreased free-carnitine levels in the heart. Would L-carnitine supplements have an effect?

Carnitine is a non-essential amino acid, synthesized in the human body from the amino acids lysine and methionine. Carnitine is also found in food, especially red meat and dairy products. L-carnitine is simply the biologically-active form of carnitine.

Carnitine has a substantial antioxidant effect, which greatly benefits health by preventing free radical damage. The researchers hoped that the carnitine supplements would also combat hypertension.

L-carnitine treatment and heart failure study

Rats were given a high-salt diet, which models hypertensive heart failure. Their free carnitine levels were measured, and were found to be low in the left ventricle of the heart. The rats were then given L-carnitine supplements.

This L-carnitine treatment had a significant impact. It restored the levels of carnitine in the chambers of the heart, and even reversed fibrosis. Cardiac fibrosis is a thickening of the heart valves, which is often found in heart failure.

The affect L-carnitine has on reversing, or thinning, the level of cardiac fibrosis means that L-carnitine could become a therapeutic option for treating hypertensive heart disease in the future.

Sources:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22796714

Branched-Chain Amino Acids and Cardiovascular Disease

Cardiovascular disease has many facets, and the metabolism of branched-chain amino acids also play a role in heart disease. Branched-chain amino acids, also referred to as BCAA’s, also play a key role in organisms in general, concerning the metabolism processes as well as in cardiovascular protection, say VH Lyzohum, TV Zaval’s’ka, et al., from the Ukraine.

The researchers said that branched-chain amino acids were pivotal in the “mitochondrial biogenesis, antioxidant and antiaging processes, its antihypertension and antiarrhythmic effects, its role in obesity and diabetes mellitus” as well. Cardiovascular disease and BCAA/BCKA catabolism’s role in the action of heart failure are related. But how?

Branched-chain amino acids role in heart disease

The images in this article, according scientists, Y Huang, M Zhou, et al., from the Department of Pathophysiology, Key Laboratory of Cell Differentiation and Apoptosis of Chinese Ministry of Education, at the Shanghai Jiaotong University School of Medicine, in Shanghai, China, are of the “potential impact of reduced expression of PP2Cm in stressed heart in BCAA catabolism and cardiac remodelling. … BCAA, branched-chain amino acids; BCKA, branched-chain keto acids…” and show the role of branched-chain amino acids.

But what exactly is the role of branched-chain amino acids in such heart disease? The researchers’ question was whether it was an epiphenomenon or an actual culprit?

Their research showed that in order to understand the pathogenesis of why the heart fails, there has to be metabolic remodeling. They claim that even though we have knowledge about heart failure, less is known about why amino acid metabolism has to do with the onset of heart disease itself. They said, “Although most amino acid catabolic activities are found in the liver, branched-chain amino acid (BCAA) catabolism requires activity in several non-hepatic tissues, including cardiac muscle, diaphragm, brain and kidney.”

The researchers focused on new discoveries from genetic models that were developed using branched-chain amino acids catabolic defects as well as studies in metabolomics (for both humans and animals). What they found out is that, indeed, the “potential role of BCAA catabolism in cardiac pathophysiology and have helped to distinguish BCAA metabolic defects as an under-appreciated culprit in cardiac diseases rather than an epiphenomenon associated with metabolic remodelling in the failing heart.”

If you haven’t yet done so, please visit our other health news portals, too.  Learn more about amazing health benefits of medicinal mushrooms at Medicinal Mushroom Information Center at http://medicinalmushroominfo.com.

References:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24605627

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21502372

Homocysteine, Cysteine, and Colorectal Cancer

Researchers investigated the link between levels of plasma homocysteine and colorectal cancer in postmenopausal women. Will the results shed light on the risk of developing this cancer?

Colorectal cancer—also known as bowel cancer–is a cancer of the colon (large intestine) or rectum. It’s the third most common cancer diagnosed in men and women, and the second leading cause of cancer-related death when statistics for both sexes are combined.

Improved screening techniques have led to the death rate dropping for colorectal cancer. The polyps which form in the early stages can be removed before they develop into cancers, and early detection also means much better prognosis. All cancers are easier to treat when they are detected early.

But better understanding of colorectal cancer is an important topic of research. And new screening techniques could help diagnose the disease even earlier.

JW Miller, SA Beresford, et al, researchers at the Department of Medical Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, University of California, USA, developed a study to assess the links between the amino acids homocysteine, cysteine, and the incidence of colorectal cancer in postmenopausal women.

Homocysteine is a non-protein amino acid. It’s similar in formula to cysteine, though homocysteine is biosynthesized in our bodies, from the amino acid methionine. It can also be converted into methionine or cysteine with the aid of B-vitamins. We also get cysteine from food, especially high-protein foods like meat, cheese, and eggs.

High levels of homocysteine have been linked to cardiovascular disease. Would they also be linked to colorectal cancer?

Results of homocysteine, cysteine, and colorectal cancer trial

The trial found some significant results. High levels of homocysteine were associated with proximal colon tumors, though not distal or rectal tumors.

They concluded that high plasma homocysteine levels are associated with an increased risk of colorectal cancer. High levels of cysteine indicate a decreased risk.

Sources:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23426034